Ontario’s nonprofit justice sector got stronger this week. Twenty of the province’s leading access to justice organizations received a Catalyst grant from The Law Foundation of Ontario.
Catalyst is the Foundation’s new granting program that offers a three-year cycle of core funding to nonprofit organizations that demonstrate they are working to advance access to justice in Ontario. Catalyst’s goal is to strengthen the nonprofit justice sector by helping to give organizations stability and the opportunity to innovate, evolve, and respond to emerging needs. At just over $5.8M per year, the inaugural Catalyst granting represents an investment of more than $17M over the three-year granting cycle into Ontario’s nonprofit justice sector.
The 20 Catalyst grantees range in size, geographic scope, populations served, types of services offered, and areas of law. Over half of the organizations funded have a national or provincial mandate. The remaining serve particular regions, including Ottawa and surrounding region, Sudbury and surrounding region, and the Greater Toronto Area. The granting supports justice education, legal information, direct legal services, and research.
The new Catalyst funding will help established organizations to bring more services, stability, and innovation to Ontarians who need to understand the law and use it to improve their lives.
Catalyst granting will expand and strengthen:
- Pro bono legal services and public legal information and education across the province
- Learning opportunities for young people to understand their rights and the justice system
- Support for trusted intermediaries, who work directly with people who have legal needs and are critical to identifying issues, providing supports, and making referrals to legal service providers
- Integrating legal services into holistic service programs run by organizations with deep ties to the communities served
- Legal research, including law reform and historical research, to better inform and understand the law and its impacts
- Information, education, pro bono, and legal services that respond to the needs of Indigenous people, Francophones, refugees, the wrongfully convicted, LGBTQ communities, prisoners and former prisoners, survivors of gender-based violence, and workers, particularly those engaged in precarious work
Core funding refers to financial support that covers basic or ‘core’ organizational costs, including salaries of staff, facilities, governance, communications, and expenses for day-to-day work. The call for applications for the Catalyst program was communicated widely from March 6, 2018 to the application deadline date of June 1, 2018.
Catalyst program grantees
Aboriginal Legal Services Inc.
Aboriginal Legal Services provides a variety of legal services, including a court worker and Gladue caseworker program, diversion program, victim services, and legal representation in a number of areas.
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
The Barbra Schlifer Clinic offers legal representation, professional counselling, and multilingual interpretation to women who have experienced violence.
Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust
CCLET provides workshops, seminars, and in-class sessions in schools, educational institutions, and faculties of education, educating citizens about their rights and freedoms.
Community Legal Education Ontario
CLEO develops clear, accurate, and practical legal rights education and information to help people understand and exercise their legal rights, with a particular focus on support for trusted intermediaries.
FCJ Refugee Centre
FCJ Refugee Centre serves refugees and others at risk due to their immigration status and welcomes anyone asking for advice, counsel, and support regarding these issues.
Innocence Canada is dedicated to identifying, advocating for, and exonerating individuals convicted of a crime that they did not commit and works to prevent future injustices through legal education and reform.
John Howard Society of Ontario
The John Howard Society provides effective, just, and humane responses to crime and its causes.
L’Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario
AJEFO promotes access to justice and develops programs and resources to create awareness, inform, and educate the public about the justice system and their legal rights and obligations, including their rights to judicial services in the official language of their choice.
Law Commission of Ontario
The LCO provides independent, balanced, and authoritative advice on complex legal policy issues and its work promotes access to justice and contributes to public debate.
Law in Action Within Schools
LAWS is an innovative partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Toronto District School Board designed to deliver an education program aimed at supporting, guiding and motivating high school students.
LEVEL levels barriers to justice by disrupting prejudice, building empathy, and advancing human rights.
Luke’s Place is a centre for change devoted solely to improving the safety and experience of abused women and their children as they proceed through the family law process.
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
METRAC works with individuals, communities, and institutions to change ideas, actions, and policies with the goal of ending violence against women and youth.
Ontario Justice Education Network
OJEN develops innovative educational tools that introduce young people to the justice system, help them understand the law, and build their legal capability.
Pro Bono Ontario
PBO develops and manages high quality programs that connect volunteer lawyers with Ontarians who can’t afford a lawyer.
Pro Bono Students Canada
Each year, PBSC harnesses the talent and drive of over 1,500 law students across the country to provide legal services free of charge to low-income citizens and not-for-profit organizations.
Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre
SWEAC is an organization of workers, students, and community volunteers committed to improving the lives and working conditions of people in low-wage and unstable employment.
The 519 Church Street Community Centre
From refugee settlement to counselling, The 519 serves the people of Toronto by supporting happy, fulfilling LGBTQ2S lives. The Legal Clinic provides free, confidential, summary legal advice and referrals.
The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
The Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History publishes books on Canadian legal history and creates and preserves an oral history archive.
Workers’ Action Centre
WAC is a worker-based organization committed to improving the lives and working conditions of people in low-wage and unstable employment.