New Legal Aid Clinic On Deck for Black Ontarians
A new independent legal clinic is going to be serving the needs of low-income members of Ontario’s Black communities.
“Anti-Black racism permeates every aspect of life - from parenting, to education, to employment, to healthcare, to interactions with the justice system,” said academic and writer Rinaldo Walcott, who’s on the Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) board.
He says he’s confident BLAC’s work “will improve access to justice for Black Ontarians.”
BLAC aims to provide legal representation; engage in test case litigation, law reform, and community development; and deliver summary legal advice, brief services, and public legal education.
“This is an important moment for our community,” said BLAC board chairwoman Zanana Akande — she’s the first Black woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and the first Black woman to serve as a cabinet minister in Canada.
“Everyone involved in this new clinic is looking forward to hearing from and working with members of the Black community to determine how a new black-led and black-focused legal clinic can best serve the legal needs of members of the Black community.”
The full mandate, scope of operations, base of operation and other aspects of the clinic will be developed as part of a community consultation process to be held during the coming months.
A request for proposals to develop this consultation process will be issued shortly.
The interim board of BLAC includes Idil Abdillahi, Wingrove Carmichael, Sandy Hudson, Aba Stevens.
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) president and CEO David Field says “this work is directly in line with our mandate to ensure access to justice for members of disadvantaged communities. LAO looks forward to supporting BLAC in achieving this important goal.”