Mobile Legal & Social Justice Initiative
We received funding in 2016 for a three-year pilot project whose goal was to enhance employment law services throughout southwestern Ontario. Employment law services included helping clients with issues related to wrongful dismissal, employment standards, some employment insurance, and human rights. The pilot, titled Mobile Legal and Social Justice Initiative, retained three employment lawyers to provide services for clinics serving communities from Halton to Windsor, from Grey and Bruce County to Niagara Region, and everywhere in between.
An independent review of the pilot this year found that the three lawyers had recovered over half a million dollars in unpaid wages since its launch, an average of $10,145 per client for employment standards violations, wrongful dismissals and human rights issues. The program has also made significant inroads with migrant workers in southern Ontario and will soon be providing public legal education seminars throughout the region. The report found that the capacity of the 15 legal clinics to offer employment law services grew from 3 legal clinics to all the clinics that serve southwestern Ontario.
We are happy to report that based on the program’s success, LAO confirmed permanent funding for this initiative in 2019. That success was also featured in the Toronto Star in June 2019. The article is available online at: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2019/06/16/pilot-project-aimed-at-protecting-workers-fears-impact-of-ford-government-cuts.html.