TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's Legal Aid lawyers are staging a
rally today at Legal Aid Ontario's Head Office on the day of their
board meeting. The rally will take place at 1 pm at the agency's corporate offices at
40 Dundas St. West, Toronto.
Legal Aid lawyers are increasingly frustrated that their employer, Legal
Aid Ontario (LAO), a government agency, is unwilling to even meet with
them to discuss securing collective bargaining rights. The lawyers
first requested a meeting with CEO Bob Ward almost six months ago.
"We believe Mr. Ward's inaction is discriminatory," said Jillian Rogin,
a Legal Aid Lawyer. "More than two-thirds of Legal Aid lawyers are
women, and we are the most racially diverse group of public sector
lawyers in the province. 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 representatives of the Ontario
Nurses' Association, the Ontario Provincial Fire Fighters Association
and other labour and community groups who will deliver a loud message
to CEO Bob Ward that the lawyers do not stand alone in an effort to end
discrimination at Legal Aid Ontario.
"I can't understand how the CEO of a government agency thinks it is
acceptable to discriminate against women-dominant groups of employees
by denying them the same rights that male-dominant groups already
enjoy," said Nancy Hutchison, secretary-treasurer of the Ontario
Federation of Labour (OFL) and the executive responsible for women's
Over 80 percent of Legal Aid lawyers have voted in writing to enter into
a collective bargaining agreement with LAO yet CEO Bob Ward continues
to ignore their requests. He has also ignored Attorney General John
Gerretsen, who recently expressed his support for Legal Aid lawyers
securing bargaining rights.
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.
SOURCE: Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers' Organizing Campaign
For further information:
Katrina Miller 647-272-5024 or Bill Fitzpatrick 416-886-3793 www.laolawyers.ca