Establish a stable source of funding for Pro Bono Ontario

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PBO Needs Your Voice

Dear Pro Bono Ontario Supporters:

PBO needs your help again.

Late last year, you generously signed on to a petition I started in favour of provincial government funding to save PBO's court-based Law Help centres.  While the province did not provide the funding, the advocacy you were part of led to enough funds from the legal profession and the federal government to save the help centres for a year. This was a huge victory, but PBO needs long-term, sustainable funding to keep up with skyrocketing demand.

The provincial government has made it clear that they will not be providing this support. PBO's focus now is the Law Society of Ontario, which has a statutory duty to facilitate access to justice. In this moment, the best way to do that is to ensure sustainable funding for effective pro bono programs.

The Law Society just announced a survey on access to justice. I’m asking you to make your support of PBO and access to justice heard by filling out the survey. The results will provide guidance to the newly elected bench. Click here to fill out the survey and for more information on the Law Society's consultation.

PBO has created and managed effective pro bono programs for nearly 20 years. It brings legal services directly to the public. It goes to frontline settings like courthouses and hospitals.  It runs a province-wide remote service for those who need it due to age, disability, geography, working conditions, and childcare obligations.  Last year, in 11 locations, it served 28,872 clients, up 272% from a decade ago.

PBO’s programs are cost-effective and have measurable outcomes. They help vulnerable people with nowhere else to turn. Chief Justice George R. Strathy has said that "the money spent on pro bono work in this province through Pro Bono Ontario is delivering more to provide access to justice – pound for pound, dollar for dollar – than any other kind of funding that can be found." PBO supports direct funding or a levy. So long as there is a commitment to funding, PBO and I believe that the profession should have its say on this detail.

What else can you do?

Now more than ever, the profession and the public needs to be loud in its support of pro bono. The survey is a good place to begin. With the Bencher election heating up, we also need to make sure Bencher candidates know where you stand. To assist, PBO is thrilled to launch Voices for Pro Bono, its communications hub for the campaign and beyond.  Please visit the site and watch for updates.

Thank you for your commitment to access to justice and standing with PBO.

Sincerely,

Nic Wall

Nic Wall
2 years ago