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Identifying Legal Needs and Their Costs

Canada Shaw Centre

Lessons from Reformers

This case study is part of the OGP Justice Policy Series, Part I: Access to Justice.

Researchers can dig deeper at the national level. For example, in 2018, Justice Canada, partnering with several other federal departments, began work to have Statistics Canada develop and implement a national legal needs survey, currently called the National Legal Problems Survey (NLPS). The NLPS is based on a 2014 York University questionnaire and updated through consultations with federal departments and external stakeholders. Additional content development and a second round of testing will be completed in the Fall of 2019 with the goal of placing the NLPS in the field from 20202021, with results released the following year.

In addition to this government-led survey, a multi-stakeholder group is examining the social and economic costs of Canada’s justice system between 20112018. The Cost of Justice Project is producing empirical data to inform access to justice policy in Canada. The effort demonstrates a commitment by the government, academia, and civil society to better understand the costs to Canadian society from the justice gap.

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