Ontario Tories withholding funding for LGBTQ legal clinic amid spending review

October 1, 2018
Article Source
Toronto Star

The creation of Canada's first LGBTQ community legal clinic — the funding for which was announced in March by the previous provincial government — is being held up by the Progressive Conservatives, as the new government conducts a review of funding for programs. 

Egale, a national LGBTQ rights organization, was supposed to get funds to run the clinic as well as provide inclusivity training to Ontario's more than 70 legal clinics. Had the money come through, the clinic was expected to be and up running this fall, likely in Toronto.

Now, the creation of the clinic is in doubt, as the new government has not yet committed to funding it. 

"When Egale was advised that we would receive funding to open Ontario's first and Canada's only legal clinic dedicated to the unique needs of LGBTQI2S people, it was a significant step forward for our community," said Egale executive director Helen Kennedy in a statement to the Star. 

"Withholding this funding means that we will be denied full access to our justice system." 

Kennedy said the clinic would have helped clients with matters including family law, immigration and refugee cases and end-of-life planning, such as wills and estates, as well as any "high-priority areas" affecting members of the LGBTQ community. 

Egale was expected to receive about $1 million per year for the clinic for three years.

The funding for the clinic was part of a larger announcement made by the Liberal government in March for its gender-based violence strategy, which would have seen up to $242 million invested over three years into programs supporting survivors of abuse "and to address the root causes of violence," according to a news release at the time.

Read more: Ontario Tories withholding funding for LGBTQ legal clinic amid spending review