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Cornwall participates in Provincial Day of Awareness for Legal Aid

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By Nick Seebruch
Cornwall participates in Provincial Day of Awareness for Legal Aid
Patti Carson, Community Legal Worker with SD&G Legal Aid serving up a burger at their drop-in clinic and BBQ event held on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall’s own Legal Aid office took part in the Provincial Day of Awareness for Legal Aid on Tuesday, July 30.

A drop-in legal aid clinic and BBQ were held at Trinity Anglican Church on Second St. in Cornwall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The BBQ came from personal funds from the employees of the clinic.

Bernadette Clement, Executive Director of the SD&G Legal Aid office and Mayor of Cornwall said that about an hour after opening the drop in clinic, they had already had dozens of visitors.

Clement explained that many had come in on Tuesday seeking advice on landlord-tenant issues, issues with dealing with payments from the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and more.

The Cornwall Legal Aid office employs five lawyers, one Community Legal Worker and three support staff members.

Clement explained how the clinic adapts to the community’s needs.

“When we have periods of high unemployment we do a lot of EI (Employment Insurance) work,” she said. “During periods of high employment we do more disability work.”

The Provincial Day of Awareness for Legal Aid was meant to draw attention to the cuts that Legal Aid services are facing from the Ontario government of Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives.

READ MORE: Cornwall lawyer calls Legal Aid cuts “travesty”

According to material being handed out by employees of the SD&G Legal Aid office on Tuesday, Legal Aid clinics in Ontario are facing a 35 per cent, or $15 million budget cut over the next three years.

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Jenni MacDonald, Dominion Lending, Cornwall, Ontario