by Sabreena Delhon, Manager of External Engagement and The Action Group on Access to Justice at the Law Society of Upper Canada
Last year, The Action Group on Access to Justice, also known as TAG, organized Ontario’s first Access to Justice Week. It presented a unique opportunity to bring together diverse problem solvers from across the province to examine different elements of the access to justice crisis.
Following the success of this inaugural event, we wanted to find a creative way to engage even more people in the access to justice conversation. A podcast seemed like a useful and creative contribution—unlike videos or blog posts, a podcast can hold a listener’s attention for up to 45 minutes. It is an incredibly powerful medium for entertaining and educating—not just the general public, but also stakeholders within the justice system. Access to justice is a complex issue and there is a lot of great work being done by a variety of advocates that is making a meaningful difference. We wanted to raise awareness about these efforts with a new medium for the sector. That’s how the podcast Architects of Justice came to be.
The first season of the podcast is made up of four 15-minute episodes that introduce the listener to different aspects of the access to justice issue. Our goal was produce a show with a public radio style—so it would be engaging and easy to listen to. Each episode features different perspectives, recent research findings and a story.
Our most recent episode looks at technology in the justice sector. In an age where the internet is increasingly needed for everyday activities, including education, job searching, information sharing, and banking, the justice sector is under pressure to use more technology on a day-to-day basis. But how does this affect people who don’t have regular access to a computer or the internet? According to a 2016 report from ACORN Canada, 59% of low-income Canadians surveyed have dipped into other budgets to pay their internet bills. Will new justice technologies risk leaving some people out of the system, or can they overcome the digital divide?
We speak with technologists, community organizers, and justice sector leaders: Michael Gottheil, Monica Goyal, Amina Juma, Julie Mathews, and Gabe Sawhney. In exploring the link between technology and justice, they demonstrate the need for diverse problem solvers to reflect the realities of people’s lives.
Access to Justice Week 2017 will take place from October 23 to 27. Registration for events is now open and we look forward to the week informing a second season of Architects of Justice that will be released in 2018. If you like the show, please leave a review on iTunes and send ideas for future episodes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to Architects of Justice (available in English only)