The Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch has long advocated for adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for the justice system as a whole, including legal aid.
Adequately funded legal aid is key to a properly functioning justice system, and without it, our justice system will continue to deteriorate. The legal aid services provided to lower-income Albertans ensure that those who need representation can access it, and that our courts run smoothly and efficiently as a result.
While legal aid organizations have been systematically underfunded across Canada by various governments, studies from other jurisdictions tell us that strategic investments in legal aid often result in a net cost savings. To this end, the CBA Alberta commissioned research to determine the value of increasing such investments. This research concluded that a modest increase in legal aid funding would result in a net cost savings to the government by allowing more Albertans to access legal aid services and reduce the number of unrepresented litigants in our court system, thereby reducing overall court costs. Additional public opinion polling also determined that Albertans largely support such increases in funding.
As we approach the 2023 provincial election, the CBA Alberta will continue to work with stakeholders in the legal community and the government to advocate for increased funding for legal aid and other areas of our justice system. More information on these efforts will be available at www.cba-alberta.org in the coming months.
Bianca Kratt, Q.C.
President, Canadian Bar Association – Alberta Branch