Society members at the Legal Aid Ontario, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, and Willowdale Community Legal Services Locals are part of the organizing efforts behind the July 30 mobilization against the Ford government’s legal aid cuts. They are encouraging all members to participate in local actions near them across Ontario. Actions are planned for communities from Toronto to Fort Frances. Click here for a full list and to RSVP.
The 30% retroactive cut to Legal Aid Ontario’s budget was announced in the Ford government’s April budget. Some of the cuts took effect immediately, including cutting all provincial funding for immigration and refugee services. Other cuts have come into effect more recently, including a decision to have Society-represented Duty Counsel lawyers take on the vast majority of bail hearings with no additional resources that used to be done by private sector lawyers paid for with Legal Aid certificates. A variety of media outlets have covered this issue, citing the Society’s Legal Aid Ontario Local Vice President Dana Fisher as an authoritative source on the subject. Recent coverage includes:
The cuts will also hit community legal clinics that provide direct support to low-income Ontarians seeking access to justice, including those who need help to stop evictions or get access to entitlements like workers’ compensation (WSIB) or the Ontario Disability Support Program. The Society now has members who work at two community legal clinics, the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and Willowdale Community Legal Services.
Visit www.stoplegalaidcuts.ca to get involved in the July 30 mobilization against legal aid cuts.