CBA urges lawyers to make legal aid a federal election issue

Leaders of provincial bar associations have written letters to candidates

CBA urges lawyers to make legal aid a federal election issue
Raymond Adlington

The Canadian Bar Association says members should consider “key equal justice issues” when voting this October.

“Governments need to invest more and be more creative to fix this situation,” says the organization on its website. “Stable, sustainable legal aid funding is an access to justice issue. The Canadian Bar Association wants to know where the parties stand, and what they’re prepared to do about it.”

The CBA’s “national engagement campaign” includes “a fact sheet with talking points and questions for candidate meetings” and “messages and images you can use on your social media accounts.”

Leaders of provincial bar associations have written letters to party leaders, and the CBA also has an online tool for people to write to their local candidates about legal aid issues.

The election-related campaign comes amid the legal association’s ongoing advocacy. Earlier this year, the CBA and OBA’s Immigration Law Section chairs also signed a letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen and Justice Minister David Lametti about the Ontario provincial government’s legal aid budget cuts.

Although the federal government recently announced a one-time investment in legal aid for immigration and refugee services, CBA leaders said in their letter that federal resources have generally waned. That means legal aid is inconsistently available, the letter said.

The letter also says that CBA members are aiming to meet with political candidates.

“We ask that you show leadership in two ways: by committing to dedicated federal legal aid funding; and by adopting guiding principles for a national, integrated system of public legal assistance to improve access to justice and meet the needs of disadvantaged people across Canada,” said the letter, which is signed by Ontario Bar Association president Lynne Vicars.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify details about the CBA’s advocacy on legal aid.

Related stories

Free newsletter

Our newsletter is FREE and keeps you up to date on all the developments in the Ontario legal community. Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Toronto Ombudsman, Pay Equity Commissioner honoured as top adjudicators and regulators

Class action proceeds against pain clinic

Mary Ellen Bench joins Dentons in Toronto as counsel

Ottawa Law taps Orlando Da Silva for mental health programme

2019 shook up everything from tribunals to the MAG

Why litigation financiers are flocking to Canada

Most Read Articles

The top stories impacting lawyers now — Ontario’s 2019 legal year in review

Legal clinics anxiously await outcome of funding reconsideration hearings

Lawyers with the best client reviews reach out early and often

Why litigation financiers are flocking to Canada