Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) Lawyers Joined by OFL Convention Delegates to Demand an End to Discrimination at LAO

TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's Legal Aid lawyers are staging a rally on Wednesday, November 27 at 11:30 am on the steps of Toronto's Old City Hall Courthouse (60 Queen St W.) to demand the government recognize their collective bargaining rights.  Legal Aid lawyers will be joined by delegates from the 1,000-person-strong Ontario Federation of Labour Biennial Convention. This rally will send a loud message to Premier Wynne that the discrimination at Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) must end.

Jillian Rogin, a Legal Aid Lawyer and campaign spokesperson stated that "More than two-thirds of Legal Aid lawyers are women. They are the most racially diverse group of public sector lawyers in the province and they have been denied the right to collectively bargain. All other provincial government lawyers, such as those working for the Ministry of the Attorney General and those employed as Crown Attorneys, enjoy the right to collective bargaining. They are primarily male."

Lawyers will be joined at the rally by over 50 different unions who represent over one million workers in the province of Ontario.

"I can't understand how Premier Wynne can allow Legal Aid Ontario, an agency that is accountable to the government, to discriminate against women-dominant groups of employees by denying them the same rights that male-dominant groups already enjoy," said Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). "The OFL believes that collective bargaining is a constitutional right and Legal Aid lawyers should not be denied a collective voice."

Over 80 percent of Legal Aid lawyers have voted in writing to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with LAO yet CEO Bob Ward has denied this request and is unwilling to end the discrimination.

The LAO lawyers' organizing campaign represents over 200 lawyers from across Ontario who are employed as staff lawyers or duty counsel at Legal Aid Ontario in the Family and Criminal Courts, the Refugee Law Office, and at the Clinic Resource office. LAO lawyers represent some of the most marginalized people in Ontario.

SOURCE: Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers' Organizing Campaign

For further information:

Bill Fitzpatrick 416-886-3793 or Jillian Rogin 647-466-8448

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Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers' Organizing Campaign

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