On April 11th, 2019, the Ontario Government made sweeping cuts to the legal aid budget: not only did it eliminate one third of the entire budget, it slashed 100% of the province’s funding for refugee and immigration cases. Days later, Legal Aid Ontario discontinued all new immigration and refugee services, with limited exceptions.
On August 12, 2019 the Government of Canada stepped in with one time emergency funding to mitigate the crisis. CARL applauds this announcement from the federal government, which is right to step in to avoid such irreparable harm to immigrants and refugees.
But the fight is not over. This one time infusion from the Government of Canada will not secure the future of legal aid for migrants and refugees. The province still has a critical role to play in funding legal aid services – and we hope they will step up to their responsibilities, be it in this fiscal year or next. More remains to be done to arrive at a long-term and sustainable funding plan which ensures this crisis will not come again.
Letters to Federal Leaders
CARL and the RLA wrote to all Federal Political Leaders asking them for their plan to resolve the stand-off with Ontario over legal aid for refugee and immigration matters.
To date, the only response we have received is from NDP Leader, Jagmeet Singh, who supports immediate emergency funding, and a plan to find a more sustainable funding solution going forward.
Tools to Contact MPPs
The Refugee Lawyers Association (RLA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) are encouraging concerned individuals to reach out to their MPPs directly to engage them in action against legal aid cuts.
The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) and the Refugee Lawyers Association (RLA) of Ontario congratulate and applaud Prime Minister Trudeau for today’s announcement addressing the refugee and immigration legal aid crisis in Ontario, [...]
Refugee advocates are calling for urgent action from the federal government to resolve the refugee legal aid crisis, in the wake of significant changes to the refugee process in the federal Budget Implementation Act [...]
Refugee advocates are calling for urgent action from the federal government to resolve the refugee legal aid crisis, in the wake of significant changes to the refugee process in the federal Budget Implementation Act that [...]
Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) & Refugee Lawyers Association of Ontario (RLA) The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and the Refugee Lawyers Association of Ontario are calling on the Government of Canada to halt [...]
Media Release: Legal Aid to refugees and immigrants to end Tuesday morning The axe has fallen on legal aid for immigrants and refugees in Ontario. Just after 4 pm today, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) announced by [...]
Media Release - Refugee lawyers join legal advocates across the province to condemn cuts to Legal Aid Ontario Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) & Refugee Lawyers Association (RLA) The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers [...]
The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) applauds new money in the 2019 budget for refugee determination hearings at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), legal aid, and CBSA oversight, but expressed dismay at the [...]