Initiative in Support of Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Evaluation

2. Program Description

This section describes the Initiative, its management structure as well as its financial resources.

2.1. Background

The Initiative is part of the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-13: Acting for the Future announced by the federal government in June 2008. Representing an investment of $1.1 billion over five years, the Roadmap provides financial support to an array of federal departments working in such areas as justice, health, education, culture, immigration and economic development.

In the area of justice, the Roadmap supports three initiatives:

  • the Contraventions Act Fund for Implementation of Language Obligations;
  • the Accountability and Coordination Framework;
  • the Initiative in Support of Access to Justice in Both Official Languages.

This document concerns the third initiative, Access to Justice in Both Official Languages.

2.2. The Initiative’s Logic

The Initiative has two components: the Support Fund and the new Justice training component.

Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund

Created in 2003, the aim of the Support Fund is to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders in the justice system to offer services in both official languages, and to participate in making official language communities aware of their linguistic rights in the area of justice. The Support Fund supports two types of activities:

  • Core funding: The Support Fund provides core funding to the Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law (FAJEF) and its seven member associations, through a series of contribution agreements;
  • Project funding: The Support Fund provides funding to eligible organizations for the implementation of projects related to access to justice in both official languages. These can include projects to support the practice of law in minority environments, to increase the awareness level of official language communities, or to boost the ability of non-governmental organizations to meet needs in the area of access to justice in both official languages.

Justice training

Justice training is the new component of the Initiative and is aimed at bilingual professionals working in the field of justice. In particular, this training aims at mastering minority language vocabulary related to judicial and extrajudicial activities. This new component focuses on four action priorities:

  • The improvement of bilingual court officers already working in the justice system;
  • The development of a curriculum for bilingual students interested in pursuing a career in the field of justice;
  • A recruitment strategy and the promotion of justice-related careers;
  • The development of training tools.

In addition, the Initiative provides support to the Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Official Languages, whose mandate is to bring together Justice Department representatives, community organizations, jurilinguistic centers and law faculties from the provinces and territories. It also supports the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages, which includes representatives from the Department of Justice as well as from provincial and territorial governments.

Although the Initiative includes two components, i.e. the Support Fund and the new Justice training component, its rationale is equally based on both components since they are ultimately aimed at the same outcome, i.e. an increased capacity by partners and the Department to implement solutions to support access to justice in both official languages. It should be noted, however, that the Support Fund has been in place since 2003, whereas the implementation of the new Justice training component started a few years later, in 2009. The Initiative’s logic is shown in detail in Figure 1.

2.3. Governance of the Initiative

Managing the Initiative falls to two separate groups within the Department of Justice:

  • The Office of Francophonie, Justice in Official Languages and Legal Dualism is responsible for overseeing the Initiative and coordinating the advisory structures;
  • The Innovation, Analysis and Integration Directorate of the Programs Branch is responsible for managing all contribution agreements signed under the terms of the Initiative. This Directorate is also responsible for managing the accountability process, especially pertaining to reports submitted by the provincial governments.

A selection committee composed of members of the two groups is responsible for reviewing funding applications to determine whether projects are eligible, and recommend whether they be funded under the Initiative.

2.4. Financial Resources

The Roadmap announced a $41.2 million investment over five years for the Initiative. However, the Initiative accessed an amount of $40.4 million. The investment period covers the years 2008-09 to 2012-13. Table 1 shows the distribution of those funds.

Table 1: Financial resources of the Initiative in Support of Access to Justice in Both Official Languages
Type of vote 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 Total
Vote 5 (Project funding) $2,892,846 $5,226,846 $7,225,846 $7,225,846 $6,892,846 $29,464,230
Vote 1 (operating expenditures) $1,346,154 $2,294,628 $2,425,512 $2,510,112 $2,382,910 $10,959,316

Source: administrative documents

Figure 1: Logic of the Initiative in Support of Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

Flowchart - Logic of the Initiative

[Figure 1 Description]

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