Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, Mississauga’s Bonnie Crombie, Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson and Peel Region Chair Nando Iannicca sent a joint letter to Premier Doug Ford and newly minted Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey objecting to the Legal Aid cuts.
“Legal Aid Ontario serves the province’s more vulnerable, who need access to essential legal services in a broad range of areas: criminal law, family law, child protection law, mental health law, and refugee and immigration law,” read the letter.
Earlier this year, the province announced a series of public service cuts aimed at balancing the province’s books, which included LAO.
According to a report by the Frasier Institute in May, even with the Ford government’s planned cuts and long-term fiscal plan, Ontario’s debt is expected to rise to more than $390 billion by 2023-24.
Ontario already spends more than $1 billion per month in interest payments to service that debt, and that’s expected to grow to $15.5 billion in annual interest over the next five years.
According to the Ontario government since 2013, fewer people have been using the services of LAO.
“LAO is unsustainable in its current state. I am confident that LAO will continue providing high-quality legal representation and advice to low-income Ontarians, said Mulroney, while referencing a December 2018 value-for-money report from Ontario’s auditor general.
In their letter, Peel’s mayors said a recent report from the federal government’s justice committee showed legal aid provides a big return on investment. It claimed for every dollar spent, the government realizes $6 to $7 in savings in other areas.
Legal Aid Ontario says it provides high quality legal aid services in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
It identifies, assesses and recognizes the diverse legal needs of low-income individuals and of disadvantaged communities in Ontario. -CINEWS