A Timeline of SALCO
A group of law students and community activists recognized the need for better access to justice for South Asians living in poverty. They also understood that this need can only be fulfilled by providing culturally sensitive and language specific services. Thus, the seed for SALCO was planted.
SALCO was run as a volunteer clinic by South Asian lawyers and activists.
SALCO began receiving project-based funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario (the LFO) to provide services through a lawyer and community legal worker. The LFO supported the vision of a permanent ethno-racial legal clinic for South Asian communities.
With tremendous community support and the hard work and dedication of volunteer lawyers, activists and SALCO’s limited staff, SALCO was granted permanent funding as a legal clinic from Legal Aid Ontario.
SALCO supports low-income South Asian people from across Ontario with legal matters in a number of areas of law. SALCO has appeared at all levels of court up to the Supreme Court of Canada on test cases to improve the rights of racialized communities. SALCO has appeared at domestic and international committees like the provincial government, the federal government, and the United Nations to advocate for better life outcomes for South Asians in Canada.
SALCO has also been involved in many community development and law reform projects that impact South Asian communities including its work on forced marriage, human trafficking, housing, the racialization of poverty, employment law, and as a founding and Steering Committee member of the Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change.
The South Asian community makes up a significant portion of Ontario’s and Canada’s diverse social and cultural fabric.
Many South Asians, especially those who are newcomers in the province, continue to face numerous challenges as they navigate their day-to-day lives. Significantly, our communities face many barriers to accessing the legal system, including systemic discrimination, racism, language barriers, and poverty.
SALCO’s Achievements and Contributions
Since receiving permanent funding, SALCO has become a leader on issues of access to justice within racialized communities. We work with thousands of clients a year and also advocate for reforming laws that negatively impact our communities. We are the only clinic in all of Ontario that provides legal services in multiple South Asian languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Bangla, Tamil, Kannada and Punjabi.