The Alberta government is pledging an additional $5.5 million in funding for legal aid.
Premier Jim Prentice says the money will increase the qualifying income level, meaning more low-income Albertans, including current AISH recipients, will be eligible for legal aid assistance.
“We must ensure that Legal Aid Services are available to those who most need them,” said Premier Prentice.
“Our system must be responsive to current demands on this program, most importantly by ensuring low income Albertans, including AISH recipients, have access to the services they need,” the Premier added.
“We are grateful to the Premier and the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General for this further support of our mission to seek a just Alberta for all citizens, particularly our most vulnerable..,” said Derek Cranna, Chair of the Board, Legal Aid Alberta.
The Law Society of Alberta says the cash will help, but does not represent a long-term solution.
“This is a positive first step and we commend the Premier and the Minister for taking action,” said Kevin Feth, President of the Law Society of Alberta.
“We need to continue the discussion to address the crisis beyond the current year and to establish a long-term strategy for a sustainable and adequately funded legal program.”
Alberta Justice minister Jonathan Denis says legal aid is a joint federal-provincial responsibility, and he intends to advocate for federal government contributions ‘to fully reflect its partnership position’.