Community Advocacy & Legal Centre History

Year by Year Highlights:  1989-1992

Go to:   1981-1984 1985-1988;   1989-1992 1993-1995 

1989

  • Presented a comprehensive submission to the Standing Resource Committee on Bill 162 – An Act to Amend the Workers’ Compensation Act.  Since then we have responded to every significant policy change or law reform proposal regarding the Workers’ Compensation Act.

  • Successfully prosecuted three landlords for breach of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

  • Acted as counsel for the Advocacy Committee at Prince Edward Heights at an inquest into the death of one of the residents.  Clinic staff were active in the Advocacy Committee at the Heights from 1986 to 1993 considering many human rights issues for the developmentally handicapped.

  • In conjunction with Youth Habilitation Quinte Inc., applied for funding for a Housing Resource Centre to assist tenants find accommodation in South Hastings.  This Centre is still operational today and has expanded services to Prince Edward County.

  • Carried out an extensive outreach by mail campaign regarding availability of our services and public legal education sessions.

1990

  •  Participated on the Board of Directors for the non-profit housing developments in North Hastings, Centre Hastings, and Prince Edward County.  We had also participated on the Belleville Non-Profit Housing Board in earlier years.

  • Published a series of 20 articles on landlord and tenant law, which were carried in local papers.

  • Won benefits at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT) for a clinic client who suffered from a debilitating industrial disease as a result of workplace exposure to chemicals.

  • On November 22, 1990, we obtained an interim injunction stopping Hastings County Council from obtaining a list of names of the people who receive welfare in Hastings County.  Dubbed as the “welfare list” case, this precedent setting case was eventually decided in the clinic’s clients’ favour in August, 1992.

1991

  • Clinic staff were heavily involved in planning and providing workshops at the March 15-16 Affordable Housing conference sponsored by the Access to Permanent Housing Committee.  More than 200 people from across the province attended the event.  Workshops that clinic staff were primarily responsible for included:  homelessness, emergency housing, rent control and tenants’ rights.  We worked with the Landlord Self-Help Centre, a legal clinic specializing in the legal issues affecting landlords, to provide an information centre on their services.

  • Organized a conference “The Law and Seniors.”  One hundred and thirty five people attended from the two counties.  We worked with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (A.C.E.) to offer many workshops on legal issues relevant to seniors.

  • Co-sponsored a presentation with the Quinte District Injured Workers Group on occupational health and safety issues.  We worked closely with the Toronto Workers’ Occupational Health and Safety Clinic, a legal clinic specializing in workplace issues to plan this event.

  • Successfully advocated for improvements in the processing of applications for disability pensions under the Family Benefits Act.  As a result of our intervention with local and regional staff at the Ministry, many cases settled without the necessity of a hearing before SARB.  Fairer treatment for all new applicants resulted.  (We had had a backlog of 138 SARB appeals to deal with!)

1992

  • Began a series of radio programs on legal issues on two radio stations – one in Belleville and one in Bancroft.  These continue on a monthly basis to this day.

  • Organized two major one day conferences on October 1 & 2 on social assistance issues.  October 1 was aimed at clients living on a low income.  The October 2 event was designed for service providers.  In addition to dealing with poverty law issues, workshops included:  “Putting a Human Face on Poverty” and “Can We Afford Social Justice in Hard Times.”

  • Worked with a small coordinating committee in Lennox and Addington County attempting to have a legal clinic funded there.  Funding has since been frozen.

  • Published 1,000 “Guide to Living on a Low Income in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.”  Since then we have printed a second edition of 2,000 copies.

  • Chaired the Community Development Council’s Task Force on Hunger (Belleville).  We produced an 80 page report with our research findings, and comprehensive recommendations to alleviate hunger and poverty.  Recommendations included social assistance reform.  We continued to participate on an implementation Committee for a further nine months.  This Committee was involved in more than 50 meetings with community members and elected officials such as MPPs.

  • Worked for change to the General Welfare Assistance Act to permit “self-employment.”  The law was eventually amended to permit benefits for self-employed people, in the short term, if they were making reasonable efforts to seek employment.