Health Justice Initiative

Health Justice Initiative

St. Michael’s Hospital Legal Services Project

 

The Health Justice Initiative is a partnership between ARCH, St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, St. Michael’s Hospital, and legal clinics Aboriginal Legal Services Toronto, HIV & Aids Legal Clinic of Ontario (HALCO), and Neighbourhood Legal Services.  

A. Health Justice Initiative’s Goals

Our Mission Statement helps guide us in our goals:  

  1. Improve access to justice 
  2. Address the social determinants of health and health equity in our community
  3. Evaluate the success of the program 

B. Project Activities

In partnership with our clients, community groups, and patient-population at St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, we engage in the following activities to fulfill our mission:

  • Direct services to patients of the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team- legal information and advice, referrals to legal services in the community, select legal representation 
  • Legal education with health care providers, patients of the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, and community members
  • Leadership amongst partners and community members on systemic advocacy  

1) Direct Services

We provide legal information, advice, assisted referrals and select representation to patients of the St. Michael’s Academic Family Health Team who are low-income and are have legal issues affecting their well-being, such as experiences of discrimination, personal safety, and problems with employment, housing, etc.  Services are directed towards preventative legal information, advice and brief services. We encourage patients who are unstably housed, identify as aboriginal, as having a disability and/or identify as having HIV/Aids to access our services.  

To access services, individuals may contact us directly, attend our weekly Law Student Drop-in Legal Clinic, or be referred to us through their health care provider.

2)  Legal Education

See our Winter Workshop Series Schedule for details of how to register or drop-in to a community legal education session.

The following presentations were made to Family Health Team clinicians,  patients, and community members:

Your Human Rights, Presentation for Family Health Team patient population and community– October 2015

Health Care Decision Making, Presented at St. Michael’s Hospital STAR Learning Centre - September 2015

Health Justice Initiative, Presented at various St. Michael’s Hospital Family Health Team internal meetings – July 2015

Examples of Medical-Legal Partnership Models, Presented at Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario Conference - May 2015

Law, Poverty and the City - Poverty Law in Practice, Presented at Metro Hall, Osgoode Hall Municipal Law Class - March 2015

3) Systemic Advocacy

In September 2015, we collaborated with Health Care Providers Against Poverty and the EMBER Project to present oral submissions to Ontario’s Changing Workplace Review.

In October 2015, we presented at the Toronto Clinic Training Conference on The Citizenship Act’s Knowledge Test Requirement and Citizenship Immigration Canada’s Obligations to Provide Accommodation to Persons with Disabilities.

Our Systemic Advocacy Subcommittee is currently deciding on direction for our law reform projects for 2015-16.

4) Research and Evaluation

We are engaging in research to evaluate the success of our mission and goals.
 

C. Contact

Johanna Macdonald
Staff Lawyer, Neighbourhood Legal Services
Onsite Lawyer, Health Justice Initiative
(416) 864-3005 (St Michael’s Hospital)
macdonaj@lao.on.ca