Statement from Legal Aid Ontario President & CEO David Field about the African Canadian Legal Clinic

TORONTO, Aug. 16, 2017 /CNW/ - The Clinic Committee of Legal Aid Ontario's Board of Directors has decided, under its dispute resolution process, to withdraw LAO's funding of the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) effective September 30, 2017. Every dollar of funding currently provided to ACLC will be redirected to a new organization to provide dedicated services to the Black community.

LAO's priority is addressing the legal needs of a very vulnerable segment of our population – members of Black communities who need our help. We have work to do to meet those needs. LAO is committed to doing that work through hearing directly from members of the Black community, working with an Advisory Committee comprised of community leaders and investing additional funding to improve access to justice for members of the Black community.

The Clinic Committee of LAO's Board of Directors has found that ACLC's board and management have engaged in financial mismanagement and that there has been a lack of board oversight. Although LAO's dispute resolution process is internal, it is clear to me that there is an overriding public interest in what has occurred. Therefore, in the interest of transparency, I have directed that the decisions of the Clinic Committee and supporting documents be posted on LAO's website.

LAO will ensure that there will be no interruption or delay to legal services to Black Ontarians. LAO will immediately begin working with members of the community to establish a new community-based organization to deliver legal aid services to Ontario's Black community.

In the meantime, LAO will provide legal services through the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC), members of the private bar, and LAO's Test Case Program.

-           David Field, President and CEO, Legal Aid Ontario


SOURCE Legal Aid Ontario

For further information: For media requests and to speak with LAO's spokesperson, Julian Falconer, please contact: Graeme Burk, Communications Advisor, Phone: (416) 979-2352 ext. 5208, Cell: (416) 347-7862, Email: media@lao.on.ca

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http://www.legalaid.on.ca

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