SOURCE: Community Legal Education Ontario/ Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario (CLEO)

Community Legal Education Ontario/ Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario (CLEO)

September 15, 2016 08:52 ET

New Report Looks at What People Need to Be Able to Deal With Legal Problems

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 15, 2016) - CLEO today released important new research on the challenges Ontarians face when trying to deal with legal problems in their lives.

A framework for Ontario: Introducing a working legal capability matrix explores various facets of legal capability, which is the ability to recognize and then deal with legal problems in one's life.

CLEO's framework addresses the knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics and circumstances people need to deal with legal problems at various stages. CLEO also provides examples of barriers to legal capability faced by marginalized people in Ontario.

Many people seek out legal information or help at a late stage in their problem -- by which point it may be too late to avert a crisis. This is particularly true for marginalized Ontarians, who often face multiple problems at once because of low income, stress, literacy challenges, health problems, or a range of other factors.

"An abundance of recent access to justice research, including CLEO's, emphasizes the importance of 'early intervention' strategies to help people tackle their legal problems early on", comments Julie Mathews, executive director at CLEO. "We're hoping that CLEO's legal capability framework will help us, and others working in this area, develop strategies that empower people to deal with their legal problems as early as possible."

The working framework is the first of its kind in Canada. It identifies points of reference for justice stakeholders and the community service sector to consider when planning how best to provide legal information to Ontarians and Canadians.

CLEO plans to use this working framework to start a wider conversation about the ingredients of legal capability in the Canadian context. A workshop for this purpose will be taking place at the Connect, Create, Communicate conference being held in Toronto on October 20 - 21, 2016. To register for the conference, visit

View the report A framework for Ontario: Introducing a working legal capability matrix

View the background literature review Building an understanding of legal capability: An online scan of legal capability research

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) is a non-profit organization that provides accurate and easy-to-understand information and education about the law for people in Ontario. For over 40 years, CLEO has reached people who have low incomes or are marginalized in other ways with critical legal rights information. CLEO's Centre for Research and Innovation conducts research relating to public legal education and information.

CLEO is grateful to the Canadian Bar Association's Law for the Future Fund for its support of this research. The Law Foundation of Ontario and the Department of Justice Canada have also provided support by funding the general work of CLEO's Centre for Research & Innovation. The Ontario Justice Education Network also gave input on this research.

Contact Information

  • For further information, contact:
    Julie Mathews
    416 408 4420 ext. 823

    CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/
    Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
    180 Dundas Street West, Suite 506
    Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8