Some Legal Aid Can Never Be Costed

The recent release of the provincial budget in Ontario has many lawyers livid over the proposed cuts to Legal Aid, which amount to almost 30% of its funding. The cuts relate to broader reductions to the justice sector of approximately 2%, from $5.0 billion in 2018–19 to $4.7 billion in 2021–22. These cuts may appear to stem from what appears to be higher figures for actual “Other Non-Tax Revenue,” which includes legal aid, from the interim projections for the 2018-2019 year, suggesting some concern that these expenses have been growing unsustainably. But a closer look at these figures suggests there are larger motivations at play. A letter from the Attorney General indicates that Legal Aid Ontario will be prevented from doing refugee and immigration law from the provincial funds which are provided. The provincial government’s position is that the federal government should pay for these expenses, as they are properly in that government’s…

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