Your Legal Rights: Legal Bulletin on Human Rights

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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

Human Rights

The following email bulletin provides you with the latest news, legal information resources, common questions and training webinars from Your Legal Rights on the topic: Human Rights.

Latest News and Events

October 17 Public forum: What’s racism got to do with it?
Toronto is a city divided. 25% of its neighbourhoods are dramatically increasing in socio-­economic status. In the 40% of neighbourhoods with a population of one million that that are dramatically decreasing, members of racialized communities are overrepresented. The labour market and government policies play a major role.

Article Source:

Neighbourhood Change Research Project

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Solidarity: Canadian civil society unites on Russian LGBT rights

Commentary from the Toronto Star: Cognizant of the hate and discrimination that so often smothers the basic rights of marginalized groups, a small group of HIV and LGBT activists have mobilized more than 100 Canadian civil society organizations to join the mounting global movement in response to the tyranny of Russian President Vla

Article Source:

Toronto Star

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Latest Resources

Working Together: The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
This e-learning video is for public, private, and not-for-profit sectors and completes the training requirements for section 7 of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). It has five parts:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Code
  3. Understanding the duty to accommodate
  4. Applying human rights principles
  5. Compliance and enforcement
Produced by:
Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC)

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Administrative Justice Support Network
A project of Community Living Ontario, the Administrative Justice Support Network supports people who are making an appeal before an administrative board or tribunal whether or not they have legal representation. Their website has information on selected board and tribunals, links to additional information, and information on where to find more specific legal advice or legal representation.

Produced by:
Community Living Ontario

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Latest Training

Discrimination is Against the Law! A Primer on Human Rights Law in Ontario
Recorded on December 19, 2012 – This webinar, presented in partnership by the Human Rights Legal Support Centre and Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, provides an overview of the Human Rights Code, highlighting the grounds and social areas which the Code applies to, exceptions to the Code, and remedies available under the Code.

Presenting Organization:
Human Rights Legal Support Centre

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Latest Common Question

My landlord wants me to get a co-signor or guarantor before I can sign my lease. What should I do? View all questions on this topic

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About Your Legal Rights

Your Legal Rights is a project of CLEO and is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario.

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We welcome your feedback.

Copyright © 2013 CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario), All rights reserved.
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Migrant Workers Alliance for Change: #InItTogether #MageItRight

We are launching a new provincial campaign to ensure migrant workers have the same rights and benefits as all Ontarians. For too long Ontario’s laws have excluded migrant workers. This affects us all. It’s time to #MakeItRight. We are #InItTogether.

Our first action is a Feast for Fairness on Saturday, October 12, at 1030am at St. Lawrence’s Market in Toronto.  More details..

All workers, including agriculture workers, should be protected equally under Ontario’s labour laws. All workers should be entitled to minimum wage and overtime. They should be able to enforce these rights without worrying about being too late or having to under-claim how much they are actually owed by employers.

Learn more…

All workers should be protected from being charged illegal and exorbitant fees by recruiters and agencies. Recruiters and employers should be registered, and the provinces and feds should work together with workers’ home governments to make sure that protection is effective across all borders.

Learn more…

Going home after work should be a relief but many migrant workers have no relief from the stress of work since they live at or near their workplace.  They deserve decent housing and this requires inspection, enforcement, regulation, and viable alternatives.

Learn more…

Farm workers need strong health and safety protections at work; domestic workers should be included in occupational health and safety laws; and all migrants should have immediate access to health services and other benefits that all Ontarians get.

Learn more…

Migrant workers need stronger protections to make workers rights complaints and proactive enforcement of their rights. Migrant workers should have the right to change employers and stay in the country for settlement or employment standards purposes.

Learn more…

Tell the Leaders of Ontario’s Provincial Parties that they must work together to ensure migrant workers have the same rights and protections as all other Ontarians.

Take action now!

     
Copyright © 2013 Migrant Workers-Alliance for Change, All rights reserved.

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change includes Alliance of South Asian Aid Prevention, Asian Community Aids Services, Caregivers Action Centre, Industrial Accident Victims’ Group of Ontario, Justicia for Migrant Workers, KAIROS, Legal Aid Windsor, Migrante Ontario, No One Is Illegal – Toronto, Parkdale Community Legal Services, Social Planning Toronto, Unifor, United Food and Commercial Workers and the Workers’ Action Centre.

Our mailing address is:

Migrant Workers-Alliance for Change

720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 223

-Toronto, Ontario -M5S 2T9

Canada

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Paralegal Amanda Bitton: Proud to be a full-time advocate for refugee claimants

LAO newsroom

News archives

LAO Newsroom

Paralegal Amanda Bitton is proud to be a full-time advocate for refugee claimants

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Licensed paralegal Amanda Bitton has been “excited, proud and nervous” ever since Rexdale Community Legal Centre hired her in July to support refugee claimants on a full-time basis.

She’s very aware that her new job — providing frontline services to these vulnerable clients — is part of a Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) pilot agreement to fund the cost of hiring her, and demonstrate LAO’s commitment to the appropriate use of licensed paralegals.

So she sometimes loses sleep thinking of the responsibility she’s taken on.

 Amanda Bitton

High quality services are paramount

“As a regulated professional who must meet the licensing requirements of the Law Society of Upper Canada, this is an important opportunity to demonstrate that my experience, training and ethics will result in high quality services. That’s what will be paramount,” she says. “The stakes are high for me because everybody is watching. But my main concern is that they are even higher for my clients.”

Amanda’s education includes a four-year degree in political science at McMaster University. However, she actually started working at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic while she was still a student of Humber College’s two-year Paralegal Education program, from which she graduated in June 2012.

Amanda applied to the Rexdale Community Legal Centre while she was still at Humber, to provide her with work hours toward the mandatory 14-week paid work term that’s part of Humber’s licensing requirements for students in this diploma program.

She hearts Rexdale

Her work placement at Rexdale, followed by employment there between August 2012 and January 2013, gave her experience in helping out at reception and attending intakes, hearings and interviews.

“By the end of that placement, I knew there was nowhere else I wanted to work,” she says. “I just love this clinics’ underlying philosophy of trusting colleagues and clients to come up with the most effective resolutions through working together in collaboration.”

What appealed to her most? “Clients would come in, throw a bunch of papers they couldn’t make sense of onto the desk, and ask for assistance,” she explains. “I loved being able to help people determine which issues they needed to deal with to move forward, to represent them before administrative tribunals such as the Landlord and Tenant Board, and to see them walk away and feel a bit easier about their lives.”

Amanda kept coming in as a volunteer once her paid placement at Rexdale was over, and cheerfully took on even the most basic tasks. When the prospect of applying for the refugee pilot arose, she began studying the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, signed up for training on refugee law, began attending conferences on the subject, and asked to job-shadow LAO’s refugee lawyers.

Passion, a positive attitude and an astute legal mind

“We hired her because of her passion, positive attitude, commitment to our clients and incredibly astute legal mind,” recalls LAO’s Jayne Mallin, who headed up Rexdale’s legal clinic at the time.

“We had recognized very early on in Amanda’s placement, through her handling of intake and while assisting with research and factum writing – where her legal analysis was always accurate, thoughtful, and solution focused – that she is a very high quality paralegal.”

Today Amanda’s responsibilities include interviewing refugee claimants, helping them fill in the forms they need to complete to apply for refugee status in Canada, and representing these vulnerable individuals, under the supervision of a lawyer, at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

“If my Mom had known about what community legal clinics could do for families like ours, if we’d had someone advocating for us like I can advocate for my clients, she would have had fewer struggles,”

Advocacy, accessibility and affordability

An LAO staff lawyer and LAO’s district office staff review Amanda’s paperwork once it’s completed. While Amanda is qualified to appear on her own before the RPD, an LAO lawyer will accompany her to hearings for the first six months of the pilot. This interim measure will ensure that clients are receiving high quality services and provide her with further training.

She’s pleased to be on a career path that goes back to her childhood in a single parent family. “If my Mom had known about what community legal clinics could do for families like ours, if we’d had someone advocating for us like I can advocate for my clients, she would have had fewer struggles,” she says.

“It’s all about accessibility and affordability,” she adds. “Sometimes only a lawyer can do the job. But we are a more affordable alternative in situations where a paralegal is qualified to do the same job. Here at Rexdale, I can provide quality legal services within my scope of practice for refugees whose very lives could depend on their ability to access resources and justice in a meaningful way.”

Questions

For questions or further information, please contact:

Josephine Li
Communications advisor
Phone: 416-979-2352, ext.6015
Email: lijos@lao.on.ca and/or media@lao.on.ca

http://legalaid.on.ca/en/news/newsarchive/1309-20_AmandaBitton.asp