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Monday, December 3, 2018

Monday, December 3, 2018
Lynn Burns says Pro Bono Ontario is relieved that legal help centres in Toronto and Ottawa will remain open next year.

FEDERAL FUNDING FOR PRO BONO CENTRES

Three legal help centres in Toronto and Ottawa will remain open throughout 2019, thanks to $250,000 in funding from the federal government and about $275,000 in donations from private donors.

Pro Bono Ontario announced at the end of November that it will receive a one-time funding contribution through the federal government’s Justice Innovation and Partnership Program.

The funding is welcome news for the non-profit organization, which had said it would have to shut down the three centres on Dec. 14 due to lack of stable funding.

Lynn Burns, executive director of Pro Bono Ontario, says federal Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould reached out after hearing about the financial challenges the centres were facing and encouraged the organization to submit an application.

The outcry over the closures of the centres also shows the depth of the access-to-justice issues in Ontario, says Burns.

Prospective benchers at the Law Society of Ontario have already weighed in about whether or not the non-profit organization should be funded by the regulator.

Meanwhile, the province has emphatically stated it would not be assisting with the funding shortfall.

“Now, we have to turn our attention to what’s next, so we’re going to be spending the next year trying to secure the resources required to provide stable institutional funding,” says Burns.

SABA PRESIDENT APPOINTED

Aarondeep Singh Bains, an associate at Aird & Berlis LLP, was appointed president of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto, the organization has announced.

He tells Law Times that the most pressing issue facing his members is the lack of a level playing field and that SABA offers resources and opportunities such as interview training for students and NCA candidates.

EX-LAWYER ORDERED TO PAY LSO COSTS

A panel of judges for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court said on Nov. 22 that Aliamisse Mundulai must pay $5,000 to the Law Society of Ontario.

Mundulai had asked the court to compel the LSO to issue an L1 licence after the law society revoked the licence in 2012.

The Divisional Court said the law society fulfilled its duty to consider Mundulai’s 2015 re-application.

LAW TIMES POLL

Ontario’s provincial government said last month that it would not approve Ryerson University’s submission to create a new juris doctor program in Toronto. Law Times asked readers if they agreed with the province’s decision to deny the program approval. About 78 per cent of respondents said they agreed with the province’s move, saying that given the challenges that graduates from existing law schools are facing, it makes sense to hold off on the new school.

Another 22 per cent said they disagreed with the province’s decision and they believe that creating a new law school would assist with different issues and improve access to justice in Ontario.

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The Law Society of Ontario’s recent decision to further cull the number of benchers at Convocation means that several longtime members will lose the rights either to speak or vote in the next few months. Do you agree with this move?
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