LAO boosts annual funding to legal aid clinics

TORONTO, July 29, 2015 /CNW/ - Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is investing an additional $1.5 million in community legal aid clinics with the fewest resources per low-income person in the 2015/16 fiscal year. This annual funding will be added to the clinics' base funding. This support is on top of the additional $2.4 million in funding LAO provided for the 2014/15 fiscal year, as announced in March 2015.

This injection of $3.9 million will allow community legal clinics to hire more staff, expand existing services, or launch new services that support clients. This new investment is part of LAO's strategy to expand financial eligibility and clinic law services for low-income Ontarians. It also meets the provincial government's multi-year commitment to increase access to legal aid.

LAO calculated clinic allocations by determining funding per low-income person in a clinic's service area, using Statistics Canada's Low Income Measure data from 2012 and LAO funding and population data.

Go to a chart for details on new funding for community legal clinics.

QUOTES

"In times of need, community legal clinics are a valuable option for low-income Ontarians in search of legal advice and representation. I'm proud to support this initiative, which is providing an important boost to those clinics that can use it the most. I'm grateful to those community clinics and LAO, who are doing such good work at the local level."

Madeleine Meilleur
Attorney General of Ontario

"Thanks to the Ontario government's move to increase access to legal aid, Legal Aid Ontario can invest in new services for low-income people. Ontario's clinics are the foundation of poverty law in this province and we are committed to helping them meet the needs of their communities."

John McCamus
Chair Legal Aid Ontario

"Ontario's community legal clinics, and the communities they serve, welcome this investment of additional funding.  We applaud the provincial government for its ongoing commitment to improving access to justice, and we look forward to working with Legal Aid Ontario on expanding the availability of community legal services across the province."

Lenny Abramowicz
Executive Director Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario

QUICK FACTS

  • Legal Aid Ontario funds 76 community legal clinics that offer legal help with issues like housing and income security.

  • This initiative follows the Ontario government's multi-year commitment to increase access to legal aid.

  • The Ontario government increased LAO funding by 9 per cent, or $31.5 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

  • LAO will have increased its investment in clinic services by $10 million per year by the end of 2015/16, to a total of $80 million.

  • The additional clinic funding LAO announced in March 2015 will lead to significantly more services for Ontarians. General service clinics are set to increase staff lawyers, paralegals and community legal workers by 30 per cent. Ethno-linguistic clinics will increase their staff by 30 per cent, allowing them to provide services to a larger geographical area. Specialty clinics will be able to increase their staffing by 15 per cent.

LEARN MORE

SOURCE Legal Aid Ontario

For further information: QUESTIONS: Genevieve Oger, Bilingual Senior Communications Media Relations Officer, Legal Aid Ontario, Tel: (416) 979-2352 ext. 5208, Cell: (416) 768-4461, Email: ogerg@lao.on.ca or media@lao.on.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.legalaid.on.ca

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