A free legal clinic at Osgoode that helps York University undergraduate students and low-income persons in Toronto will officially launch its new Employment Law Division one-year pilot project on March 10 with a reception from 4 to 6pm in the Goodmans LLP Junior Common Room (1017) at the Osgoode.
Members of the community who are facing employment law issues, with priority given to Jane-Finch residents, will now get a helping hand from the Community and Legal Aid Services Programme (CLASP).
The Employment Law Division will assist clients with employment agreements, employment insurance, employment standards, health and safety reprisals, human rights in the workplace, and wrongful dismissal.
Employment lawyer Phanath Im will serve as the review counsel for the Employment Law Division. She will supervise Osgoode students who will represent clients in negotiations and mediations as well as in litigation at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Social Security Tribunal of Canada, and Small Claims Court in Toronto.
In addition, the law students will engage in community outreach and law reform initiatives and present public legal education sessions in the community about matters related to employment law.
Im, who graduated from Osgoode in 2010, is a former CLASP division leader and former volunteer senior editor for Jane-Finch.com. The first Cambodian-Canadian to be called to the Ontario Bar, Im worked at the Ontario Ministry of Labour prosecuting health and safety offences and representing the Director of Employment Standards in employment standards appeals. Later, she moved into private practice, where she worked with leading employment lawyers and represented both employers and employees on a wide range of employment law issues.
“As a resident of Jane-Finch’s government-subsidized housing projects for over 20 years, I have a unique understanding of the issues facing the community and a personal interest in advocating for its residents,” Im said. “I will bring a balanced understanding of employment law issues gained from representing both employers and employees in legal disputes, and acting as a prosecutor and defence counsel.”
The addition of employment law complements the other legal services offered by CLASP that include administrative law (tenant rights, Ontario Disability Support Program appeals, Criminal Injuries Compensation Board applications, human rights), criminal law, immigration law and family law. Funding for CLASP’s Employment Law Division is provided by Legal Aid Ontario, which announced last fall that it would increase the funding of each of Ontario’s seven student legal aid clinics by $100,000 annually.
“This funding has allowed CLASP to have a division devoted to employment law for the first time,” said Im, who has engaged in extensive consultations with community groups, residents and non-profit organizations in Toronto and with the Jane-Finch community to identify recurring employment law issues and determine the best types of service the new Employment Law Division can offer.
“CLASP’s Employment Law Division will respond to the needs in the Jane-Finch community in particular by increasing access to justice, and help law students gain invaluable experience in employment law and workers’ rights,” she said.
CLASP is currently accepting a limited number of employment law cases, and will expand its intake starting May 24. Call 416-736-5029 if you know of someone who may benefit from legal information or representation with respect to an employment law issue.