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CLEO’s History

CLEO’s long and rich history dates back to 1974. To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we created this digital timeline to highlight some of our important milestones. 

1974

How it all started

CLEO begins as Toronto Community Law School. A group of Osgoode Hall Law School students created the School in response to the public’s need for basic information about their legal rights.  

1975

Incorporates as a registered charity

The Toronto Community Law School incorporates and becomes a registered charity called the Toronto Community Law Program. 

1976

Hosts first symposium

CLEO and the Ontario Business Education Association hosts Fusion ’76. Two hundred Ontario high school law teachers attend and work on developing law courses. 

1978

Public legal education sessions 

Besides library programs and printed booklets for the general public, CLEO begins to hold regular sessions to train community workers about the law. 

1979

Legal name change

The Toronto Community Law Program becomes Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO). The bilingual name comes later.

1980s

Focus on legal needs of people with low incomes

Working with Ontario’s community legal clinics, CLEO defines its mandate to develop plain language legal materials.

1990s

Expand information to family and criminal law 

In areas of law where no clinic partners exist, CLEO reaches out to community partners to develop new material.

2005

CLEONet launches

CLEONet is the first online resource for community workers that features a collection of public legal education resources.

2017

Steps to Justice launches 

CLEO brings together justice sector and community organizations from across the province to launch Steps to Justice. The website offers accurate, practical, and easy-to-understand legal information.