Job Opening: Crime Fighter, No Cape Required.

By Ann McRae

 

Today’s crime fighters wear jeans and sweaters, carry a cell phone and work for a vast network of modestly funded agencies.

Furthering Our Communities: Uniting Services (FOCUS) Rexdale is the City of Toronto’s first foray into a model of crime prevention that was first developed in Glasgow and later tested in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

 A familiar scenario

Picture this:

A young man with low education and a low-paying part-time job is stressed out over his limited chance to improve his financial situation, and by his six year old child’s untreated autism. He snaps over one more degrading remark at work, and quits. He goes home angry, damages his own door when he kicks it open, not knowing his autistic son was holding it shut. He rages at the child, gets in a scuffle with his girlfriend who calls the police.

The police order him to leave for the night. He gets stoned and comes back. Mother and children flee.

A police officer takes them to a shelter, arresting him the next morning. A shelter worker sees signs, which obliges her to contact Children’s Aid Society. The children are placed in foster care.

The landlord sees police cars and upset neighbours. The landlord begins an application to terminate tenancy due to the illegal act of damages to his property.

The social assistance worker is asked to re-direct the assistance cheque to the mother, but doesn’t know the young man had been working.

Social assistance levies a large debt against the family, and reduces assistance because the children are in foster care.

Rent falls behind while eviction proceeds.

 

What if…

…all the agencies that know about this family’s troubles could sit together?

…the child’s school referred the parents to some support?

…support or hope or counselling could help the father keep things in control?

…the police, crown attorney and duty counsel could divert the man from conviction to community service for the housing provider?

…the housing provider could hire him as a painter, after his community service?

…he could avoid a conviction and be so proud of his success that he opened a painting business?

 So, where do we start?

Community initiatives are always hard work. Justifying every nickel of funding is also hard work, because the results are very difficult to measure. How does one put a price tag on changing lives and changing communities?

In Rexdale, groups including the City of Toronto, youth crisis agencies, public housing providers, Toronto social services, Toronto Police Services and Rexdale Community Legal Clinic gather at the table. In this context, “coming to the table” is not just jargon. It is a weekly meeting!

Following the Saskatchewan model, the purpose of FOCUS Rexdale is first, to identify a person or family at high risk of:

  • gang activity
  • violent incident
  • criminal involvement
  • homelessness
  • suicide.

Often, there is a complex web of issues or a snowballing of events that create the high risk situation.

 

What’s on the table at FOCUS Rexdale?

When all the partner agencies gather behind locked doors, then what? Who will be the one to mention this family?

Maybe it will be someone from social services or a police officer who flags what has happened.  Or perhaps it will be the Youth Justice Worker at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic. She got a call from the father on the morning of his release. Duty counsel at the courthouse, after a short conversation with his wife, identified him as a person at extreme risk. The entire family unit fits this red-flagging measure when immediate intervention is needed.

Too often, the legal clinic gets called only when an eviction is looming, or a suspension from social assistance has caused enormous rent arrears to pile up, or when an eviction has already happened, or when a jail term has just ended. At Rexdale, special project funding allows us to be “at the table” and to be part of the change that is needed.

If all legal clinics could partner with all service agencies in this way, it would be the legal equivalent of distributing flu shots for free. It would stop the spread of the diseases of despair and crime and the cycle of poverty.

Ann McRae is the Director of Legal Services at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic.

 

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Legal Aid Ontario – Faimly Mediation Sessions

A man and woman, with eyes downcast, separated by their daughter who's hands they are holding, with witnesses in the background, stand before a magistrate and other officials in Dutch artist Van de Laar 19th century painting: The Divorce

Beginning in 2014, Legal Aid Ontario will be offering family mediation on Tuesdays by appointment at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic (RCLC). Clients or Professionals who may be interested in learning more about Legal Aid Ontario’s mediation services may attend our 1 hour, monthly, information sessions to be held at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic. Please register in advance with our receptionist: 416-741-5201.

Weekly Information Sessions

Mondays from 1:00pm-5:00pm

 

The Family Mediator, Trish Thomas may schedule mediation sessions at the Family Court at 47 Sheppard Ave. East (Yonge & Sheppard) or at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic on Tuesdays by appointment only. Trish may be contacted directly to arrange for a mediation intake appointment at 416-979-2352 ext. 5193.

REXDALE COMMUNITY HUB: Family Law Information Session

Microskills: Family Law Info Session

LAO newsroom: LAO invests an additional $3 million in community and legal clinics

LAO newsroom

News archives

LAO Newsroom

LAO invests an additional $3 million in community and legal clinics

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

 

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is investing additional provincial funding of $3 million in 2013/14 to create two new funds that support Ontario’s community and legal aid clinics. This support includes:

LAO’s budget commitment

“…additional funding of $30 million over three years [$10 million annually, beginning in 2013/14] will be provided to Legal Aid Ontario. This funding will improve access to justice and enhance outcomes for low-income families, victims of domestic violence and other vulnerable groups by strengthening the capacity of Family Law Service Centres and other community and legal clinics across Ontario to respond to evolving needs, and ensure services are sustainable.”
— Government of Ontario Budget, May 3, 2013

  • $2 million to create a Fund to Strengthen the Capacity of Community and Legal Clinics, which will achieve the objectives of Ontario’s 2013 budget and

  • $1 million to create a Clinic Transformation Fund that will advance LAO’s clinic modernization program through clinic transformation and future savings.

This $3 million is 30 per cent of the $10 million in additional funding LAO is receiving from the government for 2013/14, as announced in the May 2013 budget. LAO will invest the remaining 70 per cent of the new funding in family law initiatives.

In addition to this $3 million, for 2013/14, LAO is also providing Ontario’s clinics with:

  • $67.8 million in core funding and

  • $4.15 million in special project funding to upgrade aging information technology infrastructure including desktops, laptops, monitors, and Microsoft Office Exchange. This support comes from a $3.25 million grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario, plus $900,000 from LAO’s own funding allocation.

 

Questions

For questions or further information, please contact:

Kristian Justesen
Director, Communications and Stakeholder Relations Group
Phone: 416-979-2352, ext.4782
Email: justesk@lao.on.ca and/or media@lao.on.ca

CLEO: Your Legal Rights: Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013

Brought to you by Your Legal Rights, a website of legal information for people in Ontario
CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)

Legal System

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

Latest News and Events

Legal aid lawyers want collective bargaining rights

Ontario’s legal aid lawyers — most of them women — say they are being denied the right to collective bargaining despite overwhelming support from their members.

Article Source:

Toronto Star

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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

PLEI Connect: Creating an Online Community of Practice
It seems almost paradoxical, but online communities require a lot of offline work. Although they exist in virtual space, digital communities are created and maintained through the hard real-world work of people like Brenda Rose, project manager for PLEI Connect, an interactive online public legal education (PLE) website.

Article Source:

Legal Aid Ontario

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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

Ontario reviewing access to criminal court records

The Ministry of the Attorney General is reviewing its policies on media access to criminal court records in a bid to make the province’s justice system more open and transparent.

Article Source:

Toronto Star

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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

Ontario picks panel to improve First Nations presence on juries
The Ontario government will move forward with a plan to get more First Nations people on to jury rolls, naming a committee of aboriginal leaders and public servants to lead the push.

Article Source:

The Globe and Mail

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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

LAO invests an additional $3 million in community and legal clinics
A news release from Legal Aid Ontario: Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is investing additional provincial funding of $3 million in 2013/14 to create two new funds that support Ontario’s community and legal aid clinics. This support includes:

LAO’s budget commitment

Article Source:

Legal Aid Ontario

read more

Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

CLEO’s report, Public Legal Education and Information in Ontario Communities: Formats and Delivery Channels, is now available
Community Legal Education Ontario’s report Public Legal Education and Information in Ontario Communities: Formats and Delivery Channels is now available.

Article Source:

CLEO – Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario

read more

Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

View all news on this topic

Latest Resources

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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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

Lawsuits and Disputes
This section of the Ministry of the Attorney General website contains information on contracts and torts, suing and being sued, How do I find a lawyer or a paralegal?, the civil courts, mediation and arbitration, and landlord and tenant issues.

Produced by:
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General

Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on Twitter

View all resources on this topic

Latest Training

Looking for a Family Law Lawyer
Recorded on February 23, 2012  – This webinar is designed for community workers and advocates who support women in finding a family law lawyer. It is a discussion about where to look for a family law lawyer, how to choose and work with one, and some options for clients who aren’t satisfied.

Presenting Organization:
METRAC

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Send Your Legal Rights Legal Information Bulletin on the Legal System for 09/24/2013 to friends on Facebook share on TwitterView all training on this topic

Latest Common Question

My husband has abused me and threatens to have me deported if I report him…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.

Comments?

We welcome your feedback.

Copyright © 2013 CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario), All rights reserved.

Family Law Series now available in Chinese

chinese

CLEO – Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario  is pleased to announce the Family Law Series of publications is available in Chinese.

The document includes an Introduction to Family Law in Ontario, Separation and Divorce or Death of a Spouse: Property Division, Separation and Divorce: Child Custody, Access, and Parenting Plans, Separation and Divorce: Child Support, Separation and Divorce: Spousal Support. These titles are also available in English and French.

包括:在安大略省家庭法简介,分居和离婚或配偶死亡:物业部,分离和离婚:子女监护权,访问,和养育计划,分离和离婚子女抚养费,分居和离婚配偶赡养费。

Bāokuò: Zài āndàlüè shěng jiātíng fǎ jiǎnjiè, fēnjū hé líhūn huò pèi’ǒu sǐwáng: Wùyè bù, fēnlí hé líhūn: Zǐnǚ jiānhù quán, fǎngwèn, hé yǎngyù jìhuà, fēnlí hé líhūn zǐnǚ fǔyǎng fèi, fēnjū hé líhūn pèi’ǒu shànyǎng fèi.

http://www.cleo.on.ca/sites/default/files/book_pdfs/introfamch.pdf

For more Resources and Publications [資源和出版物] in Chinese visit:

http://www.cleo.on.ca/en/resources-and-publications/pubs?language=zh-hans