EDMONTON -- Alberta's Premier announced Thursday that $70 Million would be added to Alberta's legal aid program over four years.
Rachel Notley says the increased support will ensure low-income and vulnerable Albertans can access the justice system.
“Legal aid helps people in some of the most trying periods of their lives. Whether it’s a parent fighting for child support, or a survivor of domestic violence fleeing an abusive partner, fairness before the courts shouldn’t depend on the size of a person’s bank account. That’s why we’ve increased funding for legal aid, to make sure it’s there when Albertans need it and that our justice system works for everyone.”
Last year, over 60,000 Albertans accessed Legal Aid in 2017, with more than a third of the cases dealing with family matters.
The infusion of capital is expected to broaden access, improve services and meet future demand. The funding will also make Alberta’s legal system more efficient by minimizing delays and reducing court backlogs.
Daniel Chivers, president of the Criminal Trial Lawyers Association, says the agreement represents marked and significant improvement to the legal aid plan in Alberta and creates needed funding stability.
"The Government of Alberta has listened to and addressed the concerns of crucial stakeholders in the legal aid system. Many Albertans will benefit from this new agreement and we are confident that this investment in legal aid will make a significant positive impact on the justice system in Alberta.”
The previous governance agreement was set to expire in 2019.
The Alberta government, Legal Aid Alberta and the Law Society of Alberta are part of a an agreement for providing essential legal aid services for low-income and vulnerable Albertans.
The $70-Millin funding boost bumps-up funding by 72 per cent since 2015. As well, Legal Aid will receive an additional $14.8 million for 2018-19, which increases the total operating grant to $104.1 million for 2018-19. By 2021-22, the total operating grant will be $110.4 million.
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