2015/16 support for clinics through the Clinic Transformation Fund and the Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics

Published: April 1, 2015

LAO developed two funds—a Clinic Transformation Fund and Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics—to support innovation in clinic transformation for three years, commencing in 2013/14. This is the final year of support through these funds. The goal of both funds has been to:

  • help clinics’ 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 2015/16 funding

ARCH Disability Law Centre

Project: on behalf of St. Michael’s Legal Services Project
Funding: $76,384

in a new model of partnership between medical and legal services, clients receive holistic legal and medical services in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. This is the first primary care setting collaboration of its king in Canada between medical and legal services. Its goals are to:

  • stabilize clients’ situations
  • prevent cascading problems at this key access point
  • help medical staff and social workers identify and refer legal issues, including discrimination
  • coordinate and provide legal education with support of 80 physicians and 80 allied health care providers
  • provide leadership on identified law reform and systemic advocacy topics linking poverty, health and the law.

Project partners include the ARCH Disability Law Centre, the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO), Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto, Neighbourhood Legal Services, St. Michael’s Hospital and its six-clinic site academic family health team.

Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes

Project: Clinic Law Interview Project (CLIP)
Funding: $300,000

The CLIP uses innovative technology to support an efficient process for client interviews. It continues to develop the infrastructure needed to expand an access-to-justice interview tool across clinics. Accomplishments to date include completion of a consolidated intake interview, ODSP denial case preparation and 17 installations of seven operable interviews.

Eight specialty clinics

Project: Specialty Clinics Transformation Project
Funding: $375,000

This funding will help eight speciality clinics move into one shared location. It will identify the potential for an enhanced shared IT/communications infrastructure that supports shared administrative functions, reduce real estate and administrative costs, and allow for reinvestment into client services. By the end of July 2016, all of the participating specialty clinics moved to their new location.

The East Toronto Community Legal Services, Flemingdon Community Legal Services, Willowdale Community Legal Services and Neighbourhood Community Legal Services

Project: Don River Transformation Project
Funding: $310,000

These clinics are collaborating to enhance services and efficiencies through integration of administration and governance. The result: enhanced services to their clients, stronger ties to their communities, and better support to help staff address client needs.

Eastern Region Community Legal Clinics

Funding: $369,833

Last year, these clinics conducted a needs and resource assessment. This year, they will implement changes in their service practice and the delivery of poverty law services developed through the assessment.

Legal Health Check-Up Project led by Halton Community Legal Services

Funding: $503,000

This clinic has now successfully developed the Legal Health Check Up, 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.

To date, this tool has been successfully adopted by Halton, Guelph-Wellington and Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk clinics. They are consolidating its use in their catchment areas and expanding the project.

Pilots are underway in nine additional clinics in Ontario’s southwest.

Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County for the Southwest Region Executive

Funding: $127,000

This funding will help clinics in the Southwest Region build a virtual back office network that will streamline administrative functions and free up resources to reinvest in service delivery.

Northern Ontario Community Legal Clinic

Project: Implementation of feasibility study findings
Funding: $367,120

Now that the feasibility study to help eleven legal clinics in northern Ontario collaborate and coordinate their services is complete, the clinics will implement the plans that arose from the study.

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

Project: Learning opportunities and placements for paralegal students to the Orillia clinic
Funding: $80,100

This is an expansion of a successful program that provides paralegal students with learning opportunities and placements to the Orillia clinic, and helps the clinic pilot strategies for expanding paralegal services and training. The program has opened two on-campus Campus Paralegal Student Assistance (CSPA) offices.

Northwest Community Legal Clinic, Huron Perth Legal Clinic, Community Advocacy and Legal Centre, and Northumberland Community Legal Clinic

Project: Rural and Remote Boldness Project
Funding: $318,000

These clinics are developing, testing and evaluating innovative service delivery models in rural and remote areas of the province, including:

  • an app for clients to access legal information, area service providers, 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.
Three community legal clinics in Ottawa

Project: Ottawa Clinics Transformation Project
Funding: $123,810

These clinics have completed the needs assessment and feasibility study for which they received funding in previous years. Now they are amalgamating their administrative functions into one new entity.

South Etobicoke Community Legal Services and Rexdale Community Legal Clinic

Project: SETOB/REX Transformation Project
Funding: $102,000

These clinics will engage an experienced management consultant to help their Boards develop a long-range plan for improving and increasing service delivery for all low-income inhabitants of Etobicoke.

Southwest region clinics

Project: Southwest Region Clinic Coordination Project
Funding: $101,430

These clinics will use this funding to hire professional strategic support to help them work on multiple transformation projects as well as integration opportunities to improve community-based client services.

Transforming Justice: Trans* Legal Needs Assessment Ontario

Funding: $49,314

HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) is leading this project, which continues to identify barriers faced by transgender (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. The project will include legal education workshops for trans* Ontarians and training for legal service providers. Get more information.

Waterloo Region Community Legal Services

Funding: $150,000

This project will develop a holistic service model through partnerships that uses social workers and students to support clinic law services across the region.