Connecting Across Language and Distance: Linguistic and Rural Access to Legal Information and Services

The report describes significant barriers to access to legal information and services for people who do not speak English or French and people living in rural or remote areas, reviews efforts in many jurisdictions to reduce these barriers and suggests possible approaches for Ontario. It provides recommendations for improving linguistic and rural access to justice. The Connecting Report recommends strategic investment in the following six areas: 1) Improving the capacity of non-legal community organizations to provide legal information and referrals; 2) A regional planning model for a designated geographic area; 3) Creation of a network of legal interpreters; 4) Videoconferencing; 5) Articling positions for organizations providing legal services to persons isolated by language or distance; 6) Evaluating the above initiatives and establishing a clearinghouse for information about efforts to address access to justice issues.