Canada: Refugee lawyers applaud federal funding after Ford's legal aid cuts; province questions timing - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaRefugee lawyers applaud federal funding after Ford's legal aid cuts; province questions timing

10:36  13 august  2019
10:36  13 august  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Doug Ford Is Once Again Asking Ontarians To Call Him For Legal Aid Help

Doug Ford Is Once Again Asking Ontarians To Call Him For Legal Aid Help KITCHENER, ONT. — Ontario Premier Doug Ford doubled down on his promise to help anyone who calls his office get legal aid Friday, even though he’s already ignored dozens of requests for assistance. “We’re going to try to help everyone on legal aid,” Ford told HuffPost Canada after a transit announcement in Kitchener, Ont. “I try to help everyone and I’ll continue to help anyone who calls. I do my best.” But Michael Spratt, a criminal defence lawyer in Ottawa, says he’s contacted Ford’s office more than 40 times on behalf of his clients who have been denied legal aid and hasn’t gotten any help.

Premier Doug Ford ' s spring budget slashed Legal Aid Ontario's budget by 30 per cent, including eliminating funding for refugee and immigration law services. His Progressive Conservative government maintained that Ottawa should pay those costs because immigration is a federal

+ On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced one- time legal aid funding of .8 million for refugee and immigration cases. “The federal government is choosing to step up,” he said. “We will be investing .8 million this year to ensure that legal aid services for immigrants and refugees

Refugee lawyers applaud federal funding after Ford's legal aid cuts; province questions timing© Kelda Yuen/CBC Since the cuts, Erin Simpson of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers says refugee claimants have found themselves 'in the crosshairs' as the two levels of government dispute who is responsible for what portion of the program. Refugee lawyers are applauding the federal government's decision to put $26 million toward Ontario refugee and immigration legal aid services after the province cut the program's budget in the spring.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the one-time injection Monday — a welcome move for lawyers who found themselves unable to assist refugees with claims beyond the initial application when Doug Ford's government slashed the Legal Aid Ontario's budget by 30 per cent.

Ontario minister says feds ‘haven’t lived up to their end of the bargain’ on funding for asylum seekers

Ontario minister says feds ‘haven’t lived up to their end of the bargain’ on funding for asylum seekers Costs associated with asylum seekers who have crossed the border irregularly have been a point of contention between Ontario and Ottawa.

The Doug Ford government’s spring budget cut Legal Aid Ontario’s funding by 30 per cent, which In a funding fight with Ottawa, Mr. Ford ’ s government blocked all use of provincial money in this area in Ontario’s sudden move prompted refugee lawyers and advocates to warn that people fleeing

Legal aid societies and refugee lawyers in Ontario had condemned the Ford government’ s cut at the time , and said the eradication of legal aid According to Dench, the Ontario government said it receives less funding from the federal government because historically they have provided more

The province had argued that Ottawa should foot the bill for the program, claiming federal immigration policies have meant a 158 per cent increase in claims over four years.

"I think this is just a huge step in the right direction," said Erin Simpson, an executive with the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

Since the cuts, Simpson says, lawyers have found themselves working overtime, taking on work pro bono and having to have tough conversations with refugee claimants, who she says, have found themselves "in the crosshairs" as the two levels of government dispute who is responsible for what portion of the program.

'I can't wait to call them'

With the limited funding, she said, Legal Aid had decided funds for refugee claims could only be used in the initial stage — not for preparing evidence, representation at hearings or for the sort of medical assessments necessary for someone whose claim was based on having experienced torture or domestic abuse.

Trudeau slams Ford for legal aid cuts as federal funding announced

Trudeau slams Ford for legal aid cuts as federal funding announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday one-time legal aid funding of $26.8 million for refugee and immigration cases. "The federal government is choosing to step up," he said. "We will be investing $26.8 million this year to ensure that legal aid services for immigrants and refugees continue in the province of Ontario." Trudeau made the comments during a tour of the Parkdale Intercultural Association in Toronto. According to a press release, the funding will be split. Ontario will receive $25.7 million, British Columbia will get $1.16 million and Manitoba will see $0.02 million.

All lawyers who represent legal aid clients must belong to the panel( s ) for the type( s ) of law they practice. The standards for LAO' s refugee panel provide the experience and professional development requirements that refugee lawyers must meet.

Trudeau slams Ford for legal aid cuts as federal funding announced. But Michael Spratt, a criminal defence lawyer in Ottawa, says he’s contacted Ford ’ s office more than 40 times on behalf of his clients who have been denied legal aid and hasn’t gotten any help.

Simpson said the federal money will help her clients.

"I can't wait to call them and tell them that we're going to be able to get them the psychological evaluation that they need, the medical reports," she said.

"They're terrified that they're going to be sent back, and in order to avoid that they have to prove in a legal process that they meet the legal definition of a refugee. Most people can't do that without a lawyer."

Legal Aid Ontario had been spending about $45 million a year on immigration and refugee services, with about 35 per cent of that coming from the federal government and the rest from the province.

Downey said Ottawa was funding other provinces' programs at 70 or 80 per cent.  Ontario pulled all of its funding for the program this spring, leaving it with a shortfall.

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey on Monday said it's unfortunate the government waited several months before responding to the shortfall.

Thomas Walkom: Will Justin Trudeau’s attack on Doug Ford work in Ontario?

Thomas Walkom: Will Justin Trudeau’s attack on Doug Ford work in Ontario? Justin Trudeau was on television again this week badmouthing Doug Ford. This time, Canada’s prime minister was scolding Ontario’s premier for cutting legal aid to refugee claimants and immigrants. Ford’s Progressive Conservative government made the cuts because it contends that refugee claimants are a federal responsibility. 

Legal Aid Ontario budget cuts by the Doug Ford government eliminate funding for refugee and immigration law services. + Legal Aid Ontario’ s funding was slashed by 30 per cent in the province ’ s 2019 budget, prompting criticism from lawyers and the federal government.

Premier Doug Ford cut funding for legal aid in the spring budget. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to a one- time legal aid top-up of .8 million for refugee and immigration The federal government maintained legal aid is a provincial duty. In July, the Immigration and Refugee Board

Timing of PM's announcement 'suspicious,' Ontario AG says

"I think the public will be naturally suspicious of the timing, right before an election," he said.

Province spokesperson Ivana Yelich tweeted that Monday's announcement "has more to do with campaigning than actually dealing with the matter at hand."

Trudeau said responsibility for legal aid for immigration and refugee cases has long been a joint federal-provincial responsibility, but the Ford government "decided to step away from that."

"The fact that we have to be here today to recognize that yet another Conservative government, the government of Doug Ford, is walking away from services to the most vulnerable is really frustrating for me and I think for all Canadians," Trudeau said.

A spokesman for federal Justice Minister David Lametti said the $25.7 million announced Monday was in addition to  approximately $15.4 million in previously committed federal money for the program.

The new investment meant the program was roughly fully funded, he said. Trudeau said he will "engage in reflections" on how to ensure the program's long-term sustainability.

Trudeau Defends Using Doug Ford’s Name To Attack Conservatives

Trudeau Defends Using Doug Ford’s Name To Attack Conservatives OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again had federal and provincial Conservatives in focus Tuesday during a visit to Toronto to discuss gun violence in the city. For the second day in a row, the prime minister invoked Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s name to criticize “Conservative politicians” in the lead-up to October’s election. A reporter noting the trend asked Trudeau if he’s running against the Ontario premier or Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. Trudeau did not answer the question, and instead responded by accusing both Ford and Scheer of turning their backs on people and projects in need of help.

Doug Ford ’ s spring budget slashed Legal Aid Ontario’s budget by 30 per cent, including eliminating funding for Trudeau says responsibility for legal aid for immigration and refugee cases has long been a joint federal - provincial He says the funding announced today is one- time money, but he

Ford ’ s Progressive Conservative government slashed funding for refugee and immigration law services The investment will ensure legal aid services for immigrants and refugees in the province continue CARL applauds the federal gov. for today’s announcement addressing the refugee and

Refugee lawyers applaud federal funding after Ford's legal aid cuts; province questions timing© Cole Burston/The Canadian Press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeting supporters as he leaves the Parkdale Intercultural Association in Toronto after Monday's announcement.

While Simpson says she's relieved for now, she also wants to see the two levels of government hammer out a longer-term plan.

"The province and the feds need to get to the table and work out how this is going to work out over the long run. It is a shared responsibility, it ought to be a shared responsibility. We don't think the province should be let off the hook," she said.

And while she says she doesn't have an opinion on how much each level of government should be responsible for contributing, she says, one thing is clear: "You don't need to pull the funding and use refugees as a pawn in your political brinksmanship."

Ontario moving ahead with municipal funding cuts in 2020: Doug Ford.
Ontario will move ahead with some of its controversial municipal funding cuts for public health and child care next year, Premier Doug Ford is expected announce Monday at a gathering of municipal leaders in Ottawa. The Progressive Conservative government tried to force retroactive funding cuts this year but had to cancel them after municipal leaders complained their annual budgets had already passed. After Ford paused this year's planned cuts — to public health, child care and land ambulance funding — it was unclear whether they would go ahead next year. His office now says Ford will announce that some of those changes will take effect Jan. 1.

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