More – not fewer – Ontarians are receiving Legal Aid representation
Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers, represented by their union the Society of United Professionals, put the lie to Premier Doug Ford’s excuse for making cruel Legal Aid cuts at a Queen’s Park news conference on April 25, 2019.
Watch the full news conference:
Citing the Ontario Auditor General and Legal Aid Ontario's publicly disclosed statistics, the Society of United Professionals released research that shows a 23% increase in Legal Aid certificates issued from 2013-14 to 2017-18, the most recent year on record. Additionally, Legal Aid Ontario Duty Counsel has increased its representation numbers by 2.1% over that time.
Community Legal Clinics, which are funded through Legal Aid Ontario, also saw major increases in usage. However, in 2017-18, LAO switched the reporting system for clinics to go from showing the four major category of services provided to low-income Ontarians to just one category so a direct comparison is considered apples-to-oranges.
The Society was joined at its April 25 news conference by three other representatives from the legal aid community, who spoke about the impact of the Ford government's cuts on their clients:
- Ivana Petricone, Policy Counsel, Association of Community Legal Aid Clinics
- Ontario Association of Child Protection Lawyers Vice President, Katharina Janczaruk
- Raoul Boulakia, Executive Member, Refugee Lawyers Association
Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers Local spokesperson Dana Fisher (pictured below) spoke on behalf of the Society while Secretary-Treasurer Michelle Johnston also attended.
Technical Briefing Material
The Society distributed a briefing package to media to demonstrate how Premier Ford and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney have misled Ontario when they claimed there had been a 10% decrease in client services provided by Legal Aid.
The news conference was covered by the Toronto Star, CTV News, Queen's Park Briefing and Global Television. The most detailed reporting comes from the Globe and Mail: Lawyers’ union says Premier Ford’s numbers on Legal Aid Ontario are misleading