Every so often, an outcry over the crisis in affordable court representation breaks out in the media, usually initiated by a judge’s pronouncements or a released report. For a few days, the newspapers publish screaming headlines and angry denouncements side by side with promises of reforms by concerned authorities. And then, just as quickly as the tumult arose, the issue becomes relegated to back pages and occasional editorials before fading into black.
A legal battle is currently being waged by three hundred lawyers employed by Legal Aid Ontario to provide legal services in Legal Aid clinics throughout the province to people unable to afford lawyers. They are campaigning for the right to organize a union, a right that crown prosecutors, who are paid much better than the Legal Aid lawyers, already have. By and large, these lawyers are disproportionately female and many come from minority communities.
The article (click here) reports on the struggle for pay equity and Charter rights being waged by these underpaid and over-utilized workers in the legal profession.
Be sure to also watch the video of Clay Ruby addressing Legal Aid Ontario (click here), which makes clear that Ontario’s Legal Aid system is a class system that discriminates against the poor.