Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

June 08, 2016 11:57 ET

Government Ensuring Access to Justice Through Increased Legal Aid Support

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 8, 2016) - Department of Justice Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that our justice system is fair, efficient and accessible to all Canadians. Legal aid assists economically disadvantaged people in obtaining legal assistance and representation.

Today, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, reinforced the federal government's financial commitment of an additional $88 million over five years to legal aid funding partnerships with the provinces and territories that was announced in Budget 2016. The Minister also announced an additional $30 million per year in ongoing funding.

These new funds will make more legal aid available for those who need it and will support new ways of delivering services. Performance measurement will also be added to make sure legal aid funding is doing what it needs to do.

Quotes

"All Canadians - no matter their means - should have the right to a fair trial and access to a modern, efficient justice system. I am pleased that we can give our provincial and territorial partners the assistance they have been requesting to help fund legal aid plans throughout Canada. The clear financial commitment from the federal government will allow legal aid plans to serve the people who need them."

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The Legal Aid Program is a cost-shared program that provides contribution funding to the provinces and territories to deliver legal aid services for economically disadvantaged persons.
  • This federal-provincial/territorial collaboration on legal aid is based on the shared responsibility for criminal justice. The federal government is responsible for criminal law-making and procedure, and the provincial/territorial governments are responsible for the administration of justice, including legal aid.

Associated Links

- Budget 2016

- Legal Aid - Backgrounder

- Justice Canada Legal Aid Program

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Backgrounder

Legal Aid

The Government of Canada currently contributes $128 million a year towards legal aid. The funding announced in Budget 2016 will be an additional $88 million over five years for criminal legal aid in the provinces and criminal and civil legal aid in the territories, distributed as follows:

  • 2016-17: $9 million
  • 2017-18: $12 million
  • 2018-19: $15 million
  • 2019-20: $20 million
  • 2020-21: $32 million

The federal government will contribute an additional $30 million per year on an ongoing basis starting in 2021-22.

The funding will be distributed among provinces and territories according to a formula that is being negotiated among federal, provincial and territorial officials.

The federal Legal Aid Program provides contribution funding to the provinces and territories for the delivery of legal aid services for economically disadvantaged persons. This investment will assist provinces and territories in meeting legal aid needs. As this is a cost-shared program with provinces and territories, they also contribute. The Government's investments in the justice system will be complemented by efforts to modernize the system and ensure that Canadians are getting value for money.

Legal aid services are delivered by the provinces and territories. The federal Legal Aid Program does not provide funding directly to individuals for their legal aid expenses. Rather, federal funding is provided to provinces and territories to deliver legal aid services. Each province and territory supports a legal aid plan, which in turn provides a range of legal aid services according to its own policies and priorities.

Legal aid provides assistance to people who cannot otherwise afford a lawyer. People should contact their provincial or territorial government legal aid plans for more information about how to qualify. It is central in providing access to justice by ensuring equality before the law and the right to a fair trial. Legal aid helps to ensure that the Canadian justice system is fair, efficient and accessible and that public confidence in the justice system is maintained.

Contact Information

  • Joanne Ghiz
    Minister of Justice Spokesperson
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207