Minister not budging on Legal Aid funding despite job action threats
Threats of job action from the Criminal Trial Lawyers' Association haven’t changed the justice minister’s position on funding for Legal Aid.
Last week, CTLA president Shannon Prithipaul confirmed that her group is considering taking action over the province’s refusal to put more money into the troubled program.
- Lawyers threaten job action over Legal Aid underfunding
- Legal Aid closing northern Alberta offices, cutting jobs in Calgary
Asked about the threat on Monday, Justice Minister Jonathan Denis repeated the same message he has given all along.
“We will continue to do our part for legal aid now and in the future. In the future, we'll make decisions based on subsequent year's budget,” he said.
“There is no new money coming in this year's budget. I think it's time for the federal government to step up to the plate.”
Denis said that the province increased funding to Legal Aid from $20.2 million in 2005 to $49.4 million this year, which he says is “well above” the population increase and inflation.
“If the federal government had increased their level of funding to Legal Aid the same degree we have, we wouldn’t have these issues,” he said.
Last week, Legal Aid Alberta confirmed it was cutting jobs in Calgary and closing all six of its offices in northern Alberta.
Some of the lost northern Alberta jobs will be moved to a centralized phone service in Edmonton.