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Protesters swarm attorney general’s office over legal aid cuts


BarrieToday.com reports that “more than 50 protestors swarmed Attorney General and Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MPP Doug Downey’s office in Barrie on Thursday afternoon to protest cuts to Legal Aid Ontario.”

The protestors included OPSEU members working at legal clinics across the province and people who depend on the services provided by Legal Aid Ontario and the legal clinics it funds. Many of those clinics — including the Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic in Toronto — are now seeing their budgets cut.

A lot of injured workers are on limited income resources, so they rely on legal aid to help provide (support). Legal aid is a way we equalize access to the legal system across Ontario,” OPSEU Region 3 Regional Vice President Sara Labelle is quoted as saying in BarrieToday.com.

“Any cuts to a vulnerable population that are already living on limited resources … it’s even harder for them.”

Aiden Macdonald, who works at the Injured Workers Community Legal Clinic and who is President of OPSEU Local 5118, spoke about the cuts with Global News.

“What the legal clinics do is help provide people with kind of a bare minimum of basic living standards to get them a bit of money, to put a roof over their heads and food on the table,” said Macdonald.

“When you cut Legal Aid, when you cut legal clinics, you’re going to have people who end up on the streets, you’re going to have people who get deported, you’re going to have people [for whom] literally it could be life and death situations.”