Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014
The Law Union of Ontario recently shared its concern about clinic transformation in the GTA in an email to Legal Aid Ontario and the Ministry of the Attorney General dated June 13, 2014. Jayne Mallin, LAO’s Senior Counsel, Clinic Transformation, responds.
To the Law Union of Ontario:
Thank you for your letter of June 13, 2014 and your interest in the clinic transformation project in the GTA.
While Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) supports this project, it is Ontario’s clinics who are leading the GTA Transformation Project. Its steering committee, comprised of the board and staff of 16 of the GTA’s 17 legal clinics, governs this project and makes all decisions, including any related to the issues raised in your letter.
I refer you to the Memorandum of Understanding, which can be found at www.gtaclinics.ca and signed by the GTA’s 16 clinics and LAO to better understand why Ontario’s clinics chose to lead this initiative. As it notes, they are leading this project to help them meet the challenges of shifting demographics, racialization of poverty, evolving service needs and limited resources for the communities that clinics support and know best — Ontario’s vulnerable, low-income people.
The Memorandum of Understanding goes on to explain that the GTA’s 16 clinics are collaborating with each other and LAO to address today’s challenges by expanding client and community access to poverty law services.
They are guided by the following, mutually agreed-upon principles:
- Any clinic models developed must be community responsive and client-centered and governed by community boards of directors.
- There will be a continuation of a full range of community legal clinic services, including direct client services, law reform, public legal education and community development.
- The allocation of human resources among the clinics must recognize the changes which have occurred in the location of the GTA low income populations.
- To expand and enhance service delivery and to leverage new resources, clinics need to be larger.
I encourage you to gain accurate and up to date information about the GTA Transformation Project at www.gtaclinics.ca.
If you wish to engage in further discussion, please contact the project leads:
- Jack DeKlerk, Director of Legal Services
Neighbourhood Legal Services
- Marjorie Hiley, Executive Director
Flemingdon Legal Services
Jayne Mallin, Senior Counsel, Clinic Transformation
On behalf of,
Vicki Moretti, RVP, GTA
Legal Aid Ontario
Senior Communications Media Relations Officer
Tel: (416) 979-2352 ext. 5208
Cell: (416) 768-4461