Canada’s Supreme Court turns down Charter challenge on right to housing

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused the most vulnerable people in our society the opportunity to have their claims that the government is violating their human rights heard in court. Shocking, but true.Tracy Heffernan was co-counsel in Tanudjaja v. Canada and program director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. Her centre organized the Right to Housing Coalition of people from many backgrounds and expertise, including people with lived experience of homelessness or of being inadequately housed, community organizations, advocacy groups and academics.


The Legal Health Check-Up project: an intermediary’s perspective

Available in paper or electronic form, the Legal Health Check-Up gives trusted intermediaries like Michael a list of questions to ask the client in the areas of income, housing, employment, education and health to identity the common legal problems of people living in poverty. Colleen Sym is the Executive Director/Lawyer at Halton Community Legal Services, a community legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario..


In honour of Pride, highlights from the last year in LGBTQ news in Ontario

Ontario becomes first province to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for LGBTQ children “Ontario has passed a landmark law banning so-called “conversion therapy” on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children and preventing medical practitioners from billing OHIP for it.” Read more at: Gender identity to guide housing of Ontario’s transgender inmates “Transgender inmates in Ontario will […]

Expanding LAO’s services: the road ahead

In my last blog, I said that Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) had met with hundreds of stakeholders to help us make informed decisions about expanding legal aid eligibility. We recently announced the road LAO plans to take, and I am pleased to say that it is a comprehensive, multi-year plan to significantly enhance access to justice for low-income Ontarians.Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.

Expanding access to legal aid for Ontarians

We’ve come a long way since my last blog on financial eligibility, posted in March 2014, in which I noted how far Ontario was lagging behind other jurisdictions in recognizing that financial eligibility for legal aid services must be increased. Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.


Access and justice

This post is part of our Personal perspectives on access to justice series. True access to justice requires reflection on justice as much as on access Shibil Siddiqi is a lawyer at Neighbourhood Legal Services, a community legal clinic serving Toronto’s Downtown Eastside. He is also a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Global Power and Politics at Trent University.


Supervised drug consumption sites: a matter of community health

Cécile Kazatchkine is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
Janet Butler-McPhee is their Director of Communications and Advocacy.
In September 2011, in Canada vs. PHS Community Services Society, the Supreme Court of Canada decided to allow Insite–Vancouver’s life-saving supervised consumption site–to remain open without risk of prosecution.


Making prison needle exchange programs work in Canada – Part 4

This is the fourth of four unique perspectives on prison needle and syringe programs. It explains why such programs are essential, what is happening in Canadian and international prisons and how such a program can work. All were part of a Canadian Harm Reduction Network panel discussion in support of prisoners’ rights and justice at Toronto’s Ryerson University. Daniela De Santis is the Prevention Coordinator at Hindelbank Prison in Bern, Switzerland.