Review on the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act (2013-2014)
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Development of official language minority communities and promotion of English and French in Canadian society (Section 41, Part VII of the Official Languages Act)
3. What key achievements with a regional impact does your institution want to highlight?
The Department supports several innovative projects that have a regional impact. Three of these projects are noteworthy:
Ontario Justice Education Network
As part of the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund, the Department provided multi-year (2013-2015) financial support totalling $173,600 to the Ontario Justice Education Network for education sessions on justice for Francophone youth living in high-risk communities and Francophone newcomer youth. This organization normally serves a mostly English-speaking clientele. As a result of the funding received, it now offers its Francophone clientele sessions in their language. As part of the current project, the target clientele has access to education sessions on skills development, knowledge building and attitude changes. It also includes useful information on the right to a trial in French and on career opportunities in the field of justice. The sessions allow youth to have a positive experience with the justice system and to challenge their misconceptions of the court system.
The purpose of the project, in addition to educating marginalized French-speaking youth about Canada’s justice system and issues related to access to justice in both official languages, is to serve as a platform to broaden the networks of Francophone jurists by encouraging them to collaborate with organizations that serve this young clientele.
The Department provided funding of $2,390,500 over five years (2013-2018) to Éducaloi, an organization whose mission is to inform Quebecers of their rights and obligations by providing them with quality legal information, made available in simple and accessible language.
With the contribution of the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, Éducaloi offers services to Québec’s English-speaking community. It produces tools that are accessible to all, with content that is adapted to the cultural references of Quebec’s Anglophone community.
The objectives of the project are to:
- improve legal information services to Québec’s English-speaking communities;
- strengthen ties with the community network of English-speaking communities;
- develop partnerships with the legal community to better serve English-speaking citizens;
- develop tools for English community stakeholders;
- develop tools and training for the legal field; and
- expand its legal education services, particularly among teenagers, newcomers and low literacy citizens from the English-speaking community.
Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta
Funding of $22,063 for 2013-2014 was provided from the Policy Sector’s Youth Justice Fund in order to engage community partners and stakeholders for a project dealing with the phenomenon of street gangs in Alberta.
The project involved organizing and holding a consultation on issues relating to youth who have had trouble with the law and are involved in, or vulnerable to, street gangs. Additionally, the project served to identify deficiencies in programs and services for this vulnerable population. The consultation brought together various key stakeholders interested in setting up an appropriate and well-balanced community intervention program to face the gang problem in the Edmonton area. This consultation also helped develop knowledge, increase awareness, reinforce partnerships, and pool information in order to develop an innovative strategy to support youth.
The project helped raise awareness of the needs, realities and challenges of youth Francophones involved with the justice system. It also dealt with the lack of resources, programs and services to help their integration or reintegration into the community. The community consultation also brought together key Anglophone stakeholders who have developed an expertise with youth involved in the justice system.
Association des juristes d’expression française de la Saskatchewan
The Department provided funding of $38,666 for 2013-2014 for a project entitled “Infos-Jeunesse”, aimed at organizing activities to inform youth about various justice-related topics. To achieve this objective, the Association organized various educational activities and developed tools and resources, including the creation of a debate guide adapted to their study programs, a series of mini-debates organized by the Conseil des écoles fransaskoises, a moot court workshop with seniors, participation in a provincial debate competition, and a conference by a guest jurist.
These activities target youth ingrades 5-12. In addition to encouraging them to play an active role as citizens, the activities also seek to spark their interest for careers in the justice field. By meeting legal professionals and stakeholders that are passionate about their work, youth are able to see that a future career in law can be synonymous with a fulfilling life.
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