Why we organized Ontario’s first Access to Justice Week, Oct. 17-21

By Sabreena Delhon

TAG-The Action Group on Access to Justice is organizing Ontario’s first Access to Justice Week, Oct. 17-21, with a range of partners.

We organized this week to create a forum for exploring collaborative initiatives in justice. The events were designed to be engagement and learning opportunities, and they’re open to anyone who wants to participate, whether they be members of the public, legal professionals, community workers, students, or other access to justice advocates.

If you’re unable to attend any of the events, you can still participate by sharing your access to justice work – photos, reports, info-graphics, announcements – on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #A2J2016.

What’s on at the Inaugural Access to Justice Week

People of all backgrounds are welcome to attend events, but space is limited so please register.

Oct. 17: Redesigning Justice

Over the summer, TAG surveyed Ontarians about their ideas for making our justice system better. Our follow-up to this is Access to Justice Week’s first event on Monday, Oct. 17: Redesigning Justice: How would you do it?

During this session, we’ll review the ideas from these surveys, and together, develop ways to put them into action.

Oct. 18: Technology, Inclusion and Access to Justice*

Our second event on Tuesday, Oct. 18, Technology, Inclusion and Access to Justice, will focus on how technology can be used to advance access to justice for diverse communities. This day of discussion will highlight new technology ideas in the justice sector, and explore ways to strengthen the connection between inclusion and innovation.

We’re pleased to feature some amazing speakers, including: Julie Mathews (Community Legal Education Ontario), Michael Gottheil (Social Justice Tribunals Ontario), Gabe Sawhney (CivicTech Toronto), and Sarah McCoubrey (Calibrate Solutions).

*this event is wait-listed

Oct. 20 &21: Public Legal Education and the Access to Justice Movement

Next up on Oct. 20 and 21, we’re inviting legal professionals, community workers, students, and others working in access to justice and doing public legal education to attend Connect. Create. Communicate.

Our keynote Dr. Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Professor, McGill University School of Social Work, will deliver an address titled “Enveloping the Law in a Social Movement for First Nations Children’s Equity”.

This two-day conference will advance knowledge, skills and awareness about promising practices in public legal education and current issues in the push for access to justice in Ontario. We’ll have plenary sessions and hands-on, breakout workshops.

Oct. 21: Child Welfare*

It’s no secret that new approaches to child welfare are urgently needed to address the over-representation of certain groups among children in child welfare care.

Recognizing this need, TAG along with the Journal of Law and Social Policy (JLSP), Osgoode Hall Law School, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and the African Canadian Legal Clinic will be hosting the Re-imagining Child Welfare Systems in Canada symposium, also on Friday, Oct. 21.

We encourage academics, practitioners, community- based organizations and those with lived experience are to attend this event to foster conversation, deepen analyses, and re-imagine radically different child welfare systems.

*this event is wait-listed

Oct. 21: Stories from the Justice System

Access to Justice Week’s final event will explore the human element of access to justice, and the work being done to build a better system from within, through an evening of true stories told live on stage.

On Friday, October 21, we’re excited to present Architects Of Justice: Stories From the Justice System, in partnership with Raconteurs Storytelling. Confirmed storytellers include Jagmeet Singh (Deputy Leader, Ontario New Democratic Party) and Mandi Gray (PhD Student, York University).

Join us!

We hope to see you at one of our events, or hear from you online.

You can also connect with Access to Justice initiatives year-round by signing up for TAG eNews. And, stay tuned for the launch of TAG’s podcast this winter which will build on Access to Justice Week conversations.

Sabreena Delhon is the Manager of The Action Group on Access to Justice at the Law Society of Upper Canada. Follow her @sabreenadelhon.