Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Janet Walker


This dissertation investigates the effects of amendments to Ontarios Rules of Civil Procedure that came into effect on January 1, 2010 (the 2010 Amendments) and were subject to interpretation by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 2014 decision (Hryniak). Hryniak concerned summary judgment. However, the dissertation largely concentrates on the effects of Hryniak and the 2010 Amendments outside the summary judgment context, inquiring into whether Hryniaks call for a culture shift and the 2010 Amendments enshrinement of the principle of proportionality have had noticeable effects. It does this by analyzing three aspects of Canadian procedural law that were not amended in 2010 but were amended (or enacted) shortly thereafter and can facilitate or hinder access to justice depending on how they are used: 1) jurisdiction motions; 2) dismissals without an oral hearing, potentially sua sponte; and 3) interlocutory appeals. This more quantitative analysis of case law was complemented by results of qualitative surveys of lawyers about their experiences with Hryniak and the 2010 Amendments. With regard to the three procedural rules analyzed, the dissertation makes suggestions for their re-interpretation to minimize unnecessary interlocutory wrangling. At a broader level, the dissertation concludes that there have been positive effects of Hryniak and the 2010 Amendments, but they have been limited, and tend to have been greatest in areas where tailored amendments in procedural law have occurred rather than in response to broader statements that a culture shift is required in the conduct of litigation. In any event, more work is required outside the realm of civil procedure reform to effectively improve access to civil justice in Canada.


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