Latest Developments From Legal Aid Ontario
There’s been some big news coming out of the Legal Aid Ontario camp over the last month. At the beginning of December they announced funding for six East Toronto clinics to provide employment law services for the working poor in their neighborhoods. The funding was originally obtained from the province as part of Legal Aid Ontario’s efforts to increase financial eligibility for legal services.

Funding Legal Employment Services For The Underprivileged

The neighborhood clinics now offering these services include East Toronto, Neighborhood Legal Services, Scarborough, Willowdale, and West Scarborough. According to John McCamus, Chair of Legal Aid Ontario, “Up until now, Ontario’s clinics have support their patients primarily in the traditional areas of poverty law, such as social assistance, income maintenance, housing, landlord and tenant and some immigrant and refugee law matters.”

“Now,” McCamus continues, “all the general service clinics east of Yonge to the Durham border are not only joining the increasing number of clinics forging partnerships to increase access to justice in Ontario—they are adding support for low-income Ontarians in an entirely new area of law.”

As a result of their new partnership, the six clinics have created a pilot initiative that will run for at least one year. The initiative is called, simply, Toronto East Employment Law Services (TEELS). The TEELS staff will include one employment law lawyer tasked to work from the East Toronto legal clinic and one community worker with experience in outreach and law reform services who will operate out of the West Scarborough legal clinics.

Marjorie Hilley, Executive Director of Flemingdon Community Legal Services issued a statement of appreciation: “We thank Legal Aid Ontario and the government for supporting a pilot that will provide those who suffer the most from precarious employment with a fulltime lawyer and community worker to provide advice, referrals and public legal information.”

The Announcement of a New CEO

Less than two weeks after the funding announcement in support of the TEELS initiative, Legal Aid Ontario also appointed a new Chief Executive Officer. David Field was previously a senior executive with the company and will succeed former CEO Robert Ward, who will retire this month. Field’s appointment will be effective January 1st, 2016.

Field boasts 33 years of experience in financial and strategic planning in the public sector. Field’s experience includes work as the Director and Chief Financial Officer at the Ministry of the Attorney General and as the Director of Financial Planning and Business Management Branch at both the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Most recently, Mr. Field served as Vice President of Strategic Planning and Compliance at Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). While holding this position Mr. Field played a major role in the development of modern management methods designed to improve client service and increase organizational effectiveness.

According to a source within the organization, “Mr. Field is well-equipped to provide value for our clients, and continued support for our staff, service providers, and the many other professionals who serve those clients. He will play a key role in supporting and furthering LAO’s mandate to assist the poor and marginalized with their legal needs, and he looks forward to actively engaging with LAO’s many dedicated stakeholders in the social justice community to achieve this objective.”

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Posted by: DSR
Friday, January 1, 2016
Tag: Legal
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