Justice Minister announces support for justice initiative

By Cecilia Nasmith

The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, was in Cobourg today to announced funding for the Help and Legal Centre of Northumberland that will help support access to justice and address workplace sexual harassment.

This support is part of $3.747-million that will be invested in 20 legal clinics in Eastern, Northern and Southwestern Ontario to devise a coordinated approach to the development and delivery of legal information and advice to individuals, as well as public legal education on sexual harassment in the workplace. It is anticipated that this work will improve access to justice for those who experience sexual harassment in their workplace by educating vulnerable individuals on their legal rights in this regard.

Help and Legal Centre executive director Lois Cromarty said the 20 community legal clinics involved in this initiative are pleased to be chosen to deliver this important program, which works toward safe workplaces for all.

“Community legal clinics are uniquely situated to be able to carry out this vital work,” Cromarty said in the press release from Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd.

“First, they have expertise in developing and delivering public legal education and information, and in giving legal advice.

“And second, community legal clinics are locally based and, as such, they can tailor their materials and delivery toward workers, workplaces and the types of employment that are found in their own community.”

Rudd's press release noted that sexual harassment affects the health and well-being of those involved, in addition to their ability to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. It's a priority for the Government of Canada, she said, to ensure workplaces where everyone can be safe, respected and able to focus on his or her own work or career.

Today's funding is part of the 2018 budget's $50-million (over five years) to address sexual harassment – half to enable organizations to increase their ability to provide legal advice and information in support of complainants of sexual harassment in the workplace and half to enable organizations to provide public legal education and information to workers.

“Today's funding helps make clear that sexual harassment in the workplace will never be tolerated, ensures that this is a top priority – as it should be – that victims know they have recourse, now and in the future,” Rudd stated in the press release.

“I want to commend both the Legal Centre and the Help Centre for the important work they do every day on behalf of their clients.”