LAO newsroom




Information and application forms are now available for $3 million in new funding

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


LAO is pleased to advise clinics that application forms and further information on two new funds that will support Ontarios community and legal clinics are now available. LAOs $2 million Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics will achieve the objectives of Ontarios 2013 budget, and LAOs $1 million Clinic Transformation Fund will advance clinic modernization to help serve clinic clients.

Please note that the application deadline for 2013/14 funding is January 15, 2014.

As we have done in the past, LAO consulted broadly and shared our initial eligibility criteria for these funds with the ACLCO and community legal clinics before finalizing these documents. We received much constructive input, and we have incorporated a number of useful suggestions from clinics into the final criteria. We amended our criteria to reflect the view that sustainability includes initiatives that organizations can complete within the three-year funding window. We also added systemic services such as public legal education, community development and law reform to the criteria, as initiatives eligible for funding.

This funding is earmarked for all community legal clinics, student legal aid service societies (SLASSs) and other community organizations or institutions, subject to LAOs mandate and the purpose of this initiative. LAO believes in strengthening the capacity of legal clinics, and anticipates that the majority of the funding will flow to clinics. LAO also recognizes that many other worthwhile organizations deliver important services to low-income families and that a variety of projects and initiatives supported through the new funding can enhance access to justice for clients.

These funds will help other community and legal clinics enhance their current programs and services by integrating poverty law services in a manner that supports LAOs strategic directions and improves outcomes for low-income families. Such organizations can include, but are not limited to, multi-service organizations; ethno-racial specific agencies; community health centres; and community colleges.

We are happy to continue consultations and consider further improvements as we move forward together.


Clinic Transformation Fund


Fund background and criteria information package

Fund application form


Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics


Fund background and criteria information package

Fund application form


I cannot open my form in PDF format.


The $3 million for these funds is 30 per cent of the $10 million in additional funding LAO has received from the government for 2013/14, as announced in the May 2013 budget.


Summary of feedback and LAOs views and decisions


Criteria for Transformation Fund

Feedback

LAO's views and decisions

A process should be identified for provincial and cross-regional applications to ensure that funding is not limited to regional silos.

LAO will base allocation of funds on the strength of the applications.

There is concern around the requirement that clinics that get support from the Transformation Fund are to achieve future savings.

This requirement remains a key criterion for funding. Proposed initiatives must lead to savings by enhancing clinic services in one or more of the ways the criteria describe as transformational undertakings. Initiatives that will lead to administrative savings qualify under this criterion.


Criteria for Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics

Feedback

LAO's views and decisions

The funds should go to community or student clinics, and they can work collaboratively with other non-profit community agencies to achieve the funds goals.

LAO believes in strengthening capacity of legal clinics and is certain that the majority of the funding is likely to flow to clinics. LAO also recognizes that many worthwhile organizations deliver important poverty law services to low-income families and therefore will qualify to receive this funding directly.

This fund is for all community legal clinics, student legal aid service societies (SLASS) and other community organizations or institutions that are planning to enhance their current programs and services by integrating poverty law services in a manner that supports LAOs strategic directions and corporate strategies. Such organizations can include, but are not limited to, multi-service organizations; ethno-racial specific agencies; community health centres; and community colleges.

LAO should change the criteria so that sustainability includes initiatives that organizations can complete within the three-year funding window.

LAO agrees and has adjusted the criteria accordingly. LAO will give preference to proposals that demonstrate an ongoing impact beyond the three-year funding window.

Clinics applying for funds are in the best position to develop appropriate performance measures.

While LAO agrees with respect to objectives outlined within clinics funding proposals, LAO remains accountable for the expenditure of all funds it disburses for legal aid services, including funds allocated through these two funds. LAO is required to develop performance measures that will demonstrate accountability for use of these funds.

The funds should be dedicated expressly towards poverty law services provided through clinics, as opposed to family law services, which have already been allocated $7 mil.

Clinics can certainly apply for funding that supports poverty law services. In addition, the inclusion of family law services in the criteria also provides an opportunity for clinics to consider the inclusion of family law services in their proposals as a way of providing holistic or wrap-around services to better meet clients needs.

The criteria should be amended to add systemic services such as public legal education, community development and law reform as initiatives eligible for funding.

LAO agrees, and has adjusted the criteria accordingly

LAO should identify available new funding in the years for which it is available.

LAO will consider this suggestion and will suggest a format and timing.


Implementation and evaluation feedback

Feedback

LAO's views and decisions

LAO should set up a joint LAO-ACLCO committee to allocate these resources.

While joint management of resources for which LAO alone is accountable under its legislation is not feasible, LAO is open to considering an advisory committee to support the process.

LAO should allocate a portion of the resources to the ACLCO to work with clinics in achieving clinic transformation and strengthening our capacity to serve our clients.

LAOs priority for public money is to support direct service for low income clients. Associations for organizations and lobbyist-type organizations are not client-facing.

LAO should publicly post all applications for the funds as well as the names of applicants who receive funding.

Public disclosure of applications is the responsibility of individual clinics and other institutions eligible for funding.



Questions


For questions or further information, please contact:

Kristian Justesen
Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Group
Phone: 416-979-2352, ext.4782
Email: justesk@lao.on.ca and/or media@lao.on.ca