Clinic History - Community Advocacy & Legal Centre


A Brief History of our Clinic

This non-profit community legal clinic was first funded by the Ontario Legal Aid Plan (now known as "Legal Aid Ontario" or LAO) in October 1980 and was known as Hastings and Prince Edward Legal Services (HPELS). In 2004 the clinic’s name was officially changed to Community Advocacy & Legal Centre (CALC) to reflect its expansion to serve the low income residents of three Eastern Ontario counties.

The clinic owes its existence to the efforts of committed staff and Board volunteers from the former Quinte Information and Assistance Centre (QIAC). QIAC had also functioned as a Landlord and Tenant Bureau and had offered information and advocacy services in Unemployment Insurance, social assistance and consumer matters.

The clinic opened its doors to the public in December 1980. When the clinic was finally incorporated in April 1981, its objects were to:

  •  Operate a full service law office

  •  Establish legal education programs

  •  Publish legal education literature

  •  Organize people or groups for test case or law reform purposes.

Clinic staff were mandated to serve low income residents throughout Hastings and Prince Edward counties. Operating from a storefront in downtown Belleville, the four member staff included an Executive Director/lawyer, two community legal workers and a secretary/receptionist. In 1985 part-time satellite offices were opened in Madoc and Picton when Legal Aid provided funding for another staff lawyer. The part-time office in Bancroft was opened in 1987, when Legal Aid funded another lawyer and eventually additional support staff to assist with the growing workload. The same year the clinic moved its main office to 158 George Street in Belleville to better serve all the residents of the two counties. In 2002 the clinic officially expanded to take on Lennox & Addington County and was funded for a total of ten positions, which now include an Executive Director/Lawyer, Office Manager, five lawyers, a community legal worker, a law clerk/advocate, and a legal secretary/intake worker. A part-time satellite in Napanee opened in March 2002. In 2004, a part-time satellite was opened in Trenton.


In recent years, additional part-time staff have been hired from special grant funding from the Provincial Homelessness Initiative Fund and Hastings County for an Eviction Prevention Project (link to project description to follow), from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario for Tenant Duty Counsel services, and Pro Bono Law Ontario for a Pro Bono Project (link to project description to follow).


We would not have been able to accomplish anything without the support of our community for the last twenty-five years. We are thankful for the support of many individuals, groups, organizations, Legal Aid Ontario and Area Office staff, Law Associations, and members of municipal councils, and provincial and federal governments.

For more information about the history of our clinic and Legal Aid, please read: