Ontario Raising Legal Aid Eligibility Threshold Another 6%
Province Giving More People Access to Affordable Legal Services
Ontario is taking another step to enhance access to legal aid by raising the financial eligibility threshold by six per cent.
By working together with Legal Aid Ontario, the province provides low-income Ontarians access to legal services in areas such as criminal, family, immigration, mental health and poverty law. Ontario's 2014 budget committed to increasing the eligibility threshold by six per cent each year over three years. This increase marks the second threshold increase and a $31.5 million investment by the Province into the legal aid system for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
As a result of these two threshold increases, an additional 250,000 low-income Ontarians are now eligible to receive legal aid.
Legal Aid Ontario provides services to low-income Ontarians, including:
- Representation for urgent or serious matters, such as child protection cases
- Advice about legal rights, obligations, and court processes
- Assistance in the court room for bail hearings and sentencing
- Local legal services from a community clinic, such as social assistance and housing law
Enhancing legal aid for Ontario's most vulnerable is part of the government's plan to ensure a fair and accessible justice system for all.
- Legal Aid Ontario has recently announced increased clinic funding as part of the financial eligibility expansion.
- Prior to the 2014 Provincial Budget, the threshold had not changed since the 1990s. As a result, more and more Ontarians have been unable to afford legal representation in the court system.
“It’s important that low-income Ontarians have access to the legal services they need. Our government is committed to building a justice system that supports everyone, including our most vulnerable. We will continue to work with Legal Aid Ontario to implement this plan.”
“This will allow more low-income Ontarians to obtain legal help and will improve access to justice in our province. I commend the provincial government for improving services available to people living in poverty and marginalized communities.”