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­Hamilton Community Legal Clinic Working for Change

November 8, 2016 Make Change

Regular readers will be aware that the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic provides a variety of services. We offer legal advice & referrals and legal representation, of course. In addition, however, we deliver public legal education programs and carry out community development and law reform initiatives. Part of our mandate, these services are made available to individuals, groups and communities.

Typically, at our September Annual Meeting (pictured below) we reflect on the past year’s achievements. Here are some highlights of changes we’ve achieved and advocated for in the past year.

 Eight Areas Where We are Working for Change

1. A huge victory was realized for injured workers last November when full indexing of Workers’ Compensation benefits for partially disabled workers was restored. Hamilton Clinics, in conjunction with the Ontario Network of Injured Workers’ Groups, fought for this benefit since its elimination in 1995.  No longer will partially disabled workers see the purchasing power of their benefits decrease.

 2. The Aboriginal Outreach program (YEN’TENE), now funded permanently, continues to work with community partners to improve access to justice for Aboriginal people. This fall, the I AM AFFECTED Poster Campaign was rolled out in Hamilton bus shelters libraries and recreational centres. The Campaign responds to the calls for action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

3. The Hamilton Outreach Project (HOP) received three years of funding to hire a case coordinator and expand project locations. This collaborative, community-embedded legal services program serves clients with mental health & addiction issues.

4. It is increasingly difficult for people with disabilities who are eligible for benefits to receive that assistance. To assist those turned down and appealing, we produced an ODSP Guided Self Help Video and Guide that has been translated into ten languages.

5.We are concerned about the widespread practice of carding/street checks. HCLC staff made deputations to the Hamilton Police Service calling for an end to carding.

6. Social assistance rates are too low and haven't been fixed in a generation. Led by former Staff lawyer Craig Foye (pictured to the left) along with MPP Paul Miller and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction (HRPR), we're advocating for rates that reflect real costs of living to restore dignity for all recipients. We're supporting HRPR's efforts to create living wage jobs and end predatory lending.

7.We’ve been assisting tenants like those at 235 Rebecca to assert tenant rights and preserve their tenancies.

8.The French Language Services team has ensured that all resource materials for important initiatives are available in both official languages. The team collaborated with YEN: TENE to offer community partners a bilingual workshop.

Call us at 905-527-4572 or visit our website at www.hamiltonjustice.ca to learn more.

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