Health Justice Project Evaluation Report

The staff and board of Rexdale Community Legal Clinic are pleased to make available the evaluation report of the first two years of our health justice project. We hope that anyone interested in multi-disciplinary delivery of legal services to low income populations will read our evaluation report, available at this link:

Rexdale HJP Evaluation Report-2018-_Final

Partners in this project are Black Creek Community Health Centre, Rexdale Community Health Centre, Pro Bono Ontario and CLASP (Community and Legal Aid Services Program) at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

A quote from our evaluation report:

Innovation and collaboration are two of the catchwords driving the Health Justice Project reviewed in this report. Legal Aid Ontario, seeking to find new, cost-effective models of delivering legal services to those most in need, sought out projects that incorporated these concepts. The third key driver was the multi-disciplinary model of service delivery. While not entirely new, this idea of embedding a nurse in a legal office, or a lawyer in a hospital, needs careful experimentation and tailoring for each environment.

American models cannot be replicated in Canada because of the differences in health care services. Downtown models, such as the multi-clinic collaboration known as the St. Mike’s Health Justice project, are not directly transferable to a suburban setting because of the different shape of mental health supports, “street health”, the proximity of shelters and other characteristics of downtown Toronto life which are absent in the Rexdale area. So, the Northwest Toronto Health Justice Project was created to tease out those differences, share methods and learnings, develop tools for the specific needs of our community health centre staff, and identify service gaps – not only identify those gaps but find ways to bridge them for the clients.

Law students from Osgoode Hall Law School were offered a chance to participate in a clinical legal education module at Rexdale, instead of the more routine options such as family, criminal or immigration law which are offered at the Law School. By incorporating law students into the on-site service delivery structure of the project, we hope to foster in these students an appreciation of the interdisciplinary approach which they might carry forward into their professional careers. We believe a multidisciplinary work environment is not just a growing trend, but a way of genuinely improving services for clients.

Read more about Legal Aid Ontario’s Mental Health Strategy here.

Read our entire evaluation report here.
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