Government Boosts Legal Aid Funding to Improve Frontline Services for Low-income Ontarians
Ontario is investing in frontline legal aid services to enhance fairness and improve access to justice for low-income families and vulnerable Ontarians.
The government is investing $30 million over three years to improve delivery of frontline client services through Family Law Service Centres and community and legal clinics across the province.
In the first year, 70 per cent of the new funding will expand the reach of Legal Aid Ontario’s Family Law Service Centres, making it possible for more low-income families to access legal advice, duty counsel and mediation services.
Thirty per cent of the new funding will increase the capacity of community and legal clinics to meet their clients’ needs. This investment could include new or enhanced services that help clients with poverty law, housing, mental health and domestic violence.
Community legal clinics are an important part of the legal aid system, and this funding will help these clinics better respond to the needs of vulnerable people.
Improving access to legal aid and supporting community and legal clinics are part of the Ontario government’s commitment to strengthening the justice system, building a fair society and helping people in their everyday lives.
The funding provided through this government’s 2013 Budget is in addition to the province’s $150 million investment in Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) over four years, announced in 2009. Legal Aid Ontario is an arms-length government agency which provides low-income Ontarians with access to a range of legal services tailored to meet their legal needs. Every day, LAO provides almost 4,000 assists to disadvantaged people, including victims of domestic violence, parents seeking custody, access or child support, injured workers, refugees, and accused persons.
LAO funds 77 non-profit community legal clinics throughout the province to provide information, legal advice, and representation to people who are eligible to receive services, and Family Law Service Centres offering a range of support for family matters.
Funding for clinic law services has increased from $59.8 million to $73.9 million since 2009.