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Statement from Legal Aid Ontario President & CEO David Field about the African Canadian Legal Clinic

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Clinic Committee of Legal Aid Ontarios Board of Directors has decided, under its dispute resolution process, to withdraw LAOs funding of the African Canadian Legal Clinic (ACLC) effective September 30, 2017. Every dollar of funding currently provided to ACLC will be redirected to a new organization to provide dedicated services to the Black community.

LAOs priority is addressing the legal needs of a very vulnerable segment of our population—members of Black communities who need our help. We have work to do to meet those needs. LAO is committed to doing that work through hearing directly from members of the Black community, working with an advisory committee comprised of community leaders and investing additional funding to improve access to justice for members of the Black community.

The Clinic Committee of LAOs Board of Directors has found that ACLCs board and management have engaged in financial mismanagement and that there has been a lack of board oversight. Although LAOs dispute resolution process is internal, it is clear to me that there is an overriding public interest in what has occurred. Therefore, in the interest of transparency, I have directed that the decisions of the clinic committee and supporting documents be posted on LAOs website. These can be found at the links below.

LAO will ensure that there will be no interruption or delay to legal services to Black Ontarians. LAO will immediately begin working with members of the community to establish a new community-based organization to deliver legal aid services to Ontarios Black community.

In the meantime, LAO will provide legal services through the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, members of the private bar, and LAOs Test Case Program.

– David Field, President and CEO, Legal Aid Ontario

Learn more

Plan for continued services

Reasons for withdrawing funding

Other

Questions

For media requests and to speak with LAOs spokesperson, Julian Falconer, please contact:

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