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OPSEU members join with Parkdale residents in fighting for legal aid clinic

Community Agencies Sector 5

Toronto – OPSEU members joined residents of Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood to send a loud message to Legal Aid Ontario about the future of Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS).

More than 50 OPSEU members, including PCLS members of local 5118, residents of Parkdale, and supporters of the legal clinic, gathered outside of Legal Aid Ontario’s Bay Street offices on Tuesday.

They demanded Legal Aid Ontario immediately commit to a long-term, fully-funded and adequate space for the clinic in the Parkdale area.

After nearly 20 years in their current office space, the clinic received a termination notice this fall.

Legal Aid Ontario has refused to support the clinic’s bid for a long-term lease agreement at a new space in Parkdale.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas sent this letter to Mr. David Field.

Chief Executive Officer, Legal Aid Ontario on December 17 outlining his great concern about the OPSEU members working at Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) and the residents they serve in this community.

“This week’s rally underscores how strongly our members who work at the clinic feel about the important services they provide to Parkdale residents who are in desperate need of legal assistance,” Thomas said.  “Here is yet another example of how vital it is to listen to frontline workers who best understand the kind of problems everyday Ontarians face.”

Legal Aid Ontario provides funding to the Parkdale clinic, which has deep roots in the community and takes great pride in helping low income and marginalized community members.

The fight to keep the clinic in Parkdale will continue in the new year. An organizing meeting will be held on Monday, January 14 at 6:30pm at Parkdale Bonar Church (250 Dunn Avenue).

The PCLS members and Aidan Macdonald, President of Local 5118, would like to personally thank everyone who has shown their support!