Lack of funding prompts B.C.’s legal-aid lawyers to plan service withdrawal

Association of Legal Aid Lawyers voted for job action to limit or suspend legal aid starting April 1

British Columbia’s legal-aid lawyers have voted overwhelmingly to start withdrawing their services next month over lack of funding.

The Association of Legal Aid Lawyers says 97 per cent of 590 members voted for job action to limit or suspend legal aid starting April 1.

A news release from the association says the only pay increase legal-aid lawyers have received in 28 years was in 2006 when their hourly rate was boosted by 10 per cent.

The lawyers group also says the average spent per person on legal aid in 1993 was $25.22 and, accounting for inflation, should now amount to about $40.

Instead, data shows 2018 per-capita spending on legal aid has fallen to just under $15, ranking B.C. 10th out of 12 provinces and territories.

Legal-aid lawyers say the funding cut requires immediate government attention.

READ MORE: B.C. legal aid lawyers say province must boost funding or they’ll strike

“As a result of these cuts, vulnerable and marginalized British Columbians are not receiving the legal help they need. Too many people facing difficult family, child protection, immigration and criminal law problems are having to go to court alone,” says the release.

The near-unanimous vote underscores that “lawyers cannot continue doing this extremely difficult work under current conditions.”

The association calls the result “an overwhelming endorsement” from B.C.’s family, criminal, child protection and immigration legal-aid lawyers.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Alberni Valley, West Coast First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Kitchen fire sends one to hospital in Port Alberni

Apartment block evacuated after sprinkler system was set off

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read