Federal funding to assist young offenders, address workplace sexual harassment
The Department of Justice Canada has provided separate funding to Ontario Justice Education Network and Pro Bono Ontario to help them provide free and competent legal services across the province.
The OJEN said it would use the funding to develop and deliver a free public legal education program called “Together 180” for young offenders in custody and on probation.
The program will provide helpful information in navigating law-related challenges that young offenders may encounter during their post-custody, such as securing housing and employment. It will also help them access reliable public legal information and assistance and explore various options for community-based support.
In 2021, OJEN successfully piloted an online version of the program in partnership with New Beginnings − Butch Collins Residence, an open custody and detention facility in Windsor. Currently, OJEN is working with the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and other community organizations to plan additional programs in 2022 and 2023.
Meanwhile, the justice department has announced that it invested a total of $788,392 to Pro Bono Ontario for the next four years. The funding will be used to assist, through a free legal advice hotline, individuals experiencing workplace sexual harassment.
In particular, the funding will help develop resources to ensure that staff and volunteer lawyers can provide consistent, high-quality, trauma-informed legal services to victims of workplace sexual harassment and extend the hotline’s operation hours. It will also help PBO integrate its services with other funded organizations by establishing referral protocols and informing other organizations about PBO to increase referrals to the hotline.
“This investment from the justice department enables PBO to create a space where victims throughout Ontario can access timely, trauma-informed legal assistance for the intersecting legal issues arising from workplace sexual harassment,” PBO executive director Lynn Burns said.