Toronto, Ontario – Parkdale Community Legal Services (PCLS) is excited to announce that the Parkdale Interagency Referral Network (PIRN) has received the first Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) Collaboration Award.
PIRN received the award at a ceremony today at the Parkdale Intercultural Association for its commitment to service collaboration in the Parkdale community and the role it plays in better coordinating services for newcomers through its online Parkdale Common Referral Protocol.
PIRN’s four member agencies – PCLS, the Parkdale Community Information Centre, Parkdale Intercultural Association and Kababayan Multicultural Centre – have been working together since 2010. With support from the Legal Aid Ontario-funded Clinic IP project, the online referral protocol has been available for participating agencies since July 2014.
At the centre of PIRN’s common referral protocol is a detailed needs assessment and referral system, that uses a web-based interview, built using A2J Author software.
“The newcomers who comprise the majority of our clients come to us with very complex needs. We wanted to develop a way to better coordinate our services and referral systems in order to address their needs and ensuring they don’t fall through the cracks,” explains Cassandra Wong, Executive Director of the Parkdale Community Information Centre
The Parkdale Common Referral Protocol builds on another Clinic IP project tool developed by the North Simcoe Alliance to End Homelessness and the Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes.
In Parkdale, the tool was adapted to include a newcomer needs assessment that improves clients’ experiences when accessing newcomer settlement services. The tool prompts the agency worker to ask the client about needs in 11 categories and, as needed, can collect further information in up to 89 subcategories.
“This is another way that community legal clinics can work with trusted intermediaries to build local capacity and facilitate coordination at the community level,” says Nancy Henderson, PCLS Clinic Director.
Bill Sinclair, Executive Director of St. Stephen’s Community House and Toronto South LIP lead, presented the award to the four agencies.
“The agencies of the Toronto South LIP are always looking for new ways to better coordinate their services,” says Sinclair. “We have watched the evolution of the work in Parkdale, and this award recognizes the tremendous work this partnership has been doing and the potential we see for adapting this model elsewhere.”
Parkdale-High Park MP Peggy Nash addressed the gathering congratulating the agencies on their contribution to the Parkdale community.
Founded in 1971, Parkdale Community Legal Services is a project of Legal Aid Ontario and Osgoode Hall Law School of York University. It was one of the first storefront community legal clinics in Ontario.
Parkdale Community Legal Services
416-531-2411, x. 279