A 30 per cent cut to Legal Aid funding in the 2019 provincial budget has led to pushback from legal clinics.
The Kingston Community Legal Clinic provides services to clients from Kingston and the southern portion of Frontenac County.
The Clinic’s Executive Director John Done says the cuts could lead to worse outcomes than service reductions.
“There might not be any legal services for the poor anymore, they could just cancel legal clinics. That’s what we want to make sure the attorney general understands would be a very bad idea.”
Legal clinics across Ontario serve some of the province’s most vulnerable populations, Done says.
“These are legal services that reduce the number of evictions, that help people when they’re cut off from social assistance or public benefits.”
Without the help of legal clinics, Done fears it will lead to more people ending up homeless and costs shifting elsewhere in the public system.
“When we keep a family from becoming homeless, this is a family that is spending far less time in the emergency ward seeking health services,” Done said.
K.C.L.C. is one of almost 80 clinics in the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario.
The organization is calling on Attorney General Caroline Mulroney to protect frontline services and funding to community clinics.
Done says they feel the attorney general was misinformed when the funding cuts were being considered.
“The statistics that she drew on were wrong. She’s a new attorney general and we’re here to help her understand more about her mandate can support everybody in Ontario, including poor people.”