This article was originally published in CBA Alberta's Law Matters publication on February 20, 2020.
By: Wayne Barkauskas, K.C.
The downturn in Alberta's economy has impacted both clients and lawyers managing family law issues in many different ways. Not only have the practical issues change, including more bankruptcies and challenges in finding ways to address significant debt loads in the midst of asset bases that have eroded, but also in addressing barriers to dispute resolution that are event more significant for families with reduced financial resources.
I was recently asked to do an interview for the evening news. The story related to the dramatic toll the economy is having on people dealing with issues related to their separation or divorce. It stemmed from stories of support payors committing suicide after experiencing difficulties changing child and spousal support payments following financial setbacks.
This article was originally published in CBA Alberta's Law Matters publication on December 8, 2020.
By: Elsa Ascencio
I grew up in northwest Toronto in a vibrant community, filled with grandparents, immigrants, and blue-collar workers. Many were poor, including my family. My parents had immigrated to Canada from war-ridden El Salvador. They raised two daughters, and they taught my sister and me to dream big and dream for a better future for all generations.
I did dream big - despite our low-income status, I wanted to go to law school and become an advocate for my community. I've seen firsthand how laws can have a negative impact on marginalized communities on a broad range of legal issues from tenants' rights and social assistance to workplace rights, and immigration matters. I eventually did get into law school. I wanted to devote my career to social justice. Little did I know that making a difference and social justice comes at a very high price.
By: Alberta Law Libraries
Alberta Law Libraries (ALL) is a provincial network of libraries that provide support and information services to all Albertans. The libraries, located in ten Alberta courthouses, help Law Society of Alberta members, the judiciary, self-represented litigants and the public find appropriate legal resources in print, online, or as referrals to other organizations.
Library staff at each location can help individuals locate the materials they need to understand their legal issues. We receive daily inquiries from the public through Ask a Law Librarian, email or in person. On average, we answered 300-400 questions a week from members of the public in 2021-22, which increased to 500+ a week in the second quarter of 2022. We are expecting numbers to continue to rise as the COVID situation improves.
This article was originally published in CBA Alberta's Law Matters publication on April 29, 2021.
By: Koren Lightning-Earle
It has been over a year since COVID-19 became a part of our everyday language and lives in Canada. I am sure we all remember where we were, who we were with and what we were doing when we first heard the phrase "stay home and stay safe." Thinking back, I had heard about Zoom, I had video conferenced into meetings on occasion, but nothing I could image would compare to what the future would bring. I quickly became best friends with Zoom, and now, can confidently add "Zoom Technician" to the list of services I provide to my clients.
The world halted... and that included our Indigenous communities. Buildings shut down, streets emptied, and people stayed home listening to the radio or watching the new anxiously awaiting word of when things would get back to normal. All my meetings with Indigenous clients were cancelled. All of my meetings with non-Indigenous agencies continued online with Zoom, Team or Google Meet.
This article was originally published in CBA Alberta's Law Matters publication on November 9, 2021.
By: The Hon. Judge Michelle Christoper
I am delighted to have been asked to share my perspectives on life as a provincial court judge, particularly since I have now been a judge long enough to suppress the urge to stand up when the clerk calls out "all rise" and to back out of the courtroom when I depart, both remnants of my 30+ years as a litigator.
I now travel the circuit of Alberta's southernmost region, which is comprise of the judicial districts of Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. Seven courthouses dot the small cities and towns of this area, which stretches south of Calgary from our borders with Saskatchewan to the east, British Columbia to the west and the U.S. to the south. It is also home to the Kainai Nation (the Blood Tribe), the largest First Nation reserve by area in Canada and one of the most populous in the country.