In Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General recently invested new funds into their system of legal clinics. In exchange, the government expects the clinics to seek out ways to reduce costs and reinvest those savings into their work. In response, the Specialty Legal Clinics Modernization Initiative was formed to co-locate nine unique programs serving needs ranging from legal support for people living with AIDS, people with disabilities, to accident victims to tenants, landlords and youth.
During that process it became apparent that the greatest benefits would arise from opportunities to work even more collaboratively across their areas of social justice law – for example environmental impacts and poverty are strongly linked issues. Shared law reform projects, joint training, and advice on areas of intersection in their case work are among the benefits already being realized. Over the course of the past three years, the nine groups worked together to figure out how to share space, while managing the privacy concerns of the various agencies. In July of this year, all of their hard work paid off when the last of the clinics finished moving into their new space. For more information about their process, please visit http://specialtylegalclinics.ca