Saskatchewan celebrates A2J Week 2023

By Terry Davidson

Law360 Canada (October 25, 2023, 4:17 PM EDT) -- Saskatchewan has proclaimed this week as its Access to Justice Week.

In an Oct. 24 news release, the government noted several recent developments that have increased access to justice in the province, including the reopening of one rural court and the permanent establishment of another.

Access to Justice Week runs Oct. 23 to 27.

Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre

Justice Minister Bronwyn Eyre

“This week is an opportunity to highlight key initiatives that promote equal access, help Saskatchewan people navigate the justice system, and provide resources to communities across the province,” said Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre in a statement.

The release notes several recent developments aimed at increasing access to justice in Saskatchewan.

One was the reopening of the Court of King's Bench courthouse in the city of Weyburn, which sits around 115 kilometres southeast of Regina. The centre was closed in late 2016, with a plan to have the King's Bench in Estevan — around 100 kilometres away — serve those in Weyburn. After some backlash from the community, it was decided in 2022 that the Weyburn court would be reopened. Since reopening this past April, there have been almost 800 documents filed and a total of 91 cases either administrated or commenced.

The release also speaks to the reestablishment in 2022 of a permanent provincial court location in Lloydminster — an area around 530 kilometres northwest of Regina, on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.

It notes the government’s $3.3-million investment in modernizing court technology and the establishment of virtual technology in 46 provincial court locations and 10 Court of King’s Bench locations, as well as in the province’s Court of Appeal.

“We are proud to have reopened judicial centres in Weyburn and Lloydminster, improved virtual courtroom access, and introduced child support calculation services, which allow separated parents to largely forgo the courts,” said Eyre.

According to information from the Law Society of Ontario, this year’s Access to Justice Week is being offered through collaboration between Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and British Columbia, and it will feature “nationally focused events.”

Another access to justice move was the province’s enactment last month of its Family Maintenance Amendment Act, which “makes it easier to forgo the family court process for child support.”

Additional information on A2J Week 2023 can be found here.

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