With the addition of gender identity and gender expression to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the HALCO is leading a Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) funded project to help ensure that the legal needs of trans* people in Ontario are being met and determine the barriers that trans* people face in accessing justice.
“Trans*” is an umbrella term referring to people whose gender identity or gender expression is not reflected by the gender assigned to them at birth.
“Unfortunately, pervasive experiences of discrimination, harassment, and social marginalization exist for trans* people,” explains Nicole Nussbaum, LAO Staff Lawyer and project lead.
Ryan Peck, Executive Director of HALCO, adds, “Our goal for this project is to help a wide range of legal service providers make their vital services more available and accessible to all trans* people.”
With funding from LAO, HALCO is launching the Trans* Legal Needs Assessment project to:
- document the need for legal services among trans* people
- identify barriers to accessing legal services through a series of focus groups and a province-wide survey
- develop strategies to address barriers.
“Given the distinct legal issues and challenges faced by trans* communities, this project will make an important difference in the ability of trans* people to access justice,” says John McCamus, Chair of LAO. “We are pleased to support HALCO in this initiative.”
The Trans* Legal Needs Assessment project is one of 15 community and legal aid clinic projects that LAO is investing in. LAO has committed $9 million over the next three years for 15 projects to support community and legal aid clinics to improve access to justice and enhance outcomes for low-income Ontarians.
The funding is thanks to $30 million in additional funding from the provincial government in May 2013. LAO has invested 30 per cent ($3 million for 2013/14) in two new LAO funds for legal clinics, student legal aid services societies and other community agencies who need funding to support projects that focus on delivering integrated services through existing community access points. These funds also support clinic law service modernization.
You can find more information in the Trans Legal Needs Assessment: Project Backgrounder (pdf) and on the Trans* Legal Needs Assessment page of our website.
For more information on this project, please contact:
Trans* Legal Needs Assessment Project Lead