Racialized communities strategy

About the strategy

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has committed to developing a multi-year, multi-faceted, province-wide racialized

communities strategy that will build upon the services and supports that LAO already has in place.

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LAO releases racialized communities strategy paper ahead of consultations

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will be holding a series of in-person and online sessions this fall to meet with clients, lawyers, community legal clinics and other community agencies to talk about some of the issues faced by racialized communities when it comes to getting the legal services they need.

Ahead of those meetings, LAO is making its consultation paper available as a starting point for discussion.

In June of 2016, LAO announced that it was developing a strategy. Since then, LAO has had over a year of discussions with those who work with racialized communities and the justice system. Those meetings largely focused on legal issues that various communities were facing and needed services for, and how LAO could enhance the services it provides.

“We’ve already started addressing some of what we’ve heard,” says Kimberly Roach, who is leading the Racialized Communities Strategy. “One thing we consistently heard was that a lot of people don’t speak or read English—and being able to learn about what their rights are goes a long way towards empowering people. So, we made it a point to translate some of our most requested brochures into the top requested languages.”

Kimberly also points to the recent announcement of LAO’s grants for helping Black students facing suspension or expulsion hearings as another example of early work LAO has already done as part of its Racialized Communities Strategy.

“What we’re focusing on this Fall is talking directly to people from all of these various communities in addition to continuing our discussions with the organizations that serve them,” says Kimberly. “We want to hear about the hurdles they’re facing when it comes to getting the legal help they need. And we want to work together on solutions.”

Consultation dates will be announced as they become available. Requests for meetings are encouraged so LAO can arrange, where possible, to have an interpreter to help facilitate discussions. In the meantime, LAO welcomes written submissions either through our website or by emailing rcs@lao.on.ca.

Resources

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