OPSEU members who work at the Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) do some pretty amazing work. They answer tens of thousands of calls every year from members of the public whose human rights may have been violated. They offer advice, support, and, for those who need legal representation, referrals to the HRLSC’s team of staff lawyers throughout the province.
This service is primarily funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General. The Ministry has notified the HRLSC that they are cutting 10% of their funding as of April 1, 2019.
Mediation is a win-win
This funding cut is aimed at a specialized team of Human Rights Representatives at HRLSC called the Mediation Project. This team brings huge efficiencies to HRLSC in two ways:
- They do initial interviews with clients and help them file applications to the Human Rights Tribunal, work that staff lawyers previously performed. Those lawyers now have more time to represent HRLSC clients at the mediation stage.
- As a result of this work, many more cases are settled at mediation that might otherwise have gone to a lengthy and costly Human Rights Tribunal hearing.
Not only does this project save HRLSC in legal costs (mediations cost less than Tribunal hearings) but it also saves the Human Rights Tribunal money and relieves pressure on their hearing schedule by settling cases without a hearing.
Last year, the HRLSC’s mediation project helped people settle more than 400 cases without a hearing. Over four years, there has been a 75% increase in settlements achieved by the project. It was so effective that the Mediation Project team won the Ontario Public Service’s Amethyst Award in 2018, the highest award for excellence in the OPS.
Act now! Human rights are worth protecting
Please help the workers at HRLSC fight back against this drastic cut by the Ford government to human rights representation in Ontario. There are three things you can do tohelp right now.
- Send an email to Attorney General Caroline Mulroney demanding that she reverse this cut – you can use the email form at www.humanrightsmatter.net.
- Follow us on Facebook and share our social media posts with your friends and contacts.
- Ask your friends to email the Minister and share with their friends.
Let the Ford government know that we won’t let them slash human rights without a fight.