Nunavut judge: makeshift courtrooms need heat, toilets

Some school gyms, hotels and community halls where circuit courts are held in Nunavut communities still don't meet basic standards, despite a directive last year from the senior judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Audit finds some makeshift community facilities lack basics such as heat, working toilets, phones

Nunavut courtrooms not meeting basic standards 1:02

Some buildings used to hold circuit court in Nunavut communities still do not meet basic standards. That's despite a directive last year from the senior judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Outside of Iqaluit, communities do not have courtrooms and court is often held in community halls, hotels and school gymnasiums.

Last June, Justice Robert Kilpatrick issued a directive to have all locations inspected where circuit court is held. He said they need to make sure there's running water, a phone jack, working toilets, heat and a functioning fire alarm. 

Kilpatrick also asked for the latest public health and fire and safety inspections records.

Court Services did an audit and the results weren't good.

"How is it that we expect the court to operate in those sub-standard conditions?" Kilpatrick says.

"It is high time for the government to take into consideration the needs of its court when it designs facilities, and ensure we have what we need to do a proper job." 

The senior judge says he's still waiting for the Department of Justice to come up with some solutions.

In a statement to CBC News, officials in the department say they're working with another government department, Community and Government Services, to address the issue. 

They're also discussing the possibility of finding alternate places to hold court in some communities.         

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.