NLS: Past and Future
This year NLS is marking its 40th year of providing legal services to the low income residents of Toronto’s downtown east side. Only a few in the community now will recall that day in 1973 when the clinic opened its door in a house on Seaton Street. While the community has changed and continues to change in what is really a process of continual renewal, the basic legal needs the clinic addresses have not changed much. Fighting through the Courts and Tribunals, through law reform campaigns and through outreach and public legal education for better and more secure housing, better and more secure incomes and more secure status in Canada for immigrants and their families has been the mainstay of our work throughout the past 4 decades.
A number of important changes to Ontario’s social assistance regime (Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program) have come into place as of September 1, 2013. Some highlights of these changes are posted below, along with links for further details.
Key Issues in ODSP Reform
The ODSP Action Coalition has produced a series of short papers dealing with key issues for ODSP recipients. These information sheets discuss many of the recommendations from Brighter Prospects, the report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance. The ODSP Action Coalition provides the perspective of members of the Coalition on those important issues.
Most recipients of Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) are aware that the provincial government ended the CSUMB benefit as of January 1, 2013. What many people don’t know however is that municipalities were instructed by the province to create new Community Homelessness Prevention Initiatives (CHPI), including the Housing Stabilization Fund (HSF). Toronto Employment and Social Services (TESS) did so, but officials have advised Toronto legal clinics that the requests for Housing Stabilization Fund assistance are quite low. NLS wants to help get the word out that some additional forms of assistance are still possible.
The NLS Blog
Our blog shares information with our community on legal developments and other important issues. As such we hope you'll find this blog informative - and maybe even fun.