Legal Aid Ontario invests $3.3 million in 54 provincial legal aid clinics
March 15, 2016
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is investing $3.3 million in funding to expand client services by addressing the unmet needs of low-income Ontarians and vulnerable or specific client groups.
The money will go to 54 legal aid clinics to support collaborations between and among clinics and community organizations.
This $3.3 million investment comes from $10 million in additional funding provided by the Government of Ontario in 2014. LAO announced it would provide clinics this support in July 2015, as part of its clinic financial eligibility expansion for 2015/16. Clinics received the initial allocation of $6.7M in July 2015.
“Our government’s ongoing investment in the delivery of legal aid services is meant to support initiatives just like this. The work Ontario’s community clinics do is important to the delivery of vital poverty law services throughout the province.”
— Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General of Ontario
“This investment will permanently improve the long-term delivery of legal services to the marginalized communities served by clinics. It represents new and collaborative approaches to meeting unmet needs, and will also help clinics reach and serve more clients, improve access to justice, and build systemic capacity.”
— John McCamus, Chair, Legal Aid Ontario
Ontario’s community clinics welcome this additional investment in legal aid services. This money will allow clinics to provide new legal services to more clients and communities. This will increase access to justice in Ontario while furthering the government’s anti-poverty strategies.”
— Lenny Abramowicz, Executive director, Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario
- All regions of Ontario will receive a portion of this funding.
- Within each region, nearly 60 per cent of all clinics will receive funding.
- The Provincial Fund 2015/16 allocates support for approximately 30 per cent of all specialty and ethno-linguistic clinics, in addition to funding that all 14 specialty clinics and seven ethno-linguistic clinics received in July 2015.
Legal Aid Ontario
Tel.: (416) 979-2352 ext. 5103
Backgrounder for Provincial Fund 2015/16
In its 2014 budget, the Government of Ontario invested $95.7 million over three years to expand financial eligibility across Ontario. Of this funding, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) allocated $4.2 million to expand financial eligibility for community and legal clinics in 2014/15 and $10 million to expand financial eligibility for community and legal clinics for 2015/16.
Clinics will receive this additional $10 million in funding for 2015/16 as follows:
- July 2015 – Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) allocated $6.7 million
- March 2016 – The Provincial Fund 2015/16 allocates the remaining $3.3 million. The chart below summarizes where this $3.3 will go.
|Funding components of Provincial Fund 2015/16
|General service: Supports clinics working together to expand client services at the local, regional and provincial level.
|Specialty clinics: to expand test case work, systemic advocacy, client representation and for new services, potentially including employment law.
|Ethno-linguistic: to help the province’s Francophone and ethno-linguistic clinics improve client services and access to justice
LAO funds 76 community legal clinics throughout the province, and provides appropriate oversight to ensure value for taxpayers and delivery of high quality legal services to Ontario’s communities.
LAO received 79 applications requesting a total of $14.5 million from the Provincial Fund 2015/16. All applications were carefully reviewed and rated using established evaluation criteria.
Funding was allocated to 17 lead clinics, and they will carry out a total of 23 collaborative initiatives. Sixteen of the 23 initiatives will receive permanent funding. The remaining seven will receive funding on a time-limited (one to three years) project basis.
The funded initiatives cover:
- Employment law & Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (including additional resources to help the Income Security Advocacy Centre do systemic work)
- Aboriginal justice initiatives
- Elder law
- French language services
- Immigration law
- Mental health/medical-legal partnerships
- Street-involved youth
- Racialized communities
- Innovative approaches to service delivery using technology.
The allocation process was very competitive, and difficult decisions had to be made. Nonetheless, the Provincial Fund 2015/16 will support 11 out of 15 under-resourced clinics, 36 general service clinics that had not previously received any additional support, and clinics throughout the province, as follows.
||Participating clinics: Total
||Participating clinics: Under-resourced
||Clinics receiving new funding
|Central and East
|General Toronto Area