The Advocates’ Society applauds announcement by the Prime Minister on legal aid funding

Today, The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, announced that the Government of Canada is taking immediate action to provide legal aid funding for immigrants and refugees in Ontario.  The Government of Canada will provide $26.8 million in immediate funding, and has announced that it will engage in consultations with the Government of Ontario to provide sustainable funding for this area of shared responsibility.

The Advocates’ Society welcomes the Prime Minister’s leadership on this pressing issue of access to justice.  Recent cutbacks to legal aid funding across Canada have had a significant negative impact on refugee claimants in particular.  This immediate increase in legal aid funding improves access to justice for the most vulnerable among us.

“The Advocates’ Society has long been an advocate for sustainable legal aid funding for those in need of legal assistance,” said Scott Maidment, President of The Advocates’ Society. “No free and democratic society will long sustain itself when the vulnerable have no meaningful access to a legitimate system of justice.  We applaud the Federal Government’s announcement today to provide immediate funding for legal aid for refugee claimants in Ontario. Refugee claimants face proceedings that engage rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and which have a life-altering effect upon them and their families.  Canada must remain a place of refuge for those fleeing persecution, tyranny and war.  The infusion of funding from the Federal Government will help to ensure that Canada’s immigration and refugee processes are fair, compassionate and effective.”

The Advocates’ Society looks forward to continuing to work with all our justice system partners to ensure that Canada has a sustainable and comprehensive legal aid system.