New legal clinic for Black Ontarians in place by August 2018

January 11, 2018
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Months after the African Canadian Legal Clinic's funding was cut, Legal Aid Ontario has announced the formation of a new clinic to serve legal needs of Black Canadians to be in place by August 2018.

The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC), is a non-profit that will provide legal services including representation, legal advice, and public education as well as fighting test cases, according to a press release from Legal Aid Ontario posted Wednesday.

In August, a committee of Legal Aid's board of directors pulled funding for the African Canadian Legal Clinic amid allegations of financial mismanagement including that the executive director Margaret Parsons charged $754 for a diamond ring to a company credit card in 2007 and used money from undisclosed staff vacancies to pay out $170,000 in bonuses, including $121,000 to herself.

Parsons has denied any wrongdoing and said no public funds were ever misused.

After the decision to cut the funding, Legal Aid released documents relating to the allegations, including audits from independent firm PWC, on its website.

Legal Aid had provided 35 per cent of its total annual income. In 2016/2017, Legal Aid gave $669,730 to the clinic, Legal Aid spokesman Graeme Burk told Metro in the summer.

Burk told Metro Wednesday the agency has allocated about $850,000 to support clinic law services for members of Ontario's Black communities for 2018/2019.

Read more: New legal clinic for Black Ontarians in place by August 2018