Results at a glance: Evaluation of the Legal Aid Program (July 2021)

The overall objective of the Legal Aid Program (Program) is to promote access to justice for eligible persons and to promote public confidence in the justice system through federal contribution funding to the provinces and territories and/or legal aid plans for legal aid services.

The Program consists of three funding components:

The Criminal Legal Aid in the Provinces and Territories (and Civil Legal Aid in the Territories) and I&R Legal Aid components of the Program are cost-shared with the provinces and territories.

In addition, the Legal Aid Directorate (LAD) acts as the secretariat for the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Permanent Working Group on Legal Aid (PWG), which brings together Justice Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and the legal aid plan representatives.

What was found

Recommendations:

Recommendation 1:The LAD, in collaboration with the PWG explore options for a national immigration and refugee legal aid program that would extend to all jurisdictions and include national standards.

Recommendation 2: The LAD (including the representative from the Policy Implementation Directorate responsible for the Access to Justice Services Agreements) should work in collaboration with the PWG to improve performance measurement and reporting. Consideration should be given to improving the consistency of data and identifying additional data, such as demographic information, that would be useful for reporting and future program planning.

About the evaluation: The Evaluation of the Legal Aid Program was conducted by the Department of Justice Evaluation Branch and covered fiscal years 2016-17 to 2019-20. Its main objectives were to examine relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the Program, in accordance with the Treasury Board’s Policy on Results (2016).