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Jan 30, 2024
A new one-time grant will support community-based initiatives to increase access to justice for Albertans.
Resolving legal issues outside the traditional court system can be less stressful on the parties involved, less expensive and faster than going to court, and a growing number of Albertans have shown a preference for resolving issues within their communities rather than through the courts.
To give Albertans more options for resolving criminal, family and civil justice matters outside the courtroom, Alberta’s government is investing $1.2 million in a new one-time grant to support innovative and community-based initiatives that provide alternatives to the formal court system. The Alberta Community Justice Grant would help increase access to justice within a community setting that is proactive, culturally sensitive, trauma-informed and tailored to the specific needs of vulnerable Albertans.
“Community justice programs are a proven and innovative alternative to the formal court system. This grant will help community organizations explore and create innovative programming to provide even more options for Albertans accessing the justice system and help reduce pressure on the courts.”
Mickey Amery, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Community justice seeks to engage community members in decision-making and encourages collaborative problem-solving to address the root causes of conflict through mediation, peacemaking and other community-based processes that could help resolve conflict outside a courtroom. It also aims to build safer and stronger communities through community involvement, prevention programs and alternative approaches to justice.
Eligible community-based organizations and interest groups can apply for a one-time grant between $5,000 to $25,000 to support current community justice programs or create innovative alternatives to the formal court system. Applications will be accepted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 29.
“For 25 years, Calgary Youth Justice Society has helped over 15,000 young people find their way through tough life circumstances and sometimes poor choices that can hold them back from reaching their full potential. An investment like this grant that supports opportunities to steer people away from the justice system and towards effective solutions in the community is a win for all Albertans.”
Denise Blair, executive director, Calgary Youth Justice Society
“Since 2021, the Horn of Africa Educational and Economic Development Society has been dedicated to delivering culturally appropriate services to its community. This new grant will serve as valuable resources for community organizations such as ours to assist Albertans in resolving legal matters outside of criminal courts in a culturally supportive environment.”
Yusuf Ali, board chairperson, Horn of Africa Educational and Economic Development Society
“The Alberta Community Justice Grant program symbolizes a commitment to support families to experience justice, build resilience and improve outcomes. Communities working with Alberta’s Reforming the Family Justice System initiative are exploring transformational cross-sector innovations to reduce reliance on adversarial legal processes while empowering access to supports and skills needed for their social, relationship, parenting, financial and health issues. In this reimagined system, families will thrive.”
Diana Lowe, justice system consultant, Re-imagining Justice
The one-time grant would support community justice initiatives including needs assessments, training resources, technological support and research efforts to increase accessibility to the programs.