CPLEA in the Time of COVID
By: Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta
There are many adjectives that have been used to describe the last several months: interesting, trying, challenging, unprecedented, uncertain, difficult, etc. When it comes to the work at the Centre for Public Legal Education Alberta (CPLEA), we can describe this pandemic time using the very same language, however, we can also chose to use the words “productive and resourceful”.
Like in most other workplaces, our team was suddenly thrown into a different way of working; relying on technology and sometimes occupying our own kitchen tables to continue the goal of our organization to make the law understandable for Albertans.
The situation certainly put a spotlight on important facts that are sometimes taken for granted:
And a nice picture it turned out to be! Here are some of the highlights:
At CPLEA we usually develop resources when a need is identified. Well, the pandemic has definitely created a great need for information so the team immediately jumped into action. By monitoring current events and announcements, we put together a comprehensive information page providing important facts about the implications of the COVID-19 situation on people’s life and work and linking to the services available.
In usual CPLEA fashion, this info was provided in plain language and was continuously updated. All this information about the many legal aspects of the pandemic has now been incorporated on our Canadian Legal FAQs website.
The Evolution of CPLEA’s Delivery Methods
With all the changes happening around us, we found ourselves having to transform the way we deliver our information to keep up with the demand. We were somewhat ahead of the curve with our materials already available almost exclusively online but the increased popular reliance on technology challenged us to “up our game”.
We started this “evolution” by performing an environmental scan of sorts to concentrate on needs of the community. We reached out to other organizations to initiate efficient collaborations. And we seized funding opportunities from Justice Canada to expand not only the quantity but also the quality of our offerings.
A good way to provide quick and easy public legal information is with videos! Although this delivery was not necessarily new to CPLEA, we have improved our video offerings via our Youtube channel with the addition of our Families and the Law series. We have such great plans for the future of CPLEA-TV! Stay tuned!
Engagement with intermediaries and members of the public has also become a priority in the last little while. We obviously haven’t been able to host in-person workshops so we shifted into the “webinar world”. Moving our sessions online has allowed us to not only increase our number of offerings but has also given us the opportunity to grow our reach across the province. Visit our workshop page to see what we have in store for 21-22!
In order to ensure that our public legal education material reaches as many Albertans as possible we have also ventured deeper into social media to increase our presence! Look for CPLEAlberta on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!
All this work was done by our small team while continuing to develop timely and relevant resources such as information for senior Albertans, going to court resources, sexual violence series, and more! You can find all this material at www.cplea.ca!
There is definitely another word to describe our pandemic experience so far... busy!
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