WWW.BOOK.XLIBX.INFO
FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Books, abstracts, thesis
 
<< HOME
CONTACTS

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |   ...   | 16 |

«Karen Cohl and George Thomson December 2008 Connecting Across Language and Distance: Linguistic and Rural Access to Legal Information and Services ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Connecting Across Language and Distance:

Linguistic and Rural Access to Legal Information and Services

Karen Cohl and George Thomson

December 2008

Connecting Across Language and Distance:

Linguistic and Rural Access to Legal Information and Services

Final report of the

Linguistic and Rural Access to Justice Project

This is the report of the Linguistic and Rural Access to Justice Project conducted by Karen Cohl

and George Thomson at the request of The Law Foundation of Ontario. We would like to thank the Foundation Board of Trustees and staff, the project team, and the many individuals and organizations who shared their experience, expertise, and ideas.

This report is available on the Foundation’s website at www.lawfoundation.on.ca.

Toronto: December 2008 Contents CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

ORIGIN OF THE PROJECT

SCOPE

METHODOLOGY

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

PROPOSED NEW DIRECTIONS

CHAPTER 2: LINGUISTIC ACCESS TO JUSTICE

ASSESSING THE NEED

BARRIERS TO OBTAINING LEGAL INFORMATION AND SERVICES

IDEAS FOR OVERCOMING BARRIERS

CHAPTER 3: RURAL AND REMOTE ACCESS TO JUSTICE

DESCRIBING “RURAL” AND “REMOTE” ONTARIO

BARRIERS TO OBTAINING LEGAL INFORMATION AND SERVICES

IDEAS FOR OVERCOMING BARRIERS

CHAPTER 4: THE SEARCH FOR LEGAL INFORMATION AND SERVICES

PRIORITY AREAS OF NEED

WHERE PEOPLE GO FOR LEGAL INFORMATION, ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION

NEW APPROACHES TO SUPPORT PEOPLE WHO NEED LEGAL INFORMATION OR SERVICES

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS

KEY FINDINGS

ONTARIO’S STRENGTHS AND CHALLENGES

CHAPTER 6: VISION

OVERARCHING VISION: A COORDINATED SYSTEM

WHAT WOULD A COORDINATED SYSTEM LOOK LIKE?

ROLE OF THE LAW FOUNDATION OF ONTARIO

CHAPTER 7: RECOMMENDATIONS

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

DETAILED RECOMMENDATIONS

RECOMMENDATION 1: BUILDING COMMUNITY CAPACITY

RECOMMENDATION 2: REGIONAL PLANNING MODEL

RECOMMENDATION 3: ONTARIO LEGAL INTERPRETATION NETWORK

RECOMMENDATION 4: VIDEOCONFERENCING PILOT PROJECTS

RECOMMENDATION 5: ARTICLING FELLOWSHIPS

RECOMMENDATION 6: LEARNING FROM THE EXPERIENCE

ADDITIONAL PROPOSALS

APPENDIX 1: PROJECT PARTICIPANTS

APPENDIX 2: CONSULTATION GUIDE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

APPENDIX 3: WORKS CITED AND SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Chapter 1: Introduction Origin of the project When people need legal information or services, they are often in a time of crisis or experiencing pivotal events in their lives. The fact that they live in a rural or remote area of the province, or do not speak English or French, should not be a barrier to securing the legal information and services they need. That is the premise of The Law Foundation of Ontario’s 1 Linguistic and Rural Access to Justice Project.

The Foundation’s vision is to be a catalyst for advancing the ideal of a truly accessible justice system. The nature of grant applications for the Foundation’s Law and Innovation Fund in 2007 revealed pervasive barriers to access to legal information and services for people who do not speak English or French and people living in rural or remote areas of Ontario. In addition to its ongoing funding of access to justice initiatives, the Foundation decided to engage in a broader dialogue to generate systemic solutions to these specific challenges.

In February 2008, the Foundation asked us (George Thomson and Karen Cohl) to lead the Linguistic and Rural Access to Justice Project, aided by a small team from within and outside the Foundation. This report presents our findings, along with our recommendations for ways in which the Foundation, working in partnership with other organizations, can make a strategic investment to improve linguistic and rural access to justice in Ontario.

Scope Access to justice is a vast topic. This project focused on low-income or vulnerable persons and their access to

• Information so that they can understand the legal problem and identify next steps

• Services of legal practitioners, such as lawyers, community legal workers, or paralegals, so that they can understand how the law applies to their situation, consider legal options, or obtain legal representation.

We did not address directly the measures that we believe courts and administrative tribunals and agencies should put in place to improve linguistic and rural access to justice.

Nevertheless, they are part of the vision described in Chapter 6 and potential partners in some of the recommended solutions set out in Chapter 7. Ultimately, it is for government to ensure that all members of Ontario’s diverse communities have effective access to these public institutions.

The Law Foundation of Ontario was established in 1974 under the Law Society Act. It is funded by the interest earned on monies held in lawyers’ and paralegals’ mixed trust accounts.

In the context of linguistic access, we considered the communication barriers that affect access to justice for people with disabilities related to hearing and vision. Although we are aware that a great deal of specialized work remains to be done on this topic, we have made suggestions in a number of areas. We have also proposed that representatives from disability communities be included in the consortiums and networks recommended in Chapter 7 to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are taken into account.





The Foundation decided when it launched this project that a separate process involving Aboriginal leadership would be required to identify specific solutions for Aboriginal communities. Others have identified the need to recognize the unique “social and cultural barriers that Aboriginal people face in using legal information and education services, and to adapt these services in culturally appropriate ways to ensure Aboriginal people benefit from them.” 2 Thus, we did not examine the unique access to justice needs of Aboriginal persons in depth. However, some of our recommendations may prove beneficial for those communities.

We also learned of several innovative practices in Aboriginal communities that helped us in our deliberations.

Our project focused on non-official language groups and as such, did not specifically consider the barriers experienced by French-speaking people. Nonetheless, we recognize that access to legal information and services in French remains a challenge in some communities despite laws and policies in place to ensure the provision of services in both official languages. Francophones can experience many of the same barriers that other language groups face, often compounded by the challenges of living in a rural or remote area.

Methodology

Research Through an extensive literature review and informal interviews with persons with related experience and expertise, we examined the challenges of linguistic and rural access in the Ontario context and ideas for dealing with those challenges here and in other jurisdictions.

Important new reports came to our attention during our review, which allowed us to benefit from recent thinking on related topics.

Consultation Throughout our consultations, we sought perspectives on linguistic and rural access to legal information and services from a range of legal, community, and government organizations. The consultation began with informal interviews. We then produced a Consultation Guide and conducted formal consultations. After analyzing the input, we began to formulate Gayla Reid and John Malcolmson, Voices from the Field, pp. 23–24.

recommendations. At that stage, we carried out some additional consultations to test and refine ideas and to gauge support for the proposed new directions.

Informal interviews The informal consultation stage began on February 1, 2008. At this stage, our goals were to understand the barriers to linguistic and rural access to justice, hear about current efforts to overcome them, and generate ideas for improvement. We also asked for ideas on strategies for conducting the project. During these interviews, we encouraged individuals and organizations to suggest others who would have valuable perspectives. This led to additional informal interviews and helped to create a list of people to receive the Consultation Guide. Informal interviews also helped us to identify themes for the Consultation Guide and opportunities for consultation events.

Consultation Guide Building on ideas emerging from our informal interviews, we developed a Consultation Guide.

The Consultation Guide explained the project and its context, summarized what we had heard and learned from our research and informal consultations to that point, and set out our initial guiding principles for developing solutions. It also asked focused questions to help advance the discussion. 3 We distributed the Consultation Guide to the contact list we compiled during the informal consultations and posted it on the Foundation’s website in English and French. Print, large print and audio versions were also available. The Law Foundation offered to make every reasonable effort to facilitate discussion in languages other than English and French on request. We began distribution at the end of May 2008.

We also developed a two-page simplified guide, posted on the Foundation’s website, for use by community organizations wishing to have discussions with their clients before providing feedback to the project team.

Consultation events We convened three roundtables (in Owen Sound, Thunder Bay and Kingston) in June 2008 to hear a range of regional perspectives on linguistic and rural access to justice. The Ontario

Trillium Foundation helped us to identify community hosts for these three events:

• United Way of Bruce Grey (Owen Sound)

• Lakehead Social Planning Council (Thunder Bay)

• United Way serving Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (Kingston) These community hosts helped us to identify a maximum of 20 participants for each roundtable. The goal was to include diverse perspectives, including representatives of the legal community. The Kingston roundtable included representatives of organizations serving people

See Appendix 2, Consultation Guide Discussion Questions.

with communication-related disabilities. The roundtables lasted approximately two hours and focused on the topics of greatest interest to the participants. Participants received the Consultation Guide before the roundtables to help focus the discussion.

In May and June, we also held workshops at related events where a significant number of stakeholders were present. 4 Over and above these events, we continued to consult informally with selected stakeholders on specific topics.

Written submissions In addition to the extensive input we received through consultation meetings and events, we received written submissions that provided formal responses to the questions in the Consultation Guide.

Testing ideas During the summer of 2008, we analyzed the information, ideas, and perspectives from the consultations and research and drafted a set of proposals. In September and October, we were fortunate to attend three stakeholder events where we had the opportunity to test our

approaches with people who brought important experience to bear on the issues:

• The Ontario Rural Council held a roundtable in Guelph to discuss our draft proposals with Council members and other rural stakeholders. (The Council’s report on this event is available on its website: www.torc.on.ca.)

• We had many opportunities to test the draft proposals at a two-day conference cohosted by Community Legal Education Ontario and the University of Toronto: “Learn, Grow, Connect: Practicing Community Legal Education in a Diverse Ontario.”

• At OCASI’s executive directors forum in Orillia, we obtained input from a focus group of community organizations serving immigrants.

We also had numerous follow-up meetings with individuals and organizations we had consulted early in the process to obtain their feedback on our findings and proposed directions.

With the benefit of the comments we received during this period, we refined our proposals and developed our recommendations and final report.

Guiding principles Our recommendations flow from guiding principles we established at the start of the project.

We then refined and expanded them based on input from consultation participants.

See Appendix 1, Project Participants.

Access to justice

• Knowledge of legal rights is an essential element of access to justice.

Formal legal representation is required in only a minority of cases. Early access to accurate information about legal rights, an opportunity to understand how legal matters intersect with non-legal difficulties, and a focus on preventing graver legal problems are fundamentally important.

• Where possible, persons should receive legal information, advice and other legal services in their first language.

We should not make the easy assumption that the second-best answer, interpreter services, must be the first-choice response. It is much harder to communicate through an interpreter and having to do so might deter some people from seeking help.

• Disability access and accommodation are principles grounded in the law and need to be reflected in solutions.

Under the Human Rights Code, people with disabilities have a legal right to be accommodated short of undue hardship. Standards for accessible customer service under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 became law on January 1, 2008. Solutions need to embrace these and other legal requirements and the principles of accessibility and accommodation.

Viable solutions

• Solutions should be designed to work in the Ontario context.

We should design solutions taking into account Ontario’s demographics, strengths and areas of greatest need. Promising practices in other jurisdictions may be instructive, but they are not necessarily transportable to the Ontario context.

• Viable solutions require collaboration to create synergy and to respond to people’s needs in a holistic way.



Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |   ...   | 16 |


Similar works:

«Sophie Spencer Director CPRE Avonside Poole Court, Yate director@cpreavonside.org.uk Campaign to Protect Rural England, Avonside branch Response to Bath Park and Ride Consultation October 2015 Summary CPRE Avonside is strongly opposed to a further park and ride facility being introduced to the East of Bath. It would cause serious damage to the Avon Green Belt, and be a negative visual intrusion on the Cotswold AONB and the Bath World Heritage City. We feel that the supposed benefits of a park...»

«BIOMECHANICAL EVALUATION OF MODIFIED TRACK SHOES A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural Mechanical College in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Industrial Engineering in The Department of Construction Management and Industrial Engineering By Marlon Alberetos Greensword B.S., L.S.U., 2007 B.A., L.S.U., 2005 May 2010 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I must first give thanks to God the Father, Jesus the Son and the...»





 
<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.book.xlibx.info - Free e-library - Books, abstracts, thesis

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.