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:
- 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.
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.