Organization and Structure

West End Legal Services is a legal clinic serving the west end community. For this reason it is important that members of our community become involved with the clinic. To show your support for the clinic, we encourage you to take out a free WELS membership. You may also want to consider serving on the Board of Directors or joining our volunteer pool.

Board of Directors

West End Legal Services is a community-based corporation governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board of Directors, in consultation with the clinic staff, oversees the administration of the clinic by establishing organizational policies and objectives to meet the legal needs of the clinics. Although the Board does not take part in the day-to-day operations of the clinic, it does help determine service priorities.

The 11-member Board of Directors is made up of a cross-section of individuals from our community. We welcome individuals who have used our services as well as those who support the objectives of the clinic. In addition, we welcome those with knowledge of finances, law, organizational management and community development. Experience of poverty or living on a low income is also valued.

The Board of Directors generally meets once a month at the clinic and hold an all-day planning session in early January. In addition, we provide training for new Directors.

Serving as a Director can be an enriching experience. It is an opportunity to develop a number of skills in various areas, including: finances and organizational management, all of which can enhance your employability. Your participation will also increase your understanding of the makeup of our community and the issues of poverty, access to the justice system and law reform. Being a Board member is also a way to meet interesting and like-minded members of the community.

To find out more about becoming a director contact WELS at 613-596-1641.

Become a Member of WELS – It’s Free

Benefits of membership include an invitation to and voting rights (some restrictions apply) at the Annual General Meeting; receive the clinic newsletters with updates on current and new legislation, information on your rights and what services are available in your community.

Your membership will also benefit the community by ensuring your local clinic is connected and accountable to its community; influencing the range and type of poverty law that is provided by the clinic; and strengthening the fabric of our community by ensuring that public institutions act in good faith.

Download Membership Application Form in English and in French.

Letter Writing Campaigns

The clinic system is chronically underfunded. The result is that most legal clinics are not able to help many low income persons who are in need of legal services. If you or someone you know has was not able to get legal help you should write to your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) about your experience.  If you need help in finding out who the MPP is in the area where you live, contact the clinic.

Joe Assabgui Community Champion Award

Joe Assabgui was a retired accountant who volunteered his services for many years in the City of Ottawa. Joe was a member of Centraide/United Way and a nominee for Community Builder in 2000 & 2001. For more than 10 years Joe helped pro-bono low-income individuals with their income tax returns. He was the treasurer of Debra-Dynes Family House as well as treasurer of West End Legal Services for 6 six years.

A real void was left in our community when he passed away suddenly in December 2007. He is still missed to this day but his presence is felt with this award.

Past recipients of the award are Bellwood Tenants Association and Centre 454.