The Grey-Bruce Community Legal Clinic offices on Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Owen Sound, Ont. Rob Gowan/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network
Rob Gowan / Rob Gowan/Sun Times
The Grey-Bruce Community Legal Clinic will hold a pop-up legal clinic in downtown Owen Sound to bring attention to provincial cuts to legal aid funding.The clinic will be located in front of Owen Sound city hall on Tuesday, July 30, from noon to 2 p.m. to protest the Ontario government’s cut to Legal Aid Ontario funding of 30 per cent announced in the Ontario budget in the spring, as well as anticipated cuts next year.In a news release issued on Wednesday, staff at the Grey-Bruce clinic thanked its clients, partners and community members who stood with them since the government announced the cuts in April.“Because of your support, the Legal Clinic is still here and can continue to offer services to our community members across our counties,” it said in the release. “We were fortunate to make it through the first round of government cuts with our services intact.”In April, Doug Ford’s Conservative government announced it was cutting Legal Aid Ontario’s budget by 30 per cent, retroactive to April 1. The cut means the organization is receiving $133 million less in the fiscal year than the $456 million it had anticipated.The news release said clinics in other communities were hit much harder than the one in Grey-Bruce and some will have to dramatically cut their services.Specialized clinics in the areas of housing, income security, and workers’ rights were hit the hardest, while the clinic’s learning and training budget was eliminated.“These cuts are devastating to our Ontario clinic system,” the release said.The Grey-Bruce clinic was established in 2002 to provide free legal services to low income individuals and families in Grey and Bruce.Staff are concerned at how deep the cuts could go in 2020, with changes proposed that may see legal clinics eliminated altogether. The budget said “streamlining the delivery of legal aid to promote long-term sustainability” was expected to reduce the funding by $164 million in 2021-22.“We will continue to provide services to our communities and call on the government to meet our needs and for our representatives to stand up for our community,” the release said.