Access to Justice Discussion Panel

When: Thursday, 14 November @ 12:30
Where:  Room 106, Allard Hall (1822 East Mall, Vancouver BC)

The January before last, BC’s legal aid lawyers did something unprecedented. They began job action to protest the dire state of legal aid caused by almost two decades of funding cuts. As you may not already be aware, 2002 is a year that stands out in the minds of many legal professionals. It is the year when the BC provincial government began to dramatically restructure legal aid services and reduce funding by 40%. According to Povnet, the province shut down 85% of legal aid offices throughout the province between 2002 to 2005. Unfortunately, this situation continues to get worse.

At lunchtime on November 14th, the Social Justice Action Network will present four speakers who are confronted with this issue on a daily basis. These speakers offer insight on the issue that can only come from their experience working with those clients that are affected the most.

There will be time for questions and a group discussion at the end of the speakers’ presentations.

Kendra Milne is a staff lawyer with the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS). She focuses her practice on housing issues, income security and human rights.

Didi Dufresne is a legal advocate with the First United Church Advocacy Program. She works with Vancouver’s downtown eastside community, representing clients on a variety of poverty law issues, including income assistance and residential tenancy issues.

Karen Slaughter is the Acting Director of Prisoners Legal Services. Prisoners Legal Services is a legal aid clinic in Abbotsford that is operated by the West Coast Prison Justice Society, offering assistance to prisoners in BC on issues that affect their Charter rights.

Adriana Paz is the founding member and organizer of Justicia for Migrant Workers BC, a grassroots organization advocating for migrant farm workers’ social, economic and labour rights in Canada. She is also a journalist, community organizer and popular educator with over 10 years of experience working in social justice issues with a diverse group of grass roots movements, especially with indigenous women in Bolivia.


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