Having worked remotely for many years with sites across the province, the Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic (CACLC) was uniquely positioned to be able to quickly transition volunteers to conduct appointments remotely. Equally important, the organization was able to transition all their staff immediately to working from home without any difficulty or disruption in services.
During the rapid shifts in legislation this spring, the CACLC also endeavored to keep the public informed by posting timely and accessible legal information on our social media accounts. The posts we shared were able to reach over 100,000 people this way.
The silver lining for the organization in all the disruption caused by the pandemic has been the ability to attend court proceedings remotely. The organization has funding from the Alberta Law Foundation and an Anonymous Donor for the Alberta Rural Legal Assistance Initiative (ARLAI) which extends legal assistance to rural Albertans after their summary legal advice appointments. This assistance typically includes such things as additional legal advice and coaching as well as filling out forms, striking documents, and negotiations with an opposing party or counsel. With the availability of remote court, we are very happy to be able to include representation in court proceedings to the list of services for these rural Albertans.
In September, the Clinic resumed its drop-in photo ID sessions due to high demand. We’ve partnered with the Red Deer John Howard Society for this initiative to offer the opportunity for meaningful community referrals alongside our sworn photo affidavits that provide access to local community resources.
This year the organization also introduced an Immigration Law Program, which provides free assistance for a wide variety of immigration concerns. This program is more needed than ever in the constantly changing landscape of COVID-19. This program is now one of two in-house advocate programs, alongside the Tenant Support Program, that provides tenants legal information and assistance when facing issues in rental properties.
Over the next few months, the Clinic will also be initiating services to several of the Indigenous communities in Central Alberta and we are excited to be working with these groups to bring legal advice and assistance to even more Albertans.
Anyone who is interested in accessing services from the CACLC may call our office toll-free at 1-877-314-9129. As always, the Clinic is excited to recruit volunteer lawyers to offer summary legal advice, particularly those practicing family law. Interested lawyers are encouraged to call the Clinic, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is also available on our website www.communitylegalclinic.net.