Reverse legal aid cuts

QUEEN’S PARK — Sara Singh, Ontario NDP Attorney General critic, and Bhutila Karpoche, NDP MPP for Parkdale-High Park, said news today of where Doug Ford’s cuts to Legal Aid Ontario will fall show just how devastating an impact the cuts will have for low-income people who need legal help.

The cuts will rip away $15 million in funding from community legal clinics across the province. Of that total, $2 million is being clawed back from 14 community legal clinics in Toronto. Parkdale Community Legal Services alone is losing $1 million in funding.

“I am devastated to think about the low-income residents in Parkdale who will be unable to access justice as a result of these callous cuts,” said Karpoche. “We should not be telling single parents seeking child support or workers seeking wages they’re owed that they’re on their own to navigate the courts, but that’s exactly what will happen if these cuts to community legal clinics are allowed to stand.”

The cuts to community legal clinics come after the Ford Conservatives slashed funding for Legal Aid Ontario by 30 per cent. The cuts are not only targeting community legal clinics in Toronto, but also speciality clinics like the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario.

“Not only is forcing people to navigate the legal system without lawyers cruel, but it will result in delays and backlogs in the court system, which will come with massive human and financial costs,” said Singh. “We should be doing more to ensure the most vulnerable among us can get legal help when they need it, not ripping supports away.

“We are calling on the Ford Conservatives to reverse these callous cuts to legal aid.”

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