Bill lives in a garden shed. He does not have plumbing or running water but pays $459 per month. Bill fears eviction because he and his “landlord” had an argument.
Sally had sex with her landlord for this month’s rent, just like she has for the past six months. He has since told her she will soon be evicted. Sally wonders if that is even legal.
Alex was evicted without being present at her hearing. She does not have a phone and right now all hearings through the Office of Residential Tenancies are being conducted this way. Alex wants help appealing her matter.
Jane got charged with shoplifting because she needed food for her kids. Due to a computer glitch she was cut off disability benefits and it will take a few weeks to fix. Jane has no money as a result.
Ina wants to claim refugee status. She fled her country of origin because she was at risk of persecution for her political beliefs. Ina was affiliated with a pro-democracy party who wanted to end the corruption in her home country.
The above are typical examples of matters experienced by CLASSIC’s clients. CLASSIC (Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc.) is Saskatchewan’s only community legal clinic, created in 2006 to address the massive gap that exists between those who qualify for legal aid and its limited practice areas in Saskatchewan, and those people who can afford to retain a private lawyer. CLASSIC’s clients not only experience the need for legal representation – they also experience systemic injustices related to ability, income, race, gender and beyond, created by our society.
October 26-30, 2020 is ‘Access to Justice Week’ in Saskatchewan. CLASSIC urges everyone celebrating this week to consider the systemic injustices faced by low-income and historically disadvantaged people. Access to Justice is much more than legal systems tinkering, legal representation or legal information – it is about ensuring that individuals have housing, food and that they can live safely in a society that cares about their wellbeing. Access to Justice is a fair and equitable society for all. Access to justice is not paying to live in a garden shed or having sex with your landlord to pay the rent.