Legal aid

In 2007/2008, legal aid plans in 10 provinces and territories spent $670 million on the delivery of legal aid services.

After accounting for inflation, spending was up from the previous year in six jurisdictions, with Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Northwest Territories reporting the largest increases at 10% each. Spending was down in New Brunswick, Quebec and Yukon and unchanged in Ontario.

Just over half of direct legal aid expenditures in 2007/2008 went towards cases involving criminal matters; the remainder was spent on civil matters. The only two legal aid plans to report spending more on cases involving civil matters were those in Quebec and Ontario.

Correction: Nearly 748,000 applications for legal assistance were submitted to the 10 reporting legal aid plans in 2007/2008, down 1% from the previous year. Among the 10 jurisdictions, 4 (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) reported declines. In Quebec, the decline in applications was for civil cases only, whereas in the other three jurisdictions, applications were down for both criminal and civil cases.

The legal aid plans approved more than 472,000 applications for full legal aid service in 2007/2008, unchanged from the previous year. Approvals were down in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Yukon. Elsewhere, the levels increased or remained the same.

In most of the reporting jurisdictions, criminal cases represented a large majority of approved applications, 70% or more in 2007/2008. The exceptions were Ontario and Quebec, which both had similar proportions of applications approved for criminal and civil cases.

You can find more details, charts and tables at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?lang=eng&catno=85F0015X

For further information or to schedule interviews with a Statistics Canada Analyst regarding this release please contact: Jey Dharmaraj, at: (416) 954-5976 or jey.dharmaraj@statcan.ca

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