Access to Justice All-Stars – Halton Legal Health Check-Up Program Community PartnersNSRLP
Our newest Access to Justice All-Stars are the 7 community partners in the Halton Legal Health Check-Up program (the Anglican Church of the Incarnation, Halton Multicultural Council, Employment Halton, Links2 Care, Voices for Change Halton, Halton Hills Family Health Team and St. Vincent de Paul at the Mary Mother of God Parish in Oakville).
The Halton Legal Health Check-Up is a remarkable example of the effectiveness of community organizations working together on an access to justice problem. In the words of Colleen Sym, Executive Director of Halton Community Legal Services, who nominated the group to receive this recognition: “Many people do not think of their everyday problems as being ‘legal problems’ and do not know that they can get help. People living in poverty are more likely to report multiple problems such as bad health, unemployment, low income, poor housing and family breakdown. The Halton Legal Check-up program was created to help these individuals to identify legal problems, and get help.”
An evaluation of the pilot project has now been completed (by Dr. Ab Currie from the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice). Funding from Legal Aid Ontario’s Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Legal Clinics now supports the expanded use of the check-up program by community legal clinics in Brant Halidmand Norfolk, Hamilton, Guelph and Wellington County.
Colleen writes: “Access to justice is not just about what goes on in the courtroom. The seven community groups engaged people who sought out their support to screen for everyday legal problems they were experiencing, and helped them access legal services. They did this in respectful, empathetic and non-judgmental ways. Their participation in and dedication to the project had a significant impact on helping the most vulnerable members of the community overcome barriers to access to justice in Halton.”