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JULY 2014

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Welcome to Transforming Ideas into Action: A Special Edition of the CFCJ Newsletter

Since the release of the Action Committee’s Final Report last October, justice stakeholders across the country have taken up the challenge to find new ways to innovate, collaborate and inspire others to increase access to justice. In this special edition of our newsletter we are pleased to profile a selection of these efforts. We look forward to keeping you updated on such initiatives as they emerge and advance.

 
“Justice is a basic social good, like food, shelter and medical care.” 

Rt Hon Beverley McLachlin
Since the release of the Action Committee reports, ministries and other justice organizations have been developing multi-stakeholder collaborative initiatives that aim to bring the recommendations presented in A Roadmap for Change to life. We feature some of these initiatives below. Several more initiatives are in the early stages of formation, including in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. We look forward to updating you about these efforts as they develop.

Alberta  

In November 2013, Alberta Justice and Solicitor General gathered together leaders in the field of civil and family justice for the first meeting of the Joint Action Forum. The intention was to begin a process that would improve access to justice in Alberta’s civil and family justice system. This month, the Joint Action Forum released it’s first report, What Was Heard, which captures the discussions of the participants who were asked to imagine what a citizen-centred civil and family justice system might look like.

Alberta has also established the Reforming the Family Justice System initiative which is a collaboration between government, the Courts, and a number of organizations, academics and professionals that work within the family justice system. Read more about this initiative here. 

Manitoba 

Three Manitoba Chief Justices recently released an update on access to justice initiatives in their home province. Activities include ongoing improvements to the Manitoba Courts website, the development of the ‘Cameras in the Courtroom’ pilot project, and the expansion of access for media by designating space within the Winnipeg Law Courts Complex for media reporting and interviewing. The update also identified possible responding initiatives in the area of family, criminal and civil law, such as reforming preliminary inquiries to be a speedier process, seeking alternatives to the adversarial system in family court, and emphasizing “proportionality” as a reference point for maximizing access to justice.

Nova Scotia 

On June 12th, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice announced the launch of the Access to Justice Co-ordinating Committee (A2JCC). Led by Justice Minister Lena Metlege Diab and the Honourable Chief Justice Michael MacDonald, the Committee seeks to address issues of efficiency, navigation and cost in Nova Scotia’s family, civil and criminal court systems. You can view the Terms of Reference for the A2JCC online.  

 
“Let a thousand flowers bloom. There are multiple ways to improve access 
to justice — don’t get fixated on only one solution or approach”

Bonnie Rose Hough 
 
If you know of or are participating in an upcoming access to justice multi-stakeholder initiative in your province, please email the CFCJ at communications@cfcj-fcjc.org so we can feature your initiative.
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