The Women’s Justice Access Project, a collaborative effort between CAMH’s Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) and 10 community partners, is bringing free legal supports to the Toronto’s Fred Victor 24-Hour Women’s Drop-in.
The Women’s Justice Access Project has partnered the drop-in centre with legal supports in the community and students at Downtown Legal Services. The project focuses its programming on the self-identified needs of a variety of clients at Fred Victor, for example, south-east Asian seniors. In this case, lawyers and law students travel to the centre and offer a spectrum of services in both English and Mandarin, from basic education of the Canadian justice system, issues that might require justice support, to one-on-one legal advice.
The Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (MTCSALC) is funded by Legal Aid Ontario to serve low income, non-English speaking clients from the Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian communities in Toronto.
Community Legal Education Ontario and METRAC train staff on a variety of topics, including how to identify when a client might need legal support.
PSSP’s GTA Regional Implementation Team has been working hard to establish those critical partnerships, acting as mediators between the worlds of justice and mental health and addictions. They also approached justice partners like HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic and the Centre for Equality Rights and Accommodation to negotiate options to bring culturally and linguistically appropriate services to safe spaces like the drop-in. Now the team is working to evaluate the partnerships, making sure they fit well and meet the legal needs of the women.