The second annual National Access to Justice Week is taking place from October 25 to 29, 2021 in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. This year’s theme is inclusivity with a focus on truth and reconciliation. Each province will host free, virtual events highlighting community justice work in Canada and the importance of inclusivity in providing legal services.
“This year has highlighted challenges and opportunities for much-needed dialogue and change,” said Brea Lowenberger, Director of CREATE Justice and organizer of Access to Justice Week in Saskatchewan. “Like other sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated disparities and inequalities in the justice sector, especially concerning vulnerable populations. Despite this, work continues to be done within and among justice organizations to make positive advancements in access to justice. This year we invite people to learn and collaborate with others on improving our legal justice system.”
Access to Justice Week will kick off on October 25 with two events focused on truth and reconciliation. The Law Society in Ontario will host a session about the TRC Calls to Action. This session, moderated by Treasurer Teresa Donnelly, explores the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action relevant to the justice sector, and examines the unique cultural, historical, and socio-economic barriers that continue to impact Indigenous Peoples’ access to and interaction with the Canadian justice system. The Law Society of Manitoba presents a conversation with the Honourable Murray Sinclair; former 2020 CBA President, Bradley Regher, first Indigenous President in CBA history; Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada; and special guest speaker Dr. Pamela Palmater in Access to Justice: Indigenous Perspectives.
On October 27, the Law Society of Saskatchewan will present Developing and Engaging in a Reconciliation Mapping Exercise. As part of its commitment to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action, the Law Society of Saskatchewan is undertaking a Reconciliation Mapping Exercise, developed and facilitated by the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) to determine a baseline of reconciliation efforts and support the development of recommendations for forward progress.
Licensees, members of the public and media are welcome to attend programming, free of charge. Space is limited so advance registration is required.
Full schedules of activities and more information about access to justice initiatives are available on the following provincial websites: Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, Alberta Access to Justice Week and Ontario Access to Justice Week.
Canada’s Access to Justice Week is a collaborative working group supported by CREATE Justice at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law, Law Society of Saskatchewan, CBA Alberta, The University of Alberta Faculty of Law, the Law Society of Manitoba, Law Society of Ontario, the Access to Justice and Law Reform Institute of Nova Scotia, Community Legal Information PEI, Public Legal Information Association of NL, Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick and the National Action Committee on Access to Justice.