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"There is no justice without access to justice."

The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin

Our Work

Our Work

The McLachlin Fund was established to support innovative projects and programs that are:

  1. working to improve civil and family justice by developing and implementing practical solutions to enhance access to justice;
  2. stimulating innovation in the administration of civil and family justice;
  3. developing evidence-based methods for evaluating outcomes in the civil and family justice system;
  4. supporting collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst jurisdictions and stakeholders; and
  5. raising awareness of and commitment to the need for improved access to civil and family justice at all levels of the justice system.

The McLachlin Fund defines access to justice issues broadly. The McLachlin Fund recognizes that access to justice issues affect certain vulnerable people and communities disproportionately, including Indigenous people, Black people and people of colour, and members of other equity-seeking groups.

Collaborations are welcome, as are pilot projects with the potential to scale up or be replicated elsewhere in Canada if successful. Projects need not be national in scope – projects with provincial/territorial and regional/local scopes are welcome.

The McLachlin Fund will not support:

  1. capital expenses; and
  2. projects that are being delivered outside of Canada.

 

McLachlin 2021 grants

Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia : Public Interest Teaching Clinic & Incubator project (British Columbia) for $60,000 

Access Pro Bono Society of British Columbia will develop and operate a virtual public interest legal clinic (the “Clinic”) to serve as an experiential learning centre for articling students, and as an incubator for legal practitioners providing affordable legal services to underserved communities across BC. In its one-year pilot phase, the Clinic will employ up to ten supervising lawyers and one administrator to remotely train, supervise and support twenty-five articling students over two six-month semesters.  

This pilot project aims to increase access to justice by increasing availability and affordability of unbundled legal services to respond to unmet legal needs of underserved and marginalized communities in BC. The project also provides an alternative pathway to professional entry that favours applicants from equity seeking groups and prioritizes experiential and hands-on client service.  

 

Canadian Council for Refugees – Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés: Building Quality Justice Services for Newcomers project (Quebec) for $60,000 

Canadian Council for Refugees – Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés aims to support non-government organizations serving immigrant and refugee communities to provide high-quality services to their clients who have law-related problems in areas that intersect with immigration and refugee law. The key deliverables of the project will be a collection of best practices and customizable policies that organizations can put into place and a short paper that outlines options for a system for tracking, monitoring, and supporting the work. 

This collaborative national project will enhance access to justice and will build capacity among non-profit organizations to provide legal high quality legal services in a much-needed area of law.  

 

Justice for Girls Outreach Society: Enhancing Access to Civil Justice for Teen Girls (British Columbia) for $60,000 

Justice for Girls Outreach Society (Justice for Girls) aims to improve access to civil justice for teenage girls nationally in response to all forms of violence, human rights, and Charter violations. This project has a two-pronged approach of identifying strategic litigation and policy improvement options while drawing attention to systemic and practical barriers to access to justice.  

Justice for Girls will undertake legal research to examine current jurisprudence and statutes to assess which torts and remedies offer the most promise for achieving justice. Justice for Girls will draw upon its organizational experience to identify systemic barriers and on the lived experience of teenage girls to identify practical barriers that inhibit access to justice for teen girls. Justice for Girls will propose solutions to remove these barriers through policy and professional education. 

 

Peter A. Allard School of Law at University of British Columbia: Evaluating Access to Environmental Justice in Canadian Environmental Assessment Law (British Columbia) for $25,040  

Environmental assessment (EA) is a crucial decision point in environmental law. Legislative reforms to EA legislation by British Columbia and Canada implemented in 2019 purport to address deficiencies in accessing both procedural and substantive environmental justice. This project, led by Associate Professor Jocelyn Stacey, will examine whether British Columbia and Canada’s legislative reforms have improved opportunities for marginalized communities and equity-seeking groups to participate in and influence environmental assessment decisions.  

In close collaboration with the Centre for Environmental Assessment Research and its community partners, this project will gather baseline data on who is seeking to access EA to advance environmental justice, what types of environmental justice concerns are raised, and whether and how these concerns are responded to and resolved through the EA process. The baseline data collected on the implementation of these revised EA regimes will be shared through existing partnerships and new relationships with Indigenous communities and equity seeking groups to inform reform proposals to better fulfill the access to (environmental) justice objectives of EA. 

 

CREATE Justice, USask College of Law, and Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice: Improving Communication of Legal Information (Saskatchewan) for $32,338.75 

CREATE Justice, USask College of Law, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, and its project partners will undertake research to determine how best to deliver accurate, accessible, and understandable online legal information to diverse user groups, particularly newcomer communities in Saskatchewan. The project will develop materials in a variety of formats and evaluate how best to communicate legal information and processes to different groups of people. The project will apply user-testing and evidence-based approaches to the development of online legal education materials and self-help tools for wills (powers of attorney and advanced health-care directives) and estate administration processes for newcomer communities.