Indigenous legal services gets more funding

Indigenous legal services gets more funding

January 11, 2022 – Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS) and Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) are pleased to announce that they entered into a new service agreement, under the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020, on Dec. 8.

The new service agreement renews LAO and ALS’ commitment to delivering legal aid services that are trauma-informed, culturally safe and culturally relevant to the Indigenous community. Under the new agreement, LAO will increase its investment in the legal aid services and programs ALS delivers. LAO will also provide ALS with funding for new criminal and child protection services to better support the needs of Indigenous communities in the Greater Toronto Area and the needs of Indigenous people in the criminal justice and child protection systems.

“For years, ALS has amassed expertise in criminal law and how law impacts our people, families, and communities. Expanding ALS’ services into criminal and child protection will enable us to use our own complementary services to divert and support Indigenous people in Toronto. When needed, it will allow us to represent them from a place of Indigenous knowledge and perspective. This is a significant starting point and we believe that it is just the beginning. We will continue to expand and grow so we can provide Indigenous people and families additional support and help achieve outcomes that better reflect the communities’ needs.”

Christa Big Canoe, Legal Advocacy Director, Aboriginal Legal Services

LAO recognizes that ALS is a unique service provider, and its uniqueness is reflected in the new service agreement. The agreement commits ALS and LAO to ongoing, open dialogue and to continuing to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern relating to the funding and delivery of legal aid services by ALS.

For more than 30 years, ALS has been a leading non-profit organization supporting Indigenous people and communities, and a national leader in Indigenous justice and advocacy. ALS is an Indigenous Legal Services Organization under the Legal Aid Services Act, 2020 that has provided legal and justice related services funded in part by LAO since 1990. Their innovative and Indigenous community-led justice programs like Community Council, Gladue reports and caseworkers, and Giiwedin Anang complement the legal services they provide to the Indigenous community in clinic law areas as well as litigation, inquest work, law reform, and community advocacy.