A number of lawyers spoke out in support of Legal Aid Ontario at Queen’s Park, saying the provincial government has released incorrect figures that are misleading the public about the number of clients it serves.
The lawyers — Dana Fisher, a Legal Aid Ontario lawyer and Society of United Professionals spokeswoman, Raoul Boulakia, president of the Refugee Lawyers Association, Ivana Petricone, policy counsel at the Association of Community Legal Aid Clinics, and Katharina Janczaruk, vice president of the Ontario Association Of Child Protection Lawyers — said Legal Aid Ontario is not serving 10-per-cent fewer clients than it was in 2013, as was claimed in a letter sent by the Ontario provincial government to justify budget cuts.
On April 12, Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney sent a letter to CEO David Field stating there would be a cut of $163 million to Legal Aid Ontario’s budget. It was also announced with the provincial government’s 2019 budget on April 11. The letter also stated that, despite an extra $86 million in funding since 2013, the number of clients served each year by LAO has decreased by more than 100,000.