Monday, June 27, 2016

Legal Aid Funding to Increase Provincially

Provincial Legal Aid will be provided with $30 million per year from the Justice Department. This, coming after 13 years of federal contributions remaining stagnant at $112 million per year. 
“All Canadians — no matter their means — should have the right to a fair trial and access to a modern, efficient justice system,” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said in a statement issued Wednesday. - via Toronto Star
Why is this important?

"Since there are no constitutional requirements under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to provide civil legal aid outside of child protection cases, most legal aid programs end up giving a higher priority to providing lawyers to defendants facing incarceration in the criminal courts." via Global News
  • This has created a gap that has left an inadequate access to justice for working people and statistically speaking, working women, as they are the demographic that largely applies for family legal aid. 
“The demographics are that family legal aid is used predominantly by women and criminal legal aid is used predominantly by men,” said Karen Hudson, executive director of the Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission.- via Global News
"David Price, a Superior Court justice in Ontario, figures about half the litigants undertaking family and civil law motions in his Brampton, Ont., courtroom are doing so on their own. “If they’re not able to supply the necessary evidence and legal argument, the judge’s task and the time required to perform it will be greater,” he said by email (Price stressed that his remarks were based on his own experiences, and that he is not a spokesman for the court). Self-represented litigants are less likely to settle out of court, the judge added, and the delay causes frustrations for everyone involved. “The judge is disappointed to find that fewer cases on the list settle,” he said. “The litigant is disappointed to find the judge cannot decide the case immediately.” - via MacLeans
If you or someone you know requires legal aid, please contact 1-800-668-8258, Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

- Rachel Spence, Law Clerk

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