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Legal Aid Ontario offers funding to Scarborough and Rexdale community organizations to support Black youth

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TORONTO, Ont (June 27, 2017) Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is providing $100,000 of funding to a project headed by two GTA-based organizations to provide services to Black students facing suspension or expulsion hearings.

A one-time grant worth $100,000 has been given to a joint project with the TAIBU Community Health Centre in Scarborough and the Rexdale Community Health Centre in Rexdale to provide legal representation, advocacy or legal education to Black students who are in conflict with the education system. The funding for this grant is from an investment begun by the Province of Ontario in 2015 that was earmarked to create new legal aid services.

In consultations held as part of LAO's Racialized Communities Strategy, community partners reported that Black children are among those that are disproportionately punished, suspended and expelled. LAO is offering these grants to help students and their families because expulsion can often lead to the heightened involvement of youths in the criminal justice system.

Quotes

"Legal Aid Ontario's ongoing discussions with racialized communities highlight the needs of Black young people in the education system. We hope these grants will help reduce the high proportion of Black youth being expelled or suspended from school."

David Field, President and CEO, Legal Aid Ontario

"This is a vital opportunity for families of children facing a suspension, who must often advocate for themselves or retain a legal professional at high cost. The grants being offered here will assist those young people in the Black community who are facing suspensions or expulsions to get back to school."

Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario

"These grants will provide important support to help young people in the Black community to stay in school. Everybody deserves a chance to get an education, and I am pleased that Legal Aid Ontario is extending this generous support to TAIBU Community Health Centre and the Rexdale Community Health Centre to ensure young people are given every opportunity to succeed."

Mitzie Hunter, Ontario Minister of Education
Legal Aid Ontario offers funding to Scarborough and Rexdale community organizations to support Black youth (June 27, 2017)
Legal Aid Ontario offers funding to Scarborough and Rexdale community organizations to support Black youth (June 27, 2017)
L-R: David Field (CEO, Legal Aid Ontario), Ahmed Hussein (Treasurer, Rexdale Community Health Centre), Liben Gebremikael (Executive Director, TAIBU Community Health Centre), Debra Wight (Board President, TAIBU Community Health Centre), Hon. Mitzie Hunter (Minister of Education), Alex Battick (Rexdale Community Health Centre Board of Directors), Safia Ahmed (Executive Director, Rexdale Community Health Centre), Madina Wasuge (Director, Rexdale Community Health Centre - Pathways to Education)

Media requests

Graeme Burk
Communications Advisor
Phone: (416) 979-2352 ext. 5208
Cell: (416) 347-7862
Email: media@lao.on.ca