SLS News Launches!

Student Legal Services of Edmonton launches a new addition to its website, SLS News. This new website will function as a way to keep the people who use SLS updated on happenings within the low-income community with regards to the law.


Let us know what you think, and we can post your comment on our website:


Date Posted: October 1, 2014


Student Legal Services would like to bring to your attention several new resources regarding Family Law in Alberta that are now being offered by the Centre for Public Legal Education in partnership with Edmonton Community Legal Centre. These new publications are posted below. 


Child Custody and Parenting

Financial Support

Property Division

Young Parents

Representing Yourself in Family Court


Date Posted: September 1, 2014 



Posted below are the hours of operation for the Corona Office / Criminal Law Project between September 3, 2014 and September 11, 2014. 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014: 6:00 - 9:00 PM

Thursday, September 4, 2014: 6:00 - 9:00 PM

Monday, September 8, 2014: 4:00 - 5:30 PM

Tuesday, September 9, 2014: 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Wednesday, September 10, 2014: 4:00 - 5:30 PM, 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Thursday, September 11, 2014: 6:00 - 9:00 PM


Date Posted: August 14, 2014



The Student Legal Services of Edmonton Offices will be closed from August 25, 2014 until services resume September 3rd, 2014.  Our hours for the Fall will be as follows:


Monday: 12:00 - 1:30 pm; 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Tuesday: 12:00 - 1:30 pm; 3:30 - 6:30 pm

Wednesday: 3:30 - 5:00 pm

Thursday: 12:00 - 1:30 pm; 3:30 - 5:00 pm


Date Posted: July 23, 2014

Upcoming Employment Lecture at the Edmonton Vietnameses Association


This Sunday, July 27, 2014, Student Legal Services will be presenting a lecture regarding Employment Law in Alberta. The lecture will takeplace at 1 pm at the Edmonton Vietnamese Association: Suite 102-10534 109 St NW Edmonton, AB. All are welcome to attend. For more information call Student Legal Services of Edmonton at 780-492-2226.



Date Posted: June 26, 2014

Upcoming Family Law Information Sessions at the ECLC (Edmonton Community Legal Centre)

In partnership with the Edmonton Public Library, the ECLC holds free public legal education sessions on a regular basis at various library branches throughout the city. These seminars are conducted by volunteer lawyers as well as SLS volunteers, and are followed by a question-and-answer period. You may register in advance at the library branch holding the session, or just drop in to the session. For more information, please call the ECLC at 780-702-1725, or consult their website at <>.




The following sessions are coming up in June and July:

  • Thursday June 26: Family Law - Property Division (Stanley A. Milner Library, Room 5, 6th floor 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Thursday July 3: Family Law - Child Custody (Stanley A. Milner Library, Room 5, 6th floor 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Thursday July 10: Family Law - Child and Spousal Support (Stanley A. Milner Library, Room 5, 6th floor 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Thursday July 17: Family Law - Property Division (Stanley A. Milner Library, Room 5, 6th floor 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Thursday July 24: Family Law - Child Custody (Stanley A. Milner Library, Room 5, 6th floor 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Thursday July 31: Family Law - Child and Spousal Support (Stanley A. Milner Library, Room 5, 6th floor 6:30-8:30 pm)


Date Posted: October 22, 2012

Upcoming Legal Information Sessions at the ECLC (Edmonton Community Legal Centre)


In partnership with the Edmonton Public Library, the ECLC holds free public legal education sessions on a regular basis at various library branches throughout the city. These seminars are conducted by volunteer lawyers, and are followed by a question-and-answer period. You may register in advance at the library branch holding the session, or just drop in to the session. For more information, please call the ECLC at 780-702-1725, or consult their website at <>.


The following sessions are coming up in October and November:

  • Thursday October 25: Family Law - Child and Spousal Support (Stanley A. Milner Library, Centennial Room, 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Saturday October 27: Landlord and Tenant (Stanley A. Milner Library, 2-3:30 pm)
  • Thursday November 1: Family Law - Property Issues (Stanley A. Milner Library, Centennial Room, 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Saturday November 3: Wills and Estates (Calder Library, 1-2:30 pm)
  • Thursday November 8: Family Law - Court Procedure and Evidence (Stanley A. Milner Library, Centennial Room, 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Saturday November 10: Wills and Estates (Stanley A. Milner Library, 2-3:30 pm)
  • Wednesday November 14: Immigration (Woodcroft Library, 7-8:30 pm)
  • Saturday November 17: Landlord and Tenant (Stanley A. Milner Library, 2-3:30 pm)
  • Wednesday November 21: Wills and Estates (Capilano Library, 1-2:30 pm)
  • Thursday November 22: Family Law - Parenting (Stanley A. Milner Library, Centennial Room, 6:30-8:30 pm)
  • Thursday November 29: Family Law - Child and Spousal Support (Stanley A. Milner Library, Centennial Room, 6:30-8:30 pm)



Date Posted: October 22, 2012

Pro Bono Law Alberta Launches YouTube Channel


This summer, Pro Bono Law Alberta launched their first YouTube channel at <>.


Currently, four videos are available for viewing:

  • Courtroom Etiquette: What to Do in Court (Tips and Information)
  • Landlord & Tenant: What to Do in Court (Tips and Information)
  • Foreclosure Matters: What to Do in Court (Tips and Information)
  • Civil Claims: What to Do in Court (Tips and Information)


Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA) is a charitable organization that promotes access to justice in Alberta by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono (free) legal services to persons of limited means. PBLA was formed in 2007 as the legacy project in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Law Society of Alberta.



Date Posted: May 16, 2012

SIN cards being eliminated by the federal government


The federal government has announced that they are going to stop issuing SIN cards starting in 2014. The government already advises people not to keep their SIN card in their wallet because of the possibility of identity theft, SIN cards do not have any security features to prevent them from being duplicated or stolen. The government is trying to prevent fraud and identity theft by eliminating the cards. SIN numbers will be issued by letter instead. 



Date Posted: May 8, 2012

Report Calls for Changes to Jail System to Better Accommodate those with Mental Illness


The Mental Health Commission of Canada released a strategy that calls for spending on mental health to increase over a 10 year period.  The strategy makes a number of suggestions on how to make Canada more friendly to the mentally ill.  Some of suggestions include creating mentally healthy workplaces, reducing the use of seclusion and restraints in hospitals, and more community and school based mental illness prevention programs.  The main objective of the strategy presented is for better access to treatment and services for mental illness over a person’s lifetime.  This however is just a strategy that will be presented to parliament, it will be up to them and their committees to decided how to interpret the information.

For more information see May 7, National Post article “Canada’s mental health system is turning prisons into ‘asylums of the 21st century’: report” by Sharon Kirkey. 



Date Posted: May 3, 2012

Report Ranks Alberta Last for Access to Information Legislation


Alberta was recently ranked last for transparency in a comparison of provincial access to information legislation. The report, by the Centre for Law and Democracy, states that Alberta’s legislation allows the provincial government to exclude large portions of the public record from freedom of information requests.  The largest problem identified in the report is that section 4(1) of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act exempts many government offices from having to disclose documents to the public. For example, no records created for or by members of the legislature or members of the executive council have to be shared with the public.  


For more information see the April 30 Edmonton Journal Article “Albertans blocked from obtaining public information, report finds” by Karen Kleiss



Date Posted: October 25, 2011

Conservative Government moves to get rid of the lon-gun registry.


This Public Safety Minister has tabled a bill  in the House of Commons that would, if passed, effectively abolish the registry and destroy all information currently held within it.  The main arguments behind this move are that the registry unfairly targets those who have guns for legal purposes, also charging them large sums to register their guns.  In addition, it is argued that the registration procedures involve too much red tape.  Those in favor of the registry point to it's effective and frequent use in police enforcement- suggesting that the long gun registry increases public safety.


For more information, check out the edmonton journal article: " Feds table bill to scrap long-gun registry" by Tobi Cohen



Date Posted: September 30, 2011

Supreme Court of Canada ruling will keep InSite alive


In a unanimous decision released today,  the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Vancouver’s supervised injection site for  should be exempt from federal drug laws targetting possession and trafficking in narcotics.  The Court directed the Minister of Health to grant an immediate exemption to the safe injection facility.  InSite provides a safe place where people inject drugs under the supervision of medical profesionals and connect to health care services – from primary care to treat disease and infection, to addiction counselling and treatment, to housing and community supports.  The Court found that if Insite wasn't allowed to operate it would prevent injection drug users from accessing the health services offered at the facility, threatening their health and their lives:


"The Minister’s decision, but for the trial judge’s interim order, would have prevented injection drug users from accessing the health services offered by Insite, threatening their health and indeed their lives. It thus engages the claimants’ s. 7 interests and constitutes a limit on their s. 7 rights. Based on the information available to the Minister, this limit is not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. It is arbitrary regardless of which test for arbitrariness is used because it undermines the very purposes of the CDSA — the protection of health and public safety. It is also grossly disproportionate: during its eight years of operation, Insite has been proven to save lives with no discernable negative impact on the public safety and health objectives of Canada. The effect of denying the services of Insite to the population it serves and the correlative increase in the risk of death and disease to injection drug users is grossly disproportionate to any benefit that Canada might derive from presenting a uniform stance on the possession of narcotics."

- Canada (Attorney General) v. PHS Community Services Society, 2011 SCC 44



Date Posted: September 20, 2011

Some information on Alberta's Distracted Driving Legislation (Bill 16)


Alberta's new Distracted Driving legislation has been in effect since September 1st, 2011.  What follows is information from the Alberta Transportation Department's website, and provides some tips to help people understand how this legislation will work.


Restricts drivers from:
  • using hand-held cell phones
  • texting or e-mailing
  • using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
  • entering information on GPS units
  • reading printed materials in the vehicle
  • writing, printing or sketching, and
  • personal grooming
  • Complements the current driving without due care and attention legislation
  • Applies to all vehicles as defined by the Traffic Safety Act, including bicycles
  • Applies to all roads in both urban and rural areas of the province
  • The fine for this new offence is $172
The most frequently asked question regarding the new law is whether pets are specifically addressed by the law. Here's the answer! In situations where the driver becomes too involved with their pet, police could reasonably argue that the distraction is comparable to the specifically banned activities of reading, writing and grooming and lay a charge.
Also, existing legislation - Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(i) - allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to occupy the front seat of the vehicle such that it interferes with the driver's access to the vehicle controls and the safe operation of the vehicle. Further, Traffic Safety Act 115(2)(j) - allows police to charge a driver who permits anything, including a pet, to cause any obstruction to the driver's clear vision in any direction. We encourage the continued use of these existing provisions.
If a driver violates a new distracted driving provision and an existing provision in the Traffic Safety Act it would be up to the discretion of the officer as to if one or both charges would apply.
For the safety of both pets and road users, it is best if pets are secured in an appropriate pet carrier



Date Posted: August 11, 2011

Edmonton Leaders announce a new strategy to deal with violence in the city


Yesterday, Edmonton's Police Chief, along with the city's Mayor, announced their new strategy to reduce violence, in responce to the alarming number of homocides in recent months.The initiatives outlined by the Police Chief aim to reduce violence by focusing on alcohol and drugs, weapons, distressed communities and social disorders.  The Chief focused on the prevalence of knives in incidents neighborhoods in the city.  The Mayor also spoke about working with community organizations to better attend to the needs of at-risk neighborhoods.  REACH edmonton is one such organization, they are looking to the province to fund a proposed around-the-clock centre in the city core “where people in distress can go to to get the resources they need immediately.”


For more information on the City of Edmonton's new strategy to reduce violence, see Miriam Ibrahim's article in the Edmonton Journal:



Date Posted: August 4, 2011

Review of Alberta Hospital


The Provincial government has ordered an inquiry into the policy and procedures at Alberta Hospital, the provincial in-patient facility that treats and houses mentally ill offenders and individuals who have been found not criminally responsible becasue of having mental disorders (NCRMD) or are unfit to stand trial and pose a significant threat to the public. 


This inquiry is prompted by an increased number of patients at the facility escaping the hospital against medical advice. In the past 9 months one patient every ten days has gone missing from the facility. A number of these patients have been found and safely returned to custody at the hospital, while others, like 44 year old Melissa Ekkelencamp remain at large in the community.


The inquiry will include consultation with health care workers, experts, patients and their family members. Steps have already been taken to increase staffing at the facility and to repair damage to one of the fences around the facility.  Guy Smith, President of the AB Union of Provincial Employees advocates for a wider review that would consider not only the workings of the Alberta Hospital, but a review that would consider the entire support system for patients with mentla health problems both in-patient and community based.


Dr. David Swann, Liberal leader places responsibility for problems like this on the Conservative government whome he states haven't adequately funded staffing for psychiatric patients both in in-patient facitility as well as in out-patient community services.


This inquiry will look into incidents that have occured province wide over the last three years, and recommendations are expected to be provided this fall. The cheif operating officer of Alberta Health Services, Chris Mazurkewich, says "if there are any improvements to be made, we will make them."


Date Posted: July 26, 2011

Supreme court rules against Alberta Metis family


A provincial law that does not allow registered Metis in Alberta to also hold status under the federal Indian Act was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. The court reversed the Court of Appeal's decision and ruled that the two sections of the Metis Settlement Act (MSA) do not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This case was brought forward by a family living outside of Edmonton that had registered as status Indians to obtain medical benefits offered under the Indian Act, but wanted to maintain membership on the Metis settlement, which provides land allocation rights. The family challenged the MSA, claiming that it violed their rights to equality under section 15 of the Charter. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the province's law is protected under section 15(2) of the Charter, which outlines cases where affirmative action programs may be applied to disadvantaged people in Canada.  Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin ruled that the purpose of the MSA is to "enhance Metis identity, culture and self-governance by creating a land base for Metis. The exclusion of status Indians from membership in the new Metis land base serves and advances this object and hence is protected by section 15(2)."


Check out Mariam Ibrahim's article:



Date Posted: July 14, 2011

Talking about proposed amendments to the Youth Criminal Justice Act


Anna Mehler Paperny wrote a very interesting and thought provocing article titled "Young criminals in Canada victims of federal legislation", that appeared in the July 17 addition of The Globe and Mail.  The article examined Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), and the changes the current government is planning to implement with Bill C-4.


The current YCJA-  in effect since 2002, aimed to send youth to prison only as a last resort.  This was based on an understanding that extra-judicial measures, built around alternative sentencing and rehabilitation, are the most effective way to address youth crime.  Paperny's article captures the story of a young man who was incarcerated as a youth, and describes his time in jail as 'criminal university.'  This is a real life example of findings that young, still developing brains are more susceptible to the influence of fellow offenders, such that they may learn from other's stories of criminal activities, and try to do the same.  Such a finding would give weight to the argument that keeping youth out of jail to the greatest extent possible, would be better not only for the youth, but for society as well.


The flipside of this finding, is that young brains are also more receptive to rehabilitation than adult offenders, and it is for this reason that the current YCJA makes custodial sentences the last resort, only given out if the youth has committed an indictable offences and has serveral findings of guilt, or under aggravating circumstances.


Given the findings of studies of youth incarceration as well as the fact that many US states are also moving away from youth incarcerationand towards rehabilitation, it is surprising that the current government is moving to put more youth in jail, under the slogan of making communities safer.  Bill C-4 would make more crimes elegible for pre-trial custody - including people accused of serious proerty crimes, would include in the definition of 'violent crimes' recless behavior endangering public safety- thus making youth convicted of such crimes susceptible to jail time, and establish detterence and denunciation as sentencing principles for youth (these principles had been removed under the current act, with rehabilitation as the central principle.)


Voices in favor of Bill C-4 speak of the importance of fighting crime to create safer communities, and stress the need to separare violent and repeat young offenders.  While these goals are necessary and appropriate, perhaps they may be better served by taking into account the real life evidence and forces at play, rather than putting into effect law that, while on the surface seem 'tough on crime,' may in effect generate more of it.


How do you feel about Bill C-4?  For more information on the bill check out:

Or, check out Anna Mehler Paperny's article at:


Let us know what you think, and we can post your comment on our website:



Date Posted: July 14, 2011

Call for Independent Children's Advocate


When children in the province's care die there is currently an internal review.  Critics of this system like NDP MLA Rachel Notley feel the current system is " an exercise in policital communication," and feel it provides "very little insight into the degree to which we're actually getting meaningful investigation into the systemic problems that could be improved."

These concerned Canadians are calling for an independant, arms-length Children's Advocate who would be able to conduct external independant reviews of the deaths  and injuries that occur while children are in provincial care. They believe this would provide better accountablity and foster greater public confidence in the child welfare system. They also feel this would enable children to truely be advocated for, as under the current system they feel true advocacy is impossible as the children's advocate is still in a subordinate role to the Minister of Children and Youth Services. 



Date Posted: July 13, 2011

Police fight vehicle theft on the north-side


To combat car theft, the City police are running a series of crime prevention sessions on the north side.  Today and tomorrow between 4pm and 8pm, cops will be in the parking lots at Rosslyn Sobeys, Beaumaris Sobeys, and Giant Tiger to install tamper-resistant screws on licence plates and to give the public tips on preventing auto theft.  


Sgt. Kim Clark says that while theft from vehicles, theft of vehicles, and mischief to vehicles are issues across Edmonton during the summer, it is particularly a problem on the north side.  It is also becoming an issue in residential areas.


Clark warns people to always roll up their windows (all the way even if it is hot outside), keep valuables out of sight, and remember to lock your doors.  These are often crimes of opportunity, so even if you are only running in to your home for 5 minutes, you should make sure to lock your doors.  You could also consider buying an anti-theft steering wheel lock like The Club.  You should also note or engrave the serial number of expensive items that you carried in your vehicle so they will be easier to recover if they are stolen.


If you see suspicious activity, you can call the police at 780-423-4567.


See "Police fight north-side vehicle theft: Cops holding workshops today and tomorrow" by Kevin Maimann in the Edmonton Examiner.



Date Posted: July 8, 2011

New knife laws a possible way to curb homocides and knife related violence


Edmonton's Mayor and Police Chief met Thursday to discuss the City's climbing homocide rate.  The prospect of introducing bylaws to better control knives was considered as a possible method to deal with the prevalence of knife-related violence.  New knife laws are one stratedy beeing looked at, but for the short-term, police have developed a strategy to deal with homocides that involves education, prevention, intelligence, and enforcement.

Edmonton has a recorded 28 homocides this year, the highest in the country.


Check out "Knife rules examined to help fight homocide rate" by Julianna Cummins at



Date Posted: July 7, 2011

City Council unanimously approved motion to increase LRT and bus misconduct fines


Edmonton Transit pushed for the increase to discourage tomfoolery and to keep people from riding without paying.  Failing to pay for exact fare, begging or soliciting, acts of vandalism, and putting your feet on a seat will all result in a fine of $250.  The new pricing structure takes effect August 1.


"Naughty riders face steeper fines" by Michelle Thompson:



Date Posted: July 6, 2011

Reforms Introduced for GLBT Individuals seeking refugee status


A new plan is being put in place to speed up the refugee process for lesbian, gay, bisexual,  transgender, and other claimants seeking refugee status on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

This new plan is part of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act that came into place in June 2011. The new plan introduces an interview process that is to take place within 15 days of the asylum claim and which replaces a writen form that could previously be submitted within 28 days of the asylum claim. Claims will now be processed and go to trail within 90 days of a claim being made as opposed to the past when claims took up to 18 months to go to trail.


Interviewers and adjudicators will be given sensititivity training and factors to look for in assessing a claim. These claims are hard to determine and often come down to the credibility of the claimant and the evidence (for example a letter from a Pride Center supporting the claim).


Some immigration lawyers express concern that this process will undermine the quality of the decisions made by the Immigration and Refugee Board. There is also concern that the ability of claimants to adequately prove their case and seek appropriate council will be compromised as the new timeline will proceed whether or not the claimant has council. Other lawyers feel that claimants from countries where there is well  established persecution of GLBT people will benefit from the new plan, as will successful claimants who will be able to move on with their lives in Canada at a much faster pace.



Date Posted: June 30, 2011

Supreme Court of Canada to to hear argument that the Criminal Code definition of "terrorist activity" is unconstitutional


The first person ever charged under Canada's anti-terrorism laws, Momin Khawaja, a software developer, has launched an appeal to the SCC.  He was convicted of 5 terrorism charges and sentenced to 10 1/2 years, however, the Ontario Court of Appeal later increased his sentence to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. The Ontario Court of Appeal rejected the defence's argument that the Criminal Code definition of "terrorist activity" is unconstitutional.  


Two other men wanted in the United States on terrorism charges were also granted the application for leave to appeal by the SCC.


They are also arguing that the definition of terrorist activity is unconstitutional because the definition required the terrorist conduct to be performed for political, religious, or ideological reasons, which they claim infringes the Charter right to express political opinions and religious beliefs.


"Supreme Court to hear appeal of convicted terrorist Momin Khawaja": 



Date Posted: June 29, 2011

ETS pushes for bylaw fine increases


Next week city council will hear a motion from Edmonton Transit Services (ETS) to increase bylaw fines associated with the following types of transit misconduct:

  • tickets for failing to pay exact fare for your transit ride would increase from $110 to $250
  • tickets for begging, soliciting, or vandalism in transit stations or on the buses and trains would increase from $50 to $250 (this would include ticketing such acts as placing your feet on a chair.)

City Councilor Gibbons claims these increases will result in a "safer transit ride for everyone." Do you agree with this councilor's statement? Do you think transit related tickets should increase? Contact City Council this week and let them know your opinion.



Date Posted: June 27, 2011

Somali-Canaian Community fights back


Edmonton’s Somali-Canadian community are planning to help this community by mentoring at-risk youth in an effort to reduce the homicide rate this community is currently experiencing. The Canadian Somali Congress is also encouraging Somali-Canadians to become foster parents to children from the community who are currently in the governments care. The Congress will also be creating a poster campaign aimed at having community members report crimes to the police when they happen.


Hussen, a member of the Somali-Canadian Community said the community wants "to destroy an unfair message that exists out there in the public that says the Canadian-Somali community is not working with the public, or the police.”  Mahamad Accord, president of the Alberta Somali Community Centre, told the police commissioner that he should hire more people from within the community to deal with the murders, and that he should force homicide Det. Bill Clark to publicly apologize for controversial remarks he made about the homicide rate facing the Somali-Canadian community in Edmonton.

Hussen said plans are also in the works by leaders within the Canadian-Somali community to create a poster campaign to urge members to report crimes to police when it happens.


A total of 13 Somali-Canadians have been killed in Edmonton since 2006. Check out the article: "Somalis plan to end violence" by Jeff Cummings.



Date Posted: June 24, 2011


Integrated Domestic Violence Court Opens in Toronto


A specialized court in Toronto has been formed to hear overlapping family and criminal law matters involving domestic violence.  This is a pilot project  introduced to address situations where the same parties and the same situation would appear in two separate courts in front of two separated judges.  Advocates say that the advantage to an integrated court, where one judge will preside over both matters, is that the judge will have access to all relevant information.  By having the whole picture, the judge can make more effective and attainable decisions and orders.  In the case of separate courts, often times bail orders or other criminal law orders may interfere with access or custody orders on the family law side.  The hope with the integrated court is to create a more holistic  approach.


Critics say that this type of court may cause delays with issues that must be dealt with quickly.


Edmonton does not currently have an integrated domestic violence court.  However, there are specialized procedures for first appearance and trials on the criminal side of domestice violence issues, involving specialized police, prosecuters, and support for victims.  There are no specialized judges for Edmonton's domestic violence court.


Check out the article : "Domestic violence court opens" in Law Times at

Also check out information on the Integrated Domestic Violence Court from the Ontraio Court:



Date Posted: June 21, 2011

'National pane;' struck to improve aboriginal education


The federal government and Assembly of First Nations have created an advisory panel to find ways to improve education for aboriginal students and keep them in school longer. Only 41% of students on reserves graduate from high school while the average for students in the rest of the country is 77%. The panel will hold roundtable sessions, visit First Nation schools and meet with various groups such as First Nation leaders, parents, students, elders and teachers to gather input on reforming elementary and secondary education on reserves. The panel will submit its report by the end of the year and will look into various options including legislation in order to "finally deliver sustainable, stable and equitable education enabling our students to succeed." 



Date Posted: June 20, 2011

Alberta pilot project introduced to help ease the transition for Aboriginal families and individuals moving to Edmonton


The Alberta government has launched a three-year pilot project that offers culturally-appropriate services to Aboriginal families and individuals who move to Edmonton from other communities, or have been recently released from corrections.  The project is part of the Safe Communities Innovation Fund, and aims to

encourage newcomers to pursue positive, crime-free lifestyles.  The project was announced in conjunction with Aboriginal History and Culture Month which runs throughout June in Alberta.  National Aboriginal Day is celebrated annually on June 21.

Check out "Alberta Government Marks National Aboriginal Day with Pilot Project Announcement" at



Date Posted: June 17, 2011

Downtown police officers to recieve special training to deal with public intoxication


Police officers who serve Edmonton's downtown core are being trained to better deal with intoxicated and violent individuals.  Officers will receive training focused on issues that often surround public intoxication downtown, including addiction, mental health, and homelessness.  The goal of the approach is to connect these individuals with public supports.  However, a barrier to this goal is that Edmonton does not currently have a facility to house these individuals- leaving prison cells as the only option. 


Check out "Police get training to deal with plic drunkeness" by Jeff Cummings in the Edmonton Sun.


Date Posted: June 16, 2011

Helping homeless people struggling with addiction get help


George Spady Centre, Boyle Street Community Services and Streetworks have joined together to help homeless people struggling with addiction get help.  A team of three support workers will hit the streets daily to offer a number of services to the homeless.  The team will build relationships with the homeless, and help them connect with things like substance treatment programs.  

By working closely with other programs, the team ensures a wide range of supports are available to clients.  

Although the programs official launch was Wednesday, the Mobile Outreach Addiction Team (MOAT) was created last fall.  Team leader Geoffrey Villebrun said he has already started to see change.


Check out the Edmonton Sun article "Helping the homeless with their addictions" by Michelle Thompson.



Date Posted: June 15, 2011


1 in 10 canadians are considered low income according to Statistics Canada.

According to this study the number of low-income earners in Alberta increased from 6% in 2008 to 10% in 2009, and this increase has remained static since.

Seniors appear to fair the best in terms of poverty rates, and the rates of low-income single mothers have shown slight but steady improvements since 2002. There is no clear reason for these improvements but some analysts point to government programs and benefits for children, an increased number of women joining the workforce, and increased enforcement of child support payment. 



Date Posted: June 14, 2011

City may expand smoking bylaw


On Monday the Community Services Committee considered a report to phase out smoking in Edmonton outdoor spaces that children visit such as parks, playgrounds, sports fields, festivals and outdoor pools. Action on Smoking & Health suggests that the city council phase in the smoking ban over three years starting with spaces used primarily by children, then public places, and finally parks and trails. More than 50 Canadian cities have banned smoking in shared outdoor spaces. The report has asked that city staff report back in two months with recommendations on how this ban can be implemented.


Check out the Edmonton Sun Article: "City may expand smoking bylaw" by Allison Salz



Date Posted: June 9, 2011

Alberta has the nation's highest rents


The average monthly rent in alberta for a two-bedroom was $1029, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s spring rental market survey.  As migrants return to Alberta for work, the housing demand is going up.  This means that the rent is unlikely to come down and landlords are less likely to give incentives to attract prospective renters (such as a month's free rent).  

The Canadian average rent for a two-bedroom was $864.  


Check out the Edmonton Journal Article: "Alberta boasts nation's highest rents" by Bill Mah.



Date Posted: June 8, 2011

Cold Lake First Nation Protest plans to turn sacred land into an RV Park  ~ sign petition to show support here!
 Alberta Gorvernment plans to build a campground/RV park on the north side of Cold Lake, over a  sacred site on the traditional territory of the Dene Suline. This site has tremendous historical and spiritual significance for the Dene Suline people. This land has been used as a burial sight, for berry picking, and for catching and drying fish among other sprititual activities and cultural practices.  On May 6th, 2011 members of Dene Suline  erected a peace camp to stop further destruction of this land, protest the construction of the RV park, and to continue to practice their spiritual, cultural and treaty rights. 
Last month the Dene Suline people went to court and were granted an injunction to stop the provinces work, however, they were also ordered to take down their camp.  some members have refused to do and risk being forcefully removed from the site or arrested. Last Friday, the province went to court seeking an order to force the remaining protesters out, and  the government is now waiting for that court ruling to be issued.


The Dene Suline people at the peace camp are calling for activist supporters and observers from Edmonton and other AB communities to join them at the camp in solidarity. If you are interested in going to the camp and live in the edmonton area contact Mike Hudema at for more information. 

 Please feel free to contact the following ministers to promote action and support the Dene Suline people in this struggle:
1.Minister of tourism and parks- Cindy Ady: 403-256-8969. email
2.Minister if Aboriginal affairs - Len Webber 403-288-4453. email


Date Posted: June 7, 2011

Edmonton Mall Draws Attention to Domestic Violence


City Centre mall has paired up with the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters to host the White Out Domestic Violence campaign. Throughout June there will be various events to raise awareness and help victims find resources and access services. The following are dates for the events.

  • Throughout June: White Space - Talk to counselors about domestic violence and experts on health and beauty, and drop off gently used clothing for Alberta's Women's Shelters (located in lower level)
  • June 6th @ 9am: Doing the White Thing - Learn about the cause at a Media Conference, Informational Q&A (located at lower level)
  • June 13 @ noon: White of Way - Be part of a Human Chain through the downtown mall pedways (located at retail bridge over 101 ST)
  • June 23 @ 8pm: White Night - Cocktail party/fashion show featuring local designers showcasing dresses incorporating white ribbons in the design.


Last year, there were 8 domestic homicides in Edmonton. There are approximately 12,000 women and children accessing services at one of the 43 shelters throughout Alberta. The Alberta Council has stated that at least 1 in 4 children in Alberta will witness their mother being abused and 70% of children who witness domestic violence are also physically abused.


Posted by Brandi



Date Posted: June 6, 2011

City's 25th Homicide: Cause for Concern?


Sgt. Tony Simioni, president of the Edmonton Police Association, agrees that while most of the year's murders have alcohol, drug and "lifestyle" links, a lack of police staffing should be cause for concern.  Since officers are retiring and new recruits are hard to attract, Edmonton has the second-lowest police-to-people ratio behind PEI.  So while the number of homicides in the city may not cause most people concern, the ratio of police officers to people should.


Check out the Edmonton Metro Article: "Police pushed to the limit" by Shelley Williamson.


Date Posted: June 3, 2011

Edmonton Drug Treatment and Community Restoration Court marks 50th graduate.


This week the Edmonton Drug Treatment and Community Restoration Court (EDTCRC) celebrated the graduation of its 50th successful participant.  This program started in 2005 to deal with offenders whose crimes are linked to drug addiction.  The program aims to reduce recidivism by reducing drug dependancy and therefore getting at the root cause of criminal behavior.  Successful completion of the program requires dedication and commitmentment by participants to detox, treament programs, weekly court appearances, and other programing such as education, counselling, life skills, and building future support networks.  Depending on the nautre of the offences committed, a successful participant will either have their charges dropped, or serve a non-custodial sentence in the community.  30 people are currently in the program, twleve are on the waiting list.


Check out the Edmonton Journal Article: "Special Edmonton drug court celebrates with its 50th graduate" by Jana G. Pruden.

Or, Check out the EDTCRC website at



Date Posted: June 1, 2011 

Graffiti Artists Watch Out!


The City of Edmonton Police Department are upping the ante on enforcing graffiti related laws, and trying to catch graffiti artists and taggers in the city. Graffiti artists who are caught and prosecuted can face criminal charges for mischief and hefty fines.  Neighbourhoods being audited and targeted in this 'clean up' initiative include: Strathcona, Garneau, Downtown, Boyle Street, and Westmount. 




Date Posted: May 31, 2011

Alberta police chiefs call for pay-first gas pumps


To address the issue of growing gas theft, the Alberta Association of Police Chiefs wants the province to require pay-first pumps at gas stations across the province.  Pre-paid gas pumps are already manditory in urban areas of BC. Gas station worker safety is a major reason for looking to implement these gas pumps. In Toronto, a gas station worker was run over and killed during a gas theft a few weeks ago. The BC government introduced the law requiring gas stations in BC to use the pre-pay system after a gas station worker was hit by a car and killed after trying to stop a person from stealing $12 worth of gas. Many gas stations such as Petro-Canada and Shell have credit card and debit capabilities at the pump, making the pre-pay system more convenient than having to go in and pay the attendant. However, for those who want to pay cash or go to gas stations at small independant stations, a trip inside may become necessary. A spokesperson for the government stated that they have no immediate plans to implement laws requiring pre paid gas pumps.


Posted by Brandi:



Date Posted: May 27, 2011

Supreme Court rules no consent in unconscious sex case


The Supreme Court of Canada's decision in R. v. J.A. came out today.  The Court ruled that consent does not extend to advance consent to sexual acts committed while the complainant is unconscious.  Basically, this means that any sexual activity with someone who is unconscious is sexual assault.



Date Posted: May 26, 2011


Edmonton to lose more than 200 teaching positions

Provincial budget cuts are going to cost nearly 250 jobs in Edmonton public schools, including 229 full-time teaching posistions and 86 full-time special needs assistant positions in the next year. On average, one teacher will be lost for every public school in Edmonton. In Alberta, the Alberta Teachers' Association predicts 1000 teaching jobs will be eliminated. Close to 130 special needs assistants, most of whom work part-time could be affected by the 86 full-time equivalent positions. These cuts will lead to young and new teachers losing their jobs, and recent graduates will be pushed lower down on the totem pole. The Alberta Teachers' Association is calling for the province to increase funding for education by $100 million to prevent the more than 1000 teacher layoffs coming. In contrast, the province has announced 35 new or replacement schools to be built in Alberta before 2020.

Posted by Brandi:



Date Posted: May 25, 2011


The Canadian Centre for Child Protection has re-launched its website  

"Each year, more than 50,000 children are reported missing in Canada," Harper said. "Our government is taking decisive action and working closely with groups, such as the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, to safeguard the most vulnerable and innocent members of our society - our children." RCMP statistics show nearly 75% of missing children cases concern repeat runaways. Girls are more likely to run away than boys, and both genders are prone to take off between the ages of 14 and 15. There are about 50 reports of "stranger abductions" in Canada every year, the statistics show.


Posted by Rhyannon:



Date Posted: May 20, 2011


B.C. bans anonymity for sperm and egg donors.  The B.C. Supreme Court has rules unconstitutional legislation that denies donor offspring the right to information on their biological parents.   Under B.C.'s adoption legislation and regulations, adopted children are given access to this information.  The Court found that not allowing donor children the same right was discriminatory.  The Court found that donor children's rights to information pertaining to their health superceeded the rights of donors to remain annonymous.

Posted by Shayne:  See the Globe and Mail article "Landmark ruling ends sperm and egg donor anonymity in B.C.", by Sunny Dhillon



Date Posted: May 19, 2011


About one in three girls (average age 12) and one of six boys (average age 4) have been sexually abused.  These numbers come from a study conducted in the 1980s and there has not been a comprehensive study in Canada since.  Studies have shown long-term consequences of childhood sexual experiences with adults can include deliberate self-harm, depression, prostitution, poor self-esteem, anxiety, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction.  While there are places for offenders to go to get "rehabilitated" there are few places for children who have been sexually assaulted. 


That is about to change.  Little Warriors announced its plans for a facility for those abused as children.  The Be Brave Ranch would offer a 30-day program for kids that would include play therapy, art, equine therapy and other activities, as well as staff psychologists and eye movement desensitizing and reprocessing (EMDR).  It would also offer a separate 30-day program for adults.


A fall campaign is planned to raise funds and find land for the facility.  For more information or to get involved, visit


Posted by Sierra:  See original article "Little Warriors announces plans for facility for those abused by children" by Kevin Malmann on the Edmonton

Examiner website:



Date Posted: May 18, 2011


Following the devestating forest fires in the area of slave lake, and due to continuing windy conditions and high risk of forest fires, a province wide fire ban is now in place. Urban Municipalities, First Nations Reservations and Federal Lands without fire control agreements are exempt. 


The ban prohibits the use of all wood, briquette, propane, and natural gas fires. It includes fires contained in designated fire facitilies and portable fire pits. Gas and propane cooking stoves are allowed.


People can be charged under the Forest and Prairie Protection Act and could face a fine of up to $5,000. In addition, if a fire is started, the responsible person can be held responsible for the costs associated with fighting the fire, with no maximum limit.


Posted by Rhyannon



Date Posted: May 17, 2011


Edmonton women plan first "Slut Walk" to highlight issues of responsibility on June 4th. The first "Slut Walk" held in Toronto sparked by a police officer's comments where he said that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized." On the Facebook site, more than 1,500 people have planned to attend Edmonton's version of this walk to protest the blaming of victims based on their clothing. The walk will run from the Legislature to City Hall.


Last year 298 cases were assigned to the Edmonton Police Sexual Assault unit but about 9 of every 10 sexual assaults go unreported.  In recent years, awareness campaigns have focused on offenders rather than victims, such as the "Don't Be That Guy" campaign which focuses on men who prey on intoxicated women. Police and experts say that as society's view on sexual assault has been shifting from blaming the victim to preventing the attack, more victims have been coming forward to report these crimes. 


Posted by Brandi



Date Posted:  May 16, 2011


SLS participates in the 6th annual Homeless Connect.  SLS volunteers had a wonderful time providing legal information at Homeless Connect this past Sunday.  Homeless Connect is a community event bringing together agencies, businesses and volunteers to the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton,  to provide a range of services which can help homeless people.    This event runs a couple times a year, and it is always amazing to see so many people being connected to such amazing service providers.  Servies provided include mental health assessments, dentistry, addictions, housing, taxes, employment, and foot care.  This year, our table was right accross from the hairdressing service, and it was great to see so many people walk away with a stylish new 'do. 


Homeless Connect exposes the reality that homelessness is a pervasive issue in Edmonton, and that as a community we can help to alleviate the burdens that indivudals and families are living with.   Homeless Connect is an expression of the movement to end homelessness for good in Edmonton and the initiative is part of the overall strategy to end homelessness, as detailed in Edmonton's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.  For more information, visit Homeless Connect's website:


Posted by Shayne.



Date Posted:  May 13, 2011


Prisoner charged with second degree murder at Edmonton Remand Centre.  A 60 year old man was found dead Thursday in a basement unit of the Edmonton Remand Centre.  A 25 year old man, who shared his cell has been charged with second degree murder.  Workers had been voicing concerns about staffing levels in the unit where the incident happened.  This unit ws used as a holding area for people before and after their court appearances, and sometimes when the remaining units were overcrowded or unavailable.  The Remand Centre holds men and women prior to the completion of their trial, and is currently holding tripple the number of inmates the building was designed to hold. 


Posted by Shayne:  See original article "Police charge prisoner after death at Edmonton Remand Centre" by Brett Wittmeier on the Edmonton Journal website:



Date Posted: May 12, 2011


City revisits the anti-idling bylaw.  Most of us do not want think about running to our vehicle in the middle of winter, scraping ice from our windshield, and sitting miserably in our freezing cold vehicle while it slowly warms up enough to make the treacherous trip to and from work, especially with the promise of summer right around the corner.  However, City administrators are taking this time to urge council to move ahead with a proposal that would penalize excessive idlers with a $250 fine.  A similar proposal was struck down in 2009.  

The by-law focuses on motor vehiclists who idle in parking lots, and around hospitals and schools.  Excessive idling is more than 3 minutes.  It would only apply when the weather is above -10 C, although you can exceed those 3 minutes if you are using that time to clear frost from your windows.  

One issue the proposed by-law raises is how is it going to be enforced.  The by-law relies on dutiful citizens.  If you see someone excessively idling you can call the city and have them send someone out to issue a ticket.  


Posted by: Sierra.  See original article "EXpressions: It's just idle chatter" by Kevin Maimann on the Edmonton Examiner website: