2014/15 funding to transform and strengthen the capacity of community legal clinics

Published: April 1, 2014

LAO’s Clinic Transformation Fund and the Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics are supporting innovation in clinic transformation for three years, commencing in 2013/14. They were developed to:

  • help clinics to demonstrate accountability
  • support modernization and sustainability of services
  • promote new and enhanced services for community and legal clinics
  • increase the number of clients served in a cost-effective manner
  • expand the range of available holistic services
  • provide wrap-around services to address intersecting legal and non‑legal needs
  • pilot delivery of legal services at sites within the community.

Clinics that received 2014/15 funding

ARCH Disability Law Centre on behalf of St. Michael’s Legal Services Project – $134,505
In a new model of partnership between medical and legal services, clients receive holistic legal and medical services in the family medicine department at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The goals of this partnership are to stabilize clients’ situations and prevent cascading problems at this key access point, and to help medical staff and social workers identify and refer legal issues.
Chatham-Kent Legal Clinic on behalf of the Southwest Region executive directors group – $16,121
The clinic expects to complete a needs and resource assessment in June 2015 to help LAO’s Southwest Region community legal clinics plan for changes in their clinic service practice and the delivery of poverty law services.
Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes – $219,667
The clinic’s Clinic Law Interview Project uses innovative technology to support an efficient process for client interviews. It plans to develop an infrastructure to expand an access-to-justice interview tool across clinics.
Eastern Region community legal clinics – $218,752
Legal Aid Ontario’s eastern region community legal clinics are conducting a needs and resource assessment. The resultant information, anticipated in June 2015, will help them plan for changes in the service and delivery of poverty law services.
Flemingdon Community Legal Services on behalf of the GTA transformation project – $500,000
The clinic will develop service delivery models and a transition plan for the GTA Region. This project is part of a systemic restructuring initiative by 16 GTA community legal clinics to reduce administrative cost structures and enhance client service delivery.
Halton Community Legal Services – $385,700
The clinic has already had success in developing the Legal Health Check Up project. This project, now being piloted in three other clinics, is a responsive, web-based questionnaire that asks clients about common legal problems they may encounter in the areas of income, housing, education, employment and social, medical and family supports. The clinic works with several community intermediaries who use the Legal Health Check Up to refer clients to the clinic. The data gathered will enable the clinic to keep an ongoing finger on the pulse of the community’s needs.
HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario – $91,400
The clinic will identify barriers faced by trans Ontarians in accessing justice and legal aid services, recommend strategies to overcome these barriers and share its findings with Ontario’s trans community, as well as legal service providers.
Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County for the Southwest Region executive – $115,500
This clinic will help all Southwest Region clinics build a virtual back office network that streamlines administrative functions in order to free up resources to reinvest in service delivery.
Northern Ontario Community Legal Clinic – $151,900
A feasibility study will help 11 legal clinics in northern Ontario coordinate and collaborate. It will result in an evidence-based report, due June 2015, that will identify ways to reduce administrative cost structures that can free up resources to reinvest into service delivery.
Northumberland Community Legal Centre; Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes; Community Advocacy and Legal Centre; Durham College Department of Justice and Emergency Services, and Fleming College School of Justice and Business Studies – $80,038
These clinics are expanding a successful program for paralegal students that provides them with learning opportunities and placements to the Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes. The program will also help the clinics pilot strategies for expanding paralegal services and training.
Northwest Community Legal Clinic, Huron Perth Legal Clinic, Community Advocacy and Legal Centre, and Northumberland Community Legal Clinic – $294,000
These clinics’ Rural and Remote Boldness Project is developing, testing and evaluating service delivery models in rural and remote areas of the province. Early innovation ideas have been developed, and the teams will prototype these innovations in Fall 2015. Among the innovations:

  • an app for clients to access legal information, service providers in the area and data for strategic resource decision-making
  • a geo-mapping/data analytics tool for rural and remote areas
  • evaluation methodology
  • use of trusted intermediaries and development of partners such as public libraries and health service providers.
Ottawa Clinics Transformation Project – $225,000
Three community legal clinics in Ottawa looked at ways to improve access to justice for low income people in the Ottawa area by amalgamating their administration. They considered community needs, community clinic strengths and areas for potential growth.
Rural Legal Services and Lanark, Leeds and Grenville Legal Clinic Business Review Process – $80,000
These two merged legal clinics are reviewing their business practices to ensure a smooth transition. They will develop more streamlined administration while maintaining ongoing operations, management and enhanced service delivery.
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario Safe Centre of Peel (SCOP) Project – $61,000
The South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, Mississauga Community Legal Services, and North Peel and Dufferin Legal Services are using this funding to serve victims of domestic violence in Peel Region in a more cost effective and efficient manner.
Specialty Clinics Transformation Project – $217,000
This project is pursuing the co-location of eight specialty clinics and will identify the potential for an enhanced shared IT/communications infrastructure that supports shared administrative functions, reduces real estate and administrative costs, and allows for reinvestment into client services.
Southwest Region Clinic Coordination Project – $120,822
The region is hiring professional strategic support for multiple transformation projects. The projects will create greater collaboration and integration to strengthen the Southwest Region clinic system’s ability to effectively deliver community-based poverty law services. The projects include a “learning lab” innovation model, based on evidence-based client/community needs in the southwest.
Waterloo Region Community Legal Services – $123,095
The clinic is developing a holistic service model, through partnerships, where social workers and students support clinic law services across the region.
Windsor-Essex Bilingual Legal Clinic – $35,000
The clinic is a bilingual health and social service hub offering multiple services directly and through partnerships with other agencies. The funding will help it create a management plan to identify how organizations will meet their operational requirements within this hub.