Achieving Digital Equity project

Legal Aid BC's Achieving Digital Equity (ADE) research project is documenting the barriers to accessing digital legal resources faced by many people across BC. The study explores digital issues and challenges, how many are affected, and what can be done to ensure people can access the legal help they need, even if they can’t go online.

The components of the ADE study include: a review of literature on digital equity and access to justice; a population survey of BC residents; surveys and focus groups with community workers, Elders, and service providers; and interviews exploring digital legal resource user journeys. The study runs from September 2020 to September 2021.

Reports from these activities are posted below.


Province-wide Survey of BC Residents

Consultant: Sentis Group
June 2021

Province-wide Survey of BC Residents Cover

LABC commissioned Sentis to conduct a province-wide quantitative survey of BC residents. Mailed to households in March 2021, the survey asked about:

  • technology access and use,
  • barriers to internet use,
  • confidence and comfort with searching for legal resources online, and
  • impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

ADE Survey of Lower Income BC Residents


Literature Review: Digital Equity in Access to Justice

Consultant: Kate M. Murray
May 2021

Literature Review Cover

The ADE project conducted a review of literature on the barriers to access and use of digital technologies broadly, with a focus on digital legal resources. Three broad questions guided this review:

  • What are the intersecting barriers to accessing and using legal help online?
  • Who is affected, how, and at what points?
  • What are promising approaches to increasing digital equity in BC's public legal sector?

ADE Literature Review - Summary Report
ADE Literature Review - Full Report


In progressDigital Equity and Digital Legal Resources: Workers' Perspectives

Consultant: Kate M. Murray
Focus groups: Adam Fraser; Jai Djwa (Agentic Digital Media)
Report expected: October 2021

We wanted to hear the important perspectives of outreach and intake staff, community workers, Elders, and service providers who work with clients who may face barriers to accessing digital legal resources. In these parts of the study, we:

  • surveyed diverse community workers, Elders, and service providers to hear about the issues and barriers emerging in their work,
  • tracked LABC staff and partners' referrals to digital legal resources, and
  • held focus groups to provide training on selected LABC digital legal tools, and hear how to improve access to digital legal resources and legal help.

In progressSeeking Legal Help Online: User Journey Interviews

Consultant: Agentic Digital Media
Report expected: October 2021

In this part of the study, Agentic Digital Media conducted experiential interviews with residents across BC to learn about their digital resource user journeys. During the interviews, we asked about:

  • approaches to seeking legal help
  • whether or not digital legal resources are easy to find, and easy to use, and
  • what could be improved.

In progressAchieving Digital Equity in Access to Justice: Project Synthesis Report

Consultant: Kate M. Murray
Report expected: October 2021

The project's final report will synthesize key themes, insights, and implications that have emerged through all project components.

Acknowledgements

Legal Aid BC gratefully acknowledges the support of the Legal Services Society/Law Foundation Legal Research Fund which is funding the Achieving Digital Equity Project


Report type
Public Legal Education and Information