TORONTO, June 14, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- IAVGO learned Wednesday that Legal Aid Ontario cut 22% from our budget retroactively to April 1 2019. The cuts will have an immediate and devastating effect on client services.

Cuts to IAVGO and other specialty clinics are part of a direct, coordinated attack on people with disabilities and poor people in Ontario. They are devastating to our clients, IAVGO, and the clinic system. IAVGO represents exclusively workers who have been injured in the workplace: we work with clients who are sexually assaulted by their supervisors, who are fired for requesting accommodations for their work-related injuries, and who develop preventable illnesses due to lax safety regulations and hazardous employer practices.        

IAVGO has advocated on behalf of injured workers since 1975. IAVGO provides highly specialized expertise to legal aid clinics across the province in injured worker law. Working with our community and with partner agencies across the province, we have ensured that injured migrant workers receive the health care they require to recover from their injuries; we have helped workers with work-related mental health disabilities receive the accommodations that they need to continue working; we have helped to define the legal test for compensation for workplace cancers, and much more. Our student clinic, Advocates for Injured Workers, provides services to over 100 clients at any given time.

IAVGO’s work has never been more critical. Workers’ rights in Ontario are being rolled back across the province as part of the coordinated attack against poor people. Income support systems are being decimated, and workers continue to be injured and tragically killed in their workplaces without consequence. The provincial government has announced a WSIB review, social assistance reforms, cuts to health care spending, changes to refugee legal services and now has cut over $750,000 from legal services for injured workers. These actions will make it even more difficult for our communities to survive.

IAVGO is committed to doing everything in our power to continue to serve our community. IAVGO calls for the province to recognize the inherent dignity and value of all poor and vulnerable people in Ontario, and to immediately prioritize restoring services for them. We call for the immediate reversal of all cuts to all legal aid clinics.

For more information, please contact:   Ivana Petricone, Staff Lawyer, IAVGO  • Tel: 416-924-6477 ext.4531