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From the OJEN Blog

Access to Justice Week 2023 (October 23 – 27)

Access to Justice (A2J) Week is an annual initiative of The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) supported by the Law Society of Ontario and The Law Foundation of Ontario. The theme of the 2023 A2J Week was “The 10th Anniversary of the Justice Development Goals.” The nine Justice Development Goals were developed by The Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters. They identify the challenges facing the justice system and map out a path to improve access to justice. For A2J week programming, visit the  Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) website.

Over the week, justice sector stakeholders from across Canada explored access to justice issues from different perspectives. They took part in programs highlighting new initiatives that challenge systemic barriers and advance an effective and accessible justice system..

OJEN joined with over 100 Public Legal Education (PLE) professionals from across Canada for the annual conference of the Public Legal Education Association of Canada (PLEAC). The two- day conference held in Toronto on October 25th and 26th, featured workshops, plenaries and roundtable discussions that provided opportunities for PLE organizations to learn from leaders in the field and from each other. Presentations covered a wide range of topics, from getting started with AI to working collaboratively with non-legal community partners. In addition, organizations that had taken part in the Department of Justice funded Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace projects, shared their findings. Visit the PLEAC website for more information about the conference

OJEN staff participate in annual PLEAC conference.

The conference opened with a Keynote address by Kimberly Murray, Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Burial Sites who spoke on the roles and responsibilities of public legal educators in reconciliation.

Ms. Murray discussed her work with survivors, Indigenous families, and communities as well as with governments, churches and other institutions, to identify and remove barriers to locating and recovering missing children and unmarked burials. In her address, she identified the many barriers faced by communities and individuals in these efforts. Navigating confusing multi-jurisdictional laws, encountering denialism and negative public attitudes as well as a lack of sufficient funds, has made progress slow. She encouraged PLE organizations to honour and support the communities leading this Sacred work and keep the Spirits of the children foremost in their hearts and minds.

Find Kimberly Murray’s Keynote address and other conference presentations on the PLEAC website’s webinar page.

For more information about the work of the Independent Special Interlocutor, read the Interim Report by the Office of the Independent Special Interlocutor.

The conference ended with a retirement event for Community Legal Education Ontario’s (CLEO) long-time executive director, Julie Mathews, and celebration commemorating CLEO’s 50th anniversary.

OJEN’s Executive Director, Kristy Pagnutti meets OJEN’s 3 previous EDs (Jess Reekie, Sarah McCoubrey and Taivi Lobu) at Julie Mathews retirement event.

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