Improving Access to Public Legal Information for Immigrant Communities in Ontario Using Innovative Practices and Communications Technologies

Name of Project

Improving Access to Public Legal Information for Immigrant Communities in Ontario

Project Partners

Lead Agency: Community Development Council Durham
Potential Partners: Project Partners: Durham Community Legal Clinic, Ajax Immigrant Welcome Centre, Pickering Immigrant Welcome Centre, York Welcome Centres (five local centres across York Region)
Consulting Partners: University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Community Link Unit), Local Diversity and Immigration Partnership Council (Durham), Social Planning Network of Ontario, Income Security Advocacy and Resource Centre
Outreach Partners: Local faith communities (Durham)


A training project on  the social assistance system and law directed to settlement workers in Durham, Peel and York Regions. The project is being developed by the Durham CDC  through the Welcome Centre of Durham, which is a community hub for programs and services for immigrants located in one central location. The Welcome Centre has the technological capacity to do advanced video- conferencing and this will be used to bring the training to the Welcome Centres in Peel and York Regions.

Legal Topic for Training

Social assistance system in Ontario

Target Audience

Front-line social / community service staff (Durham Region) who work with immigrant and English second language communities from a range of agencies

Key Activities

Training will be provided in three ways:
1. Five in-person workshops for front-line community service providers as well as joint sessions that include both legal workers and community service workers (three in Durham, one in York Region and one in another part of the GTA).
2. Two joint training sessions between community and legal service workers to promote more effective and collaborative work.
3. Interactive video conferencing and web-based training: This will enable remote access to various locations across Durham Region as well as York and Peel Regions.

Emphasis on an inclusive and participatory learning process whereby community service staff, legal service staff, other related professionals, and members of local immigrant communities will be able to identify priorities for training as well as give input into how the training is provided. This joint training opportunity is a unique opportunity to build connections and coordination between sectors and  strengthen  working relationships.

Innovative Approach

  • This project’s approach will merge innovations in community outreach, education and training on legal education with advancements in communications technology
  • The project will be able to work with remote sites via state-of-the-art video conferencing technology that is available at the Welcome Centres
  • This project will develop and foster improved working  relationships between  legal and community service workers
  • The project will provide useful and adaptable training modules and strategies which can be used by other communities.