Highlights from Day 2 of Access to Justice Week

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By Brea Lowenberger
Access To Justice Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

Didn’t catch Day 2 of Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week? Here are some highlights…


On Wednesday, October 19, the College of Law hosted a career panel for law students and lawyers on “doing law differently” called Creating Your Career in the 21st Century: A Panel on Emerging Career Opportunities and New Ways to Practice Law.

The panel topic was inspired by the Canadian Bar Association’s Do Law Differently and Reaching Equal Justice Reports.  The panel featured four lawyers and legal entrepreneurs who identify with “doing law differently” and having an access to justice orientation:

  • Thomas Hamilton, Vice-President Strategic Partnerships from ROSS Intelligence, home of “the world’s first artificially intelligent lawyer” (San Fransisco)
  • Andrea James, Corporate-Commercial Lawyer and Entrepreneur, Jamesco LLP (Calgary)
  • Stacy Muller, Inaugural Crown Counsel, Justice Innovation Division, Ministry of Justice and now Assistant Director, Dispute Resolution Office (Regina)
  • Amanda Dodge, Lawyer and Systemic Initiatives Program Coordinator, CLASSIC (Saskatoon)

The panelists took the audience through their first year of law school to their current career and discussed what makes their work related to access to justice and innovation, important to the public, and attractive to clients.

The panelists ended with sharing “who they want on their team”, that is what attributes they are looking for in who they want to hire, retain, or collaborate with.

Upper year College of Law student Kelsey Corrigan commented, “The panelists were interesting and I liked the tips about how to make law fit your life, your passions, and your goals”.

The practice of law is changing, and discussions like this are critical to be having in law schools”, stated panelist Thomas Hamilton.

For ideas on how to “do law differently” in Saskatchewan, see our related Access to Justice Week post.


Access to Justice Week Highlight – National Focus on A2J Initiatives

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By Brea Lowenberger
Access To Justice Coordinator, University of Saskatchewan, College of Law


On Tuesday, October 25th, The Honourable Mr. Justice Cromwell, recently retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and Chair of the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, will be presenting “Movement on Access to Justice or An Access to Justice Movement? Where Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters Goes from Here”.

  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Location: Neatby Timlin Theatre, Room 241, Arts Building, University of Saskatchewan
  • Target Audience: All welcome
  • Host: Board of Editors for the Saskatchewan Law Review, The 19th Annual Saskatchewan Law Review Lecture

And did you know that Ontario has also been celebrating Access to Justice Week? Please see The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) website for more information on resources and events that occurred in Ontario.

Other national and provincial initiatives follow.

Canadian Working and Action Groups on Access to Justice

In a previous post highlighted during Access to Justice Week, we shared that the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Working Group was created this year. Learn more about the access to justice related working and action groups in other provinces by following the links below.

Has your province formed a working or action group that is not listed here? Contact us!

Canadian Access to Justice Research Organizations and Initiatives

Learn more about Canadian access to justice related research initiatives by following the links below.

Have you created a research organization that is not listed here? Contact us!

Highlights from Day 3 of Access to Justice Week

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By Sarah Nordin, Lara Bonokoski, and Alexandra Santos
Pro Bono Students Canada Coordinators – Saskatchewan Chapter

Our Pro Bono Students Canada volunteers are incredible. They are champions for access to justice in our community.  We wanted to show our appreciation in the best way we knew how: coffee and donuts.  On Thursday, October 20th we invited volunteers – past, present, and future – to drop by the College of Law for donuts, coffee, and conversation around access to justice as the headline event for Day 3 of Access to Justice Week.

The ongoing contributions of our dedicated student volunteers and supervising lawyers to the PBSC program and access to justice in our community is appreciated. THANK YOU to our volunteers for all that you do.  THANK YOU to everyone who made it out to our Volunteer Appreciation Event yesterday and contributed to the access to justice conversation. And, a special THANK YOU to WestlawNext Canada for supporting this event.  Make sure you check out the other #SKA2J2016 events at goo.gl/Ua5qUY .

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Access to Justice Week Highlight – A2J for Newcomers

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By Jocelyn Gagne
Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan


The Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) is pleased to announce the launch of  NewLi – a website dedicated to providing plain language legal information to assist newcomers with their transition to life in Canada. Newcomers can be faced with a sometimes baffling array of institutions, including government departments, police agencies, courts and government agencies.  NewLi is designed to help Saskatchewan newcomers successfully navigate these interactions.   NewLi can help newcomers settle in their new communities with a solid understanding of the many laws and regulations intended to promote safety and wellbeing and ensure fairness and equality.

As noted by The Honourable Mr. Justice Robert G. Richards, Chief Justice of Saskatchewan, who initially approached PLEA with the idea for this type of resource: “Saskatchewan, like many other parts of the country, is enjoying a significant influx of new immigrants. Many of them come from countries or places where the law, police, lawyers, government and the courts function much differently than they do in Canada. We need to ensure that all of our citizens understand the basic roles of the legal profession, the police and the courts. As well, they need to understand that these institutions are beyond the reach of corruption and bribery and that they can be used with confidence to vindicate rights, and ensure fairness.”
NewLi includes Saskatchewan-based information about rights & responsibilities, government, the justice system and answers to frequently asked questions. Topics include:a2jweek4

  • rights in the workplace
  • renting a home
  • accessing healthcare
  • getting a driver’s licence
  • protection from discrimination
  • dealing with government agencies
  • family obligations
  • being stopped by the police
  • schooling for children
  • protections in the marketplace
  • community rules

PLEA is grateful to the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for promoting access to justice for this vulnerable segment of the population by making the development of NewLi possible with project funding.

a2jweek11Newcomers Justice Presentations and Tours

Working with Regina Open Door, presentations on the justice system and tours of Provincial Court are provided throughout the year to immigrants and refugees involved in settlement programs, including those taking a course towards citizenship. The sessions highlight the court system in Saskatchewan and show how it fits into Canada’s democratic society. Tours are intended to provide newcomers with an introduction to the idea of a fair, independent and accountable judicial system, so that they have a comfortable understanding of its purpose and process. The next step is to bring the information session on courts and the justice system to newcomers residing in other Saskatchewan location.

Access to Justice Week Highlight – Putting the Public First in A2J Initiatives

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a2jbuttonBy Brea Lowenberger
Access To Justice Coordinator
University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

Monday, October 24th is the launch of the Architects of Justice Program Architects of Justice is an initiative that increases public participation in the development of access to justice solutions.  It was created in Ontario by the Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG).

The Saskatchewan Access to Justice Coordinator is replicating the program to ask people about the justice system in our province.  We want to know what the public thinks.  Is it working?  How can it be improved? 

The Just Rights student group at the College of Law will support the launch of the program – the student volunteers will engage with the community on Monday, October 24th to collect evidence that will enhance access to justice in Saskatchewan. A web link to the Architects of Justice survey is provided below, so that members of the public from across the province can contribute to access to justice solutions.

Please accept our invitation to imagine the justice system of the future.  Participate as an Architect of Justice here.

To receive more information about the Architects of Justice program as it unfolds, including updates with results of the survey, please sign up for the Saskatchewan Access to Justice Bulletin.

We would also like to highlight other programs/initiatives that  ‘put the public first’:

a2jweek7Release of “Rehabilitative Alternatives to Incarceration: a Handbook of Community and Government Programs in Saskatchewan” (via CLASSIC Systemic Initiatives Program (SIP))

CLASSIC’s Systemic Initiatives Program (SIP) is pleased to release “Rehabilitative Alternatives to Incarceration: a Handbook of Community and Government Programs in Saskatchewan”, which identifies rehabilitative program options across Saskatchewan for individuals in conflict with the law. The purpose of the Handbook is to increase awareness about community and government resources that provide alternatives to custodial sentences, particularly for Indigenous peoples. The ultimate aim is to reduce the representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system by providing programming alternatives that address criminogenic factors and promote healing in the lives of Indigenous people, their families and communities.

View the Handbook on the CLASSIC website under “Community Resources”.

a2jweek8Saskatchewan Provincial Court Therapeutic Courts

Therapeutic Courts take a problem-solving approach to justice. They address the social and personal issues – such a poverty, addiction, mental illness and abuse – underlying or causing a person’s criminal behaviour. Saskatchewan’s Provincial Court has established several therapeutic courts in recent years:

Please see the Courts of Saskatchewan website for more information. Please also see our latest issue of the Benchers’ Digest at page 4 for a profile on therapeutic justice, “Innovative Approaches to Justice: Q & A with the Honourable Judge C.C. Toth”.

a2jweek9Saskatchewan Court of Appeal Guidebooks for Self-Represented Litigants

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal created self-help Guidebooks for self-represented litigants. The Guidebooks are available on the Courts of Saskatchewan website and include:

a2jweek10Essential Voices Program 

The Essential Voices program brings the voice of lived experience into conversation with policy and programming. The program is important in improving access to justice for Saskatchewan residents, as it recognizes the coming together of two strong stories: when someone with “lived experience’ of the issues with the justice system has a voice and a paid role in decision-making for policy, programming, or services.  Learn more about the Essential Voices Program.

Putting the Public First: PLEA, Libraries, and Access to Legal Information Project 

As part of a project on “The Role of Legal Information Providers in Promoting Access to Justice”, a one-day intersectional planning meeting was held at the College of Law on September 12, 2016. The meeting was hosted by project partners from the College of Law, Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA), Saskatoon Public Library, the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library, and the University Library. Those who were invited to the meeting included, among others, library representatives from urban, rural, and remote areas of Saskatchewan in order to start identifying their and their patrons’ legal information needs and discussing what role libraries, with PLEA’s support, might play in improving access to legal information. For more details, please see the College of Law website. Please also stay tuned to Legal Sourcery for future updates on this project.

Do you or does your organization work on “putting the public first” in access to justice initiatives?  Post a web link, a picture, etc. of the initiative or resource on social media using the hash-tag #SKA2J2016 or contact the Access to Justice Coordinator, Brea Lowenberger at b.lowenberger@usask.ca.

Highlights from Day 1 of Access to Justice Week

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By Brea Lowenberger, Access To Justice Coordinator
University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

Didn’t catch Day 1 of Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week?  Here are some highlights…

Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant, Q.C. proclaimed October 18-25 as Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, stating in a media release:

“This is a chance to take a look at what’s being done now and explore new ideas that will see us into the future,” Wyant said.  “I’d like to thank our partners at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law for requesting that we do this, and for making access to justice issues a priority, including the events over the next week.”

Also, our “Awareness Campaign” on Saskatchewan Access to Justice Initiatives launched.  Download the “campaign cards” here.





Access to Justice Week Highlight – Rural and Remote Access to Justice

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a2jinfographicthumbnailBy Brea Lowenberger, Access To Justice Coordinator
University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

The College of Law and the Law Society recognize the potential challenges facing lawyers in smaller communities. For more information, please see the infographics attached and featured below that highlight this issue.   The infographic highlights the main themes in Rural and Remote Access to Justice: Literature Review and was prepared by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.

The Law Society offers several programs to assist our members, particularly those in more rural locations:

  • Locum Lawyer Registry

The Law Society has recently developed a Locum Lawyer Registry, available on our website. A Locum Lawyer is a Saskatchewan lawyer, in good standing with the Law Society, who is willing to make themselves available (for appropriate financial compensation) to provide temporary or limited relief, or practice coverage for other Saskatchewan practitioners who may find themselves in need of some assistance. The services a Locum could be engaged to cover are instances such as holidays for solo practitioners, or extended medical leave. Temporary assistance for major projects or with “catch-up” may also be circumstances in which a Locum  would be helpful.                     

  • New Solo/Small Firm Start-Up Kit

Law Society Practice Advisors are assigned to meet with each “New Solo Practitioner” and each “New Small Firm” (generally 3 lawyers or fewer).  The Practice Advisors review the Law Office and Practice Management systems that the members have in place and attempt to provide assistance and recommendations which will assist the members in developing an efficient and low-risk practice.  These meetings generally occur after a period of time has passed, to allow the “New Solo/Small Firm” to establish themselves somewhat, and so that the Practice Advisors have something substantive to   review.  However, the Practice Advisors have noted that  a “New Solo Starter Kit” could be of great benefit, as members can review relevant, helpful and instructive materials which will hopefully assist them to get started off “on the right foot” and be prepared for the Practice Advisor visit.  These materials, which can also be found in various locations throughout the website, may also be of assistance to Not-So-New Practitioners, looking to confirm or shore-up their current practices.  The consolidated materials and a list of recommended recorded versions of CPD sessions of particular relevance for “New Solo/Small Firms” can be found in the Practice Resources section of the website.

  • Member Section Resources

To meet the needs of all our members, no matter their location, we have converted as much as possible to online resources. The Law Society’s Member Section, available on the website, houses numerous online resources to assist our members. These resources include:

  • More than 150 ebooks;
  • Subscriptions to WestLawNext Canada, O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms, Rangefindr; and
  • Hundreds of journals available through HeinOnline.

For these and other resources, please visit the Law Society website.

The College of Law Career Office and and the law students’ Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee have also organized the following community visit to North Battleford and Battleford:

  • Law Student Small Urban and Rural Law Firm Trip (Pre-Registration Required)

The College of Law Career Office and law students’ “Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee” (SURC) are interested in promoting legal careers across Saskatchewan and as such each year organize a trip for a group of students to visit a community outside of Saskatoon.  It is referred to as the Small Urban and Rural Initiative.  The objective is to assist students to learn about what it is like to practice law in a community outside of the major centres and let them know about the numerous opportunities that exist.  As well, the students will gain information about a number of factors including the lifestyle of the lawyers, the main areas of law that lawyers practise and general information about the community.  Students get to meet a number of lawyers and community representatives and learn about practising law in general in a small urban or rural centre.

The Career Office would like to thank Jeff Baldwin and the members of SURC, Jessica Kelly, Allison Graham, Liam Fitzgerald, Brady Knight and Darcy Dumont, for coordinating the visit.  In addition, we would like to acknowledge the financial contribution of the CBA, Saskatchewan Branch towards this initiative.    If you are a lawyer at a small urban or rural law firm and are interested in hosting students at your firm during a future trip, please contact Career Officer Terri Karpish.