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Aboriginal Justice Strategy Update

2008-09 initiatives achieved, more to come this year

Posted on: Wednesday, September 16 /2009

In 2007, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) began development of its Aboriginal Justice Strategy to measurably improve LAO services to Aboriginal people within three to five years. We took on a number of initiatives last year, and this year we are doing more.


The 2008-2009 initiatives are complete or are now operating. For example, we now ask all certificate applicants if they identify as First Nations, Mtis or Inuit. We have also been offering a five-hour extension of legal aid certificate coverage for Gladue submissions in criminal matters since May 3, 2009.

We created and distributed a brochure on access to justice called "Why it is important to tell your lawyer you are Aboriginal". It is available in PDF and HTML versions on-line in English and French.

Over 200 LAO and clinic staff throughout the province have received two-day Aboriginal cultural competency training, and over 75 provincial office staff have attended half-day Aboriginal awareness training sessions. These training initiatives are helping to increasing understanding and awareness of Aboriginal clients and the legal issues they face.


  1. Continuing to deliver Aboriginal cultural competency training to staff;
  2. Aboriginal Mentorship Program;
  3. Continuing legal education for lawyers on specific issues affecting Aboriginal clients;
  4. A communication plan and strategy;
  5. Public legal information, such as brochures and on-line resources;
  6. Lawyer Workforce Strategy recruitment, targeting Aboriginal legal talent;
  7. Defining success measures;
  8. Operational Advisory and Implementation Committee.

For more information, please feel free to contact:

Christa Big Canoe, Policy Counsel or
Felice Lambermont, Project Manager
Legal Aid Ontario
Atrium on Bay
40 Dundas Street West, Suite 200
Toronto, ON M5G 2H1