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Breaking Barriers to Justice – Equitable Access for All

June 29, 2018

With Alberta’s current economic climate, an increased number of people are accessing the legal system to address legal charges and offenses. The clients who are most affected by the complexity of our judicial system are those living in poverty. As a result, they do not have equitable access to the necessary legal resources and representation to support them through their legal matters.

Those involved in the legal system often struggle with multiple barriers that limit their ability to navigate the legal system and processes effectively. Individuals lacking the necessary understanding of their legal matters often attempt to address their charges or offences without legal representation or resources. Pleading guilty without a proper understanding of the consequences or alternatives to addressing charges usually has long term negative impact.

A number of EFry clients have language or cultural barriers that make it difficult to comprehend the legal processes. This impedes their ability to address their charges and achieve the best possible outcomes. EFry fills a gap in a complex system by assisting with understanding legal forms, filing processes and referrals to legal resources.

The economic downturn has increased the number of domestic violence matters seen in both Calgary and Regional courts. This has resulted in a greater number of emergency parenting and protection orders being requested in our Legal Advocacy programs. An increase of immigrant women seeking assistance with divorce applications has been noted since 2016. Many Indigenous women face challenges with navigating the complexity of the legal system and have benefited from individualized assistance to appropriately address their legal matters.

Our Solution: Court and Legal Advocacy Programs

Equitable access to justice is a crisis that continues to be a problem for those living under the poverty line. Canada’s pledge of equal justice under the law is one that we as a community must mutually support and promote. EFry needs the support of legal professionals to contribute to these efforts. With demanding and busy practices, we must work together as a legal community to solve this critical issue.

Our Legal Advocacy and Court Programs increase access to justice for those who need it most. EFry provide support to those that struggle with multiple barriers that have decreased chances of positive results when attempting to address their legal matters independently, through our court programs and legal advocacy programs.Partnerships with law firms will help us continue to offer programs to address the need for equitable access to justice for all.

Together, we can break barriers and build bridges for Calgary’s marginalized people. To learn more about giving opportunities with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, please email reception@elizabethfrycalgary.ca or call 403-294-0737.


Breaking Barriers for Indigenous Peoples – Building Meaningful Reconciliation

June 28, 2018

Indigenous peoples experience a number of barriers that have led to a higher representation of incarceration and interactions with the legal system than other Canadians. The experiences of colonization and assimilation policies have led to complex issues resulting in intergenerational trauma. In addition, those Indigenous peoples who have negative interactions with the law, are more likely to experience poverty, homelessness and have challenges with addiction.

Indigenous Canadians are affected by several negative health and social outcomes including their children being placed into foster care, accidents and fatalities related to alcohol abuse and violence, and higher rates of attempted and completed suicides.

Over the past several decades, many Indigenous Calgarians have become disconnected from culture due to lack of proximity to their communities and families. There are proven positive outcomes from connecting with Indigenous cultural traditions and spirituality, including an increased sense of identity and self-awareness.

Our Solution: Programs that Build Bridges

Meaningful programs, resources and supports help our Indigenous clients overcome the barriers that are obstacles in creating more hopeful futures. We provide the bridges to a better life and support pathways to healing for marginalized Indigenous Calgarians through programs such as:

  • Indigenous Cultural Supports
  • Prison Community Outreach Program
  • Emotional Wellness and Employment Readiness

There are increased requests from our clients for Indigenous programming and more interest in Indigenous cultural supports. By providing various opportunities with Indigenous languages, traditional teachings and cultural ceremonies and practices, we can offer further education and connections that align with recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Through our partnership with Pathways Community Services Association, we are able to enhance cultural connections for urban Indigenous peoples.

Many Indigenous expenses are not covered through traditional funding grants and include Elder honorariums for ceremonies and resources, materials for programs and expenses related to healing ceremonies. Indigenous programming is an imperative part of the healing journey. Working together, we can sustain, enhance and expand our Indigenous cultural supports and bring about meaningful reconciliation for the Indigenous peoples we serve.

Together, we can break barriers and build bridges for Calgary’s marginalized people. To learn more about giving opportunities with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary, please email
reception@elizabethfrycalgary.ca or call 403-294-0737.


Celebrate EFry Week on May 11

May 7, 2018

Come and experience EFRY like you never have before! In celebration of EFry Week, we are opening our doors and giving you the chance to experience our programs and learn more about our work in the Calgary community. Get finger printed and have your mug shot taken, before appearing in a mock court. Listen to our panel of women who will share their personal experiences about success after incarceration. Enjoy refreshments, music and Indigenous performing artists.

We hope to see you this Friday and invite you to “experience” EFry!


TELUS Calgary Community Board Supports EFry Youth Program

December 14, 2017

We are pleased to announce the generous support of the TELUS Calgary Community Board and its funding of EFry Calgary’s Youth Legal Advocacy Program. The funding is for one year of the program and will provide resources and support for youth involved in the justice system and courts.

Youth without supports are often overwhelmed and confused about the legal processes and options for their charges. The Youth Legal Advocacy Program provides mentorship supports to at-risk youth, and assistance with information and navigation of legal processes. Positive mentorship relationships are important factors in creating resilience and helping youth avoid further recidivism within the criminal justice system.

Community leader and author Sheldon Kennedy visited EFry Calgary to present a generous financial gift to EFry. During his visit he learned about EFry’s other programs that are making a difference in our community. Sheldon was able to share his own views on the importance of creating resiliency in youth to contribute to future successes.

EFry is very thankful for the support of TELUS Calgary Community Board and for their recognition of our work. This contribution will enable us to continue to support youth in having hopeful futures.

The TELUS Calgary Community Board has donated $6.4 million since 205 to 405 grassroots projects, charities and organizations, and we are pleased to celebrate this new partnership with the TELUS Calgary community.

Thank you for supporting EFry Calgary and making our community stronger.


A Year of Second Chances – 2016 Annual Report

July 25, 2017

Through the tough economy of last year, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary persevered thanks to the strength of the individuals, funders, volunteers, partnerships, staff, management team and Board of Directors.

Our 2016 annual report is about second chances, and that is what our work is all about. Giving women a second chance heals families and communities, and reduces the financial burden of incarceration. The theme of second chances is represented in the report through the common and humble dandelion – a symbol of resiliency that survives and thrives through the toughest conditions, symbolizing the ability to rise above challenges.

We celebrate the stories and success of the women and families we serve, and know that the community of care and support makes a difference in healing, and creating new beginnings through second chances. Thank you for your support.

Click here to read our 2016 Annual Report.