Ontario: “I’ve come to understand how essential that work is”

Statement by Chris Glover, Ontario MPP, Spadina-Fort York on Duty Counsel Day I want to take this opportunity to thank all the duty counsel and legal aid lawyers for the work that you are doing. When I was elected three years ago to be an MPP I didn’t fully understand the importance of that work. But through conversations with organizations like Pro Bono Ontario, legal aid lawyers, and with the legal aid clinics in my own riding of Spadina-Fort York, I’ve come to understand just how essential that work is in providing representation and advice and support to people involved in court systems. And also, in conversations with a court reporter in the family court system I’ve come to understand that often members, family members show up at the family court system not understanding the process, not understanding for example what serving a subpoena means and the courts time can be taken up with these matters, but duty counsel can facilitate that work and speed up the work of the courts. So, thank you for what you’re doing. I recognize also that we do not have anything like equitable access to justice in this province. The recent cuts to legal aid have only made a bad situation worse and we need to not only reverse those cuts, but we need to be moving toward a system where your income does not determine whether you have access to justice. And so, I want to thank all of you for what you’re doing. I want you to know that your work is recognized and that it is appreciated and that there are many of us in the political system who are working to provide better supports for Legal Aid Ontario, for duty counsels, for Pro Bono Ontario, so that you can help us all to move toward a more equitable system of justice in this province.