Canada News

Sask.’s sole community legal clinic sees ‘detrimental’ defunding from government | Globalnews.ca

[ad_1]

Saskatchewan’s ministry of justice has withdrawn its contract with Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc. (CLASSIC), which the organization says has major implications for residents trying to get accessible legal services.

Chantelle Johnson, executive director for CLASSIC said they’ve worked with the ministry over the past decade, saying their service contract had them receiving $100,000 to cover client-side services and student training.

She said CLASSIC is the province’s only community legal clinic, saying that already creates some strain, and the complete withdrawal of funding now puts them in a tough position.


Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan ‘won’t predict’ how federal government will react to legislation blocking carbon tax collection, minister says'


Saskatchewan ‘won’t predict’ how federal government will react to legislation blocking carbon tax collection, minister says


“We’re also facing a unprecedented access-to-justice crisis in this province. That won’t be news to people, you see it everywhere,” Johnson said.

Story continues below advertisement

She explained that other provinces have several community legal clinics at people’s disposal.


The email you need for the day’s
top news stories from Canada and around the world.

“It’s going to be detrimental. We already need more assistance, not less.”

She said they are the only free legal provider in the province in areas like housing law, income assistance law, human rights, immigration and refugee law.

Johnson said that the dual-pronged mandate for CLASSIC is now in jeopardy, saying this will affect their services for clients but also student access, adding that they are the only clinical legal education site in Saskatchewan.


Click to play video: 'Sask. government lawyers argue pronoun law is in best interest for gender diverse children'


Sask. government lawyers argue pronoun law is in best interest for gender diverse children


She said they’ve been exploring possible grants that CLASSIC could access, as well as looking at possible partnerships, private donors or for people to reach out to the provincial government to reconsider.

She noted that there hasn’t been any real clarity as to why the money is being reallocated from CLASSIC but suggested the possibility of the defunding stemming from CLASSIC work has held the province’s systems accountable.

Story continues below advertisement

“There’s been some mutterings that it’s possibly because there’s discomfort around the fact that CLASSIC holds government systems accountable because it’s our job to advocate for people who experience poverty and injustice. I hope that’s not the case because healthy democracies have checks and balances.”

Global News has reached out to the Ministry of Justice for comment and received a statement.

The province spoke about how $100,000 is now going towards growing the experiential education program at the College of Law, claiming that it will expand practical work placements in the public sector.

“We understand that CLASSIC’s current budget is over $1 million, and that funding continues to be provided through donors, including the Law Foundation and the United Way,” the province said.

It claimed that CLASSIC’s services were limited to clients in Saskatoon and that the province wanted expand opportunities across Saskatchewan.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



[ad_2]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *