During the pandemic, Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) introduced a variety of temporary measures to respond to specific challenges presented by COVID-19. For example, LAO waived certificate eligibility requirements that impacted vulnerable and at-risk clients, such as individuals detained in correctional or psychiatric facilities, victims and survivors of domestic violence, and families engaged with child protection agencies, particularly Indigenous clients.
As the public safety restrictions related to COVID-19 decreased, LAO modified its approach to the measures. All implemented pandemic measures offered important lessons about the value of legal aid during personal and public crises, including the ways that LAO can continue improving access to justice for low-income Ontarians with complex needs.
This poster provides an overview of LAO’s pandemic response to improve critical legal services for vulnerable clients and equity-seeking communities. It will also reflect on best legal aid practices and lessons learned, and will invite you to share how we can build a more accessible legal aid system together.
Poster presentation from the 2023 HSJCC Virtual Conference held November 15-16, 2023.
Mary Auxi Guiao
Legal Aid Ontario