at 145 Queen St E Toronto
We are a group of law students and lawyers who help street-involved persons fight their tickets, and reduce debt from prior convictions, for free.
Fair Change is more than a legal clinic. Our mandate encompasses individuals currently living with the aid of public financial assistance, who are homeless or who have struggled with homelessness in the past, and who nearly always suffer from severe mental health or addiction-related issues. Our clients subsist at the very outermost margins of Canadian society, often coming to us with thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid – and unpayable – provincial regulatory offence tickets. The repeat penalty for some offences – e.g. panhandling – runs as high as 6 months in jail. When jail over 30 days is imposed, social assistance programs stop paying rent for the incarcerated person. This often leads to eviction for the lucky few who’ve managed to thus far avoid or escape vagrancy. Moreover, outstanding fines can lead to the revocation and disallowance of a driver’s license, making it harder to obtain and retain employment. Unpaid fines can also dramatically impact one’s credit rating, making it even more painfully onerous to obtain housing. Recognizing these vulnerabilities, Fair Change agents work with clients and the legal system to achieve fair, just, and often creative resolutions. We do more than advocate and litigate: we befriend, counsel, shepherd, and console the most down-and-out, often at their most down-and-out. "Issuing tickets to homeless people is a counterproductive way of dealing with a poverty issue People who are homeless do not choose to be homeless. The research evidence indicates that a lack of affordable housing, combined with the inadequacy of necessary supports for those dealing with health, mental health, disability, violence and addictions issues means that many people become homeless. Moreover, many are forced to inhabit public spaces to meet basic needs such as sleep and income generation. The way to deal with these social and economic issues is to ensure that people have access to safe and affordable housing, as well as necessary supports to maintain their housing. Using law enforcement to deal with poverty is bad policy and practice." -Report from the Coalition for the Repeal of Ontario’s Safe Streets Act (CROSSA) in partnership with Mainstreet Technologies
To all clinical applicants for the 2015-2016 year: The Executive Team will be getting back to you shortly regarding your applications. We received many competitive applications, and are working diligently to ensure a fair and comprehensive evaluation process. All applicants will be notified of the result shortly, and a subset of applicants will be contacted for an interview. We thank you for your patience.
To all prospective clinical applicants for the 2015-2016 year: If you did NOT receive the application instructional email on Tuesday, please message Daniel Ciarabellini as soon as possible with your correct email address. We are looking for a resume/cover letter by Monday, September 14th.
To all prospective clinical applicants for the 2015-2016 year: We will be sending out the application email today. If you do not receive this email later today, please message me (Daniel Ciarabellini) with your full name and correct email address, and I will ensure that you receive it. The applications will require both a cover letter and a resume. We very much look forward to your submissions.
To all prospective clinical applicants for the 2015-2016 year: we will be sending out an email with our application requirements on Monday. So, stay tuned! In the meantime, if you have any questions about us, feel free to reach out to the leadership (Adam Bazak, Daniel Ciarabellini, Chris Hummel), or see us at www.fairchange.ca!
How we can improve police interaction with the homeless population! http://www.homelesshub.ca/blog/how-can-we-improve-police-interactions-homeless-population