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Summer caseworkers at Parkdale Community Legal Services ratify first contract

Summer caseworkers at Parkdale Community Legal Services hold a "Solidarity!" banner

TORONTO – Summer caseworkers at Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) in Toronto have voted unanimously to ratify their first-ever collective agreement.

The new unit, formed in August 2015, represents approximately 20 students enrolled in the Osgoode Hall Law program and working at PCLS from May to August.  In the 45-year history of PCLS, this collective agreement marks the first time these summer caseworkers have a legal say over their wages and working conditions.

“This is the first bargaining unit of its kind in the legal aid sector,” OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said. “This new collective agreement will change the nature of the clinic for the better, as well as bolster other organizing efforts across Ontario’s legal sector. Thanks to the professionalism and dedication of our bargaining team, these students now have a solid first collective agreement.

“Congratulations to all involved in this significant achievement.”

Highlights of the deal include:

  • Defined hours of work
  • The ability to earn and take compensating time
  • Recognition for time to be allotted for deferred exams
  • Grievance and arbitration rights
  • Employee employer committee representation
  • Paid vacation time
  • Bereavement Leave

PCLS is both a teaching clinic for Osgoode Hall Law School and a poverty law organization that primarily serves low-income clients in downtown Toronto.  PCLS specializes in the areas of landlord/tenant law, immigration law, workers’ rights issues, and social assistance issues. 

For more information: 

Sue Dafoe, Staff Representative
416-443-8888 ext.2475