Ontario government's budget slashes legal aid, eliminates refugee law funding

WATCH ABOVE: Ontario's PC government delivered their first budget on Thursday, which includes funding for education, seniors and health care, as well as a promise to balance the budget after the next election. Travis Dhanraj has the details.

TORONTO – The Progressive Conservative government is slashing the budget of Legal Aid Ontario, including eliminating funding for refugee and immigration law services.

Legal Aid Ontario sent a letter to staff Thursday as the government tabled its first budget, saying the province is reducing funding to the organization by 30 per cent.

READ MORE: Ontario tightens purse strings, PCs don’t plan to balance books until 2023-24

That means it will receive $133 million less in this fiscal year than anticipated.

The budget says “streamlining the delivery of legal aid to promote long-term sustainability” is expected to reduce the funding by $164 million in 2021-22.

READ MORE: How the Ontario 2019 budget will affect families across the province

Legal Aid CEO David Field says in the letter that the province has indicated it will no longer fund refugee and immigration law services, “outside of any potential transition costs.”

He says Legal Aid Ontario will need to figure out how to continue its refugee program using its federal funding.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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