LAO boosts annual funding to legal aid clinics
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is investing an additional $1.5 million in community legal aid clinics with the fewest resources per low-income person in the 2015/16 fiscal year. This annual funding will be added to the clinics’ base funding. This support is on top of the additional $2.4 million in funding LAO provided for the 2014/15 fiscal year, as announced in March 2015.
This injection of $3.9 million will allow community legal clinics to hire more staff, expand existing services, or launch new services that support clients. This new investment is part of LAO’s strategy to expand financial eligibility and clinic law services for low-income Ontarians. It also meets the provincial government’s multi-year commitment to increase access to legal aid.
LAO calculated clinic allocations by determining funding per low-income person in a clinic’s service area, using Statistics Canada’s Low Income Measure data from 2012 and LAO funding and population data.
Go to a chart for details on new funding for community legal clinics.
“In times of need, community legal clinics are a valuable option for low-income Ontarians in search of legal advice and representation. I’m proud to support this initiative, which is providing an important boost to those clinics that can use it the most. I’m grateful to those community clinics and LAO, who are doing such good work at the local level.”
— Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General of Ontario
“Thanks to the Ontario government’s move to increase access to legal aid, Legal Aid Ontario can invest in new services for low-income people. Ontario’s clinics are the foundation of poverty law in this province and we are committed to helping them meet the needs of their communities.”
— John McCamus, Chair Legal Aid Ontario
“Ontario’s community legal clinics, and the communities they serve, welcome this investment of additional funding. We applaud the provincial government for its ongoing commitment to improving access to justice, and we look forward to working with Legal Aid Ontario on expanding the availability of community legal services across the province.”
— Lenny Abramowicz, Executive Director Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario
- Legal Aid Ontario funds 76 community legal clinics that offer legal help with issues like housing and income security.
- This initiative follows the Ontario government’s multi-year commitment to increase access to legal aid.
- The Ontario government increased LAO funding by 9 per cent, or $31.5 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
- LAO will have increased its investment in clinic services by $10 million per year by the end of 2015/16, to a total of $80 million.
- The additional clinic funding LAO announced in March 2015 will lead to significantly more services for Ontarians. General service clinics are set to increase staff lawyers, paralegals and community legal workers by 30 per cent. Ethno-linguistic clinics will increase their staff by 30 per cent, allowing them to provide services to a larger geographical area. Specialty clinics will be able to increase their staffing by 15 per cent.
- Information about community legal clinics in Ontario and the services they offer.
- Find a community legal clinic near you.
- Legal Aid Ontario website
- Details on clinic financial eligibility expansion for 2015/16
- Additional information on LAO funding formula based on Statistics Canada data
Flemingdon Community Legal Services is very pleased that Legal Aid Ontario recognizes the importance of providing additional funding to under-resourced community legal clinics. The additional funds given to FCLS increases our ability to provide legal services in the key areas of employment law and immigration law. These services will help to reduce the effects of poverty and will increase access to justice to our clients."
— Marjorie Hiley, Executive Director Flemingdon Community Legal Services
“The new financial eligibility guideline funding from Legal Aid Ontario enables Willowdale Community Legal Services to improve and expand on the legal services we offer to our client community. The low income people in our community will have more access to legal services.”
—Joe Myers, Lawyer/Director, Willowdale Community Legal Services