By Heidi Nielsen
Published: July 21, 2012
This past Wednesday, July 18th 2012, marks a historic moment for Howe Sound Women’s Centre in Squamish and for the future of accessing justice in Canada.
On Wednesday, from 1-3 pm, Howe Sound Women’s Centre facilitated a Pro Bono legal clinic via Skype to women needing to access free legal advice.
According to Frank Yates, Clinic Coordinator of Vancouver-based organization Access Pro Bono, to the best of his knowledge this is the first time that a tele-video clinic has been conducted directly from a lawyer’s office to an agency.
Previously, lawyers would physically go to the pro bono agency to offer services, but did not do consultations from their office.
Access Pro Bono is the largest pro bono legal agency in Canada. APB’s mission is to promote access to justice in BC by providing and fostering quality pro bono legal services for individuals and non-profit organizations of limited means.
The Summary Legal Advice Program is one of the organization’s most successful programs, with 14 new clinics being opened in 2011, including 4 Skype clinics and 10 telephone clinics serving BC’s rural and remote communities.
The recent Skype clinic facilitated by The Howe Sound Women’s Centre with The Summary Legal Advice Program was a landmark for both organizations. For Howe Sound Women’s Centre, it means new and better ways to connect women to the supports they need.
The Howe Sound Women’s Centre provides advocacy, referrals, support, and counseling, as well as Transition and Safe Housing, and wellness programs that promote the equality and empowerment of women. All services are offered free of charge.