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Ha-Redeye named Durham legal clinic’s executive director

Wednesday, September 04, 2019 @ 10:46 AM | By John Chunn

Fleet Street Law announced that Omar Ha-Redeye has joined the Durham Community Legal Clinic (DCLC) as its executive director, effective Sept. 3.  

According to the firm’s press release, the clinic, which is based in Oshawa and has satellite offices in Ajax, Uxbridge and Cannington, Ont., provides important resources to the residents of Durham Region. The services provided by the clinic’s staff include tenant rights, Ontario Disability Support Program Benefits (ODSP), Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB), employment law and human rights. The clinic does not provide services in criminal law or family law, but works closely with the legal community to ensure effective referrals in these areas.

“We are in a time when legal aid is being slashed, our justice system is under pressure, and Ontarians are increasingly trying to navigate the legal system without any assistance at all,” said Ha-Redeye, who will still maintain a small independent practice. “The Durham Community Legal Clinic has assisted with this in the community since 1985, and we intend to continue to do so irrespective of the current tumultuous political and regulatory environment.”

Ha-Redeye has a long portfolio of work in the access to justice space, including heading an incubator for innovation and access to justice at Fleet Street Law. The work there will continue with others who are involved in those projects, he said.

Other initiatives Ha-Redeye has been involved in include Ryerson’s Business Law Clinic, the Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub (WE-HUB) and Newcomers Hub (NE-HUB), and several technology initiatives to simplify and facilitate access to the legal system. Ha-Redeye was presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for his contributions to access to justice. He envisions co-operation and collaborations with others within the justice system, and in other industries, as being a crucial aspect of DCLC’s progress going forward.

In 2018, DCLC launched an Access to Justice Hub (the HUB), involving a strategic partnership between the clinic, Durham Region, Durham College and the Region of Durham. Other partners, such as Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre, Durham Mental Health Services, the John Howard Society and the Centre for Financial Literacy, also provide key services and assistance. The HUB provides integrated services for clients with the most serious issues who are still ineligible for funding by Legal Aid Ontario. The HUB also provides Durham residents free tax filling year-round.

Student volunteers staff the HUB under supervision, providing important training and opportunities for experiential education to the next generation of legal professionals. Ha-Redeye intends to draw on his years of teaching at several universities and colleges in the GTA to help facilitate this opportunity.

“Integrated solutions like those offered at the HUB are the best solution to ensuring continuity of services to residents,” said Ha-Redeye. “The importance is to focus on the impact on clients and not creating unnecessary and artificial silos based on administrative barriers.” He points to Legal Aid Ontario’s mandate under the Legal Aid Services Act, and highlights the need to promote access to justice to low-income individuals “in a cost-effective and efficient manner.”

The Durham Community Legal Clinic is one of the 73 community legal clinics in Ontario that provide crucial assistance to low-income individuals in the province.