Transcript: Improving Legal Aid and Access to Justice | Dec 12, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and checked blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Improving legal aid and access to justice. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says LAST WEEK, ONTARIO'S
AUDITOR-GENERAL RAISED SEVERAL
CONCERNS ABOUT HOW A HALF
BILLION DOLLARS IN LEGAL AID
FUNDING IS DEPLOYED IN THIS
PROVINCE.
AS ONE OF THE LAST MEANS BY
WHICH LOW INCOME ONTARIANS CAN
SECURE LEGAL REPRESENTATION,
GETTING THE ALLOCATIONS RIGHT
MATTERS A GREAT DEAL FOR ALL.
LET'S GET A BETTER SENSE OF THE
ISSUES WITH:
DAVID McKILLOP, HE IS VICE
PRESIDENT, STRATEGY AND PUBLIC
AFFAIRS AT LEGAL AID ONTARIO...

David is in his late fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped blue tie.

Steve continues JOHN CALLAGHAN, PARTNER AT
GOWLING WLG, AND CHAIR OF THE
LAW SOCIETY OF ONTARIO'S LEGAL
AID WORKING GROUP...

John is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short white hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and green tie.

Steve continues SUZANNE JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF THE
COMMUNITY AND LEGAL AID SERVICES
PROGRAM AT YORK UNIVERSITY'S
OSGOODE HALL LAW SCHOOL...

Suzanne is in her forties, with black hair in tight braids. She's wearing a pink blazer over a black blouse, and a silver necklace.

Steve continues JULIE MATHEWS, EXECUTIVE
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY LEGAL
EDUCATION ONTARIO, THAT'S CLEO FOR SHORT...

Julie is in her sixties, with short gray hair. She's wearing glasses, a black blazer and a red shirt.

Steve continues AND AVVY GO, CLINIC DIRECTOR OF
THE CHINESE AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN
LEGAL CLINIC.

Avvy is in her fifties, with long black hair and bangs. She's wearing glasses and a red blazer over a black blouse.

Steve continues WE ARE DELIGHTED, AVVY, TO HAVE
YOU BACK.
YOU'RE ALMOST A REGULAR AROUND
HERE.

[LAUGHTER]

Steve says TO THE OTHER FOUR OF YOU HERE
FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE ARE HAPPY
TO WELCOME YOU TO TVO TONIGHT AS
WELL.
AVVY, GET US STARTED.
ACCESS TO JUSTICE IS JOB ONE FOR
ALL OF YOU FOLKS.
I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU.

The caption changes to "Julie Mathews. Community Legal Education of Ontario."
Then, it changes again to "Lay of the law."

Julie says FOR ME IT DOESN'T
MEAN WHAT IT'S OFTEN THOUGHT OF.
PEOPLE THINK ACCESS TO JUSTICE
MEANS TO COURT AND LAWYERS AND
ALL THAT FORMAL SORT OF SYSTEM.
TO ME, IT'S ACCESS TO THE LEGAL
HELP THAT PEOPLE NEED SO THAT
THEY CAN DEAL WITH THEIR
PROBLEMS IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY.
FOR ME THE CONTEXT FOR ACCESS TO
JUSTICE IS MAKING SURE THAT
PEOPLE CAN'T GET THAT HELP CAN
GET IT AND THOSE ARE OFTEN
PEOPLE WHO LIVE WITH LOW INCOMES
OR RACIALIZED OR DON'T SPEAK
EITHER OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OR LIVE
IN RURAL LOCATIONS.
SO ACCESS TO JUSTICE MEANS THAT
THEY CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE
JUSTICE SYSTEM AND EXERCISE
THEIR RIGHT.

Steve says LET ME DO A QUICK
FOLLOW-UP, STARTING WITH YOU.
ON A SCALE OF ONE TO TEN MEANING
ACCESS IS AWFUL, YOU CAN'T GET
IT; TEN MEANING WE LIVE IN
UTOPIA.
WHERE ARE WE IN THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO?

Julie says I WOULD SAY FOUR.

Steve says THAT'S NOT A GOOD
GRADE.
HOW ABOUT YOU?

John says WE'VE DONE A LOT IN THAT AREA
TO IMPROVE IT.
THERE'S LOTS OF WORK TO DO.
I WOULD SAY FIVE, SIX.

Steve says A LITTLE BETTER.
HOW ABOUT YOU?

The caption changes to "Suzanne Johnson. Osgoode Hall Law School."

Suzanne says I WOULD SAY IT DEPENDS.
FOR THE CLIENTS WE SERVE, POORER
PEOPLE, I WOULD SAY FOUR.
MIDDLE CLASS, I WOULD SAY
PROBABLY A BIT HIGHER.
MAYBE SIX.
SO THOSE ARE THE TWO.

Steve says SO FOR 500 MILLION dollars,
WE'RE NOT DOING TOO WELL IF WE
ONLY GET A FOUR OR FIVE.

Suzanne says EXACTLY.

Steve says AVVY?

The caption changes to "Avvy Go. Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic."

Avvy says IT DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ARE.
FOR THE MARGINALIZED GROUP, IF
WE HAVE WOMEN, PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES, RACIALIZED GROUPS,
IT'S PROBABLY BETWEEN THREE AND
FOUR.
IF YOU ARE WELL OFF, LIKE YOU
CAN HIRE YOUR OWN LAWYER AND THE
SYSTEM ACTUALLY OPERATES IN YOUR
FAVOUR, THEN, YEAH, IT'S MUCH
HIGHER.

Steve says DAVID, WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT YOUR BACK YARD HERE.
WHAT NUMBER WOULD YOU PUT ON IT?

The caption changes to "David McKillop. Legal Aid Ontario."

David says I WOULD GIVE IT TWO SCORES.
FOR THE FOLKS WHO QUALIFY FOR
LEGAL AID ONTARIO SERVICES, I
WOULD GIVE A FAIRLY HIGH MARK.
MAYBE AROUND A SEVEN.
FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE IN UPPER
MIDDLE CLASS, WEALTHY FOLKS WHO
CAN PAY FOR THEIR OWN LEGAL
SERVICES, I WOULD GIVE THEM
UPWARDS OF AN 8 AS WELL.
IT'S THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE
MIDDLE WHO DO NOT QUALIFY FOR
LEGAL AID SERVICES AND DO NOT
HAVE THE MEANS TO PAY FOR LEGAL
SERVICES OUT OF THEIR OWN
POCKETS, I THINK THEY HAVE A
MUCH TOUGHER TIME.
I WOULD GIVE THEM AROUND A THREE
OR A FOUR.

Steve says FOR LEGAL AID, FOR
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THE POOREST
AMONG US, WHO NEED YOUR
SERVICES, WHO NEED ACCESS TO
YOUR MONEY, YOU'RE GOING AS HIGH
AS SEVEN FOR THEM?

David says I AM GOING AS HIGH AS SEVEN
FOR THEM.

Steve says THAT'S A BIT OF A
DISCONNECT WITH EVERYTHING ELSE
I'M HEARING HERE.
DO YOU WANT TO COME IN ON THAT,
SUZANNE?

The caption changes to "Suzanne Johnson. Community and Legal Aid Services Program."

Suzanne says THE REASON
I GAVE IT A LOW NUMBER IS THAT
WE TURN AWAY AT OUR CLINIC, WE
TURN AWAY SO MANY PEOPLE BECAUSE
WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE
RESOURCES.
SO I WONDER WHAT HAPPENS TO
THOSE PEOPLE THAT WE TURN AWAY.
SO WE'RE CONSTANTLY TRYING TO, I
SAY, PUT BAND-AIDS ON ISSUES.
SO THAT'S WHY I THINK IT'S A
LOWER NUMBER.

Steve says HOW COME YOU'RE
GOING AS HIGH AS SEVEN WHEN SHE
IS ONLY AT A THREE?
WHAT ARE WE MISSING HERE?

David says I THINK A LOT OF THE PEOPLE
THAT SUZANNE ARE REFERRING TO,
THAT THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO SERVE,
ARE THE PEOPLE... THOSE PEOPLE
IN THE MIDDLE THAT I REFERRED TO
EARLIER.
YOU KNOW, LEGAL AID ONTARIO RUNS
A VERY EXTENSIVE PROGRAM TO
PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES FOR
PEOPLE IN THIS PROVINCE WHO
CANNOT AFFORD THEM.

Steve says TELL US HOW IT
WORKS, ACTUALLY.

David says SURE.
WE OFFER LIKE A SPECTRUM OF
SERVICES FOR PEOPLE, FROM OUR
DUTY COUNSEL PROGRAM, WHICH IS
WHEN PEOPLE SHOW UP IN THE
COURTS ON THE DAY OF, WE HAVE
LAWYERS IN ALL THE COURTS IN
ONTARIO TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE ON
THAT DAY.
IT'S GENERALLY WHAT IS
CONSIDERED A BRIEF SERVICE.
SO THERE MAY BE, YOU KNOW, A
REPRESENTATION ON AN
ADJOURNMENT, A GUILTY PLEA,
NEGOTIATING WITH THE CROWN FOR A
DIVERSION, THAT TYPE OF THING.
THEN THERE IS THE CERTIFICATE
PROGRAM WHICH IS WHERE WE
PROVIDE ONE-ON-ONE LEGAL
ASSISTANCE FOR PEOPLE WHO
QUALIFY FOR THAT SERVICE.
AND THEN WE FUND TO THE
COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINICS LIKE
JULIE'S AND THE STUDENT LEGAL
AID CLINICS.

Steve says WHAT DO YOU THINK
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGE IS?

The caption changes to "Julie Mathews. Community Legal Education of Ontario."

Julie says I THINK THE MOST SIGNIFICANT
CHALLENGE IS PEOPLE
UNDERSTANDING THE IMPORTANCE OF
LEGAL AID AND IN FACT ACCESS TO
JUSTICE, AND I THINK A LOT OF
PEOPLE JUST DON'T REALIZE THAT
THEY ARE LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE A
LEGAL PROBLEM IN THEIR LIVES,
THAT THOSE LEGAL PROBLEMS CAN
AFFECT, YOU KNOW, THEIR ABILITY
TO REMAIN IN THEIR APARTMENT,
THEIR, YOU KNOW, ABLE TO GET,
YOU KNOW, MINIMUM WAGE, THAT
SORT OF THING, AND THAT IT'S
REALLY IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE
WHO... THOSE BASIC HUMAN NEEDS
ARE AT STAKE, THAT THEY NEED
LEGAL SERVICES AND LEGAL AID
PROVIDES THEM.
AND SO THE IMPACT, THE
SERIOUSNESS, THE FACT THAT LEGAL
PROBLEMS ARE SO COMMON, I THINK
BUILDING AN UNDERSTANDING IN THE
PUBLIC OF THOSE FACTORS I THINK
WOULD GO A LONG WAY TO BUILDING
SUPPORT FOR LEGAL AID, AND I
THINK THAT'S CRITICAL.

Steve says YOU WANT TO ADD TO
THAT, JOHN?

The caption changes to "John Callaghan. Gowling WLG."

John says YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THIS AS A
CONTINUUM.
LEGAL AID STARTS IN ABOUT 1946,
THAT POST-WAR GENERATION, THAT
BELIEVED IN THE SOCIAL SAFETY
NET, UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.
IN THE 1960s, HUMAN RIGHTS.
THE CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND
FREEDOMS.
THAT BOLD GROUP OF PEOPLE.
AND IT GETS REDESIGNED IN THE
'60s IN THE DUTY CARE MODEL.
THE GUYS YOU KNOW, DAVIS,
ROBARTS, ROY McMURTRY.
THESE BIG THINKERS.
THEN WE HAVE AN OPEN SYSTEM FOR
A PERIOD OF TIME THAT ANYBODY
WHO QUALIFIES CAN GET IT AND A
CLOSED SYSTEM AFTER 1994 WITH
CUTBACKS.
NOW WE'RE HERE AGAIN AT THE
CUTBACK STAGE.
AND IT'S A VERY DISCONCERTING
ISSUE.
BECAUSE THE FOUNDERS OF LEGAL
AID AND THAT WHOLE GROUP
BELIEVED IF YOU HAD A RIGHT, YOU
HAD TO HAVE ACCESS TO A REMEDY.
I JUST DON'T WHETHER WE'RE GOING
TO CONTINUE THAT, WHETHER
THERE'S GOING TO BE A CLAWBACK
ON THAT WHERE PEOPLE FIGURE, I
DON'T GET IT.
WHY DO YOU GET IT?
AND I THINK THAT'S A CHALLENGE
WE'RE GOING TO HAVE.
IT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S TALKED ABOUT
IN TERMS OF THE SPIRAL EFFECT
THAT WE HAVE TO START LOOKING AT.

Steve says LET'S BRING UP THE
FIRST OF A FEW GRAPHICS WE'RE
GOING TO GO THROUGH DURING THE
COURSE OF THE EVENING.
SHELDON, BOTTOM OF PAGE 2, IF WE
CAN.

A slate with a map of Canada appears on screen, with the title "Highest expenditure on legal aid. 2016-2017."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
WE SPEND IN CANADA ALMOST... YOU
CAN SEE THE NUMBER IN THE TOP
THERE AT THE MIDDLE, ALMOST A
BILLION DOLLARS NATIONALLY ON
LEGAL AID EXPENDITURES, A LITTLE
OVER 900 MILLION dollars.
AND LOOK HOW IT DIVIDE ACROSS
THE COUNTRY.
HERE IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
WE REPRESENT 38 percent OF THE
POPULATION OF THE COUNTRY, BUT
APPARENTLY SPEND 53 percent OF THE
LEGAL AID DOLLARS.
AND THE OTHER PROVINCES MUCH
LESS SIGNIFICANT, AS YOU GO DOWN
THE LIST HERE.
DAVID, ONTARIO HAS SOMEHOW
MANAGED TO BUILD UP A STRONG
FINANCIAL COMMITMENT TO LEGAL
AID OVER THE DECADES, AS JOHN
WAS JUST DESCRIBING TO US.
BUT YOU'VE GOT TO BE REALLY
QUITE POOR TO BE ELIGIBLE TO
RECEIVE IT.
WHY IS THAT?

David says WELL, AS JOHN REFERENCED IN
HIS REMARKS, UP UNTIL THE EARLY
1990s, LEGAL AID WAS A
DEMAND-DRIVEN PROCESS.
IT WAS LIKE ONTARIO WORKS,
WELFARE.
IT WAS LIKE ONTARIO DISABILITY
SUPPORT.
IF YOU QUALIFIED FOR IT, YOU GOT
IT.
AND IT WASN'T A MATTER OF
BUDGET.
BUT THE COST OF LEGAL AID
ONTARIO WAS SPIRALLING IN THE
1990s.
WE'RE ALL HERE TO TALK ABOUT
ACCESS TO JUSTICE.
THERE'S A LOT OF UNMET NEED OUT
THERE.
YOU KNOW, AND WE HAVE FOUND
OURSELVES SOMETIMES UNABLE TO
MEET EVERYONE'S NEEDS.
SUZANNE REFERENCED THAT, ABOUT
THE PEOPLE THAT THEY TURN AWAY.
SO IT IS A VERY DIFFICULT ISSUE
WHEN IT COMES TO FINDING WAYS TO
SERVE ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE
NEED.
ONTARIO IS VERY LUCKY.
WE HAVE A GOVERNMENT THAT'S BEEN
VERY SUPPORTIVE OF LEGAL AID IN
THIS PROVINCE, AS THE GRAPHIC
SHOWED.
WE SPEND MORE PER CITIZEN IN
ONTARIO THAN ANY OTHER
JURISDICTION IN THE COUNTRY.
WE'RE VERY PROUD OF THAT FACT.
YOU KNOW, I WOULD SAY THAT IT'S
NOT A RACE TO THE BOTTOM HERE.
THAT IF YOU CAN HAVE THE BEST
LEGAL AID PROGRAM IN THE
COUNTRY, YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF IT.

Steve says HERE'S HOW LEGAL AID
WAS SPENT LAST YEAR.
AGAIN, WE'RE GOING TO GO TO OUR
SECOND GRAPHIC HERE NOW.
SHELDON, THANK YOU.

A pie chart appears on screen, with the title "Legal Aid Ontario Services."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
LEGAL AID SERVICES IN THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO, THIS IS FOR
THE FISCAL YEAR '17-'18, AND
OVERWHELMINGLY YOU CAN SEE THAT
GREEN WEDGE OF THE PIE AT THE
BOTTOM, 55 PERCENT OF LEGAL AID
DOLLARS ARE SPENT ON CRIMINAL
LAW CASES, JUST OVER A QUARTER
ON FAMILY LAW, IMMIGRATION AND
REFUGEE LAW AT 13 percent, CIVIL LAW AT
5 percent.
THAT'S HOW WE SPEND THE MONEY.
JULIE, IF CRIMINAL LAW IS THE
FOCUS OF LEGAL AID, HOW IS
DEMAND MET FOR ALL OF THE OTHER
AREAS?

The caption changes to "Julie Mathews, @CLEO_jmathews."

Julie says THE DEMAND FOR THE OTHER
AREAS IS MET BY A RANGE, SORT OF
THE CONTINUUM OF LEGAL SERVICES
PROVIDED THROUGH COMMUNITY LEGAL
CLINICS, THEY SERVE LOW INCOME
PEOPLE, AND PROVIDED THROUGH
OTHER LEGAL AID PROGRAMS.
FOR CLEO, WE PROVIDE A RANGE OF
EDUCATION AND INFORMATION
PROGRAMS THAT WE INTEND TO... WE
PUT OUT THERE SO THAT THEY
INTERSECT WITH PEOPLE'S... YOU
KNOW, WHERE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO
GET HELP AND INFORMATION AND
EDUCATION SO THAT THEY CAN USE
IT, THEY CAN TAP INTO THE
INFORMATION AT THE BEGINNING OF
A LEGAL PROBLEM, SORT OF FURTHER
ALONG, AND THEY CAN USE IT IN
MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.
BECAUSE WITH RECENT SORT OF
DEVELOPMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY, THE
POWER OF LEGAL INFORMATION HAS
JUST INCREASED EXPONENTIALLY.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says AVVY, WHAT
PERCENTAGE OF THE PEOPLE THAT
YOU THINK NEED YOUR SERVICES
ACTUALLY GET YOUR SERVICES?

Avvy says THE WAY WE OPERATE IS THAT,
YOU KNOW, WE SERVE PRIMARILY LOW
INCOME CLIENTS FROM THE ASIAN
AND SOUTHEAST ASIAN COMMUNITY,
IMMIGRANTS WITHOUT STATUS, ALL
RACIALIZED, AND MANY DON'T KNOW
ANYTHING ABOUT THE LEGAL SYSTEM
OR DON'T KNOW THEIR RIGHTS.
SO WE TRY TO PROVIDE A RANGE OF
SERVICES, JUST LIKE MANY OTHER
CLINICS DO.
SOMETIMES WE PROVIDE DIRECT
LEGAL REPRESENTATION.
SOMETIMES WE GIVE ADVICE.
SOMETIMES WE PROVIDE SERVICES.
WE DO A LOT OF COMMUNITY
EDUCATION.
THERE ARE MANY OTHER WAYS THAT
CLINICS ALSO REACH OUT TO
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE
A YEAR.
I WANT TO GO BACK TO A POINT
DAVID MADE.
I THINK WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF
THE FACT THAT ONTARIO HAS SUCH A
GOOD LEGAL AID SYSTEM.
IT'S ACTUALLY ONE OF THE JEWELS
AMONG LEGAL AID SYSTEMS IN THE
ENTIRE WORLD.
AND I THINK THAT SOMETIMES ON
ITS FACE IT SEEMS LIKE WE'RE
SPENDING A LOT OF MONEY, BUT
IT'S MONEY WELL SPENT.
BUT THERE ARE OTHER WAYS THAT WE
CAN CUT BACK ON LEGAL AID
SPENDING.
FOR INSTANCE, IF YOU LOOK AT THE
53 PERCENT CRIMINAL CASES.
PEOPLE NEED LEGAL AID BECAUSE
THEY ARE BEING CHARGED.
JUST THE OTHER DAY WE GOT A
REPORT FROM THE ONTARIO HUMAN
RIGHTS COMMISSION TALKING ABOUT
HOW CERTAIN COMMUNITIES ARE
OVERPOLICED, THEY'RE OVER
REPRESENTED IN THE CRIMINAL JUST
SYSTEM.
IF YOU WANT TO CUT BACK ON LEGAL
AID, MAYBE WE SHOULD ALSO LOOK
AT HOW POLICE ARE LAYING
CHARGES.

Steve says YOU KNOW WHO SAID
THE SAME THING IN THIS VERY
STUDIO NOT TOO LONG AGO?
WE'RE GOING TO SHOW YOU.
ROLL THE CLIP, PLEASE.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "October 12, 2018. Michael Bryant. Former Attorney General of Ontario."
In the clip, Bryant talks in the studio. He's in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short gray hair.

He says WHAT HAPPENS RIGHT NOW IS,
THE POLICE ARE THE FRONT LINE,
THE POLICE ONLY KNOW... ARE ONLY
ABLE TO BASICALLY DO ONE THING:
CHARGE THEM.
OR NOT CHARGE THEM.
BUT THEY CAN'T MAKE THEM BETTER
OR TAKE THEM TO A PLACE WHERE
THEY MIGHT GET BETTER OR START
TO GET BETTER.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IS, THEY CHARGE
THEM.
AND THEN THE NEXT THING YOU
KNOW, THEY HAVE A RECORD, AND
THEN THEY CAN'T GET A JOB, AND
THEN THEY HAVE TERMS ON THEIR
RELEASE THAT REQUIRES THEM TO
COME BACK, AND IT'S A REVOLVING
DOOR BUT IT'S A REVOLVING DOOR
OF ITS OWN MAKING.
THE CRIMINAL LEGAL SYSTEM FEEDS
ITSELF.
THAT'S WHAT IT DOES.
AND IF WE WANT IT TO LOWER
CRIME, ONE WAY WOULD BE TO
CHARGE LESS.

The clip ends.

Steve says THERE'S FORMER
ATTORNEY GENERAL MICHAEL BRYANT.
JOHN, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE ADVICE?

The caption changes to "John Callaghan. Law Society of Ontario."
Then, it changes again to "How do we make it better?"

John says I THINK THERE'S A WIDER
CONTEXT TO THAT AND THAT'S THE
SPIRAL EFFECT, THAT WHEN YOU
DON'T HAVE LEGAL REPRESENTATION,
LEAVE ASIDE LEGAL AID, BUT LEGAL
REPRESENTATION, WHAT HE'S
TALKING ABOUT IS A SYSTEM THAT
SELF-GENERATES, BUT IT ALSO
THROWS THINGS INTO THE SOCIAL
SAFETY NET.
FOR EXAMPLE, YOU GET CONVICTED
AND YOU'RE INCARCERATED, WHERE
YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN HAD YOU
HAD PROPER LEGAL REPRESENTATION,
YOU LOSE YOUR JOB, YOUR HOUSING,
AND YOU'RE INTO THE SOCIAL
SAFETY NET.
IT'S A BIG PROBLEM.
AND I DON'T THINK WE'VE DONE A
VERY GOOD JOB EXPLAINING TO THE
PUBLIC THE COST SAVINGS LEGAL
AID PROVIDES AND LEGAL
REPRESENTATION PROVIDES.
IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS, AND WE
WERE TALKING ABOUT THIS OFFLINE
HERE, IS THEY HAVE BETTER DATA
IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT IS
THEN WORKED IN TO FIND OUT THE
ECONOMIC IMPACT.
IN AUSTRALIA, FOR EVERY DOLLAR
SPENT THEY SAY 1.30 TO 1.40 IS
RETURNED.
IN FLORIDA IT'S 4 dollars 75.
IN NEW YORK STATE, THEY SAY
5 dollars.
HOW YOU CALCULATE THAT, WHAT DO
YOU TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION, THE
COSTS OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM WHICH
IS OVERBURDENED BY UNREPRESENTED
PEOPLE AND THAT, THE COST OF
BEING THROWN INTO THE SOCIAL
SAFETY NET WHEN YOU DIDN'T HAVE
TO BE, I THINK THERE'S A STUDY
EVEN IN CANADA THAT 800 MILLION dollars IS EXPENDED IN THEIR HEALTH CARE
SYSTEM BECAUSE OF LEGAL-RELATED
ISSUES.
WE DON'T DO A VERY GOOD JOB, AS
I JUST TOLD YOU EARLIER, YOU
KNOW, PEOPLE THINK OF THIS AS
THE GREAT SOCIAL EXPERIMENT
COMING OUT OF WORLD WAR II AND
THAT GREATEST GENERATION AND
IT'S THE LIBERTY ISSUE THAT
WE'VE ALL BEEN WEANED ON.
BUT THERE'S AN ECONOMIC BENEFIT,
AND WE HAVE NOT DONE A GOOD JOB,
AND PARTLY BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE
THE DATA, WHICH WE CAN TALK
ABOUT.

Steve says LET'S THROW SOME
MORE DATA OUT HERE.

[LAUGHTER]

John says I WASN'T ASKING FOR THAT.

Steve says HERE IT COMES.
THIS IS... WE'RE GOING TO TALK
ABOUT THESE INITIALS HERE, ODSP.
THERE ARE A LOT OF CASES IN THE
LEGAL AID SYSTEM FOR PEOPLE ON
DISABILITY SUPPORTS...

A slate appears on screen, with the title "ODSP cases in legal aid. Ontario, 2016-2017."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
21 MILLION dollars
OVER THE '15-'16 FISCAL YEAR.
THAT'S ALMOST A QUARTER OF THE
BUDGET, 10,000 CASES, 40 PERCENT
OF THE WORKLOAD.
WHO CAN TELL ME WHY THAT IS THE
CASE, WHY DISABLED PEOPLE ARE SO
DISPROPORTIONATELY REPRESENTED
IN THOSE NUMBERS?

The caption changes to "What the Auditor General found."

Avvy says IT'S NOT FOR ALL THE CLINICS.
IN THE CASE OF OUR CLINIC, WE
ACTUALLY HAVE A MUCH LOWER
PERCENTAGE OF CASES.
WE TEND TO HAVE MORE EMPLOYMENT
ISSUES AND IMMIGRATION ISSUES
AND SO ON AND SO FORTH.
FOR A LOT OF CLINICS, THAT IS
ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THEY FACE,
BUT IT'S A RESULT OF THE
DECISION-MAKERS WITHIN THE
COMMUNITY AND COMMUNITY...
MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL
SERVICES AND HOW THEY DECIDE WHO
GETS ODSP.

Steve says WE SHOULD SAY,
75 PERCENT OF THE ODSP APPEALS
ARE AGAINST THAT MINISTRY,
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES...

Avvy says AND HAVING REPRESENTATION
FROM LEGAL CLINICS ACTUALLY
INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF GETTING
AN APPEAL GRANTED AS WELL.
SO I THINK THAT ONE OF THE
RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY THE
AUDITOR GENERAL IS TO LOOK AT
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO IMPROVE THE
QUALITY OF THE DECISION-MAKING
AT THE MINISTRY LEVEL, WHICH I
THINK IS A GOOD IDEA.
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE JUST THE
MINISTRY.
FOR INSTANCE, WE HAVE A LOT OF
CLIENTS WHO COME TO US BECAUSE
THEIR EMPLOYERS ARE NOT PAYING
THEM WAGES, AND THAT'S AS A
RESULT OF THE LACK OF
ENFORCEMENT BY THE MINISTRY OF
LABOUR.
IF MINISTRY OF LABOUR ACTUALLY
ENFORCED A LOT OF THESE... THE
MINIMUM WAGE OR OVERTIME KIND OF
REQUIREMENTS, THEN THE CLIENTS
DON'T HAVE TO COME TO CLINICS TO
GET ASSISTANCE.
SO I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT
THE OVERALL SYSTEM AND HOW THE
GOVERNMENT ENFORCES STATUTES
THAT PROVIDE PROTECTION FOR LOW
INCOME PEOPLE AND OTHER
MARGINALIZED GROUPS, AND TO
TALK... YOU KNOW, TO HAVE A
CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW OVERALL
GLOBALLY WE CAN SPEND LESS ON
ENFORCING THE LAW.

Steve says ALL RIGHT.
TO THAT END, DAVID, THE AUDITOR
GENERAL DID TAKE A LOOK AT LEGAL
AID ONTARIO IN HER REPORT THIS
YEAR.
SHE MADE A NUMBER OF
RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO LEGAL
AID ONTARIO.
LET ME JUST ASK YOU A VERY
OPEN-ENDED QUESTION: WHICH
CHALLENGE OR WHICH PROBLEM THAT
THE AUDITOR GENERAL IDENTIFIED
DO YOU THINK WAS THE MOST URGENT
AND THAT YOU GUYS ARE CAPABLE OF
DOING SOMETHING ABOUT?

The caption changes to "David McKillop, @McKillD."

David says I'M GOING TO TAKE US INTO AN
AREA WHERE WE HAVEN'T BEEN
BEFORE, AND THAT IS FUNDING THAT
WE RECEIVE FROM THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT FOR REFUGEE SERVICES.
AS WE ALL KNOW FROM LISTENING TO
THE NEWS, THE MEDIA OF LATE,
THERE'S BEEN A HUGE INCREASE IN
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE SEEKING
REFUGEE STATUS IN CANADA.
AND MANY OR MOST OF THESE PEOPLE
ACTUALLY END UP IN FRONT OF THE
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE BOARD.
SO THERE'S BEEN HUGE DEMANDS PUT
ON THE BOARD.
THERE'S BEEN HUGE DEMANDS PUT ON
LEGAL AID ONTARIO AND THE OTHER
LEGAL AID PROGRAMS IN THE
COUNTRY THAT COVER REFUGEE LEGAL
AID SERVICES.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says LET'S UNDERSTAND IT.
THIS IS A FEDERAL POLICY THAT
HAS PROVINCIAL RAMIFICATIONS.

David says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says THE FEDS MAKE A
POLICY DECISION.
THE PROVINCE HAS TO PICK UP THE
TAB FOR THAT DECISION.

David says THAT'S CORRECT.

Steve says THE PROVINCE ISN'T
TOO HAPPY ABOUT THAT.

David says THAT IS CORRECT.

Steve says THAT IS ALSO
CORRECT.
DO YOU THINK THAT... SO
BASICALLY THE AUDITOR GENERAL
HAS INVITED THE GOVERNMENT OF
ONTARIO TO GO TO OTTAWA WITH A
CASE FOR MORE MONEY.

David says THAT'S CORRECT.

Steve says OKAY.
I THINK I GOT THAT.
HERE'S WHERE... LET'S GO FEDERAL
WHILE WE'RE AT IT.
BILL C-75.
THIS IS THE PROPOSED FEDERAL
LEGISLATION MEANT TO REVAMP THE
JUSTICE SYSTEM, MAKE IT MORE
EFFICIENT.
IT JUST PASSED THIRD READING, I
THINK.
HASN'T GONE TO THE SENATE YET
BUT THE SENATORS ARE GOING TO
TAKE A LOOK AT IT SOON.
IT'S HAD A LOT OF PUSHBACK.
SUZANNE, CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOU
THINK THIS BILL C-75, WHICH THE
FEDS THINK WILL MAKE JUSTICE
MORE EFFICIENT, WILL IT ACTUALLY
DO THAT?

The caption changes to "Suzanne Johnson, @CLASPclinic."
Then, it changes again to "The problem with Bill C-75."

Suzanne says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IT'S A
HUGE BILL.
SO OUR PART IN IT, THERE'S
STUDENTS REPRESENT CRIMINAL
MATTERS IN THE ONTARIO COURT OF
JUSTICE.
THEY'RE CALLED SUMMARY OFFENCES,
WHICH ARE THE LEAST SERIOUS
OFFENCES.
SO RIGHT NOW OUR STUDENTS CAN
APPEAR FOR OUR CLIENTS IN
CRIMINAL COURTS.
SO THESE CLIENTS WOULD OTHERWISE
BE UNREPRESENTED.
SO WE HELP CLIENTS GO THROUGH
THE SYSTEM, AND IT'S BEEN VERY
EFFICIENT FOR, I WOULD SAY, 40
YEARS.
THIS BILL RECLASSIFIES CRIMINAL
OFFENCES.
ONE OF THE CONSEQUENCES IS
SUMMARY OFFENCES NOW, THE
MAXIMUM PENALTY FOR ALL SUMMARY
OFFENCES, HAS INCREASED TO TWO
YEARS LESS A DAY, WHICH MEANS...
IT'S A VERY TECHNICAL ARGUMENT,
BUT WHAT THE PUBLIC NEEDS TO
KNOW FROM THIS IS THAT STUDENTS
CAN NO LONGER APPEAR BEFORE
ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE FOR
CRIMINAL COURTS.
THAT MEANS THE REPRESENTATION
WE'VE BEEN PROVIDING, THE JUDGES
LOVE OUR STUDENTS TO APPEAR
BECAUSE WE KNOW THE SYSTEM.
STUDENTS CAN NO LONGER DO THAT.
SO THE SOLUTION... WE APPEARED
BEFORE THE JUSTICE COMMITTEE TO
MAKE OUR SUGGESTIONS ABOUT HOW
IT COULD BE AMENDED.
BUT INSTEAD, THEY DIDN'T ACCEPT
OUR AMENDMENTS, AND THEY'VE SAID
WE COULD GO... THE PROVINCE
COULD... IT'S CALLED LIEUTENANT
IN COUNCIL REGULATIONS TO ALLOW
OUR STUDENTS TO APPEAR.
SO NOW SIMILAR TO THE WHOLE
ISSUE WITH IMMIGRATION, IT NOW
BECOMES... WE'RE KIND OF CAUGHT
IN THE MIDDLE BECAUSE IT HAS
PASSED.
NOW IT'S GOING TO BE BEFORE THE
SENATE.
BUT NOW WE HAVE TO APPROACH THE
PROVINCE TO SEE IF THEY'LL GRANT
OUR STUDENTS THE ABILITY TO
APPEAR FOR THIS MUCH-NEEDED...

Steve says DO YOU WANT TO KNOW
WHAT THE PROVINCE HAS TO SAY ABOUT THIS?

Suzanne says I WOULD.

Steve says WE HAVE A LITTLE
QUOTE HERE.
LET'S BRING THIS UP. HERE'S WHAT
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO SAYS...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Wait and see." The quote reads "Given that Bill C-75 is still being considered by Parliament, no decisions have been made at this point.
We will be following the progress of the bill, and will be considering its impact on the people of Ontario."
Quoted from the Ministry of the Ontario Attorney General. December 11, 2018.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

[LAUGHTER]

Suzanne says IT'S VERY CONCERNING TO ME.
IT'S VERY DIFFICULT WHEN YOU'RE
DEALING WITH TWO DIFFERENT AREAS
OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND OUR
CLIENTS ARE THE ONES THAT WILL
SUFFER IF THIS DOESN'T... THE
LIEUTENANT IN COUNCIL IS NOT PASSED.
SO I'M HOPING THAT THE PROVINCE
WILL BE OPEN TO PASS THIS
BECAUSE WE SERVE THE MOST
VULNERABLE PEOPLE, AND WITHOUT
OUR HELP, AS PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY
POINTED OUT, THE SYSTEM IS
ALREADY BACKLOGGED AND THIS WILL
CREATE FURTHER PROBLEMS.

John says AND IT'S A BIG ISSUE AT THE
LAW SOCIETY.
WE WENT AND SPOKE ON IT TOO
BECAUSE RIGHT NOW STUDENTS ARE
UNDER OUR JURISDICTION IN TERMS
OF THEIR ABILITY TO PRACTISE AND
SO ARE PARALEGALS, BOTH OF WHOM
WERE EXCLUDED BECAUSE OF THIS,
AND IT'S A BIG ISSUE AS TO
DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TWO
YEARS IS TOO MUCH, OR A STUDENT
OR PARALEGAL, AND WHETHER
THERE'S ANOTHER COMPROMISE.
AND WE WENT UP TO OTTAWA, AS YOU
DID, AND WHEN WE WENT UP, THEY
HADN'T ACTUALLY BEEN ALIVE TO
THE ISSUE.
IT CAME UP BY THE OPPOSITION
BROUGHT IT UP AS WELL, AND THEY
REALLY DIDN'T ADDRESS IT.
AND IT'S NOW LEFT TO COME BACK
TO THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL AND YET
IT'S A STRUCTURAL ISSUE THAT'S
GOING TO BE HARD TO FIGURE OUT
HOW YOU'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO
FIGURE A CASE WAS WITHIN THE
COMPETENCY OF A STUDENT OR
PARALEGAL WHEN IN FACT THEY
REMOVED THAT AT THE FEDERAL
LEVEL BECAUSE THE PROVINCE...

Steve says HERE'S THE THING.
WE HAVE A FEDERAL LIBERAL
GOVERNMENT MAKING NATIONAL
OVERALL POLICY.
WE HAVE A PROGRESSIVE
CONSERVATIVE PROVINCIAL
GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS EXPECTED TO
ENACT THAT POLICY.
IT WILL HAVE VIEWS ON ITS OWN
PRIORITIES.
WE SHOULDN'T BE SURPRISED THAT
THESE TWO DIFFERENT GOVERNMENTS
AT DIFFERENT LEVELS OF DIFFERENT
PARTISAN STRIPES DON'T AGREE
NECESSARILY ON WHAT TO DO HERE.
SO WHAT HAPPENS?

Julie says WHAT HAPPENS IN TERMS OF WHAT
PEOPLE NEED IS, YOU KNOW, WE
KIND OF, I THINK THAT THE ANSWER
IS TO PUSH... FOR THOSE OF US
WHO CARE ABOUT ACCESS TO
JUSTICE, FOR US TO WORK
TOGETHER.
I DON'T THINK THERE'S A SINGLE
SOLUTION, BUT WORKING ON BILL
C-75, TAKING LOTS OF OTHER
APPROACHES TO TRY AND IMPROVE
THE RANGE OF SERVICES THAT LOW
INCOME PEOPLE IN PARTICULAR CAN
RECEIVE AND TACKLING IT FROM A
NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ANGLES, I
DON'T THINK THERE'S A SINGLE
ANSWER AS MUCH AS I WISH THERE WERE.

The caption changes to "Avvy Go, @csalegalclinic."

Avvy says TO ME IT DOESN'T REALLY
MATTER WHICH PARTY IS IN POWER.
I THINK FROM THE POINT OF VIEW
OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE AFFECTED,
THAT THE CHANGE ITSELF IS NOT
REASONABLE.
BECAUSE THERE'S ANOTHER
IMPLICATION AS A RESULT OF THIS.
UNDER THE IMMIGRATION LAW, IF
YOU ARE FOUND GUILTY OF A
CRIMINAL OFFENCE, IF YOU'RE NOT
A CITIZEN, YOU CAN BE DEPORTED.
BY INCREASING THE MAXIMUM
PENALTY, IT ACTUALLY INCREASES
THE CHANCE THAT PEOPLE WILL BE
DEPORTED WITHOUT A RIGHT TO
APPEAL.
AND THAT'S A SERIOUS ISSUE FOR
PEOPLE OF COLOUR BECAUSE THEY
ARE ALSO OVERREPRESENTED IN THE
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.
SO, I MEAN, THIS IS A BILL
PRESENTED BY THE LIBERAL
PROGRESSIVE... THE LIBERAL
GOVERNMENT, AND THAT GOES BACK
TO MY POINT ABOUT THE ACCESS TO
JUSTICE FOR MY COMMUNITY IS
BETWEEN THREE AND FOUR POINTS
BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT HOW
ACCESSIBLE LEGAL AID IS, IT'S
ABOUT THE LAW AND SUBSTANTIVE
LAW, WHETHER THOSE LAWS ARE IN
FACT HAVING A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON
THE CLIENTS THAT WE SERVE AS WELL.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live."

Steve says LET ME CHECK WITH...
YOU KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO ONE
THING... CAN I DO FAMILY?
THE ONE THING ON THAT PIE CHART,
YOU KNOW, CRIMINAL LAW WAS NUMBER ONE.
BUT NUMBER TWO WAS FAMILY.
OKAY.
DAVID, WHY DON'T YOU TACKLE THIS ONE?
WE ARE HEARING THAT 50 TO
80 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE WHO GO
TO FAMILY COURT WHO ARE ELIGIBLE
FOR LEGAL AID ARE REPRESENTING THEMSELVES.
IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

David says NO, IT'S A HORRIBLE IDEA.
ABOUT A QUARTER OF THE MATTERS
THAT GO THROUGH THE FAMILY
COURTS IN ONTARIO ARE
REPRESENTED BY LEGAL AID ONTARIO
AND THEN THEY'RE OBVIOUSLY GOING
TO BE THE PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD
THEIR OWN LAWYERS.
AS I SAID, THE PEOPLE AT THE
UPPER ECHELONS.
AGAIN, IT'S THE FOLKS IN THE
MIDDLE THAT I REFERRED TO
EARLIER IN THE PROGRAM THAT ARE
GOING TO BE ON THE SHORT END OF
THE STICK HERE HAVING TO
REPRESENT THEIR OWN INTERESTS IN
THE FAMILY LAW COURTS.
THEY DON'T QUALIFY FOR LEGAL AID
SERVICES.
THEY CAN'T AFFORD PRIVATE LEGAL
AID SERVICES.
SO IT SLOWS DOWN THE COURTS,
PROBABLY LEADS TO POORER RESULTS
FOR THESE INDIVIDUALS...

Steve says THEY PROBABLY DON'T
REPRESENT THEMSELVES AS WELL AS
A LAWYER WOULD.

David says I WOULD LIKE TO THINK SO.
I THINK THAT'S VERY FAIR TO SAY.
I THINK WE ALMOST NEED TO STEP
BACK AND SAY, ARE THESE TYPES OF
DISPUTES, SHOULD THEY BE IN THE
COURTS IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Steve says IF NOT THERE, WHERE?

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

David says THERE'S BEEN A BIG PUSH FOR
MEDIATION IN ONTARIO TO SEE
WHETHER DISPUTES IN A FAMILY LAW
CONTEXT CAN BE MEDIATED OUTSIDE
THE COURT PROCESS.
THE RESULTS EVENTUALLY HAVE TO
BE PRESENTED TO THE COURTS AND
ORDERS TAKEN OUT.
BUT ARE THERE OTHER WAYS THAT
DISPUTES CAN BE RESOLVED?
MAYBE THERE ARE TECHNOLOGY
SOLUTIONS.
WE ARE HEARING ABOUT ARTIFICIAL
INTELLIGENCE AND ITS ABILITY TO
RESOLVE DISPUTES.
I'M NOT SAYING IT'S THE ANSWER
TO EVERYTHING.
IT IS BEING USED EFFECTIVELY,
YOU KNOW, FOR DISPUTES FOR
PEOPLE WHO PURCHASE THINGS, FROM
SELLERS ON EBAY TYPE OF THING.
MAYBE IT'S A HORRIBLE IDEA FOR
RESOLVING FAMILY LAW DISPUTES.
I DON'T KNOW.
WHAT I DO KNOW IS THE FAMILY
COURTS ARE CLOGGED, THERE ARE A
LOT OF UNREPRESENTED PEOPLE IN
THERE, AND I DON'T SEE HUGE NEW
INVESTMENTS COMING INTO THE
FAMILY JUSTICE SYSTEM.

Steve says WE'VE GOT A FEW
MINUTES LEFT HERE AND I WANT TO
TACKLE MONEY, FEES. HMM.
HERE WE GO. SHALL WE READ THIS?
HERE'S FROM ONE CRIMINAL DEFENCE
LAWYER IN OTTAWA...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Lower your fees." The quote reads "Hourly rates over 400 dollars are not uncommon for lawyers. And we wonder why there is an access to justice problem. Civil lawyers need to take a hard look in the mirror and come to grips with the role they have played in creating the access-to-justice problem. They need to lower their fees. It is great that some lawyers volunteer their time to Pro Bono Ontario -but more can and must be done."
Quoted from Michael Spratt, Canadian Lawyer. November 19, 2019.

Steve says THAT'S MICHAEL
SPRATT WRITING IN "Canadian LAWYER."
JOHN, YOUR TAKE ON THAT?

John says IT'S A BIT PERPLEXING ON THE
HOURLY RATE ISSUE.
WE HAVE A SITUATION WHERE WE SAY
WE HAVE AN OVERABUNDANCE OF
LAWYERS, YOU KNOW, ABOUT 25,000
PRACTISING LAWYERS, 40,000
TOTAL, BUT 25,000 PRACTISING.
YET YOU WOULD THINK ECONOMIES OF
SCALE AND THE REALITY OF AN
ECONOMIC MARKET WOULD PUSH RATES
TO A POINT WHERE THEY'D BE MORE
AFFORDABLE.

Steve says AND IT'S NOT.

John says IT'S NOT.
AND I THINK WE NEED TO TACKLE
THAT AND SEE WHAT THE ISSUES ARE.
WE HAVE A SEVEN-YEAR POST
EDUCATION SYSTEM WHERE THEY'RE
BUILDING UP HUGE DEBT.
IS IT THE COST TO PRACTISE?
THERE WAS A STATISTIC I HEARD AT
A RECENT SEMINAR, FOR SOLE
PRACTITIONERS, AFTER THEY'VE
DONE THEIR ADMINISTRATION, KEPT
THEIR STAFF HAPPY, THEY'RE
BILLING THREE AND A HALF HOURS A
DAY AND COLLECTING UNDER TWO
HOURS.
THAT WAS A STATISTIC THAT THEY
GAVE.
WHETHER THAT'S TRUE OR NOT...
BUT AT 400 dollars AN HOUR, YOU'D SEE
THAT'S NOT A GREAT RETURN ON
100,000 PLUS dollar INVESTMENT FOR AN
EDUCATION.
I THINK WE'VE GOT STRUCTURAL
ISSUES THAT WE HAVE TO TAKE A
LOOK AT.

Steve says INCIDENTALLY, "CANADIAN LAWYER."
MAGAZINE, NOT "CRIMINAL LAWYER."
AS I STATED EARLIER.
AN ACCESS TO JUSTICE LEVY
ATTACHED TO LAWYERS' FEES, THAT
HAS BEEN FLOATED AS AN IDEA.
JULIE, YOU LIKE THAT?

Julie says I LIKE THAT IDEA A LOT.
I KNOW THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
AND OTHER STATES GO THAT WAY.
I THINK GOOD FUNDING FOR LEGAL
AID IS ESSENTIAL AND FUNDING FOR
OTHER THINGS THAT I THINK
PROBABLY IMPROVE ACCESS TO
JUSTICE AS WELL.

Steve says NOT JUST TAXPAYERS
BUT LAWYERS THEMSELVES OUGHT TO
BE CONTRIBUTING TO LEGAL AID?

Julie says I THINK SO.

Steve says GO AHEAD.

John says PEOPLE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND,
THE LAW FOUNDATION OF ONTARIO,
WHICH DERIVES ITS MONEY FROM
LAWYERS TRUST ACCOUNTS,
CONTRIBUTES 75 PERCENT TO LEGAL
AID AND 25 PERCENT TO CLEO AND
OTHER AGENCIES WHO ARE DOING
GOOD WORK.
DAVID WILL KNOW THE NUMBERS.
THE NUMBERS ARE GOING UP BECAUSE
INTEREST RATES ARE GOING UP.

Steve says YOU THINK LAWYERS
ARE DOING THEIR BIT ALREADY?

John says I THINK THERE IS AN ELEMENT
AND THE LAW SOCIETY DOES IT.
HERE'S THE PROBLEM.
THE PROBLEM WITH IT IS THE LAW
SOCIETY, BY DEFINITION, IS A
LICENSING BODY, IT'S NOT A
TAXING AGENCY.
IT IS TO PAY FOR LICENSING.
AND THERE MAY BE SOME ROOM IN
THERE TO DO IT.
BUT THE DIFFICULTY IS IT
BECOMES (a) A REGRESSIVE TAX
BECAUSE THOSE NOT MAKING A WHOLE
LOT OF MONEY ARE STILL GOING TO
HAVE TO PAY THE LEVY, AND IT MAY
NOT BE THE BEST WAY TO FUND IT.
I MEAN, THESE ARE BIG ISSUES.
I GO BACK TO WHAT I SAID AT THE
BEGINNING.
THESE ARE BIG SOCIETAL ISSUES.
AND WE NEED LEADERSHIP AT THE
POLITICAL LEVEL TO STEP UP,
RECOGNIZE THESE ARE BIG ISSUES,
USE THEIR STATUTORY POWERS AND
TAXING POWERS TO RESOLVE IT.
IT'S NOT GOING TO BE RESOLVED ON
THE BACK OF 25,000 PRACTISING
LAWYERS IN A PROVINCE OF THIS
SIZE. IT JUST ISN'T.
THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

Steve says LET ME SAVE 20 SECONDS...

Julie says YOU COULD HAVE A GRADUATED LEVY.
WHAT I SEE IN THE U.S. COMPARED
TO HERE IS THAT THE LAWYERS, THE
PRIVATE BAR LAWYERS, ARE REALLY
ACTIVE IN SUPPORTING LEGAL AID,
AND NOT JUST THE PRO BONO
MOVEMENT AND HOW WE CAN TRANSFER
THAT KIND OF ENTHUSIASM AND
SUPPORT FOR LEGAL AID BY THE
PRIVATE BAR WOULD BE A STEP
FORWARD.

John says THAT WOULD BE A STEP FORWARD.

The caption changes to "Producer: Patricia Kozicka, @TrishKozicka."

Steve says YOU KNOW WHAT THE
OTHER PROBLEM IS?
THE OTHER PROBLEM IS WE'RE OUT
OF TIME. THAT'S OUR TIME BUT
WE WANT TO THANK THE FIVE OF YOU
FOR COMING IN TONIGHT AND
HELPING US OUT WITH THIS.
THANKS SO MUCH.

All the guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Improving Legal Aid and Access to Justice