Welcome to the Website of South Etobicoke Community Legal Services.
South Etobicoke Community Legal Services (SECLS) is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to providing free legal services to low-income people in the South Etobicoke area of Toronto, Ontario.
Our Mission is protecting and promoting the legal welfare of community members by offering services to the community through a network of volunteers and staff members, where language, financial hardship or disability will not act as barriers.
In 1982, a group of community workers and residents of South Etobicoke formed a committee to seek funding for a legal aid clinic to serve the Lakeshore communities of Etobicoke (Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch). After they recruited new members from other parts of South Etobicoke and agreed to serve a wider area, the Ontario Legal Aid Plan agreed to provide funding. On January 27, 1986 SECLS opened its doors to the public. Since that time, the SECLS staff of lawyers, a community legal worker and support staff has been committed to providing free legal services to the residents of South Etobicoke. The clinic is also involved in educating the community through public legal education projects, participation in law reform activities, and carrying out other forms of outreach
We are an independent organization that is accountable to our clients and our community. We are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors elected from our community. Board members are elected by the SECLS membership at our Annual General Meeting which is held each year.
SECLS Board members come from a wide variety of cultural and occupational backgrounds. They share an interest in the goals of the clinic and are committed to addressing the needs and interests of the community.
SECLS serves the area south of Eglinton Avenue, west of the Humber River and east
of the Etobicoke Creek. This area is part of the City of Toronto and was formerly the south half of the City of Etobicoke.
South Etobicoke has a wide variety of residential communities divided by highways, rail and hydro corridors and industrial areas. These communities include Mimico, Long Branch and New Toronto along the shore of Lake Ontario; Stonegate and the Kingsway along the Humber River; and the East Mall and West Mall communities along Highway 427. The history of Etobicoke is quite rich and can be viewed at www.etobicokehistorical.com
While South Etobicoke is ethnically diverse, it has remained a predominantly English-speaking community. A large part of the population is white Anglo-Saxon, while the rest of the population is made of up people from Eastern Europe, East Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Our office is staffed by:
a Lawyer-Director who provides casework, advice and outreach services to clients as well as working closely with and reporting to the clinic Board of Directors and is responsible for all aspects of clinic services;
a Staff Lawyer, who carries out casework, conducts legal research, provides summary legal advice, and represents the clinic in the community through written work, public education and in the media;
a Community Legal Worker, who is responsible for initiating community outreach programs such as organizing client groups, lobbying, advocacy for reform and public legal education as well as providing casework and summary advice services;
an Office Manager - Client Services, who is responsible for the efficient administration and co-ordination of services to clients and who acts as the first contact with clients and other members of the public; and
an Office Manager - Administration and Financial, who is responsible for administration and co-ordination of Clinic operations and is responsible for financial record-keeping and preparation of financial and statistical reports.