TORONTO, March 12, 2015 /CNW/ - Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is providing funding to Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto (ALST) for four additional Gladue report writers. ALST, a leader in Gladue services, will receive $467,376.00 to expand its Gladue report writing program to:
- Sault Ste. Marie
- North Bay
Gladue reports highlight the systemic factors that may have brought an Aboriginal person before the court. Some of the factors include impacts of residential school, child welfare involvement, dislocation, substance abuse and discrimination. The reports also provide information about community-based rehabilitation that may be culturally appropriate. Each report is unique, as it reflects an Aboriginal person's life experience.
ALST's Gladue writers prepare reports for First Nation, Métis and Inuit accused at the request of defence counsel, Crown attorneys or judges at the sentencing stage of criminal matters. Based on the content of the report, the judge considers all alternatives to incarceration including restorative justice programs, youth intervention programs, substance abuse treatment or counselling sessions with elders. This allows judges to formulate sentences that focus on healing and helping offenders within their community, while addressing the over-incarceration of Aboriginal people in Ontario.
"This new investment will help to serve Aboriginal clients better. Improving access to Gladue services is an important aspect of Legal Aid Ontario's Aboriginal Justice Strategy."
Legal Aid Ontario Chair
"We're very pleased that this funding from LAO will allow us to provide Gladue reports in Sudbury, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay. We know the need for this service is there, because we have heard this from judges, lawyers and Aboriginal accused persons themselves. The funding fills a big gap in the provision of Gladue services in Ontario."
Program Director at Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto
- ALST's reports are written for Aboriginal accused pleading guilty or found guilty of an offence who risk a jail sentence of 90 days or more.
- LAO currently exclusively funds ALST Gladue report writers in Ottawa, Barrie-Orillia, Peterborough-Lindsay, and St. Catharine's-Welland-Niagara Falls. LAO and the Ministry of the Attorney General jointly fund ALST Gladue report writers in Toronto and Hamilton-Brantford. There are also government funded ALST Gladue report writers in Kitchener-Waterloo and Sarnia.
SOURCE Legal Aid Ontario
For further information: QUESTIONS: Jonathan Rudin, Program Director, Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto, Phone: 416-408-3967, ext. 226, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; MEDIA REQUESTS: Geneviève Oger, Bilingual Senior Communications Media Relations Officer, Mobile: 416-768-4461, Email: email@example.com; For other questions or communications requests: Patti Vipond, Communications Advisor, Legal Aid Ontario, Phone: 416-979-2352 x 6013, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org