Sidney B. Linden Award
Grace Pluchino, community legal workers, wins 2017 Sidney B. Linden Award
Grace Pluchino, a community legal worker at the forefront of tenants' rights for the past 30 years, is this year's recipient of the Sidney B. Linden Award given by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) to honour exceptional individuals who help low-income Ontarians in the pursuit of access to justice.
In a nomination jointly made by the community legal clinics in Rexdale, Downsview, South Etobicoke and Willowdale, Ms. Pluchino was lauded for her work in tenant advocacy on a corporate level—she had led several campaigns to pressure the Toronto Community Housing Corporation to live up to their standards over a 20 year period, speaking out with the City of Toronto's ombudsman and board and with Toronto city council—and on a personal level, getting clients assistance with groceries, cleaning and moving.
Legal Aid Ontario created the Sidney B. Linden Award to honour exceptional individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to helping low-income people, and have given their time and expertise towards ensuring access to justice in Ontario.
The award is named in honour of Justice Sidney B. Linden, Legal Aid Ontario's first chair of the board of directors. Justice Linden has been involved with legal aid for over 35 years, and his distinguished professional career has been characterized by a genuine commitment to issues concerning access to justice.
Since its inception, the Sidney B. Linden Award has been presented to eight deserving recipients: William A. (Bill) Sullivan, Fergus J. (Chip) O'Connor, Peter G. Kirby, Michael Bossin, Barbara Jackman, J. Robert Kellermann, Paul Copeland and the late Dianne Martin.
The award statue
Toronto sculptor Siggy Puchta designed the Sidney B. Linden Award. The statue depicts the concept of access to justice through the upward and open gesture of 'the lady of justice' holding the scales of justice while at the same time welcoming those in need of legal aid services. Siggy's design also captures the spirit of LAO's logo.