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Join us for A2J Week 2021

October 22, 2021

The Action Group on Access to Justice will host its sixth annual Access to Justice Week (A2J Week) in Ontario from October 25 to 29, featuring a week of virtual programming centered on themes of inclusive justice and community building.

Featuring 25 national and local programs, A2J Week 2021 offers a diverse lineup of timely and relevant programming for legal professionals and the public.

Indigenous programming

Enhancing the legal professions’ relationships with Indigenous Peoples is a priority in advancing access to justice and is a topic that will be featured prominently in the week’s programming. On Monday October 25, A2J Week will kick off with a number of events focused on Truth and Reconciliation.

The Law Society in Ontario will host a session about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action. This session, moderated by Treasurer Teresa Donnelly, explores the TRC’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 will present Access to Justice: Indigenous perspectives, a conversation with the Honourable Murray Sinclair; 2020 Canadian Bar Association (CBA) president and first Indigenous president in CBA history, Bradley Regehr; Dr. Cindy Blackstock, executive director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada; and special guest speaker Dr. Pamela Palmater.

Later in the day, the Law Society of Ontario will host Building blocks: Towards cultural competency in the justice sector, which explores the TRC’s Calls to Action 27 and 28 around building cultural competency training for lawyers, paralegals and law students.

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 TRC Calls to Action. The program was developed and will be facilitated by the Office of the Treaty Commissioner to determine a baseline of Reconciliation efforts and support the development of recommendations for future progress.

Sessions for the public – new this year!

In partnership with stakeholder and justice sector organizations, Access to Justice Week will also deliver virtual public-facing legal education seminars in English and French to help members of the public with everyday barriers to justice. These free public legal education seminars will be held on October 27 and 28 to help answer everyday legal questions and connect participants to relevant legal resources.

“These free legal education seminars are one way that the justice sector is working to increase access to justice in communities across the province,” said Treasurer Teresa Donnelly, adding, “Language barriers are a very real issue for many in the justice system, so I’m very pleased that we have seminars on both days that will be offered in French. This will help ensure participants are aware of their French language rights and how to find legal resources and services in French.”

Visit the TAG website for more information on these virtual public legal education seminars.

Access to Justice Week 2021 full schedule for legal professionals

A2J Week this year has robust offerings for legal professionals, most of which are CPD eligible. Highlights include supporting clients with mental health needs, rural access to justice, best practices in digital justice, disability justice, and more. While mainly developed for legal professionals, all session are open to members of the public, community workers, students and anyone who has an interest in access to justice.

Scroll down for a full programming summary.

Monday October 25

  • A closer look: The justice sector’s response to the TRC’s Calls to Action
  • National event: Access to justice: Indigenous perspectives
  • Building blocks: Towards cultural competency in the justice sector
  • Use your legal training: Afghan crisis

Tuesday October 26

  • Working together to increase access to justice
  • People-centered access to justice: Best practices for serving clients with mental health needs
  • National event: Reflections on the impact of COVID-19 on online adjudication
  • Access to justice tools and resources for sole practitioners and small firms

Wednesday October 27

  • National Duty Counsel Day
  • A2J in practice: Tips for successfully building access to justice into your law practice
  • Public workshop: Law Practice Program free legal clinic 2021
  • Public workshop: Droits linguistiques et services en français en Ontario
  • National event: Developing and engaging in a reconciliation mapping exercise
  • Inclusive innovation: Best practices for “digital first” virtual courts and tribunals
  • National event: Rural access to justice
  • Public workshop: Law and daily life – addressing your legal questions
  • Justice on the ground

Thursday October 28

  • Public workshop: Law Practice Program free legal clinic 2021
  • National event: Community justice colloquium: Advancing community-based access to justice
  • Guidelines for better legal workshops
  • National event: Disability justice: Accessibility and beyond
  • Making connections: Promoting the role of paralegals in access to justice

Friday October 29

  • How journalism is advancing the public dialogue on criminal justice reform
  • Breaking down the unfair stigma of a criminal record
  • Why be optimistic about bail reform in Ontario?
For more information on Access to Justice Week and to register for programs visit the TAG website.
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