Legal Needs of Low Income Chinese Speaking Clients

Project Name

Enhancing Community Capacity to Address Legal Needs of Low Income Chinese-Speaking Clients

Project Partners

Lead Agency: Centre for Information & Community Services of Ontario (CICS)
Project Partner: Toronto Chinese Community Social Services Association (TCSSA)
Legal Partner: Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic (MTCSALC)

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Project Summary

Training to front line workers serving the Chinese speaking community in employment and immigration law. The project has come out of the Chinese Inter-Agency Network and staff of network members will be able to access the training. A key aspect of the training is to train 2 front line community workers to be community legal information mentors. These individuals will be available to support the staff in their respective agencies in relation to basic information about immigration and employment law.

Legal Topics for Training

Training will be provided in employment law and immigration law, with a primary focus on family class immigration and issues facing non-status immigrants.

Target Audience

The project is intended to respond to the needs of low income non-English speaking members of the Chinese Canadian communities across GTA.

Key Activities

The project will use an innovative approach to deliver the training:

  • Two part-time staff (community workers) will be seconded from the two community partner agencies and trained as community legal information mentors
  • The mentors will provide training through 6 formal workshops on employment and immigration law to member agencies of CIN
  • Content of the workshops will be informed by issues identified by CIN members
  • Mentors will provide on-the-job training and consultation on employment and immigration to staff from their own home agencies
  • Mentors will assist front line staff in their agencies in identifying legal needs of clients in order to ensure early intervention and to promote effective referrals
  • Mentors will develop training tools to be used to train staff/volunteers after project concludes.

Need for Training

While there is a legal clinic located in every part of the province, Chinese-speaking clients living in areas outside of downtown Toronto have, in general, not been able to access legal clinics for help, either because there are no staff who speak the clients’ language, or because the clients do not even know about the clinics’ existence.

The need for the project and project concept came out of work of the Chinese Inter-agency Network (CIN). Through developing and hosting this project, the individual project partner agencies along with the entire Chinese Inter-Agency Network will increase the capacity and knowledge of public legal information and referral among a range of workers in the Chinese community. The outcome of this project will be that more non-English speaking low income Chinese immigrants will have access to legal services.

Innovative Approach

The project will develop community mentors who will be able to have a significant impact on building the capacity of the community and front line workers. If successful, the model can be easily adapted by other immigrant communities and legal clinics with appropriate modification.