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a legal aid clinic saved his life. budget cuts jeopardize others. - a smart board
A director said the clinic would be forced to reject thousands of people every year.
The story is an interesting part of the Huffington Post Canada series, which explores the impact of recent funding cuts in the Ontario legal aid system, and the impact of vulnerable groups that rely on the system to navigate through our complex justice system. TORONTO —
Neville Jacobs is lying in bed and will never fall asleep.
He will watch the clock ticking. 11 p. m. , 1 a. m. , 2 a. m. —until daybreak.
Then he stood up, exhausted, and tried to do the work of a priest at the Toronto church.
In the early three years
Jacobs says he's been suffering from insomnia in his 2000 s.
"I can't work properly.
I can't focus, "he said, now 72.
"I am like a daze, living in a daze day after day.
Jacobs's knee surgery was also unsuccessful, resulting in long-term pain for him.
Jacobs said that on 2004, his doctor announced that he was permanently disabled and no longer working.
He applied for financial assistance through the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
"They didn't give you any reason, it was just that you were entitled to comment," Jacobs said . ".
Jacobs, unable to pay the mortgage, is about to lose the house, and does not know how to appeal the decision of the ODSP, who "is on the brink of despair and does not know where to turn.
But later, through a friend at a local food bank, Jacobs heard of a place to help --
Community Legal Services in Scarborough.
Years later, he still remembers that while walking at the door of the legal clinic, he was paired with a lawyer assistant who immediately became his defense lawyer.
"She talks to me every time, not a long row of intermittent numbers.
"No, I'm Neville Jacobs, someone who is in urgent need of financial help," he said . ".
With the assistance of the legal clinic, Jacobs filed an appeal, heard his case in the ODSP court and won.
He did not underestimate the role of the clinic in saving him from his predicament.
"If it weren't for the intervention of the Scarborough legal services department, I would have been homeless, or could have died now," Jacobs said . ".
Jacob's case is no exception.
There are 74 Community law clinics in Ontario each year that help over 9,000 people
Last year, the auditor general reported that the income crowd appealed the decision of the ODSP.
Their client won three.
Ensure that they have a source of income while fighting physical and mental disabilities.
Behind the scenes, legal clinics also help tenants fight illegal deportation, permanent residency for refugees or reunions with their families, and other services.
But in the face of big budget cuts, front-line staff warned that they would be forced to shut out those in need.
In the long run, this will cost the government and the community.
This spring, the province cut Ontario's legal aid budget by 0. 456 billion from $0. 323 billion to $31 million and plans to reduce its annual funding by another dollar by 2021 --2022.
Ontario legal aid says it will cut $93
$15 million budget for legal clinics.
It will allocate the money to the clinics that are most in need, while others will face even greater cuts.
The attorney general said it expects legal aid in Ontario to become more effective.
But even a small cut in the already tight budget of the legal clinic will have a devastating impact, including the dismissal of lawyers and paralegal, they help hundreds of people go through the courts, boards and front-line workers at the bureaucracy every year.
The clients of the clinic have exceeded their abilities and they will have to shut out more people.
At a press conference earlier this month, Yodit Edemariam, a lawyer at the Rexdale Community Law Clinic, warned that "the cuts in the Ontario legal aid budget will erode the carefully woven service coordination and support structure.
"Voters facing the most difficult challenges in life --
Deportation, unemployment, uncertain immigration status or refusal to live
Maintenance of disability benefits
Will be forced into a more fragile situation.
"Jack deklek, director of Neighborhood Legal Services, downtown Toronto East, predicts that this impact will be beyond the reach of the justice system.
"Our services help a lot of people see themselves in society and reduce their alienation," deklek said . ".
"If people have a good home, they will contribute in other ways like Neville did.
Jacobs joined the Scarborough Community Legal Services Committee in 2007, where he continued to help his community and linked people to the same services that saved him.
"I feel I have an obligation to help people like me who are trampled by society," Jacobs said . ".
"Vulnerability and adversity make you understand more.
My compassion has deepened.
When Remilde Drummond, 62, began experiencing chronic pain associated with fibromyalgia, she was a family support worker.
She was unable to work and "lost in life" with a husband and two children to help support, saying she applied for disability benefits through the Canada Pension scheme in 2013.
She was turned down but found the Rexdale clinic.
"They took my case and I found out I can trust them," Drummond said . ".
A clinic lawyer won her case on the appeal board.
"Thank God for providing us with the Rexdale legal center.
I will always thank them for that.
Drummond says legal aid cuts are the "worst thing" the province can do ".
"I know a lot of people in our community need help like I do.
They are not healthy at work. They cannot (afford)a lawyer. It’s the truth.
Legal Clinic services are much cheaper than other public services.
Every dollar spent on legal aid saved the province $6 in other areas as it reduced deportation, homelessness, disease and poverty, and improved the efficiency of the civil and criminal courts according to a report from the Canadian Bar Association.
An ODSP recipient without a family member receives up to $1,169 per month.
By contrast, housing costs $2,100 a month; a long-
$3,960 long term care bed;
$4,300 beds for correctional facilities;
The auditor general reported that there was also a $13,500 bed.
"Cutting legal aid is not a politically wise move.
Don't cut back on spending where the community needs money, "said deklek. With 10 full-
Time employees, Neighborhood Legal Services, are already working hard to meet growing demand, says deklek.
Much of their work has focused on the fight against deportation and appeals to revenue decisions, including ODSP.
Renee Griffin, executive director, said community legal services in Scarborough are also busy.
"We can't meet the needs of the community. ” With a $1.
She said that of the total budget of 8 million, the clinic handles more than 2,500 cases per year, of which housing is related.
Other services can also be used by people.
"The biggest challenge we have right now is that people walk in every day and we have to say, 'We can't help you, '" said deklek '. ".
The clinic rejects those who are not eligible for legal aid, the vast majority of Ontario residents, including the minimum wage and the elderly living on the Canadian Pension Plan.
The province is one of the lowest cuts in legal aid revenue
Canada's compensation for a person without a family member is $17,731.
Although Statistics Canada considers Canadians who earn $22,133 or less to be poor.
Alberta, BC, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and all three regions are provided annually to people whose income ranges from $20,000 to $50,000
For those who meet the conditions, the legal clinic will at least advise them, according to deklek.
Depending on the severity of the individual's circumstances, lawyers can also help them collect documents, write letters and prepare appeals, or represent them in court and in court.
Since De Klerk served as director in 1998, his budget for legal clinics has grown by no more than that.
Between 1 and 2 cents almost every year.
The clinic is currently the only part of $1. 2 million-
Decklek said that it may cut its budget without affecting the service, which may be office supplies.
"Maybe paper is at our disposal, and the only thing we can do is cut the staff.
Employees will lose their jobs.
Their customers can no longer get the service.