About the Project

Research Team: Heather Heavin, Michaela Keet, Brent Cotter, Janelle Anderson.

CREATE Justice is spearheading a data inventory and evaluation research project focused on justice sector actors and organizations involved in resolving everyday legal problems in Saskatchewan. The purpose of the research is to understand the data collection practices of justice sector actors, the type of data that is being collected, and how data is being used to inform service delivery and justice system improvements. The research will provide a descriptive inventory of the state of data collection, analysis, and use for the Saskatchewan justice sector and identify common trends, issues, gaps, and opportunities for improvement. 

Phase 2: Legal Needs Assessment

About the Project

Research Team: Heather Heavin, Brea Lowenberger, Elaine Selensky.

Scanning the Scans: The Initial Steps Towards Saskatchewan’s First Legal Needs Survey

Starting in May of 2019, CREATE Justice took the first steps in turning the discussions of a legal needs assessment for Saskatchewan into reality. The first task was to learn as much as possible about the tools to achieve this, specifically, legal needs surveys. It started with an in-depth reading of the OECD Guide: Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice so as to understand what exactly legal needs surveys are and how they can be implemented.

Through reading this document, it became clear that there was a number of initial questions that would need to be answered before the actual development of the survey could begin. At that point, a scan of already existing surveys that had been done around the world was commensed. The scan included 22 surveys from 18 jurisdictions which yielded information regarding objectives, methodology, and categories.

This research sparked discussions which led to the identification of a need to understand what research on legal needs in Saskatchewan currently existed. A deeper look was done into the latest Canada-wide survey which demonstrated that Saskatchewan made up an insignificant percentage of respondents, making the data not particularly useful at informing policy decisions.

Discussions with access to justice stakeholders revealed that many organizations (like government, pro bono groups, legal education groups, and courts) were collecting relating to their own access to justice initiatives but that no broad scope data existed. Combining the information gained from the legal needs scan and taking stock of the current research and data collection in Saskatchewan led to the decision that a legal needs survey is the best tool to gain the full picture of the legal needs of Saskatchewan residents.

Currently, the survey has moved into the development stage, which includes designing questions, considering methodology, and engaging survey and data collection partners.

Find more information about the results of the initial scan of surveys.

Find more information about what a legal needs survey is and how it will impact Saskatchewan. This document was presented at the a bi-annual access to justice stakeholder meeting in June 2019.