Mr. Speaker, apparently legal aid fees have not been increased since 1987. It was reported last week that as a result 46 Ontario regional law committees had withdrawn their services from legal aid work.
In addition, at the largest gathering of lawyers in British Columbia history, lawyers demanded that the attorney general restore the $48 million he plans to divert from legal aid.
Speaking to the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa, lawyer David Scott said that low rates for lawyers have reduced our legal aid programs to “token systems”, where the rights of the poor are breached routinely.
Time is long overdue for governments to bring legal aid funding to fair levels. All Canadians must have access to legal counsel regardless of wealth.