Calgary lawyers launch free hotline to help with COVID-19
By Resolve Legal Group
By Resolve Legal Group
Albertans with legal problems due to COVID-19 are being offered a free resource to get them out of difficulties and on the right track – a free lawyer from Resolve Legal.
“People have legal problems and we have answers. We wanted to put those two things together and ease the burden for a lot of really stressed people during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Cyndy Morin, principal at the Calgary-based firm. “It’s an emotionally charged time, and many people have had their resources stretched to the breaking point. They are in desperate need of legal help.”
With Legal Aid in hiatus due to the crisis, through word-of-mouth communication, the Legal Hotline has been inundated with calls in its first week. Morin noted: “These are unprecedented times of crisis, and we wanted to respond by doing something unprecedented to help and show our community that lawyers do care.”
Calls for help have come from employers who have to lay off employees and don’t know their obligations in this crisis; from working parents without childcare who have paid in advance for services; from isolated seniors who have no personal directive should they need medical help, and from distraught brides who have to cancel wedding plans. Even domestic abuse rises during a crisis.
“Our 22 staff from senior lawyers to the front office got together to brainstorm ideas on how best to help and respond.” Spurred on by a city that’s known nationally and even globally for giving back, “it was a no-brainer,” said Morin. “If local Calgary brewers can retool their lines to make hand-sanitizer, we can re-organize and use our skills to provide free interim legal help.”
The firm’s free telephone line 1-844-446-6622 is manned 24/7 by lawyers on rotating shifts. “Some of the stories coming in are heartbreaking. We want to provide some relief by having a real person, a trustworthy person, on the end of the phone line,” she says. The service aims to help anyone in need – but particularly those who have been laid off or are in dire financial circumstances. The lawyers also have information on government benefits and how to apply. Meanwhile, staff are constantly updating an online newsletter with Frequently Asked Hotline Questions.
Morin stresses that the lawyers will provide legal information – not advice – and that it will be free from conflicts of interest. With that, they hope to offer a measure of goodwill that helps ease the burden on families.
“It’s a stressful time for all of us. It’s an uncertain time. I am indebted to this city which has given so much to me and to all of us fortunate to have planted ourselves here. Thank you to all of you for making Calgary a great city. It’s time for those of us who can to step up and give back.”