Giving More Ontarians Access to Affordable Legal Services
Province Doubling Number of People Eligible for Legal Aid
Ontario is moving forward with a plan that will allow over one million more people to qualify for legal aid services.
Ontario will raise the income level -- also known as the eligibility threshold -- at which people can qualify for legal aid assistance. Once fully implemented, an additional one million low-income people will have access to legal aid services -- more than double the number of people eligible for legal aid services today.
The 2014 budget includes an initial investment of $95.7 million to increase the eligibility threshold by six per cent for the first three years of the plan. The first increase will take place on Nov. 1, 2014.
Enhancing access to legal services is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
- This is the first time the legal aid eligibility threshold has changed since 1996.
- The increase will apply to all legal aid services, including certificates, duty counsel and community legal clinics.
- Since 2003, Ontario has invested over $2 billion in Legal Aid Ontario.
“Our legal aid system helps ensure Ontarians have access to the legal services they need, regardless of their ability to pay. I’m proud of this investment, which will double the number of people currently eligible for this vital service. We will work with our partners to implement this plan and further support vulnerable citizens.”
“Thanks to higher financial eligibility thresholds for legal aid, more low-income people will have access to justice. This new investment will make the courts work more efficiently by reducing the number of self-represented litigants in the judicial system — this is good news for all Ontarians.”