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Hoping Ontario’s new Attorney General does the right thing

“Today we are in the midst of writing a new chapter in the history of legal aid in Ontario — a system that has served as a much-emulated model of the world, with the legal clinics having played a central role of its success. A system that is now under attack, with deliberate misinformation about its lack of efficiency as the justification for its obliteration.”

Read the full article here: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2019/07/02/hoping-the-new-attorney-general-does-the-right-thing.html

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The Star Editorial Board calls on the Ontario’s new Attorney General to reverse the cuts to legal aid.

“Ontario has a new attorney general, Doug Downey, who is no doubt facing a massive to-do list. But before he starts on any new projects, Downey should revisit a decision made in April by his predecessor, Caroline Mulroney, to slash the province’s legal aid budget by 30 per cent. At the time, Mulroney claimed the move would ensure “lower-income Ontarians continue to have access to the justice that they need.”

That didn’t make sense then, and it doesn’t make sense now.”

Read the full article here: https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2019/06/23/ontarios-new-attorney-general-should-reverse-cuts-to-legal-aid.html

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Community Legal Clinics worried about their future after provincial cuts to the budgets of the local clinic and clinics province-wide

“The Northwest Community Legal Clinic’s executive director is worried about its future after provincial cuts to the budgets of the local clinic and clinics province-wide have affected its ability to provide legal services. Community legal clinics provide civil law services for low-income Ontarians, funded mostly by Legal Aid Ontario, which saw $133 million slashed from its budget earlier this year.

The funding cuts will affect the clinic’s ability to serve clients.”

Read the full article here: https://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/news/local-news/local-legal-clinics-worry-for-future-after-funding-cuts

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Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice says legal aid essential to fair justice system

Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Richard Wagner says legal aid is “essential” to ensuring the justice system is fair and efficient for all.

His remarks come as Ontario Premier Doug Ford is facing sharp criticism for slashing funding for legal aid by 30 per cent. This year’s provincial budget cut Legal Aid Ontario by $133 million and said the organization could no longer use provincial funds for refugee and immigration cases.

… he stressed the importance of governments adequately funding programs to ensure access to legal representation for the most vulnerable people. “I think legal aid is essential to the justice system, to make sure that the justice system is strong and fair,” he said. “It’s also a smart investment.””

Read the full article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-chief-justice-wagner-1.5182657

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Statement on Cuts to Community Legal Clinics

The Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario (ACLCO) condemns the cuts in community legal clinic services to the province’s poorest and most vulnerable people, flowing from the Ontario government’s spring budget. The April 11th provincial budget announced a 30% decrease in legal aid funding. Today, Legal Aid Ontario implemented the cuts to the clinic system.

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Cuts are a short-sighted misstep

Cuts are an unconscionable attack on the province’s most vulnerable.

“The recent decision of the Ford government to drastically cut Legal Aid Ontario’s funding is not only an unconscionable attack on the province’s most vulnerable, but even more reprehensible when it is considered that the Progressive Conservatives have used the cover of refugees and immigrants as a shield from any blowback.” (May 8, 2019, Manitoulin Expositor)

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Stop the Cuts: Access to Justice for All

The provincial government has cut funding to Legal Aid Ontario by 35%, which will result in a massive funding cut to Community Legal Clinics. This will directly impact front-line services and our ability to serve Ontario’s most vulnerable people. 

You can make a difference – learn how here. #Justice4All

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2018 Annual Report on Community Legal Clinics

The ACLCO is pleased to share its Annual Report, “Together Making the Equal Rights Dream a Reality” showcasing the fine work done in our community legal clinics to advance access to justice for all.  Click here to view.

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2019 Annual General Meeting & Conference

The ACLCO will be hosting its 22nd Annual General Meeting and Conference in Toronto on April 26-27, 2019.  The 2019 AGM theme is Surviving and Thriving in Challenging Times, focusing on ensuring that clinics thrive as they defend the rights of their communities and ensure access to justice for the most disadvantaged. 

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Submissions to the LSO

From time to time, the ACLCO assists clinics in exercising their collective voice by developing systemic positions. The Law Society of Ontario recently held consultations and called for submissions on two issues of Governance and on Lawyer Licensing.  The ACLCO submitted a submission on each issue on behalf of the clinic system.  You can access […]

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