The Legal Education for Advocates Project

LEAP is a public legal education project of Dalhousie Legal Aid Service (DLAS) aimed at building the legal knowledge and advocacy skills of lay advocates who work with low income Nova Scotians. Through workshops, online information and skills training, lay advocates will learn about the law and about effective ways to help low income Nova Scotians who are facing legal problems.

This project is made possible by the generous support of the Law Foundation of Ontario's Access to Justice Fund.

Legal Information

The educational materials for LEAP are now available online at: www.leapnovascotia.com

What is Poverty Law?

LEAP is going to educate lay advocates in areas of poverty law. Poverty law is the body of laws, regulations, policies and legal decisions that impact the rights of low-income individuals and families. Examples of poverty law issues include welfare rights and tenants' rights.

LEAP will focus on poverty law because there is currently a lack of resources to support Nova Scotians who face poverty law related problems.

There are certain areas of law that are outside of the scope of LEAP. For example, LEAP will not cover family law or criminal law because there are services in the province that address them, such as Nova Scotia Legal Aid, the Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia and Family Law Nova Scotia.

Who is a lay advocate?

A lay advocate is a person without a legal education who speaks or acts on behalf of another person.

Do you advocate for people on issues such as access to income assistance, or tenants rights, or community members who have been denied employment insurance benefits? Do you work in a family resource centre, childcare centre, health care or other community-based centre? If you do this kind of work then you are a lay advocate.

We know from experience at DLAS that there are many such advocates who work hard to protect the rights of people in their communities despite limited legal resources or training.

Offering Workshops

Workshops are an important part of LEAP. Starting in April of 2014 we will be travelling throughout the province putting on training sessions for lay advocates.

To learn more please visit our About the Workshops page.

To sign up please visit our Register for a Workshop page.

Offering Legal Information

We have already prepared a number of workshops and presentations on poverty law topics as part of LEAP. We are going to make this information public by converting it to a web-friendly format and making it available on our site. This information will be available by the time the workshops begin in April 2014.