Stories from Grantees of the Law Foundation Of Nova Scotia 


Here at the A2J& Law Reform Institute we have been busy travelling around the province undertaking consultations on our Parentage Act project, presenting on the family and civil justice systems, and even updating lawyers on recent family law amendments. We provided research support on such diverse issues as trusted intermediaries, community land trusts, parental alienation, participation of the child in family law proceedings and online dispute resolution.

“Without support from the Law Foundation the Access to Justice and Law Reform Institute of Nova Scotia would not have been able to expand its work program to undertake not only the law reform program, but also the access to justice program, as well. Allowing us to transition our work program has helped to ensure that our research and reports remain responsive to the needs of Nova Scotians.”

Check out our A2J Directory for Nova Scotia!

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The outreach worker continues to support her clients helping them to navigate and understand the various supports available to women and their children. The Nova Scotia Law Foundation’s generous funding allowed the rural outreach support worker who runs the Justice Matters for Women Program to provide support to many marginalized women and to assist them with legal matters, to provide advice in finding full-time employment, to help in the application processes for subsidies for heat funds and to navigate many government programs. She also continues to provide her clients with much needed emotional support and provides resources available as they may pertain to mental health and well-being. The Justice Matters for Women Program is an invaluable service to many.

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Avalon greatly appreciates the support of the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia. Many thanks to the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia for investing in Avalon’s programs for survivors!

“The community legal support worker is here to help people navigate incredibly complex systems around sexualized violence by providing information, practical support, accompaniment, and a safe space to discuss experiences and challenges navigating the legal system. In the future, I hope this program continues to grow in order to provide more all-encompassing support for people who have experienced sexualized violence navigating complex, intersecting systems.”

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Coverdale provides court support, community bail services, programming and supportive housing to hundreds of vulnerable women and gender diverse folks in the community each year. At Coverdale, we stand with our community as we collectively navigate multiple crises at the intersections of justice, housing, and health. Coverdale continues to expand services and advance our expertise in serving criminalized, victimized, and incarcerated folks with harm reduction, trauma responsive and restorative approaches. In the last year, we have provided a bail release and support plan and supportive housing with wrap around supports to 39 women. Our court support worker has walked alongside 85 women as they navigate the criminal and family courts, and our support staff have provided thousands of hours of intensive services to over 220 people who turned to us for help. We’re grateful to all of our funders for supporting our mission and making this work possible.

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The Dalhousie Black Law Students’ Association (“DLBSA”) is part of a larger network of Black law students across Canada and it falls under the umbrella organisation of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada. There are now just about as many chapters of this national body as there are Canadian law schools. The DBLSA is among the largest chapters, with over 40 registered members at this time. Every year, the different chapters have the opportunity to gather at the annual National Conference. This conference takes place in a different Canadian city each year. This year, the National Conference took place in the DBLSA’s home city of Halifax, whereas last year it was held in Vancouver.

Effectively, our mission can be organised around three themes: The DBLSA is committed to supporting Black law students at the Schulich School of Law academically, professionally, and socially; enhancing the culture at the Schulich School of Law; and contributing to bridging the gap between local Black communities and the legal community.

Attendance at the National Conference is a key part of the DBLSA’s yearly activities as The National Conference presents an opportunity to meet each part of this mission. In attending the conference, our members can broaden their professional networks, by interacting with both students and practitioners from across the country. They have the opportunity to attend panels on unique topics, such as law and technology, or legal entrepreneurship, and engage with
specialists in relevant areas. The conference also brings in distinguished speakers from the Black community, who share their experience and wisdom. 

The Law Foundation of Nova Scotia’s support of the DBLSA’s attendance at the National Conference has a direct positive impact on our members’ professional paths and their well-being in the legal profession. For this, I would like to extend a thank you to the Nova Scotia Law Foundation, on behalf of our membership, and I hope that we can continue this fruitful relationship into the future.

“I am grateful for the incredible experience I had at the 32nd Black Law Students’ Association of Canada’s Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As a law student at Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, I was proud to see the conference showcase the legacy of African Scotians, an integral part of Canada’s legal history.” – Donna Mbamy-Conci, 2nd year student & VP of DBLSA

For more information go to Dalhousie Black Law Students Association on Twitter: @DBLSA_DAL | Instagram: @dblsa | Facebook: DBLSA2020


Residential Tenancy Work – Bluenose Case

Dalhousie Legal Aid Service is proud of the work we do for tenants in Nova Scotia. We had the pleasure of assisting tenant Brandy McGuire win her case against Bluenose Inn and Suites, where it was found that the landlord had failed to comply with the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act. Brandy was awarded $13, 662.15 in compensation. On the landmark win for tenants, Community Legal Worker, Katie Brousseau, commented, “Owners and developers of large properties in Halifax, like the owners of the Bluenose Inn and Suites, have a responsibility to follow the law and when they don’t, they should understand that there are legislated penalties.

For more information: Landlord loses Bluenose Inn and Suites renoviction case in small claims (

We are also grateful for the support of the Nova Scotia Law Foundation, who supports our work in the community.

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Funding by the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia in 2022-2023 supported The East Coast Environmental Law’s core programs and enabled ECE Law to provide educational resources and direct support to individuals, community groups, and organizations in Nova Scotia who asked for help navigating Nova Scotia’s complex system of environmental laws. We are thankful to have funding that builds capacity and enhances access to justice for Nova Scotians who need our support to prevent or redress environmental harms.

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The East Coast Prison Justice Society (ECPJS) received a grant of $48,654 in 2020-2021 from the project stream of the LFNS for a volunteer human rights monitoring initiative in Nova Scotia provincial jails. The project was in part for a “visiting committee” VC to visit persons incarcerated in the jails. Subsequently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when face to face interaction was no longer allowed, the project was delayed and the Law Foundation Board made a special exception to carry over the funding into 2021-2022-2023 rather than to require the surplus to be returned, which is the normal procedure.

The ECPJS reports that in a span of approximately 3 years, the ECPJS VC Project has brought forward human rights-related interests of persons incarcerated in Nova Scotia jails. The Visiting Committee project has for the past 3 years liaised with people incarcerated in provincial correctional facilities and provincial correctional and health authorities on conditions of confinement in provincial jails. The work of the Visiting Committee has made extraordinary contributions to one of the most pressing legal and social justice issues arising in our province — the need for transparency and accountability of correctional authority. Failure to subject correctional authority to independent oversight imperils the fundamental human rights of Nova Scotia’s most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities.

As related in their July 2021 annual report they say that while certain public bodies (The NS Ombudsman and NS Human Rights Commission) have been given special statutory powers with respect to communications with prisoners the ECPJS feels they have not used those power to advance correctional accountability in a manner that is transparent to prisoners or the general public. They cite that lack of correctional system accountability raised concerns on the part of the NS Auditor General in 2018 and concerns have only grown during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic period as provincial jails have been effectively sealed off from public scrutiny.

ECPJS’s mandate is to improve the system and they have stepped in as volunteers to assert the legitimacy and effectiveness of civil society oversight. They have developed a number of initiatives toward that end.

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Our goal at The Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton is to enhance public awareness and education regarding the circumstances of marginalized, victimized, and criminalized women involved in the social and criminal justice systems and to help those women in their difficult circumstances. We are grateful for the support provided by the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia which allows for work we might, otherwise, not be able to do.

“Funding from the Law Foundation has provided the Elizabeth Fry Society of Cape Breton the financial stability to assist criminalized women island-wide in specialized courts, and to offer a wide range of services and outreach making a positive impact on the lives of so many marginalized individuals.”

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The Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia has three core priorities: 1) housing, 2) programming, and 3) prison law advocacy, navigation and triage.

Thanks to funding from the Nova Scotia Law Foundation, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia (EFMNS) is able to provide legal advocacy and support to women and gender-diverse individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system. Last year, the Law Foundation’s support allowed us to assist our clients in navigating a range of legal challenges, including police complaints, peace bonds, parole and bail release planning, court proceedings, and more. We were even able to offer limited scope representation to some clients on novel matters such as the enforceability of contracts pertaining to sexual services. In collaboration with community partners and lawyers, we ensured that our clients received wrap-around and interdisciplinary support. Our legal team also oversaw two pro bono projects through the Schulich School of Law. Without the Law Foundation’s support, none of this would have been possible.

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The Law Foundation of Nova Scotia continues to be EPIC’s largest and longest source of support to promote internalized social adaptation and academic advancement by high-risk youth. This has enabled EPIC to slowly expand the Youth Peer Program to five different Cape Breton communities with referrals from 25+ different schools and 12 community agencies. Throughout the school year, EPIC now matches 116 marginalized youth 1-to-1 with secondary / post-secondary tutor- mentor volunteers.

Youth Peer in Sydney operates daily transporting kids from most Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education (CBVRCE) schools, including under-served rural communities 40 minutes away. EPIC provides weekly Youth Peer programs in Whitney Pier, Northside, New Waterford, and Glace Bay. The EPIC program is transformative for youth participants and deeply gratifying for youth volunteers.

In response to increasing post-pandemic requests for Youth Peer services, EPIC, in November 2022, partnered with Boys & Girls Club and SchoolsPlus to deliver Youth Peer Sackville 5 hours away. By April 2023, plans are also to deliver Youth Peer in rural Iona one hour away. Youth Peer continues to prioritize partner referrals of the most marginalized youth with the result that 95% have been assessed as socially and academically at high risk, 75% live in poverty, and Youth Peer is twice as culturally diverse as in the service area.

A Grade 7 youth had been suspended from school on multiple occasions in the year before starting Youth Peer. In his first 3 months attending Youth Peer, “CC” continued the pattern of provoking conflict with other youth and being disrespectful towards staff. Youth Peer assigned 2 tutors to reign in his loud abrasiveness and instigation of conflict. In one session, his behaviour was so disruptive that he was asked to leave the program early and take a one-week break before returning. However, the staff followed up and strongly encouraged him to return. When he came back after his one-week timeout, he began behaving differently. Now, after several weeks back, “CC” is compliant with staff, interacting with youth and staff more respectfully, and only requires one tutor. His trajectory changed when Youth Peer called out his unacceptable behaviour but refused to give up on him and made him feel welcome to be back.

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In July 2022 The Halifax Refugee Clinic currently had 188 active client files for a total of 281 people. There were 12 files undergoing intake and assessment to be onboarded as clients. Since January 2022, they were contacted by 64 people who completed full intake (some of whom went on to become active clients, some of whom were not financially eligible after assessment and referred on, and some of whom, then decided against making a refugee claim.) Also, there were 37 overseas dependents and 39 Canadian children of active clients (who were not counted in the active client number above).

Of the active client files, there were three pending applications for Leave and Judicial Review at the Federal court, nine Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications (4 submitted, 5 still to be submitted), nine “other”: Danger Opinions, Cessation file, RPD Re-openings, TRPs (for domestic violence and to overcome inadmissibility), three Health care workers permanent residence pathway applications still pending PR, twelve PRRAs (including 3 “enhanced” PRRAS with mandatory interview), seven Refugee Appeal Division appeals, twenty-two refugee claims for 26 people that were in the process of being submitted or pre-eligibility stage, forty-eight files for 72 people waiting for hearing (not counting the above ref claims at eligibility stage or to be submitted imminently), seventy-one applications for permanent residence for protected persons in Canada in progress for 124 people (in Canada) plus 7 overseas dependents waiting to be reunited, and, with regard to Detention work there were four detention review hearings attended and completed (as counsel or as DR, in the case of mental health complexities).

Examples of active client files presenting complexities which require additional care and expertise are as follows: Allegations of 1fa exclusion in 3 cases, Allegations of 1fb exclusion in 3 cases (potentially more to come when screening takes place prior to RPD hearing), Ministerial interventions for identity in 2 cases, Criminality intersection in 10 cases, Serious mental health intersections in 11 cases, Claims based on SOGIE in 14 cases, Claims based directly on family violence in 10 cases (for 18 people), Claims intersecting with possible statelessness issues in 4 cases (for 8 people), and, Claims with multiple source countries of persecution/1E exclusion issues in 8 files (for 24 people).

Countries of origin of the July 2022 HRC clients* were: Afghanistan (1), Albania (3), Algeria (1), Angola (1), Argentina (3), Bahamas (14), Bahrain (3), Bangladesh (4), Cameroon (5), Chad (1), Chile (4), China, including Hong Kong (3), Colombia (16), Congo (2), Cuba (4), Dominican Republic (4), DRC (7), Egypt (3), Ethiopia (16), Gambia (4), Guinea (1), Guyana (1), Honduras (4), India (6), Iran (6), Iraq (7), Jamaica (3), Japan (1), Jordan (5), Kenya (4), Kosovo (4), Lebanon (11), Liberia (1), Libya (8), Mali (1), Mexico (12), Mongolia (1), Morocco (2), Nepal (4), Nigeria (37), Pakistan (6), Palestine (10), Russia (3), Rwanda (11), Saudi Arabia (9), Sierra Leone (1), South Korea (3), Sri Lanka (1), St. Vincent (1), Sudan (2), Syria (4), Turkey (1), Uganda (2), Venezuela (1), Yemen (2), Zambia (1), and Zimbabwe (3).   * Some clients are dual nationals or may hold residency in other countries but in this listing the primary country of persecution for the person is listed.

Much of the valuable work of the Halifax Refugee Clinic is made possible through generous project funding from the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia.

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INDIGENOUS BLACKS AND MI’KMAQ INITIATIVE (I B & M)                                                      

The Indigenous Blacks and Mi’kmaq (IB&M) Initiative is designed to increase the representation of Indigenous Blacks & Mi’kmaq people in the legal profession. The IB&M Initiative continues to work to increase the representation of indigenous black and Mi’kmaq individuals in the legal profession through education at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.

The (IB&M) Initiative is grateful for the generous grant support provided by the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia. The Initiative is located at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. With the support of the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia, the IB&M Initiative was able to continue to provide the supports and resources that help Black and Indigenous students thrive while at law school. Some of the supports IB&M Initiative students have access to are no-cost Tutoring, Peer Support, Elder-in-Residence, Culturally Responsive Counselling, Black and Indigenous Mentorship, Networking and Cultural Events, Career Development opportunities, and a dedicated IB&M student and study space.

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The Kings County Senior Safety Society Program appreciates grant funding from the Law Foundation in order to help seniors avoid crime, improve their safety and understand legal issues as they affect seniors.

Kings County Seniors’ Safety Society leads a province wide initiative to create awareness of seniors’ vulnerabilities and needs in society. This year has seen major changes as long time Coordinator Michelle Parker has taken a LOA to pursue an opportunity to support the local Homeless Shelter Open Arm’s as they expand their space and program. The new coordinator Trishe Colman has brought new energy to the program and is renewing KCSSS programs while continuing to keep a focus on the safety and security needs of Kings County Seniors, including programs such as education about how to avoid being a victim of fraud.

March was Fraud Prevention Month. In 2022/23 the KCSSS Program also completed the Seniors Rural Connection Project which provided video presentations for seniors on safety and security. This included work to prepare tool kits (videos and written resources) to be distributed to 21 communities and to be supported by trained Community Champions.

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At LOVE, youth who have experienced violence are trained to become educators about the root causes, effects & alternatives to violent behavior. Dennis Adams, Executive Director, Leave Out Violence (LOVE)

What the youth like about the LOVE program:

    • “At LOVE, I can be honest with myself, and I love hearing how other people around me think.”
    • “My favourite part is the people, the group is like family to me. It’s a very supportive environment.”
    • “LOVE is a safe place that feels like a family.”

In terms of news, LOVE has started a new program in North Preston and has staff dedicated to outreach in North and East Dartmouth in this 2022-2023 program year. In the Succeed and Proceed program, youth who have graduated from our Leadership and Outreach and are now building their own careers are in this program. They regularly return and volunteer as guest speakers to youth who are a little younger than them as a visual representation that yes, it is possible to overcome serious challenges and live without violence.

Support from the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia has been highly valuable to LOVE Nova Scotia’s programs with 24/7 on-call support. We are thankful for the Foundation’s ongoing belief in our work.

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The Legal Information Society has accomplished a great deal this past year to improve access to justice for Nova Scotians and also impacted national best practices. This work is only possible due to the support received from the Nova Scotia Law Foundation. We are so appreciative of their continued support and recognition of the services and tools that are provided through LISNS.

In 2022-23 we are proud to have been able to produce many new publications that aim to provide inclusive, accessible, and sustainable legal information and learning experiences. The Employer Best Practices Toolkit and Training aims to help employers address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Many organizations have provided this resource to their membership and clientele, including Cape Breton Partnerships, IGNITE Business Hub, Halifax Chamber of Commerce, My Momentum Strategies, and more.

This has been a year of ongoing collaboration and partnership to deliver access to justice to the public and across workplaces and education centres through our large and diverse network of stakeholders. LISNS has partnered with AJFENE to translate the Sexual Harassment in the Workplace training materials and resources, increasing their value and reach and providing the Acadian/ Francophone community with valuable resources to help shape and strengthen work environments to be safer and more inclusive.

LISNS responded to strong demand locally, provincially, and nationally, by continuing to provide the Moving Beyond the Binary Workshop, A Guide for Employers to Creating Inclusive Workplaces, based on the materials in the previously published Moving Beyond the Binary Guide. We have successfully delivered this workshop to 650+ people throughout Canada. Thank you to Shila LeBlanc and Restorative Approaches for continuing this important work in collaboration with LISNS.

We are delighted that Acadia University, in partnership with the Legal Information Society, is the first university in Nova Scotia to implement the Moving Beyond the Binary (MBB) policy template in the form of our Workplace Gender Diversity Inclusion Policy. In addition to the 650+ attendance, Acadia has delivered the workshop to various departments, including the Safety and Security team (15 people), frontline staff and librarians at our university library (approximately 20 people), staff in Student Services (approximately 50 people), administrative assistants across the university (approximately 25 people), Human Resources team (14 people), and staff and student volunteers at the Athletics Complex (12 people). This resulted in concrete changes to the way that various departments navigate forms, language use, collecting info, onboarding, or other relevant interactions with diverse staff and students. The Equity Office also hosted the MBB book club over the summer of 2022 with about 20 people registered (students and faculty members).

In addition to MBB, we have also released Let Me Be Me: a Guide to Canada’s Conversion Therapy* Ban. This series of resources aims to educate on the impacts of conversion therapy* and the new legislation banning conversion therapy practices. This guide provides insightful information, and survivor stories, communicating the detrimental impacts of exclusionary communities.

LISNS is also empowering youth through increasing access to legal information by reaching youth through their choice of communication through the launch of the youth Legal Information Texting Service. Available for those who are 25 and under, the Youth Legal Info Texting Service provides youth with an accessible platform to receive legal information quickly. A helpful tool in service providers’ toolkits, the Texting Service has been praised as a valuable service that will empower youth in their own advocacy. We are very pleased to be working in collaboration with Nova Scotia Legal Aid and the IWK Health Centre on this work.

The Law Foundation grant funding helps LISNS to continue to be well positioned to help Nova Scotians at an early point with their legal issues and to avoid expensive costly and stressful legal processes that often result in greater cost to individuals, society, and Government.

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With funding from the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia, Mainline is working to provide support for individuals who are involved with the criminal and civil justice system, to provide access to legal information and education and help individuals to make informed decisions about their legal issues. In partnership with Direction 180’s PALS program, we offer peer support at the courthouse every Monday, as well as working with clients every day at our main office and on outreach. We support individuals to improve their well-being, e.g., to secure safe and affordable housing, income assistance and/or addiction treatment, and to achieve success in the community and reduce recidivism.

As one example, with funding received from the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia for the “Community Based Legal Support & Education Project”, project staff supported and helped a client receive a conditional sentence due to his involvement in Mainline’s peer navigator project. This client had spent multiple years incarcerated, and has a long outstanding involvement with police, justice and the courts. And, Mainline moved as of March 1, 2022 to their new address which is 5367 Cogswell Street, Halifax – a great move!

We are so grateful for the support from the Law Foundation which allows us to provide much-needed assistance and advocacy for so many individuals who have lived or living experience of drug use as well as involvement with the civil and criminal justice systems. Most of the people we support face numerous barriers to accessing supportive services, accurate information, and critical referrals. In addition, our staff are able to provide information, support and encouragement in a comfortable and non-judgmental manner, ensuring that the support provided meets the needs of the clients we serve. The project continues to meet its intended goals: to increase knowledge and life skills; to provide access to legal information and education; to provide a continuity of care and support for individuals who are involved with the criminal and civil justice system; to help individuals to make informed decisions about their legal issues; to make lifestyle choices leading to improved well-being; to provide support for clients to secure safe and affordable housing, income assistance and/or addiction treatment; to provide support for individuals to achieve success in the community and reduce recidivism.

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PRO BONO DALHOUSIE                                                           

Pro Bono Dalhousie has benefitted from the generous support of the Law Foundation for nearly two decades. Their support has directly increased access to justice in Nova Scotia and provided generations of law students the opportunity to have hands-on learning experience, while directly contributing to the local community. The direct support of the Law Foundation facilitates access to justice through these community partnerships. This year alone, with the support of the Law Foundation, Pro Bono Dalhousie has been able to place over 145 students with over 32 organizations across Nova Scotia. The projects touch on nearly every aspect of the law including, animal rights, international human rights, prisoner rights, environmental law, family law, immigration and refugee law and Indigenous law. The programs also cover nearly every aspect of legal practice, from advocacy, research, client relationships, to legal community education.

As we begin to prepare for our 23rd year as an active organization, we cannot help but feel immensely grateful to the Law Foundation for their generosity and look forward to many more years of partnership.

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reachAbility is an organization dedicated to equalizing the playing field for people facing barriers. We sincerely thank the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia for this grant, which helps to equalize the playing field for all Nova Scotians in the legal system. With this funding we are able to assist vulnerable individuals and marginalized populations with access to justice and legal education across the province. We have been able to establish partnerships with Pro Bono Dalhousie and Halifax Public Libraries where first- and second-year law students help individuals with Plain Language Form Filling at clinics, located at Alderney Gate Public Library and Halifax North Memorial Public Library. We continue to reach out for volunteer lawyers across Nova Scotia for help with our Legal Referral Service, where we are able to connect a client in need for a one-hour legal consultation. We plan to continue our mission to help those in need with access to justice and are lucky to be so generously funded through the Law Foundation of Nova Scotia.

We also have videos for our Legal Referral Service and the Plain Language Form Filling Clinics available on our YouTube channel at the following links:

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Stepping Stone’s “Tipping the Scales” program is funded by the Law Foundation and the key person providing the services is Linda Grandy who celebrated 20 years with the program in 2021. “Tipping the Scales” provides current and former sex workers who have come into contact with the Criminal Justice System with direct support and assistance, including a legal navigation service.

In 2020 a pandemic hit and seemed to have slowed everyone down, except Linda Grandy! Linda quickly figured out how she was going to continue to provide support to Stepping Stone clients. With the pandemic shutdown, the court dockets from across Nova Scotia were emailed to Linda Grandy first thing each morning. She would review the docket and make sure all the Stepping Stone clients were accurately documented and represented. Now that restrictions have been lifted, Linda continues to apply the same care and attention to detail as she always has to help her clients. Linda supports the clients by filling out their applications for legal aid and by setting up their phone appointments, ensuring that the clients receive proper legal services and representation. With Linda and her program “Tipping the Scales”, Stepping Stone increases access to justice in Nova Scotia. Thank you to the Law Foundation for funding such programs and to the tireless work of dedicated persons such as Linda Grandy,

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