CLEO currently has 6 research projects underway:
- Supporting access to community justice help
CLEO is exploring approaches to support "community justice help" - enabling community workers in the nonprofit sector to give help to people who come to them with life-affecting problems that include a legal element. Our research proposes a framework that discusses three dimensions of high-quality community justice help. For more information, visit our Supporting community justice help page.
- Supporting the legal information needs of incarcerated people in Ontario
CLEO is working with the University of Ottawa to develop an online repository of legal information resources to help volunteers working who staff a phone hotline for people incarcerated at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre to connect with legal information when they need it. This work builds on research we've conducted about the legal information needs of people who are incarcerated or were formerly incarcerated.
- Evolving Legal Services Research Project
This multi-year research project, implemented with case studies in Ontario and British Columbia, looks at when public legal education and information programs are effective and provide individuals meaningful access to justice, particularly people who are low income or have other disadvantages. For more information, visit our Evolving Legal Services Research page.
- Measuring outcomes and impact of interactive tools
CLEO is developing an evaluation framework for interactive tools that support people who are going online to complete court forms and other law-related forms. CLEO will be working closely with the Montreal Cyberjustice Laboratory, a joint initiative of Université de Montréal and McGill University, to develop the framework, which will include an assessment of the relative effectiveness of interactive tools against other types of resources.
- Regulating technologies to advance access to justice
CLEO is leading a project to explore the regulation of smart legal forms designed for use by the public. Working closely with staff and students at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, CLEO is looking at what we can learn from the literature and experience in other jurisdictions in response to a very timely question: what regulatory treatment would best advance access to justice?
- Making “smart” forms work for people
CLEO is working with professors at the University of Ottawa and Western University to investigate whether people in Ontario who are accessing “smart” legal forms – for example, to apply for a divorce – are able to not only read the words, but also to understand what they need to do in response. This research uses a functional literacy, user-based approach to assess how CLEO’s recently-produced smart forms are used and completed, and to identify obstacles users face when using the forms, with a view towards continual improvement.
Completed CLEO research
- Connecting incarcerated people or people who were formerly incarcerated with legal information and related life skills training (2018-2019)
CLEO looked at the legal information needs of adult prisoners and ex-prisoners in Ontario who need information to help them with their legal problems, and interviewed 38 informants across Ontario who work with incarcerated people directly. We identified where, when, and how pilot legal information and/ or related life skills programs might be conducted through federal or provincial institutions in Ontario, or incorporated into existing post-release training and support programs. Read our working paper.
- Legal Life Skills: a curriculum for adult learners and trainers (2016-2018)
This research work built upon CLEO’s reports prepared in 2016 for the Canadian Bar Association on how legal capability or “legal life skills” training could be incorporated into existing life skills programs in Ontario. CLEO developed select draft task sets on legal capability with input from adult instructors, and piloted them through several job-readiness literacy training programs across Ontario.
- A framework for Ontario: Introducing a working legal capability matrix (2016)
CLEO developed a working legal capability framework for the Ontario context, drawing on our online scan of legal capability research and on previous research linking health literacy and legal capability. The framework gives an overview of the knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics and circumstances an Ontarian would need to deal with legal problems effectively at various stages, and addresses common barriers marginalized people face when trying to deal with legal problems.
- Building an understanding of legal capability: An online scan of legal capability research (2016)
This report provides an overview of recent research on legal capability in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
- Public Legal Education and Information in Ontario: Learning from a Snapshot (2015)
This mapping report provides an overview of PLEI resources available in Ontario, through the lens of topic and subtopic, as well as audience, format, language, intended use, and information provider. A key goal of this project was to identify opportunities for improved collaboration and coordination among PLEI providers in the province.
- Don't smoke, Don't be poor, Read before signing: Linking health literacy and legal capability (2015)
This research provides an overview of health literacy information practices in Ontario to give PLE organizations and related stakeholders information about effective health information practices that can be adapted to improve the accessibility, usefulness, and reach of public legal education and information. Read the full report or our executive summary.
- Evolving Legal Services: Review of Current Literature (2013)
Report prepared for CLEO by Dr. Melina Buckley as part of the planning phase of our Evolving Legal Services Research Project (ELSRP). In the ELSRP project, CLEO aims to evaluate the impact of PLEI on the procedural and substantive outcomes experienced by people who receive PLEI as part of the continuum of legal services.
- Public Legal Education and Information in Ontario Communities: Formats and Delivery Channels (2013)
This study was conducted to assess the effectiveness of formats and delivery channels in reaching diverse audiences in Ontario.
- Mulitilingual Legal Information: Issues in Development and Delivery (2009)
This report follows up on CLEO's Linguistic Access Report (2005) with updated information on the pressing legal needs of linguistic communities and factors impacting their access to information.
- Exploring the Expansion of CLEONet: Final Project Report to the Law Foundation of Ontario (2009)
This report outlines CLEO’s vision for a collaborative Ontario PLE website targeting low-income populations that would provide online legal information, legal education and training primarily for community workers and also community based legal and other referrals.
- Tapping the Community Voice: Looking at Family Law Self-Help through an Access to Justice Lens (2008)
In March, 2008, CLEO hosted a think tank on the effective use of self-help family law materials by low income and marginalized communities. The report discusses themes and recommended next steps.
- Aboriginal Peoples and Access to Legal Information (2006)
This report discusses the most effective PLEI methods for Aboriginal audiences, the role of Aboriginal languages in access to legal information, the legal issues identified based on feedback from respondents, and the appropriate role for CLEO as a non-Aboriginal agency in developing and providing PLEI for Aboriginal audiences.
- Linguistic Access Report (2005)
This report suggests steps CLEO can take to help meet the public legal education needs of low-income communities in Ontario who do not speak French or English.
- Public legal education: Helping people understand and exercise their legal rights (2005)
This transcript of a 2005 Community Legal Education Ontario conference on PLE delivery and evaluation includes an outline of the concepts underlying PLE, provides answers to frequently asked questions PLE agencies often ask when developing PLE resources and examines relevant factors in PLE evaluation.