Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG)
Is a charitable organization that operates as a poverty law office. CLG provides disadvantaged individuals of Calgary and area access to justice. Eligibility criteria are based predominantly on income guidelines as determined by the Board of Directors. Free, confidential legal advice is provided at one of a number of clinics operating throughout the city where appointments are pre-booked. A lawyer will provide advice on how to handle your problem, what the law means, and how it affects your situation. In some cases follow-up services, beyond the legal clinic, may be provided. CLG also offers specialized support for people who need legal help from issues related to homelessness, social benefit issues, and domestic violence. Legal information is also provided via community presentations and through Dial-A-Law, providing pre-recorded audio education accessible by phone 24 hours a day. (See Legal and Community Resources section for telephone numbers).
This is a community-based program that provides legal assistance, representation, and information in areas of civil and administrative law as well as referrals for persons with low income that would not otherwise have access to such services. Individuals who cannot afford to retain a lawyer and who may face cultural, disability, literacy, and other barriers to accessing legal assistance receive support at no cost in matters such as Landlord and Tenant, Employment Issues, Human Rights, Debtor and Creditor, and Immigration Law. Through social benefits advocacy, the ECLC supports individuals who require the expertise of a representative at appeals. ECLC offers, by appointment with a volunteer lawyer, free legal services at law clinics.
The clinics operate through the support of volunteer lawyers who provide summary legal advice, referral to other agencies as appropriate or a recommendation to ECLC’s legal team for further assistance. Clients who face issues that cannot be resolved through the legal clinic, or people with emergent situations who were not able to attend the clinic, can receive further legal services from the Staff Lawyer and Legal Assistant. Services include: direct legal representation, assistance with preparation of legal documents, negotiations or mediation, and court/hearing preparation. The ECLC recognizes that legal problems can arise out of, or contribute to, the social and economic circumstances of poverty. The Outreach Worker, a Registered Social Worker, supports vulnerable clients with access to housing, emergency financial aid, government services, community referrals, and provincial and federally funded social benefits programs. (See Legal and Community Resources section for telephone numbers.) The law schools at The University of Calgary and The University of Alberta both offer free advice in legal matters to those with low income. Assistance includes information and representation in the civil, criminal, traffic, and family divisions of the Provincial Court of Alberta. The services are provided by law students who are supervised by practicing lawyers.
This organization offers information, guidance counselling, and referral services to Native people charged with offences. Courtroom assistance and speaking on your behalf are also provided.
This organization helps women and men in adult and youth court by providing legal information, support, and assistance throughout the court process. The Society offers a prison program (including short-term counselling and practical assistance) for women during their incarceration and upon release. Elizabeth Fry also offers:
- The Bridges Program offers pre-employment counselling for women who have had problems with the legal system or are at risk of having problems with the legal system.
- The Aboriginal Healing Circle, a traditional aboriginal treatment for women dealing with abuse and trauma issues.
This organization offers assistance to and programs for men and women, youth, and adults who are at risk of conflict or are currently involved in the Criminal Justice System. Workers can assist you with problems and help you look for a job, write a resume, or improve your education. They can also help you find housing and clothing.
The Crime Impact Program for youth aged twelve to eighteen focuses on raising awareness of the impact of crime on individuals, families, and the community.
The Youth Advocacy and Support program provides support and advocacy services.
Bedford House, a half-way house, provides parole supervision for special-needs offenders.
The Berkana House provides apartments for women on day parole who need help to reestablish themselves in the community.
Emergency Intake and Referrals provides assistance to those who need help integrating into the community. Assistance is offered through direct service and/or community referrals. Services include clothing and furniture, referrals, resume preparation, faxing, personal counselling, as well as job targeting and skill development.
The Literacy Program provides free one-on-one tutoring and the Learning Employment Enhancement Program (LEEP) provides employment training and basic computer training.
You can find even more legal service providers listed in Chapter 10, the Legal and Community Resources section.