Canadian federal government comes out in defense of refugees in Ontario

Oscar Vigil

Toronto, Glen. Refugee claimants who are coming to the province of Ontario and can breathe lighter. After the cuts made by the Conservative Premier of the province, Doug Ford, to legal aid clinics (Legal Aid Ontario, LAO), the liberal federal government pledged this week to fill the financial gap.

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, He announced that the federal government will provide 26 million to partially solve the economic problems that Legal Aid Ontario is facing to meet asylum seekers and new immigrants, after the Conservative government of Ontario will cut 30 percent of the budget of the entity.

“There are political conservatives (what) still they are trying to take us back and make the most vulnerable suffer for the decisions. A conservative politicians like to say they are for people, but they end up cutting services for the most vulnerable. That's what they do”, said Prime Minister, at the offices of a community organization in Toronto.

Meanwhile, Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice of Canada, He said he was “horrified” by the cuts the Premier Doug Ford made legal aid clinics in the province.

“Indefensible found, indefensible from an economic perspective, untenable from a perspective based on evidence, indefensible from an ethical perspective”, he explained.

Last April it became known that legal aid clinics in Ontario no longer would provide more free legal aid to new immigrants and refugees, after the Conservative government of Premier Doug Ford announced a cut of the 30% of the budget to that institution. LAO said cut meant that receive $133 million less this fiscal year.

said cutout, They explained the officials of the entity, seriously affect newcomers as lawyers meant that the agency would no longer accept most new customers, immigrants and refugees, from the same month.

They added that the province told the agency could only use federal funds to cover services for new immigrants and refugees this year, but no provincial funds.

Federal funding totaled between $13 million and $16.5 millions, which it is less than the projected costs of Legal Aid Ontario between $30 million and $34 million in services for this sector in the year.

Now, the funding announced by the federal government come to fill this gap. Most of the funding announced will go to Ontario ($25.7 millions), with additional funding for British Columbia ($1.16 millions) and Manitoba ($20,000). These amounts are added to the $49.6 million over three years previously announced in the federal budget this year for legal immigration and refugee assistance.

The announcement of the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is given to few 10 weeks of the federal election, during a political campaign in which the Liberal Party has endeavored to link the leader of the Conservative Party Federal, Andrew Scheer, with the policies of cuts made by the Premier of Ontario, He also conservative Doug Ford, that they led to a precipitous decline in popularity.

Vilma Filici, immigration law professor Seneca College, says that according to the position currently held by the Liberal government, and he has always had the Canadian government with expatriates in the world, It was logical that the current Prime Minister assume responsibility for paying the legal assistance to refugees and immigrants who require.

"It seems fair to me, I think it's correct, and turn it seems dangerous for the Liberal government at this time have made this decision and have made this announcement, as public opinion regarding refugees and people requiring assistance is not very favorable. But in terms of justice I think that's what had to be done, because after all, These are the most vulnerable people in society have ", he explained.

He said the make a refugee claim in Canada is not just to come and tell a story, but the person concerned must ensure that the presentation of the case fits the definition of what a refugee or what a person needs protection, "And a person without legal training may not know what they have to present and what factors have to prove to the present evidence are".

Meanwhile, lawyers working shelter issues also applauded the decision of the federal government to earmark $26 million to legal aid services for refugees and newcomers in Ontario.

“I think this is a big step in the right direction”, said Erin Simpson, executive of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (Canadian Bar Association Refugio).

The same position taken by the President of the Canadian Bar Association (Canadian Bar Association), Ray Adlington, who said that “this money, along with funding allocated in the federal budget for legal assistance for immigrants and refugees, is a necessary commitment if Canada wants to continue calling himself a humanitarian country, founded on the rule of law”.