Report: Access to Justice Metrics Informed by the Voices of Marginalized Community Members: Themes, Definitions and Recommendations Arising from Community Consultations (Canadian Bar Association 2013)

The Canadian Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee’s Building Block #1 Access to Justice Metrics sought to develop a practical definition of access to justice and to identify tangible indicators and goals to measure progress. The Committee resolved to develop this definition from the perspective of marginalized community members affected by a lack of access to justice. According to the introduction of the Report, “Put plainly, we wanted to know what really happens when access to justice is denied. We worked with two sub-committees (one made up of community members with lived experience in marginalization, including an Elder; and the second made up of front-line community workers) to develop a community consultation framework designed to be ethical, respectful, reciprocal, inclusive and culturally relevant. Then, in partnership with community based organizations and legal aid offices, we conducted thirteen community consultations across Canada: in Calgary, Saskatoon, Toronto, Montréal and the Maritimes. The consultations were conducted exclusively with marginalized community members: low-income adults and youth; racialized groups; Single mothers; and people with disabilities. This paper seeks to identify the themes that emerged from the consultations and summarize the community feedback around those themes, illustrated by direct quotes from participants. Its findings are supported in part by previous public and stakeholder consultations conducted in British Columbia, Manitoba and Ontario regarding access to justice, which are periodically referenced throughout the paper. Hearing marginalized community members’ voices, practical components of access to justice emerge. At the conclusion of each section, practical definitions of “access to justice” reflective of the community’s voices are offered.” The full report is attached.