Our community legal clinic provides free services to injured workers in Ontario including legal advice, legal representation, public legal education, advocacy training and community development.
IAVGO is a charitable not-for-profit community-based legal clinic that has provided free legal services to injured workers in Ontario since 1975. We are funded by Legal Aid Ontario. IAVGO operates Advocates for Injured Workers, a student legal aid clinic.
We offer free legal advice on the telephone or in person to injured workers and their families. We also provide brief advice and case consultation to injured worker representatives. If you want an appointment either in person or by phone, please call us at 416-924-6477 or 1-877-230-6311. If you are a migrant worker in Ontario, you can call us at 1-866-521-8535.
If English is not your first language, IAVGO can arrange for interpretation by qualified interpreters. We arrange interpreters whenever needed for both phone and in-person meetings. We will also arrange for sign language and Deaf interpreters.
We also have caseworkers who speak Spanish and Italian, and law students who speak a variety of languages. We try to offer direct legal services to injured workers in their own languages whenever possible.
We offer representation to injured workers who financially qualify for services, in accordance with Legal Aid Ontario’s financial eligibility criteria, if we are not at our maximum caseload. As well, worker’s cases must have merit, and should relate to one of the priority issues for our clinic.
We assist injured workers with all aspects of their workers’ compensation claims, including representing them at hearings before the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board [WSIB] and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal [WSIAT]. We also sometimes provide representation in related areas of law.
We have a particular interest in representing and advocating alongside migrant workers – such as live-in caregivers or workers in the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program or ‘Low Skilled’ Temporary Foreign Worker Program- who suffer injuries on the job.
Public Legal Education
Our staff is often asked to speak to groups of injured workers or to other agencies or organizations about workers’ compensation issues. We can tailor the presentation to the needs of the audience. We encourage people to contact us if they are interested in having a presentation regarding any aspect of workers’ compensation.
We produce a newsletter several times a year, specifically written for injured workers. The newsletter keeps injured workers abreast of changes in WSIB policy and law. The newsletter also tells workers of important upcoming meetings and demonstrations. Our clinic has also produced legal education material, such as pamphlets, fact sheets and a video on important issues that have a direct impact on injured workers. We publish The IAVGO Reporting Service. IAVGO has also published Workers’ Compensation: A Manual for Advocates. The manual provides advocates with hands-on information on how to handle a workers’ compensation file from the claims level to appealing a case all the way to the Tribunal.
As a specialty clinic in workers’ compensation, we maintain a very specialized library. If you are interested in using the library, please call the clinic to set up an appointment to come and use it.
A central part of the clinic’s work is to lend assistance and support to injured worker groups in their efforts to reform the workers’ compensation system in Ontario. To this end, our staff is involved in organizing workers to meet with government and WSIB officials, to improve their rights under the legislation and to lobby for change to the Act and to WSIB policies.
On June 1st, every year since 1983, Injured Workers’ Day is celebrated. A rally is held at Queen’s Park. We are involved in organizing for this yearly event. Once a year, the government of Ontario is reminded that injured workers continue to live in pain and poverty due to their disability and new laws are needed to improve injured workers’ lives.
Law reform activities are a very important part of our mandate. We work with other community legal clinics, advocacy groups, injured worker groups and unions for positive change in workers’ compensation laws and policy. Some of this work is done by lobbying the government, by making oral and/or written submissions to government bodies and the WSIB and through test cases.
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