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Proposed Rules Under the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020: Impact on Community Legal Clinics

Source: SLAW: Canada’s Online Magazine (May 4, 2021)

In July 2020, the Ontario Legislative Assembly enacted new legislation governing the provision of legal aid in the province, Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 (“2020 Act”). The legislation does not come into force until … new rules have been finalized [by] the board of Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) … governing the provision of legal aid. The proposed rules are currently available for comment on Legal Aid Ontario’s website.

In this article, Patricia Hughs comments on the new rules and their relationship to the 2020 Act as they apply to community legal clinics.

“Community legal clinics have made a distinctive contribution to poverty law in Ontario that risks being undermined by the proposed LAO rules at a time when the need for expert, community-centred work has become even more indispensable.”

[Disclosure: I’m a member of the Friends of the Community Legal Clinics, established in 2011. The Friends is a volunteer group of individuals who have had different relationships with community clinics and access to justice over some thirty years. I express my own views here, however, and do not purport to represent the views of the Friends.]

Patricia ughsPatricia Hughes is the Founding Executive Director of the Law Commission of Ontario. She was the Executive Director from September 15, 2007 until her retirement from the LCO in December 2015.

Dr. Hughes served as a vice-chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board and as alternate chair of the Ontario Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal. She supervised the LCO’s projects, including the project on vulnerable workers and precarious work, and has spoken and written on labour-related issues. Her academic career spans more than thirty-five years and she has taught at various Canadian universities. Dr. Hughes currently serves on the Board of the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice and sits on the Friends of the Community Legal Clinics.