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Legal Aid Advisory Committees Poverty Law November 30, 2009. Introduction. This material includes information, lists of issues and ideas on several topics, including: Funding Information / Assumptions Integrated Client Service Priorities For Potential New Funding Access to Justice

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Legal aid advisory committees poverty law november 30 2009 l.jpg

Legal Aid Advisory Committees Poverty LawNovember 30, 2009


Introduction l.jpg
Introduction

This material includes information, lists of issues and ideas on several topics, including:

  • Funding Information / Assumptions

  • Integrated Client Service

  • Priorities For Potential New Funding

  • Access to Justice

  • Expanding Service

  • Coordination

  • Technology

  • Recruitment and Retention

    The lists of issues and ideas are not exhaustive or final. They are, rather, intended to assist the committee’s discussions. Many of the topics were raised at the committee’s first meeting.

    Key issues for the committee to consider include:

  • Which choices/recommendations benefit clients most?

  • Which choices/recommendations best support long-term quality, efficiency, sustainability and access?

    *Please note that all costs calculated in this document are approximate.


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    Funding Information/Assumptions

    • Annual clinic budget (estimated): $68M / year

    • Additional annual funding available for all legal aid enhancements: $60M /yr. (MAG’s four-year $150M announcement increases legal aid allocations by $15M, $30M, $45M and $60M over four years.)

    • If legal aid enhancement funds are allocated based on historic allocations between service areas, the clinic proportion would be an additional $13M/yr (+20%).


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    Integrated Client Service - What does it mean?

    • Service that responds to the needs of low-income Ontarians

      • Lives of people with low-incomes are regulated in ways that are overarching, complex, intersecting, and intrusive (McCamus Review)

      • People with low-incomes experience “cascading” problems (Trebilcock)

    • What are the keys to providing the services needed by low-income Ontarians?

      • Skilled evaluation of legal and related needs?

      • Service tailored to need?

      • Service in a language the client understands?

      • Service that connects clients to community and legal aid services (and avoids “referral fatigue”)?

      • Coordination between clinics, LAO and community services to provide holistic services that respond to clients’ problems?

      • Single entry point to clinic, legal aid and other services?

      • Reduced overhead, pooled infrastructure, administrative & managerial resources?

    • Other ideas?


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    Priorities for Potential New Funding

    • Which choices/recommendations benefit clients most?

      • What do clients need?

      • Are there particular groups of clients that require new / different services?

    • Which choices/recommendations best support long-term quality, efficiency, sustainability and access?

      • Greying of the bar / Recruitment and retention

      • Areas of practice –responding to needs of clients

      • How do we best organize and coordinate to deliver services?


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    Access to Justice – Some Thoughts

    • What does it mean to improve access to justice for low-income Ontarians? What does improved access to justice mean for individuals and communities with unique needs, including:

      • Linguistic minorities

      • Francophones in Ontario

      • Rural and remote Ontarians

      • Aboriginal peoples

      • Equity-seeking groups

    • Does it mean enhancing current practices and our capacity to provide services?

    • Expanding services?

    • Better coordination of existing services?

    • Greater integration of technology?


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    Access to Justice – Background

    • Between 270,000 and 1.8 million Ontarians need some form of language assistance to access legal information / services (Thomson and Cohl, p.12)

    • Francophones in Ontario have diverse needs: there is both an aging population (living primarily in the North and South West) and a growing population of French-speaking immigrants (living primarily in urban centres)

    • 4.3 million people live in rural southern Ontario and about 500,000 live in rural northern Ontario. Few (but some) newcomers, migrant workers (primarily Spanish-speaking) live in rural / remote areas (Thomson and Cohl, p.31-2)

    • Aboriginal people are Canada’s youngest and fastest growing domestic population (StatsCan); Aboriginal peoples fare worse than other Canadians on almost all quality of life indicators (Assembly of First Nations)

    • Poverty is connected to social location: women, racialized individuals and communities, newcomers, persons with disabilities, and seniors are more likely to experience poverty (Poverty Reduction Strategy)


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    Access to Justice – Some Ideas

    • First-language services?

    • Culturally appropriate materials and services offered in different languages?

    • Interpreters / translation?

    • Engaging lawyers and CLWs who are representative of the communities served and speak the languages of the communities?

    • Conducting specialized needs assessments and developing specialized services?

    • Services designed by and for - “pour et par” - the target population?

    • Partnering with agencies that serve different communities?

    • Outreach and raising awareness about available services?

    • Satellite offices?

    • Mobile legal clinics?

    • Technology?

    • Cultural Competency Training?

    • CLE / training?

    • Other ideas?


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    Expanding services – Ideas

    • Committee raised issue of expanding areas of practice / returning to former areas of practice (e.g. Landlord and Tenant Board)

    • Focus on adversarial tribunals

    • Legal needs of low-income (and middle-income) Ontarians being considered by LAO, LSUC, PBLO and LFO. Possible areas to expand current services or start offering services include:

      • Employment, Creditor / debtor, Powers of Attorney, Immigration and Refugee Law, Aboriginal legal issues (in particular issues affecting First Nations living on-reserve)

  • What services do clients need that are not currently provided?


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    Coordination - Background

    • Trebilcock Report (2008)

      • Holistic, integrated response to “cascading problems”: Avoid endless referrals “tied to particular institutions (a silo approach) rather than particular individuals’ needs and leading to ‘referral fatigue’, which leaves many problems unresolved” (p. vi)

      • Coherent structure for delivering poverty law services in Ontario: Determining where clinics fit in a broader strategic conception of the legal aid system; stronger focus on service integration (p. xi)

      • Single entry point or “one-stop” approach to poverty services


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    Coordination – Ideas – Coordination amongst clinics

    • Shared resources?

      • Coordinating management resources

      • Shared staff

    • Support for clinic working groups?

    • Specialty clinics as a resource?

      • Linkages with local clinics and local agencies

    • Law reform – clinics as agents of change

    • Sharing best practices


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    Coordination – Ideas – Coordination between clinics and LAO

    • Clinic supports?

    • Addressing common issues (e.g. ODSP, better coordination of and referrals for criminal, family and immigration & refugee law services)?

    • Information sharing?

    • Single entry point / evaluating client needs?


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    Coordination – Ideas – Coordination with community services

    • Systematic and coordinated approach to services?

    • Information exchanges and protocols?

    • Participating in local community information centre programs?

    • Leading / creating new community information centre programs?

    • Integrating social workers (could provide assessments and coordinated referral services oriented toward ensuring that clients’ non-legal problems)?


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    Technology services

    • Using technology to expand and improve services

      • Videoconferencing, particularly to increase access to justice for linguistic minorities and enhance role of specialty clinics?

      • Clinic information management?

      • Online legal education and training?

      • Provide legal information and connect clients to other resources?

      • Outreach?

      • Provide resources and support to clinics?

      • Build on work of CLEO, CLEO Net, CRO, Knowledge Management and Transfer Committee?

      • Create uniform access point for information for and about clinics?

      • Create information sharing resource linking and supporting law reform efforts, outreach efforts, specialty clinics and community legal clinics, clinic information?

    • How do we respond to challenges posed by using technology?


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    Recruitment and Retention – Some Thoughts services

    • Prioritization: How do we decide between competing priorities? What is the best approach?

      • More staff?

      • Better paid staff?

      • Different staffing mixes?

        • CLWs or lawyers?

        • More young or more experienced staff?

    • Every 1% increase in compensation for lawyers costs approx. $250,000

    • Every 1% increase in compensation for non-lawyers cost approx. $165,000


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    Recruitment and Retention – Ideas – Student initiatives

    • Paralegal SLASS?

    • Expand SLASS program?

    • Placements for academic credit in clinics?

    • Articling placements?

    • Summer student placements?

    • Debt forgiveness?


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