The purpose of QCGN’s Access to Justice in English Initiative is to engage the justice system to improve access to justice for the English-speaking communities in Quebec. Specifically, we seek to:
- Raise awareness about access to justice in English in Quebec;
- Engage the justice system to improve access to justice in English in targeted areas;
- Mobilize community resources across Quebec to improve access to justice in English in Quebec;
- Refer English-speaking individuals and groups to appropriate justice resources; and
- Enhance the QCGN’s analytics and reporting capacity about the state of access to justice in English in Quebec and the progress being made to improve it.
During a Community Forum held in April 2018, members of the English-speaking community of Quebec decided that administrative justice, youth and family matters, and seniors’ rights shall be the main areas of focus. Consequently, the project has four committees: Steering, Administrative Justice, Family and Youth, and Seniors. These committees gather practitioners, professionals, advocates, and outstanding community leaders from across the province working for the rights of the English-speaking communities in Quebec. The work of the committees is supported by a professional staff composed of a Director for Access to Justice, a Project Coordinator and two Research Fellows.
We would like to acknowledge and thank the Department of Justice of Canada for their funding and contributions to this initiative.
For more information, please contact us at email@example.com
IMPROVING ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR ENGLISH-SPEAKING QUEBECERS
The Access to Justice in English in Quebec project operates in Canada’s justice space to improve access to justice for the Official Language Minority Community (OLMC) in Quebec. Its field of operation includes areas where institutions and government have the power to facilitate, hinder, influence or arbitrate the respect of (a) the collective rights of the OLMC in Quebec and related sub-population groups, and/or (b) the individual rights of OLMC members. It specifically focusses on ensuring that public authorities fully assume their obligations to respect and adequately respond to the rights and needs of the OLMC and its members. The project targets system-level change by focussing its efforts on improving (a) policies and procedures; (b) service infrastructure organisation; (c) service delivery; (d) system navigation; (e) data collection and analysis; and (f) performance evaluation.
2019-2020 Project Year in Review – Core Activities and Key Accomplishments
With the generous support of Justice Canada, the Access to Justice in English in Quebec (AJEQ) put in place key takeaways from the April 2018 QCGN forum: “No Justice Without Access: Working Together to Ensure Access to Justice in English.” Notably, it implemented a people-first approach project framework and established three volunteer-driven, working committees (Administrative Justice; Youth and Family; and Seniors).
In 2019-2020, the Justice project continued to explore specific access to justice in English issues related to Administrative Justice; Youth and Family, and Seniors, while preparing itself to reset project parameters and capacities.
In addition, the project:
- Created an embryonic database about relevant (a) federal/(Quebec)provincial laws and regulations; case law; policies; administrative guidance, and reports related to improving access to justice in English; (b) stakeholders and how to best reach out to them; (c) provincial-led administrative agencies and bodies, administrative tribunals, municipal courts, notary services, stenographer services and labour arbitration organisations and their respective language policies stemming from the Charter of the French Language.
- Conducted preliminary surveys to gather information and insights on English-language service provision related to (a) three administrative tribunals (Tribunal adminsitratif du Québec, Tribunal adminsitratif du Travail and Régie du logement), (b) thirty-six stenographers and (c) 20+ halfway houses belonging to the Association des services de réhabilitation sociale du Québec (ASRSQ)
- Held conversations with the Chambre des notaires du Québec (notary services), the Association professionnelle des sténographes officiels du Québec (the professional body representing stenographers), labour arbitrators, Director of Youth Protection, the Correctional Investigator of Canada as well as individuals working in the provincial-level justice space to gather information and insights on English-language service provision.
- Completed summary research on a variety of access to justice in English issues, including (a) availability of English information and resources on various justice issues, (b) access to services in English for incarcerated and post-incarcerated individuals, (c) the extent of language rights during detention and due process, (d) the institution of the Curateur public du Québec and its role in implementing and overseeing the regimes of tutorship and curatorship.
- Identified a first round of policy briefs to inform the public about their rights to access justice in English.
- Reached out to stakeholders and partners and held several formal conversations and informal exchanges with community-based organizations providing legal services or community support services, such as Clinique juridique Juripop and Éducaloi.
- The AJEQ reached out to criminal justice system stakeholders (adult and youth), including the Montreal-based Director of Youth Protection and the Association des services de réhabilitation sociale du Québec.
During 2019-2020, the project also created a series of partnerships to enable greater participation in and support for its work.
- Partnered with the Association professionnelle des sténographes officiels du Québec, and by extension, the École de sténographie judiciaire du Québec, to disseminate the two upcoming English-language stenography courses and the profession amongst English-speaking Quebecers and English-language community organizations across the province (In progress).
- Partnered with McGill University’s Translation Studies Department to produce information regarding an individual’s rights in English and contact information regarding interactions with the police and/or officers of the peace (Completed).
- Partnered with McGill University’s Translation Studies Department and the ASRSQ to build a pilot project to assess the needs of halfway houses and to develop their English-language capacity (In development).
- Organized the 2020 AJEQ Workshop on Resetting the AJEQ Project. (In development/Postponed due to the pandemic).
Going forward, the AJEQ project is working on developing a three-year (2020-2023) Work Plan and will be renewing and bolstering its community-based governance and volunteer support structures in order to better respond to the workstream objectives. Lastly, the project will build off of its initial data collection and place greater emphasis on the collection of information/data to begin developing strategic, evidence-based system intervention competencies.