TORONTO, July 11, 2013 /CNW/ - The Association of Legal Aid Plans of
Canada (ALAP) is pleased to announce that the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) will be partnering with one of ALAP's member plans, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), which is piloting a training program set to begin later this
"ALAP is increasingly concerned that Canadians with mental illness
disproportionally appear in criminal courts, struggle with homelessness
and income stability, and are at a greater risk in family breakdown
situations," says Bob Ward, Chair of ALAP.
The MHCC will be working with LAO to train legal aid personnel to
identify the signs of mental illness, to understand the stigma attached
to mental health, and develop better responses to serving the legal
needs of Canadians with mental health issues. This pilot training
program is the first such collaboration between the MHCC and a major
legal services provider.
"Effective justice matters to ALAP," says Robert Penney, Chief Operating
Officer of New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission. "Legal aid is
essential to individuals, families and children and essential to the
integrity of the justice system as a whole."
The mental health focus is one aspect of access to justice for
Canadians. Dr. Melina Buckley, Chair of the Access to Justice
Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, says, "Not only does
investment in Legal Aid make good financial sense, it is as essential
to the hardware of our justice system as are our courthouses."
The mental health training program will begin with LAO later this year,
followed by roll-out to other legal aid plans.
The Association of Legal Aid Plans (ALAP) is an umbrella group
representing each of the provincial and territorial legal aid plans. It
promotes the essential role carried out by legal aid plans in the
access to justice dialogue.
SOURCE: Legal Aid Ontario
For further information:
Phone: (416) 979-2352 ext. 4782