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What's New

CLEO launches new CLEO Connect website with training and tools for community workers
June 11, 2019
Posted in:CLEO News

Toronto, ON – CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) has launched a specially designed website to support community workers with public legal education, and information. At CLEOConnect.ca, community workers can find training, tools, resources, and connections to help them help their clients with legal problems.

Help stop cuts to community legal clinics in Ontario!
May 14, 2019
Posted in:CLEO News

Urgent message to our community partners

The Ontario government's recent budget made cuts to a number of public programs and services, which will hurt many of the people your organization serves. The cuts include a massive 30% cut to legal aid funding. And that's in this year alone.

CLEO is one of Ontario's 72 community legal clinics that receive funding from Legal Aid Ontario which, in turn, is funded by the Ontario government.

We expect that a cut of this magnitude is going to be devastating to the ability of low-income people to access legal aid services across Ontario, including help from Ontario's community legal clinics.

As you know, legal clinics are on the front lines of assisting people who are marginalized in keeping their housing, government benefits, and other elements essential to human rights and dignity. It will also put at risk CLEO's ability to provide free, reliable legal information through Steps to Justice and Justice pas-à-pas, in print and other formats, which we know is vital to the work of community workers and clients across Ontario.

The cuts could also affect your organization in other ways. Your staff may have more people coming to them with legal problems. And you will have fewer places to refer them to for the legal help they need to keep their housing or assistance, or to help them with other complicated, life-affecting problems.

Here is what you can do to help stop these cuts!

  1. Email, call, or write your local MPP. If emailing or writing, copy Premier Doug Ford and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney. You can start with our sample letter, and consider including details about the types of groups you work with who will be affected by the cuts. We understand that you may be too busy to send an individual email. The clinic system has set up a form email that you can use to email the Premier and the Attorney General.
  2. Tell us how CLEO and other legal clinics have helped you, your organization, or your clients. Your stories about how our resources and services help you in your work will help us defend against these drastic cuts to services to low-income Ontarians. You can email us at info@cleoconnect.ca.
Law Society Medal
March 29, 2019
Posted in:CLEO News

CLEO Board member Frank Walwyn has recently been named as a 2019 recipient of the Law Society Medal.

Each year, the Law Society of Ontario awards the Law Society Medal to selected lawyers who have made a significant contribution to the profession. The award is given for outstanding service within the profession, whether in the area of practice, in the academic sphere, or in some other professional capacity where the service is in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession. It may be awarded for devotion to professional duties over a long term or for a single outstanding act of service.

Called to the bar in 1995, Frank Walwyn is being recognized as a leader in the legal profession by the Law Society and as a trailblazer in the black legal community in Ontario. He is the longest serving president of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and has championed equity and diversity in the legal profession, making invaluable contributions to the legal community as a whole.

https://lso.ca/news-events/news/latest-news-2019/2-(1)

Justice pas-à-pas: Bringing key perspectives to bear on the common legal problems of Franco-Ontarians
January 9, 2019
Posted in:CLEO News

In the coming months, CLEO and partners will reach out to Francophone communities and the organizations that serve them to ensure that they are aware of our new website Justice pas-à-pas, which has step-by-step information on legal problems people in Ontario face. An important part of the ongoing development process for the new website is to assess uptake and to encourage user feedback to implement a virtuous cycle of improvement.

Check out CLEO's blog about Justice pas-à-pas on Slaw.ca.

CLEO's Executive Director on The Agenda - Improving Legal Aid and Access to Justice
December 13, 2018
Posted in:CLEO News

CLEO's Executive Director Julie Mathews participated in a panel on The Agenda discussing the importance of informing low income and marginalized communities about their legal rights and how critical our legal aid system is to access to justice in Ontario.

Ontario Justice Partners Launch French language website to help people understand their legal problems
November 28, 2018
Posted in:CLEO News

Toronto, ON – Problems with landlords, unfair treatment at work, and getting separated or divorced: these are some of the issues that people in Ontario face every day. Finding reliable and practical legal information to understand and address these problems is not easy, despite the wealth of information available online. For Franco-Ontarians, this is compounded by the fact that access to French language services and resources is more limited.

Now, Franco-Ontarians can go to Justice pas-à-pas – a new website launched on November 27 at a reception at the Law Society of Ontario.

"Steps to Justice has proven to be an indispensable resource. Expanding this important, high quality service to serve the Franco-Ontarian community is a meaningful step towards our larger goal of a barrier-free justice system that is accessible, affordable, and efficient for everyone," said Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General and Minister of Francophone Affairs.

Justice pas-à-pas presents easy-to-understand, step-by-step information on common issues that people experience in many areas of law, including family, housing, employment, consumer and criminal law. The website is designed to:

  • Equip people to work through their legal problems using simple, easy-to-understand steps
  • Provide practical tools such as checklists, fillable forms, and self-help guides
  • Give referral information for legal and social services that serve Francophones across Ontario.

Justice pas-à-pas aims to help lower income Ontarians who can access online resources, as well as the front-line community workers who are often called upon to help them with legal problems.

Led by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO), Justice pas-à-pas is a collaboration of key justice sector players. An advisory committee of leading justice and community organizations serving Francophone communities helps ensure the information available on Justice pas-à-pas meets the needs of Franco-Ontarians. These advisors include the Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario, the Centre francophone de Toronto, the Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes, Mouvement des femmes immigrantes francophones, the Centre des services communautaires de Vanier, Legal Aid Ontario, and community legal clinics in Sudbury, Hamilton, and Windsor-Essex.

"Justice pas-à-pas follows on the very successful Steps to Justice website that was launched last year," said Julie Mathews, executive director of CLEO. "CLEO is committed to ensuring that people in Ontario can connect with clear, accurate online information to help them understand their legal rights in both official languages."

Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice are led by CLEO and bring together key justice sector players such as the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Society of Ontario, the Ontario Justice Education Network, and the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario.

These justice sector partners collaborate on content development to ensure the legal information is accurate and practical, and the websites are updated regularly based on their input and changes in the law. A key feature of both Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice is that justice sector and community organizations can embed the legal content on their own websites – meaning that it is widely available on websites across the province.

"Many justice sector organizations have come together to develop Steps to Justice, a website that helps people work through their legal problems, said Malcolm Mercer, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario. "It's an essential place for people to go for practical information they can rely on."

About Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice:

Led by Community Legal Education Ontario, Justice pas-à-pas and Steps to Justice are collaborative projects of leading justice sector organizations. They are signature initiatives of The Action Group on Access to Justice.

About CLEO

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) is a non-profit organization that has provided accurate and easy-to-understand information and education about the law for people in Ontario for over 40 years, particularly those who have low incomes or other disadvantages. CLEO is funded by Legal Aid Ontario, the Department of Justice Canada, and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

About TAG

The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) was established by the Law Society of Ontario in 2015 to facilitate better coordination and collaboration across the justice sector. With funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario, TAG works with a range of justice stakeholders to develop meaningful, public-centred solutions that advance systemic change.

For more information (data, photos, interviews), please contact: Deb Bourk, Communications Manager, 416 408 4420, ext 842 or deb.bourk@cleo.on.ca.

Ontario Justice Partners Launch New Steps to Justice Website: A First of its Kind in the Province
January 18, 2017
Posted in:CLEO News

Site provides comprehensive and reliable information on everyday legal problems related to family, housing, employment and other areas of law

  • Majority of Ontarians (57%) seek legal advice at some point in their lives and almost half (45%) of those report facing barriers in trying to access the justice system.
  • Almost half of Ontarians (48%) believe that published practical legal information would enhance access to justice.
  • Steps to Justice website is designed to be a simple and easy-to-understand resource with a live chat function that helps people find the information that they need.

TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2017 /CNW/ - Problems with landlords, unfair treatment at a job, and getting separated or divorced: these are some of the issues that Ontarians face every day. However, many cannot access the information they need to understand the legal implications of their problems and respond.

Now they can go to Steps to Justice – a new website that empowers people in Ontario to understand and take action to deal with their legal problems.

A first of its kind, Steps to Justice presents easy-to-understand, step-by-step information on common issues that people experience in family, housing, employment and other areas of law.

Steps to Justice is designed to:

  • Equip people to work through their legal problems through simple, easy-to-understand steps
  • Provide practical tools such as checklists, fillable forms and self-help guides
  • Give referral information for legal and social services across Ontario
  • Connect people via live chat and email-based support for answers to additional questions

Steps to Justice is led by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) and brings together key justice sector players such as the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario.

"While people across the province depend on the Internet as a source of information, it is difficult for people to know if they are consulting a reliable website for legal information," says Julie Mathews, Executive Director of CLEO. "People in Ontario face legal issues every day and now they can connect with simple and accurate online information to help them take steps in their situation."

A recent study by The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) showed that a majority of Ontarians seek legal advice at some point in their lives and almost half of those surveyed report facing barriers accessing the justice system.

"Projects like Steps to Justice help break down barriers by giving all Ontarians the legal information and tools they need," says Attorney General Yasir Naqvi. "This is an empowering initiative and a great example of how we can use technology to make the justice process and the law more accessible and open to everyone. Collaborating on Steps to Justice is an example of another big step forward in our collective effort to increase access to justice."

Numerous justice sector partners are collaborating on content development to ensure the information is accurate and practical; the website will be updated regularly based on their input. Justice sector and community organizations will also be able to embed or present this automatically-updated Steps to Justice content on their own websites to share with their users.

"Justice and community organizations are responding to the public's need for accessible, reliable and accurate legal information," says Paul Schabas, Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada. "The Law Society created TAG to facilitate cross-sector collaboration and we are proud of its work in fostering the development of Steps to Justice. The people of Ontario now have an enhanced, coordinated initiative that they can count on."

About Steps to Justice:

Led by Community Legal Education Ontario, Steps to Justice is a collaborative project of leading justice sector organizations. It is a signature initiative of The Action Group on Access to Justice.

About CLEO

CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Education juridique communautaire Ontario) is a non-profit organization that provides accurate and easy-to-understand information and education about the law for people in Ontario, particularly those who have low incomes or other disadvantages. CLEO is funded by Legal Aid Ontario, the Department of Justice Canada, and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

About TAG

The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG) is catalyzing solutions to Ontario's access to justice challenges by facilitating collaboration with institutional, political and community stakeholders. It is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario with support from the Law Society of Upper Canada.

About the Survey:

Public Perceptions of Access to Justice in Ontario was conducted online with 1,500 Ontarians ages 18 and over from August 22 to 25, 2016. The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.6%, 19 times out of 20. The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Ontario's population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

SOURCE The Action Group on Access to Justice

News Release - January 21, 2016
January 22, 2016
Posted in:CLEO News

Launch of LawConnect promises enhanced public legal education in Ontario

Last evening a crowd gathered at the Law Society to celebrate the launch of LawConnect. Leaders in the public legal education community, including The Honourable Roy McMurtry, Chief Justice Heather Forster Smith and Law Society Treasurer Janet Minor joined over 100 teachers, judges, lawyers, community partners and funders for this celebratory event.

2015 Guthrie Award Recipient - Julie Mathews
November 5, 2015
Posted in:CLEO News

CLEO's Board of Directors is pleased to announce that our executive director, Julie Mathews, is this year's recipient of the Guthrie Award. The Guthrie is awarded by The Law Foundation of Ontario, and acknowledges the contribution of individuals and organizations to access to justice and excellence in the legal profession.

Formats and Delivery Channels for PLEI in Ontario
September 19, 2013
Posted in:CLEO News

CLEO’s new report Public Legal Education and Information in Ontario Communities: Formats and Delivery Channels is now available.

This research takes a look at effective formats and delivery channels for reaching low-income and disadvantaged communities with information about their legal rights.

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