UNOFFICIAL* RESULTS: utsu.ca/uofficial-results
YES – 3094 (50.46%)
NO – 3037 (49.54%)
(*subject to ratification by UTSU Board of Directors)
Expand services. Reduce wait times.
(skip forward: why fund DLS? | endorsements | how can I help?)
Over 40 years ago, law students at the University of Toronto founded one of the first legal clinics in Ontario. That clinic became Downtown Legal Services – a place where law and social work students (supervised by lawyers) provide free legal services to low-income members of the community.
DLS also provides free legal assistance to University of Toronto students who pay a refundable levy with their tuition. The DLS levy has not increased since 2003. This has led to a funding deficit, and DLS currently struggles to keep up with student demand for our services.
The University of Toronto Students’ Union has decided to hold a referendum to increase the DLS levy by $1.50 per semester for students at the St. George campus, and by $0.50 per semester for students at the Mississauga campus. The referendum also calls for the new levy to be indexed to inflation from now on.
The UTSU has endorsed this referendum and encourages its members to vote yes. Keep reading to learn more.
Why fund DLS?
Having your very own legal team available each semester for the price of a box of mac and cheese is pretty slick. Here are a few of the benefits of having access to DLS:
- Applications to grad school and out-of-country jobs are stressful enough, without having to pay hundreds for notary services. That’s why DLS has made all affidavits, certified copies, and other notary services FREE for fee-paying UofT students. Our proposed levy would be $3 per semester (or $1 for UTM students), compared to $59.00 + HST for the first page of certified copies at an appointment with Red Seal Notary. Instead, just call 416-934-4535 to book your free DLS notary appointment.
- If you get sick next month and have to miss an exam, will you be allowed to defer? When dealing with the university administration, DLS works hard to ensure that students are treated fairly. We offer representation on academic appeals and for students accused of academic offenses.
- Sometimes good students rent from bad landlords. UofT students may rent in some of Canada’s least affordable neighbourhoods, but there’s still plenty that can go wrong. DLS has helped students get compensation and/or out of their leases after floods, bed bugs, and cockroach infestations.
- You never know what the cops might find in your friend’s backpack. Sometimes students get wrongly accused of committing a crime – and DLS knows that a criminal record can have terrible consequences for your future. We provide representation for students accused of summary criminal offenses.
We also provide representation to refugee claimants, and on-campus public legal education sessions to help educate you about your rights. In addition to these free services for students, DLS has recently expanded our family law program, and integrated social work placement students into our service model.
We are pleased to have the official support of the following groups – the list keeps getting longer!
- University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU)
- UofT Students’ Law Society (SLS)
- UofT Law Union
- UofT Pre-Law Society
- UofT Pre-Medical Society
- UofT Students for Barrier-free Access (SBA)
If you represent a campus club or organization and would like to endorse #VoteYesDLS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your support!
How can I help?
- Vote online at utsu.simplyvoting.com between Tuesday March 24th and Thursday March 26th
- Get the word out:
- Follow @downtownlegal on Twitter
- Like DLS on Facebook
- Join the conversation using #VoteYesDLS
- Show your support with a new profile pic:
All statements contained at voteyesdls.ca, in associated posters, and in other campaign materials, are published on behalf of the 2015 “Yes” Advocating Committee for the DLS Levy Referendum (“VoteYesDLS”), consisting of: Downtown Legal Services, Adam Wheeler, Aryan Ziaie, Christopher Shorey, Danielle Muise, and Petra Molnar Diop. All such communications have been pre-approved by the Chief Returning Officer of the University of Toronto Students’ Union, and any complaints about their content should be submitted to email@example.com.