The federal government is reinforcing its commitment to supporting official language minority communities by enhancing the capacity of organizations to offer legal services in both French and English.
On Nov. 17, Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Arif Virani, along with Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, and Vincent Anama, Director General of the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Nouvelle-Écosse (AJEFNÉ), announced significant funding to support bilingual legal services in Halifax.
The funding will bolster the AJEFNÉ’s Justice Access Centre, a key initiative that aids the Acadian and francophone communities in accessing legal services in their preferred official language. The centre offers free consultations with lawyers and information workshops, addressing the specific legal needs of these communities.
Established as a not-for-profit organization, AJEFNÉ has been instrumental in improving access to French legal services for Acadian and francophone communities and jurists in Nova Scotia. The organization plays a crucial role in guiding clients to justice services and providing legal resources in French.
Justice Canada has allocated $1,150,000 over a five-year period (2023-2028) to the AJEFNÉ for its Justice Access Centre project. This funding is part of the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund, a program dedicated to assisting non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and provincial and territorial partners in meeting the needs of French and English-speaking minority language communities across Canada.
Vincent Anama of the AJEFNÉ expressed gratitude for the continued support from the Department of Justice Canada, noting the pivotal role of the Justice Access Centre in the legal ecosystem of Nova Scotia. This funding, he stated, allows AJEFNÉ to further enhance legal support for individuals in the province and to offer targeted legal information projects for the Official-Language Minority Community (OLMC).
Minister Virani emphasized the government’s active role in improving access to justice in both official languages across the country, highlighting the importance of supporting organizations like AJEFNÉ in their mission to provide essential legal services in the language of choice for minority communities.