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Alberta

What the World Needs Now is More Pro Bono

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5 minute read

July 14, 2020

What the World Needs Now is More Pro Bono

Lawyers and the legal community use their performance skills to bring awareness and raise funds to support access to justice for our vulnerable population during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association (ACTLA) is staging a virtual Public Awareness Campaign partnered with United Way.  Major supporters include the Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch and the Legal Archives Society of Alberta.  The show is called Laywers Vs Talent: A2J – Virtual Edition. Here’s a link to the lineup.  You can watch by simply making a donation.  The United Way is helping out so it’s a very secure and safe procedure.  Click here to get your exclusive link.  (You will receive an email with the link prior to showtime.)

COVID-19 caused cancellation of fundraising events (e.g. Battle of the Bar Bands-Calgary) within the profession where proceeds went to Pro Bono legal advice clinics.  The Alberta Bar decided to innovate and create the virtual event for this Thursday, July 16th, from 6:00 PM to 8 PM (MDT) to raise a “behind the scenes” Awareness.  Due to the Pandemic, Pro Bono clinics require technology for remote meetings or remote court attendance or require supplies for their clients such as masks and shields to attend meetings or attend court if people are forced by subpoena or otherwise need to attend.

Donna Purcell, member of the ACTLA COVID-19 Emergency Response Team said “We were going to call our event ‘lawyers got talent’ but one lawyer objected saying Simon Cowell would complain.  Well what about ‘lawyers got no talent’? No, he might still complain, maybe try Lawyers vs Talent” and the seed was sown to invite professional talent, with entertainers from the United States, Mexico, Europe, Asia and South America under the Global A2J Alliance banner.  The campaign is meant to highlight the need for everyone to protect the Rule of Law for vulnerable populations.

Forecasts for Alberta include 25% unemployment.  The profession is concerned about providing Pro Bono services given the anticipated domestic situations, personal bankruptcies, foreclosures and evictions flooding antiquated justice systems.

“The legal profession and our judiciary have decided to lead the way in ensuring innovative access to justice for our growing vulnerable populations and all Albertans”, notes Purcell, “And we can’t only work for free, that is called being unemployed.  And no lawyer jokes please, we might not get them.  Grab a Shaq-a-roni, set up a Zoom after party, and come enjoy the entertainment, including some pros who know what they are doing and learn from our feature presenters and feature reporting.”

The show has many serious moments as well. You will hear from Rumana Monzur, Counsel at Department of Justice, Canada. In June 2011, she was brutally attacked and blinded by her husband at the time, Hasan Sayeed Sumon, while visiting in her home country of Bangladesh. As well, you will meet Maria Mitousis, Principal, Mitousis, Lemieux, Howard Law Corporation. Maria became national news when in the summer of 2015, she dropped into her office and opened a package that was on her desk.  In the package was a bomb, and in the ensuing explosion, Maria lost a hand. Hers is a tragic but inspiring story.

A committee will decide where funds that are raised will have the most impact and includes consulting the United Way’s The Social Impact Lab, a platform to research, create, and test new services and business models. The goal is toensure the impact on organizations who support vulnerable populations through the legal sector is maximized.  It is also hoped that public awareness of the out-of-date state of the justice system will encourage a provincial and national discussion.

A minimum $50 donation to United Way receives the Premiere Access link; donate any amount for an after the event link.

For more information and to donate, sponsor or to purchase tickets to the event, visit www.lawyersvstalent.com

Remember, the show goes live Thursday, July 16th, at 6 PM

Disclosure:  Todayville is a proud partner in the production of this innovative program. 

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Alberta

Alberta removing two COVID-19 symptoms that required people under 18 to isolate

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s top doctor says the province will be removing two symptoms from its COVID-19 checklist for people under the age of 18 that required mandatory isolation.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw says they include runny nose and sore throat.

She says starting Monday, if someone under the age of 18 has one of those symptoms they are encouraged to monitor themselves for 24 hours.

If symptoms improve, they don’t need to get tested and can return to normal activity, including attending school or participating in sport groups.

Hinshaw says the change to the checklist follows similar ones made in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

She says more than 3,400 children and youth who were tested last week for COVID-19 reported having a sore throat, but more than 700 of them had a sore throat as their only symptom, and less than one per cent of their tests came back positive.

Alberta reported 477 new COVID-19 cases in Thursday’s update and five new deaths.

There are 4,921 active cases with 130 in hospital and 18 in intensive care.

Hinshaw also reminded Albertans to practise cautious social distancing this Halloween weekend.

“Unfortunately, after every holiday during the pandemic, we have seen a rise in the number of cases one to two weeks later,” she said.

“This weekend, I am asking Albertans as clearly and strongly as possible to please be wise and be safe.”

Hinshaw said this is not the year for large Halloween parties and noted that Calgary and Edmonton have social gatherings limited to 15 people.

“Eat candy, brush your teeth, watch your favourite scary movie, spend time with your household and your cohorts.”

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on Oct. 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 20201029181052-5f9b4831b34b6af22442776ajpeg.jpg, Caption: Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. Alberta’s top doctor says the province will be removing two symptoms from their COVID-19 checklist for people under the age of 18.
Dr. Deena Hinshaw says runny nose and sore throat are on the list of symptoms that require mandatory isolation for children. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson –>

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Alberta

Alberta panel recommends no-fault auto insurance to address rising, costly premiums

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EDMONTON — A panel is recommending Alberta restructure automobile insurance by abandoning costly court fights and moving to a collaborative no-fault model.

Chairman Chris Daniel says the change is needed to keep the insurance system sustainable while providing fair and timely compensation to those hurt in automobile collisions.

The panel was struck last December to recommend solutions to a steep rise in auto insurance premiums.

The panel says the main reason for increased costs is higher injury payouts characterized by adversarial courtroom conflict, fault-finding, delays, and duelling experts. 

The panel’s proposal does not focus on blame and penalties, but rather on getting faster care and compensation for injured parties through arm’s-length adjudication and set benefits.  

Finance Minister Travis Toews says he will strike another panel to hear from industry representatives and Albertans about moving to a no-fault model.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2020

The Canadian Press

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