Access to Therapeutic Justice
By: Legal Aid Alberta
Right now, 35,000 Albertans in 75 communities are receiving legal aid assistance and demand never stops. People depending on legal aid face extremely challenging life circumstances such as mental health issues, past trauma and addiction. On average, our clients earn less than $10,000 a year. Many are stuck in a cycle.
Legal Aid Alberta plays an essential frontline role in the province’s three therapeutic courts, supporting fairness in the criminal justice system and providing alternative pathways out of the system.
By: Chris Wiebe, Engel Law Office
On July 5, 2021, in response to a recommendation from City Administration, Edmonton City Council voted unanimously to pass Bylaw 19782, which repealed the anti-loitering provision from Bylaw 8353 (the Conduct of Transit Passengers bylaw. The anti-loitering provision used to read: “[a] person shall not loiter on Transit Property or in a Transit Vehicle for longer than required to reach their destination.”
To me, the repeal of the anti-loitering provision was welcome news. In December 2019, while working at Student Legal Services of Edmonton (SLS), I co-wrote “No Fixed Address” with my friend Megan Washington (now an associate of Queck Law) recommending that Council repeal the anti-loitering provision. I wrote about that report in a post from last year’s Access to Justice week.
Poverty Law: Expanding Perspectives
By: Justice Sector Constellation
One of the reasons for an Access to Justice Week is that many people lack knowledge about how to address legal issues and where to find legal information. Also, people are often not aware of how legal issues may be related to other life challenges, or of the societal cost of unresolved legal issues.
The Justice Sector Constellation is a collective impact initiative that brings together justice sector administration, service providers and stakeholders to address systemic issues within the justice sector. The mission of the Constellation is to intervene at the intersection of poverty and the legal system so that everyone facing a legal issue can access the justice sector resources and services they need.
By: Calgary Legal Guidance
CLG's Pre-Apprehension Child Welfare Program is aimed at providing legal advice and support to parents/guardians who are being reported to, investigated by, and/or engaging in pre-apprehension conversations or interventions with Children's Services. The program is also for parents and expecting parents who are concerned about Children's Services becoming involved with them and/or the potential for their children to be removed from their care.
Student Legal Assistance Caseworkers Help Indigenous Clients in the Calgary Indigenous Court
By: Student Legal Assistance
How can access to justice create space in our communities for marginalized groups? How can it enable people to heal and build strong communities? Student Legal Assistance (SLA) caseworkers have been asking these questions throughout the past several months.
Since 1979, SLA has opened approximately 47,000 client files providing pro bono legal information and representation to low-income individuals who are often from marginalized communities. When the pandemic struck, SLA’s daily operations could continue only if the clinic was able to pivot online. SLA rose to the challenge, opening over 300 client files in 2020, through which student caseworkers dedicated approximately 5,800 hours to clients who might otherwise have been unrepresented. Some of these matters have brought student caseworkers to the Calgary Indigenous Court (CIC) in providing legal representation to Indigenous clients.