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Access to Justice Week 2020: Impacts of the Pandemic

October 26, 2020

TORONTO, ON — Ontario’s The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) presents the fifth Access to Justice Week (A2J Week) from October 26 to 30.

A series of awareness-building programs, held virtually, will focus on the impacts of COVID-19 on legal professions, the justice sector, public legal education, mental health, as well as Indigenous, language and human rights.

In coordination with the Law Society of Ontario, three programs have been organized in partnership with access to justice coordinators in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

“Access to Justice Week brings together a range of justice sector stakeholders to develop meaningful, public-centred solutions that advance systemic change in the justice system. COVID-19 has had far-reaching impacts on the legal and justice sectors and the people they serve. This week is a great opportunity to learn about new initiatives, connect with diverse partners and explore this critical issue from different perspectives with the additional lens of the impacts of the pandemic. I encourage all licensees and Ontarians to take part in these important discussions on access to justice,” said Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer, Law Society of Ontario.

The week will commence with a keynote address on October 26 (noon to 1:15 p.m.) by Anishinaabe author and storyteller Tanya Talaga who will discuss Indigenous justice, followed by a fireside chat with Law Society of Ontario Bencher Dianne Corbiere.

Other sessions include:

  • “A Conversation about Access to Justice & Systemic Racism” with Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Trevor Farrow and Columbia Law School doctoral candidate Joshua Sealy-Harrington, moderated by Dean Barbara Billingsley from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law.

  • “Exploring Community Justice Help to Advance Community-based Access to Justice” – A presentation of the Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) recent report. Authors Julie Mathews from CLEO and David Wiseman from the University of Ottawa will provide an overview and welcome discussion from attendees.

  • “Legal Coaching & Unbundling” – a discussion of a potentially cost-effective and efficient alternative for people looking for legal help. Presented by: John-Paul Boyd QC, an accredited family law arbitrator, family law mediator and parenting coordinator; Lisa Eisen is founder of Family Law: A La Carte, a Toronto based family law firm; and, Sonali Sharma, founder of Athena Law based in B.C.

Licensees from across Canada, members of the public and media are welcome to attend programming, free of charge. Space is limited so advance registration is required.

Program descriptions, schedule and links to register are online.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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Media contact: Jennifer Wing, Senior Communications Advisor, External Relations and Communications, jwing@lso.ca. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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