Currently we have 17 independent community legal clinics in the GTA, with most clinics serving specific geographic communities. Clinics allow low-income people to access free legal services. Many have long relationships with low-income communities in their neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, there are pressures to merge into about five clinics. Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), the primary source of funding, first presented amalgamations. The GTA Clinic site says "If we do not make changes ourselves...changes may be imposed on us". This is driven by austerity measures - not what is best for low-income people!
LEGAL CLINICS BELONG TO POOR PEOPLE!
If plans go through, the historic connection with low-income communities will be lost in exchange for large bureaucracies
This is led largely from the top-down by clinic EDs and reps
Clinics are being pressured to merge by LAO
Any major transformation requires local democracy
Why have low-income communities not been involved?
Clinic transformation should only be adopted after widespread, transparent, and open discussion amongst low-income people(s) and community members has occurred