started this petition to
Doug Ford, Ontario Premier and all MPPs
On April 11, with the
release of the Budget, the Government of Ontario made a significant cut of
approximately one third of all legal aid funding, which will jeopardize the
rights of those who need legal representation the most.
Many refugee claimants arrive in Canada with almost nothing.
Many are dealing with the aftermath of extreme personal trauma and struggle
with PTSD, depression or other mental health issues as a result of the events
that caused them to leave their homes and countries of origin. Often with
little to no English, and even less legal knowledge, they are required to file
legal forms, collect evidence, and appear in a hearing to test their claim. They
are not equipped to represent themselves in Canada’s refugee determination
system, a highly specialized legal field. This
is why Legal Aid funding is so essential to protect the rights of such a
vulnerable population and to ensure that their full story is heard by a refugee
decision-maker through providing access to legal representation.
Access to Legal Aid is also essential to low-income
Ontarians who are facing legal proceedings such as in criminal, family, mental
health, poverty law and child protection cases. These Ontarians will struggle
to navigate these legally complex, high-stakes proceedings without legal
assistance or resources.
The impact of these cuts is huge. Vulnerable populations
like refugees are left to represent themselves in a complex and already
overburdened legal system, where a negative decision leads to deportation to
countries where lives may be at risk. The cuts will lead to backlogs and delays
throughout the justice system, causing chaos in the courts and costing
taxpayers more, not less.
URGENT! Sign your
name to the petition now – let the Government of Ontario know that you care
about funding to Legal Aid and are concerned about how it will impact the most
disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our society, including refugees and immigrants
Contact your MPP and
Federal MP: http://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/constituencies/FindMP
Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) & Refugee Lawyers Association of Ontario (RLA)