Executive Director, People, Culture & Communications, Legal Aid Alberta
Laurie Wang was born in a refugee camp in Thailand in 1983, shortly after her parents fled the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The family was accepted into Canada as refugees three years later, settling in Calgary.
She remembers her father telling her that institutions, including the justice system, police and government, couldn’t be trusted, that the deck was stacked against people like them. So when Wang discovered that, in Canada, people have constitutionally protected rights to a fair trial, and that that can mean publicly funded legal representation, she was blown away. “It’s not just for the rich,” she says. “Everyone has the right to justice, to a fair trial, a right to access.”
Now, Wang supports that aspect of Canada’s justice system as the executive director of people, culture & communications for Legal Aid Alberta. “I’m able to work with some of the greatest lawyers in the province.” she says. “But for me, joining Legal Aid was really about strengthening democracy.”
Perhaps her proudest work moment was helping launch the first National Duty Counsel Day last year. It was proclaimed at the Senate of Canada and recognizes legal aid lawyers’ public service to Canadians, which they provide about 1.2 million times a year. “It’s amazing work,” she says. “More people just need to know about it.”