Connecting Ottawa Legal Health Check-UpPosted on: March 06, 2015 Posted in: Legal health
Connecting Ottawa is a network of 45 community health, legal, immigration, disability and social services agencies in the Ottawa area aiming to improve access to justice for linguistic minorities and people with communication challenges related to a disability or sensory impairment.
They decided to develop a legal health check resource because they got feedback from community workers that it can be challenging to flag legal problems their clients are facing. As one worker said, “Most of the time we don’t recognize if it is a legal issue unless the client emphasizes the they need a lawyer or if they talk about how severe the problem is.”
Connecting Ottawa’s Legal Health Check-Up takes a slightly different approach than other legal health check resources we’ve seen. That’s because it’s been integrated directly into the comprehensive directory of legal services in Ottawa previously available on their website in both English and French.
The format invites users to click on different areas of the law and related legal topics – for example, “Abuse and Family Violence” (area of the law) and “Abuse of people with disabilities” (legal topic) in order to find relevant legal services and resources. The Legal Health Check-Up adds problem statements in clear language that correspond to the areas of law and legal topics. They developed these problem statements by consulting broadly with local front-line legal and non-legal services providers to ensure that the most common issues were captured.
The Legal Health Check-Up also ties in links to relevant content from CLEO’s Your Legal Rights website. This, together with the broad consultation process used to develop the problem statements, is consistent with Connecting Ottawa’s goals to work closely with their networks and build upon the strengths of existing public legal education and information (PLE) resources.
Plans for the future of the Legal Health Check-up include developing print materials and posters based on the problem statements that correspond to the “top 5” legal issues identified by community intermediaries in the Connecting Ottawa partnership network. Connecting Ottawa hopes that their web and print resources will promote their “no wrong door” approach by giving community workers more information to share with clients before legal problems escalate and become too big to solve.
To go to the Legal Health Check-Up, click on the Connecting Ottawa logo below.