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Legal Aid funding cut nearly 30% in Ontario budget | CBC News
Legal Aid Ontario got hit with a major cut in Thursday’s budget as the provincial government pulled $133 million and said the organization could no longer use provincial funds for refugee and immigration cases.
The organization’s CEO, David Field, said the cut is a significant blow.
“It’s a 29 per cent reduction in the amount that they’re going to be providing to us and you’re right, they are the largest component of our budget,” he said Thursday evening
In budget documents, the government said it expects to save $164 million by streamlining the delivery of legal aid by the 2020-21 fiscal year. The government insists that if the organization reforms, it can actually help more people with less funding.
Field said they are going to have to take a hard look at their finances, consider ways to streamline and offer more services online.
“We have to look at the entire organization and how we can adapt to the new fiscal reality that we’re facing,” he said.
The province sets the income threshold for when a person is eligible for legal aid. It increased that figure this month to make people with slightly higher incomes eligible. Now a single person making less than $17,731 per year qualifies, up from $16,728.
Refugee cuts The provincial government has recently called on the federal government to cover the full cost, arguing they should provide Legal Aid Ontario $45 million to cover costs.
Field said the federal government is providing $16 million in funding this year for refugee law work, but the entire program costs about $34 million.
Jesse Robichaud , a spokesperson for Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney , said refugee claims should be covered by the federal government.
“Ontario has called on the federal government to fully fund immigration and refugee legal aid services for cases proceeding before federal tribunals and in the Federal Court,” he said in an email to CBC News .
Field said that change is coming at a bad time.
“We’ve seen a marked increase over the last three or four years in the number of refugee claims that we’ve been having to deal with. And so having the province now say that only the federal government’s going to provide those services does represent a challenge for us,” he said.
‘Ripples throughout the justice system’ Dana Fisher, a legal aid lawyer herself and a spokesperson for the union representing 350 Legal Aid Ontario lawyers, said it’s hard to see how cutting a third of the organization’s budget can be accomplished through “streamlining.”
“A cut of that nature is going to be horrific at any point in time, but the nature of it starting immediately is just going to cause ripples throughout the justice system,” she said.
“You’re looking at immediate impacts to defending people’s rights to liberty, to access to justice, to people being able to fight for custody to their children and access to their children, including women who are fleeing domestic violence.”
Fisher said the refugee law funding cut will put lives at risk.
“From the immigration perspective, these are individuals who are facing extradition and torture and persecution and these are real lives that are going to suffer as a result of these cuts,” she said.
Auditor’s report Robichaud also pointed to a review of legal aid by the auditor general that found room for improvement at the agency. He said if the agency embraces those improvements, the government is convinced it will be able to serve more clients even with the reduced funding.
Field said he’s not convinced there is that much money to be found from the auditor’s recommendations.
“There was not a lot of specifics that were in those reports that we haven’t already looked at and considered,” he said.
He also said if more self-represented people end up in the court system, that will slow down the administration of justice.
Dozier School for Boys: Dozens more suspected graves found – BBC News
These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Exhuming the bodies buried at the Dozier school in 2014 Excavators have found up to another 27 suspected graves near the grounds of a notorious reform school in Florida.
Workers hired to clear up a fuel storage site detected new “anomalies” buried near the state-run Dozier School for Boys, officials said.
The school became infamous for the alleged abuse and murder of children over its 111-year history.
It was one of the largest institutions for young offenders in the US, eventually closing in 2011.
If confirmed, the latest finds would bring the total number of known burials on the campus to 82 – although researchers believe more than 100 children could have died at Dozier School. Who were the children buried at the Dozier school?
Contractor New South Associates was preparing to clean up pollution in Marianna, Florida, using ground-penetrating radar in March when workers found what could be more burial sites near the school.
Their report, obtained by Florida newspaper the Tampa Bay Times, said the possible graves did not follow any pattern .
“This randomness might be expected in a clandestine or informal cemetery,” the report says.
New South recommended treating the area as a graveyard until a more thorough investigation could be conducted.
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has asked state authorities to “develop a path forward” to understand the findings.
A group of former students known as the White House Boys first brought claims of abuse at the institution to the public eye in the 2000s.
“We’ve been trying to tell the state of Florida that there’s more bodies out there for a long time,” Bryant Middleton told the Tampa Bay Times.
Crickhowell named Best Place to Live in Wales by Sunday Times – BBC News
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Residents reckon Crickhowell has a ‘magic’ formula Nestled on the edge of the Brecon Beacons alongside the River Usk, is a “little piece of magic” that has more than just its residents under a spell.
Crickhowell in Powys, in the shadow of Table Mountain, has been attracting visitors since the 16th Century.
Now its thriving high street and community spirit has seen it named the Best Place to Live in Wales, according to the Sunday Times .
It is one of 10 Welsh locations named among the best addresses in Britain.
Strolling across its historic bridge and along the High Street – recently named the best in Britain – it is easy to see what makes Crickhowell special.
Walkers rest their feet with a drink at a pub alongside the river. Shoppers stop to catch up in the bustling street filled with small independent stores, while a banner advertises a forthcoming music event in the town that already boasts the annual Green Man Festival.
Image caption The town attracts many walkers But residents were already well aware of the town’s “uniqueness, beauty and community spirit” and are even growing used to the town’s growing fame.
Howard Baker, landlord of the Bridge End Inn, said he fell in love with Crickhowell more than 30 years ago.
Mumbles ‘best place to live’ in Wales First Welsh zero waste shop to open Thousands head to sold out Green Man “There are beautiful villages everywhere but there’s something unique about Crickhowell,” he said.
“The residents and tourists come together, it’s a little bit of magic.”
Image caption Emma Corfield-Walters owns the 2019 Best Bookshop in Wales One of the leading figures behind the success of the High Street is the owner of the recently crowned best book shop in Wales – Book Ish.
Emma Corfield-Walters said: “It’s all about the community, people take time to talk to each other here.
“Businesses work together, rather than compete, to make sure we all succeed.
“I work with about 34 other local suppliers, all delivering local produce, and other businesses have the same ethos.
“We are in a little bubble here – Crickhowell is almost self-sufficient.
“But this is not a new thing where people have jumped on the bandwagon. There are shops that have been in the same family for generations.”
Image caption Community spirit is at the heart of Crickhowell, say Stephanie James and Gretta Joyce Stephanie James, 32, said the High Street helped give it a “uniquely independent” feel.
“There’s a wonderful independent feel to the town with all the shops and everyone stops to chat. I love the scenery around us – it’s beautiful.”
However it is not just the high street – judges assessed a range of factors, including employment, schools, house prices and community spirit.
Florist Debbie Davies, who owns Petals, said residents were “proud” of the town.
“It’s hard to put into words because it’s just a feeling you have living here. It’s a small town with a big heart,” she added.
Image caption Many shops have been passed down from generation to generation Crickhowell boasts one of the best-performing secondary schools in the county
Josh Cashell, 22, who works in the family-run butcher, loves walking in the surrounding countryside and the town’s many pubs.
“It’s a small town but because it’s such a safe place to grow up, kids can make their own fun in the fields,” he said.
“I think people are proud to be from here.”
Image caption Table Mountain can be seen from the town centre Image caption Florist Debbie Davies said people “love” living in the town Locations in south Wales dominate this year’s selection, thanks to new entries Chepstow and Carmarthen, featured for the first time.
Last year’s Welsh winner was Mumbles in Swansea, which remains in the top 10 along with St Davids in Pembrokeshire.
North Wales is represented by a new entry, the fishing village of Aberdyfi, where two-bedroom Victorian fisherman’s cottages off the seafront start at £200,000.
The seaside resort of Abersoch, where beach huts change hands for as much as £140,000, is also mentioned.
Helen Davies, Sunday Times home editor, said: “This year we were looking for community spirit along with convenience and culture. There are so many great places that the choice was a hard one.”
The guide, including the overall UK winner, will be published on 14 April.
Image caption Nicholls has stood in the town for more than 50 years
Food-poisoning outbreak that has sickened over 100 people in 6 states is likely from ground beef
U.S. news Food-poisoning outbreak that has sickened over 100 people in 6 states is likely from ground beef The CDC says people can continue to eat ground beef. The meat should be cooked thoroughly to 160 degrees to kill germs. Ground beef is portioned onto trays in the meat department of a supermarket on July 2, 2014. Daniel Acker / Bloomberg via Getty Images file Breaking News Emails Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. SUBSCRIBE April 12, 2019, 8:54 PM GMT By Associated Press NEW YORK — Health officials say ground beef is the likely source of a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people in six states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said no specific brand or source of the meat has been determined yet. The CDC says people can continue to eat ground beef. The meat should be cooked thoroughly to 160 degrees to kill germs. The outbreak started in early March. So far, 109 people have been infected with E. coli O103, an unusual strain of the bacteria. They reported eating ground beef at home and at restaurants. Seventeen people have been hospitalized. No one has died. Half of the cases are in Kentucky. The others are Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. Associated Press