Ontario’s Third Annual Access to Justice Week Begins on Monday, October 22

Improving access to justice is about pushing boundaries in our understanding of key issues at the forefront of the justice sector. It’s about engaging in discussions to move the dial forward, to break down barriers and develop meaningful solutions. This cannot happen in the justice sector alone. It takes stakeholders and experts from a diverse range of backgrounds, each with their own unique relationship to the law, to bring their perspectives and experience forward.

How does a senior investigative correspondent for the CBC understand mental health challenges in the justice system? How can we close the gap in representation in family law to improve the safety and experience of abused women and their children? How does an Indigenous Elder view the justice system for those who speak an Indigenous language?

From October 22-26, 2018, the third annual Access to Justice Week (A2J Week) will highlight new initiatives, offer opportunities to connect with diverse collaborators and explore critical issues from different perspectives. It is an opportunity to engage in a week of panel discussions and workshops with experts who are leading the way in improving access to justice in-person or by webcast for select sessions. Five of the sessions will contain EDI and Professionalism Content.

Justice, Innovation and Community

Our launch event will kick off A2J Week as we profile leading innovation being driven by communities with ties to the justice sector. Opening remarks will be provided by Malcolm Mercer, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, followed by an innovation showcase which will demonstrate how community-driven work can increase awareness and accessibility for the public. This program contains 2 hours of Professionalism Content.

The Gap in Family Law

How is the justice system responding to the needs of Ontario families? Our panel discussion, featuring speakers from the Ontario Bar Association, Family Lawyers Association, The Advocates Society and Federation of Ontario Law Association, will explore how we address the legal representation gap and showcase innovations and improvement that are making a real impact in access to justice for family law. This program contains 1.5 hours of Professionalism Content.

Towards a 2019 Access to Justice Symposium: Building our Justice System

This interactive workshop will explore ideas and topics to inform the development of an agenda for a proposed Access to Justice symposium, planned for the fall of 2019. Attendees are invited to explore and examine the issues for vulnerable communities to inform improvements in building a more accessible justice system in Ontario. The 2019 A2J symposium has been recommended by the Law Society’s Legal Aid Working Group and envisioned in TAG’s activity plan.

Mentorship, Networking and Access to Justice

How can the professions continue to be more reflective of the Ontario public we serve? How can we support students, lawyers and paralegals from diverse backgrounds to better navigate the professional landscape and ultimately better serve the public?

Join the Coach and Advisor Network, along with legal associations and organizations, for a networking session and learn more about how we are working to move beyond traditional models. This program contains 45 minutes of EDI Professionalism Content.

Indigenous Language Speakers and the Canadian Justice System

The program will explore barriers experienced by those whose primary or secondary language is an Indigenous language as they navigate and participate in the justice system. An Indigenous Elder who is a first language speaker will be participating in the panel presentation along with representatives from the Indigenous Justice Division (IJD) of the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG). This program contains 2 hours of EDI Professionalism Content.

Mental Health: Access and Ethics

One in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem. This panel discussion will look at how we approach mental health in the justice system and within our own profession. By highlighting the “justice journey”, we explore issues of access and ethics with emphasis on how justice system professionals can respond to the mental health challenges of justice system users and establish self-care habits in ethically challenging and emotionally demanding work environments. This program contains 1.5 hours of EDI Content and 30 minutes of Professionalism Content.

For more information on Access to Justice Week, or to register, visit:

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