GTA Legal Clinics

Transformation Project



June 10, 2013 at 6:00pm
Council Chamber: North York Civic Centre

Everyone in the community legal clinic community (Board
members, staff members and interested community members are
invited to attend this public meeting to discuss the Transformation

If you are:
• interested in knowing how this Project got started
• wanting to know what are the objectives of the Project
• curious about who is doing it and why
• concerned about how this will affect access to justice
• wondering: isn’t this just another government cutback

Please come to the meeting!



What is this?

The GTA Clinic Transformation Project is about planning to replace the existing GTA community legal clinics with fewer, larger, clinics. The reason for this is to deliver
more and better services to our clients. If clinics are to develop new programs for service, if clinics want to enlist more pro bono, volunteer or student help, if clinics want
to use technology more effectively, if clinic staff members want to work in teams, all for the purpose of improving our services then clinics need to be larger organizations.

These observations were put forward in the report of Public Interest called “Refining the delivery of client-centred poverty law”. The consultants were retained by the 6
East Toronto clinics to assist them in improving collaboration amongst the clinics. The principles in this report were thought to have application beyond the context of East
Toronto and those clinics proposed to the Toronto Legal Clinics Management Group that this should be a GTA-wide project. The Managers Group agreed and the GTA
Transformation Project began.

The first step taken was the establishment of the “Working Group”, eight clinic EDs who volunteered to head up the Project, essentially acting as an executive for a Steering Committee to be comprised of representatives of all participating clinics. The Working Group applied to the LAO Innovations Fund and has been given funding for this project. We expect to retain consultants to assist with the process, including analysis of demographic data and doing some community needs assessment.

This is an opportunity for a completely fresh approach. If there were no existing community legal clinics, what would be the best way to deliver clinic law services in the
GTA? What is the optimum size for a community legal clinic? Based on where clients are located, where should catchment area boundaries be? Together we will build a
new and better system for delivering a full range of poverty law services in the GTA, one which meets client and community needs and which seeks the best (the most
effective and efficient) means of delivering clinic law services. All clinics will be taking an equal risk of change. The more clinics participating the better will be our final report.

Meeting Agenda

1. Introductions and Welcome

2. The broader context of clinic transformation, Legal Aid and the clinic system
Lenny Abramowitz – Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario

3. Brief history of the GTA Clinic Transformation Project

4. The changing demographic of the GTA

5. The Public Interest Report – “Refining the delivery of client-centred poverty law”

6. The GTA wide Project

7. next steps and beyond

8. adjournment

Injured Workers’ Day

…from Correen DiFlorio, Administrative Assistant, Injured Workers’ Consultants:

Injured Workers' Day

30th Anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day!

Saturday June 1st at 11:00 am

Queen’s Park – Ontario Legislature

The Vigil:  Injured Workers are not sleeping at night!

How can our elected representatives sleep?

 While many of us already know that this year marks the milestone 30th anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day, it’s perhaps less widely known that Injured Workers’ Day doesn’t begin and end with June 1st. For the past 7 years, the Women of Inspiration Injured Workers’ Group has organized an overnight vigil beginning at 4:00pm on May 31st at Queen’s Park (front of Queen’s Park under the big tree to the left of the front steps) as a way of kicking off the commemoration. It’s a great way for injured workers and their supporters to come together communally and get to know one another as we build our movement for justice. Below is an interview with Constanza Durán, who, with the Women of Inspiration, has helped organized the vigil since its inception.  Constanza is an injured worker advocate at Injured Workers’ Consultants Legal Clinic.

How and why did the vigil begin?  When did it first happen?

The Women of Inspiration group was created in 2004.  The first vigil was created in 2006 by the Women who all agreed at one of our meetings that they could not sleep at night because of the physical pain they experienced as well as all the worries they had.  Those worries were about their families, their children, their financial situation and their future and the future of their children.  The women felt if they were sleepless, if they were in pain, alone and feeling isolated in their homes at night, why not do this in public: show the government and the public that they are sleepless at night.  This is a call for awareness of their injuries and the problems workplace injuries can cause!  This is a call to ask for justice for injured workers!

 What is being planned for this year?  What time should people come down?

The Women are calling the vigil for 4pm on May 31.  Men, women, children, families, everybody come at anytime from 4pm on.  If it is raining, bring umbrellas, a tarp or whatever you need for protection from the rain.  If people plan to stay all night, bring a sleeping bag, or a warm blanket, a picnic or lawn chair, a flashlight, and if available a thermos with hot tea or coffee and some munchies for the night.  People don’t have to stay all night.  What is important is to be there for even just one hour to show support.

Who is invited? 

Everyone is invited! Whether you’re an injured worker, an ally of injured workers, a member of the Women of Inspiration, friends and families or just generally a supporter of social justice, all are welcome to join the vigil.

 What if someone cannot stay the whole night?

No problem, there’s no need to stay the whole night. There will be a group of us staying overnight, but many people just come join us for an hour or two. It always lifts our spirits to see new people show up at any point during the evening, so feel free to come for however long you can spare.

 What can people expect when they come down?

To provide/receive support and solidarity as well as to encounter a community of people suffering from workplace injuries and who have run into problems with the WSIB.   The McGuinty government appointed Mr. I. David Marshall as President of the WSIB three years ago with the purpose of reducing WSIB’s expenses.  Rather then raising employers’ rates he has been reducing and squeezing injured workers out of benefits.

What support has the vigil gotten so far?

So far we’ve received generous support from OPSEU Local 525, as well as the OPSEU Region 5 Women’s Committee. We’ve also always gotten great support from injured workers’ groups from across the GTA and around the province.  Last year we got support from UFCW; they provided us with amazing food done with a lot of love!  We expect more unions to help us this year.

 If someone wants to support it, financially or otherwise, who should they contact?

We’re always more than happy to accept any form of support! Whether it’s in the form of financial support, or food and materials to help keep us comfortable overnight, or just your moral support, you can contact us care of Injured Workers’ Consultants at 416-461-2411.

Injured Workers' Day Please also click here for a more detailed history of Injured Workers’ Day.

Injured Workers’ Day

…from Aidan Macdonald, Community Legal Worker with the Injured Workers’ Consultants Community Legal Clinic:

Injured Workers' Day

30th Anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day!

Saturday June 1st at 11:00 am

Queen’s Park – Ontario Legislature

 Celebrate and call for justice for injured workers!

 Since 1983, injured workers and their allies have come together on June 1st to celebrate their achievements, and to invigorate the struggle for justice for injured workers. This year, we ask you to join us at Queen’s Park on Saturday June 1st to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Injured Workers’ Day, as we unite in our efforts to bring about a just compensation system that truly protects the rights of injured workers.

 The past year has seen the implementation of some of the most draconian changes to the workers’ compensation system since it was first established in 1915. As part of the broad trend of austerity and cutbacks to social programs, injured workers are facing significant cuts and denials to their benefits, and a rigid and inaccessible appeals system that undermines administrative justice.  Thus, instead of receiving financial security and support, injured workers are doomed to poverty.

 But in spite of these injustices, injured workers remain firm in their commitment to ensuring fair treatment for all current and future injured workers.  The struggle for a fair compensation system is a struggle that involves all workers in Ontario, and we will not allow the system to be dismantled before our eyes.

 Join us on June 1st as we celebrate the history and accomplishments of the injured workers’ movement, and send a clear message that we demand justice for injured workers and for all workers. 

Injured Workers' Day Please also click here for a more detailed history of Injured Workers’ Day.