Toronto, ON – Problems with landlords, unfair treatment at work, and getting separated or divorced: these are some of the issues that people in Ontario face every day. Finding reliable and practical legal information to understand and address these problems is not easy, despite the wealth of information available online. For Franco-Ontarians, this is compounded by the fact that access to French language services and resources is more limited.
Now, Franco-Ontarians can go to Justice pas-à-pas – a new website launched on November 27 at a reception at the Law Society of Ontario.
"Steps to Justice has proven to be an indispensable resource. Expanding this important, high quality service to serve the Franco-Ontarian community is a meaningful step towards our larger goal of a barrier-free justice system that is accessible, affordable, and efficient for everyone," said Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General and Minister of Francophone Affairs.
Justice pas-à-pas presents easy-to-understand, step-by-step information on common issues that people experience in many areas of law, including family, housing, employment, consumer and criminal law. The website is designed to:
- Equip people to work through their legal problems using simple, easy-to-understand steps
- Provide practical tools such as checklists, fillable forms, and self-help guides
- Give referral information for legal and social services that serve Francophones across Ontario.
Justice pas-à-pas aims to help lower income Ontarians who can access online resources, as well as the front-line community workers who are often called upon to help them with legal problems.
Led by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), Justice pas-à-pas is a collaboration of key justice sector players. An advisory committee of leading justice and community organizations serving Francophone communities helps ensure the information available on Justice pas-à-pas meets the needs of Franco-Ontarians. These advisors include the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario, the Centre francophone de Toronto, the Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes, Mouvement des femmes immigrantes francophones, the Centre des services communautaires de Vanier, Legal Aid Ontario, and community legal clinics in Sudbury, Hamilton, and Windsor-Essex.
"Justice pas-à-pas follows on the very successful Steps to Justice website that was launched last year," said Julie Mathews, executive director of CLEO. "CLEO is committed to ensuring that people in Ontario can connect with clear, accurate online information to help them understand their legal rights in both official languages."
Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice are led by CLEO and bring together key justice sector players such as the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Society of Ontario, the Ontario Justice Education Network, and the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario.
These justice sector partners collaborate on content development to ensure the legal information is accurate and practical, and the websites are updated regularly based on their input and changes in the law. A key feature of both Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice is that justice sector and community organizations can embed the legal content on their own websites – meaning that it is widely available on websites across the province.
"Many justice sector organizations have come together to develop Steps to Justice, a website that helps people work through their legal problems, said Malcolm Mercer, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario. "It's an essential place for people to go for practical information they can rely on."
About Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice:
Led by Community Legal Education Ontario, Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice are collaborative projects of leading justice sector organizations. They are signature initiatives of The Action Group on Access to Justice.
(Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) is a non-profit organization that has provided accurate and easy-to-understand information and education about the law for people in Ontario for over 40 years, particularly those who have low incomes or other disadvantages. CLEO is funded by Legal Aid Ontario, the Department of Justice Canada, and the Law Foundation of Ontario.
The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) was established by the Law Society of Ontario in 2015 to facilitate better coordination and collaboration across the justice sector. With funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario, TAG works with a range of justice stakeholders to develop meaningful, public-centred solutions that advance systemic change.
For more information (data, photos, interviews), please contact: Deb Bourk, Communications Manager, 416 408 4420, ext 842 or firstname.lastname@example.org.