Community Advocacy & Legal Centre History

Year by Year Highlights:  1993-1995

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

1993

  • Continued to do a great deal of advocacy around social assistance reform issues with the provincial government.

  • Argued a human rights case which eventually lead to a large award to the client.  The landlord had discriminated against the tenant due to receipt of social assistance.

  • Sponsored a number of legal information evenings in Bancroft on workers’ compensation law which led to the formation of the North Hastings Injured Workers Group.

  • Clinic staff now carry caseloads of between 80-100 active files.

  • Organized a public legal education information booth at the Picton Fair.  We have also had fair booths on many occasions in Stirling, Belleville, Madoc and Tweed.

  • Worked with a newly formed group of “Emergency Relief Service Providers.”  Several issues worked on included hydro deposits for low income people, and the development of a Community Trust Fund.

  • Organized a one day ‘visioning’ day for Eastern Ontario clinics regarding the future and efficacy of legal advocacy and the clinic system.

1994

  • Commenced a formal complaint to the Ministry of Community and Social Services regarding the conduct of enhanced verification officers hired by the Hastings County Social Services Department.  We had carefully documented about a dozen cases.  Following Ministry intervention many of the reprehensible activities stopped.  The complaint is still not completely resolved.  We have asked that the 600-700 people affected by the enhanced verification officers’ conduct be apprised of their rights to appeal any decision made as a result of the investigations.

  • Formed a Deaf Community Advisory Committee to assist the Board and staff to improve services to the deaf community.  In addition to obtaining TTY equipment, clinic staff began to plan for a legal information video series for the deaf to be aired on a local cable TV station.  Filming of the video series began January 1995 and will be completed by December 1995.

  • Organized a major four day training event for Eastern Ontario legal clinics in May 1994 on workers’ compensation law, social assistance law, and community development.  We worked closely with the Kingston Community Legal Clinic and the Clinique Juridique Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.  We also organized the first ever two day event for Eastern clinic support staff.

  • Prepared a submission called “Federal Social Programme Reform:  Dismantling Our Social Safety Net.”  It was provided to the Standing Committee on Human Resources Development on the Social Security Review.  We helped organize several community workshops regarding the reforms and a candlelight vigil for social programmes.  We met with all three federal MPP’s to discuss our views and the presentations were well received.

  • Lynne Toupin, Executive Director of the National Anti-Poverty Organization spoke about Social Programs Under Attack” at our Annual General Meeting.  She also spoke at the Community Forum Luncheon and was the guest on CJBQ’s “Open Line” programme the same day.

  • Established significant precedent-setting decisions regarding entitlement to vocational rehabilitation under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

1995

  • Organized a one-day workshop to address the issue of lack of American Sign Language interpreters in our two counties, and the legal obligation of service agencies to provide interpretive services.

  • Argued a case before the Social Assistance Review Board challenging the constitutionality of the Regulations under the General Welfare Assistance Act pertaining to 16-17 year olds.  We worked with Justice for Youth, a legal clinic specializing in legal advocacy for children and youth.

  • Met with all three new local MPP’s to discuss clinic services and offer training to constituency office staff in workers compensation, landlord-tenant and other issues.

  • Wrote several articles for the I.A.V.G.O. newsletter, a widely read legal clinic publication on workers’ compensation issues.

  • Advocated for changes to Hastings County Social Services Department policy regarding “reasonable efforts to seek employment” requirements.  This advocacy followed several successful appeals on this issue to SARB.

  • Sponsored a seven day course on Systemic Advocacy.  This intensive workshop assisted its seventeen participants to develop a comprehensive set of strategies and skills to do advocacy work.

  • Made a deputation to Belleville City Hall regarding the cuts and changes to social assistance.  City Councillors voted unanimously to create a Mayor’s Task Force to define the crisis, raise awareness, and assess and mobilize local resources.

  • Developed legal education displays for libraries in Stirling, Trenton, Madoc, Picton, and Bancroft.

  • Organized several information sessions on the rate cuts and other proposed changes to social assistance legislation effective October 1, 1995.  Developed two special newsletters on these issues.

Special Thanks to the Community

 

We would not have been able to accomplish anything without the support of our community over these past 15 years.  We are thankful for the support of many individuals, groups, organizations, and members of municipal councils, provincial and federal governments, who have worked with us over the years.

 

Thank you for keeping us true to the mandate envisioned for legal clinics in Ontario, assisting clients and people living on a low income through casework service, community development and law reform.