‘Law Van’ returns to Clifford and other county communities

Outreach workers bring free legal assistance to local residents

CLIFFORD – Rose Vandermeer, outreach worker with the Legal Clinic of Guelph and Wellington County, has returned with the “law van” to help people in the community with legal concerns. Her co-worker this year is lawyer Jeff Schmeeler.

Two years ago, Vandermeer and Max Leighton arrived in the van on May 1 to offer their legal services. In 2020, with COVID-19 restrictions, they were limited to Skyping with clients through the office in Guelph.

Vandermeer and Schmeeler rolled into the village of Clifford on May 6 and 20 and set up shop in the in the park at the main intersection. Their brochure states the legal clinic provides free legal services for low income residents in Guelph and Wellington County; free advice for all tenants, regardloss of income; and helps low income residents get and keep income benefits like Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program, CPP-D, and Employment Insurance.

They also hand out brochures, pens, and KN95 disposable folding face masks.

The legal clinic is governed by a Community Board of Directors and will be funded for three years by Legal Aid Ontario and the Law Foundation of Ontario.

The “law van” is scheduled to visit the communities of Arthur, Clifford, Fergus, Mount Forest and Palmerston.  They set up the van at the St. Mary’s church lot off Queen Street every Monday, the parking lot behind the Post Office in Arthur on Tuesday, the St. James Church parking lot on Queen St. E. in Fergus every Wednesday, and every other Thursday in Palmerston at the parking lot across from the high school (the Hub) and in Clifford at the corner of Allan and Elora Street in the park at the traffic lights.

Each day they arrive for a 10:30am start and finish at 3:30pm.

Vandermeer and Schmeeler are keen to help and all information will be kept confidential. They can be reached at gwlegalclinic@lao.on.ca or at 519-821-2100 at the office in Guelph. They will be on the road until November.