Legal Aid Eligibility and Coverage in Canada

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TABLE 3 - Legal Aid - Selected Indicators

Province Income definition Family definition Asset Test Maximum income levels $ (full and automatic eligibility) Client Contributions Expanded Eligibility Administration fee
(criteria last updated) Net or gross deductions Y/N Personal exemption 1 person 2 people 3 people Y/N Circumstances Y/N max $ amount payable $
British Columbia (2000) Net income Child tax benefit, family bonus, tuition and book fees, day care expenses, child support payments and alimony payments, court fines, medications, interpreter if need for court case Family size Y $2000 for individual up to $6000 for 6 person family. $5000 equity in a car, $10,000 total share of disposable income. 11,100 16,656 19,440 Yes All must pay some form of contribution. There is a sliding scale depending on income. It is up To a maximum of $100 No None.
Alberta (2001) Gross income Family size N No set guidelines. But, if they can liquidate assets, they will be asked to do so 13,900 16,800 22,600 Yes Assessed on a case-by-case basis. Alberta legal aid is not free for anyone. Yes They have an income range that is meant for applicants who will pay. None.
Contribution 21,500 27,300 29,400
2Saskatchewan (1997) Net income Child tax benefit, Sask Child benefit and Sask employment supplement Family size (Their use of "family" can mean either a single or two-person family) Y $1,500 for 1 person to a max of $3,500 for families with 1 to 8 children 9420 (Unofficially: limits are interpreted liberally in N. Sask) 11,400 12,300 to 15,000 Yes If above social assistance, they may be asked to contribute. No None.
Manitoba (2000) Gross income Child tax benifit family size Y All assets are assessed. Overall, Not more $5,000 in liquid assets, $10,000 for a car and $35,000 equity in a home. 14,000 18,000 23,000 Yes Assessed on a case by case basis. Depends on assets and ability to pay. yes Yes Partial contributions are negotiated. Expanded eligibility requires full contribution. $25
Partial contribution 16,000 27,300 29,400
Full contribution 23,000 27,000 31,000
Ontario (1996) Net income CPP, EI , day care costs, support paid, Child tax benefit Family size Y Single person $1,100 to $2,500 for 3 people 7,212 12,900 13,644 Yes Case by case basis depending on disposable income. No. None
Maximum limit 13,068 21,82 25,440
Québec (1996) Gross income Child tax benefit, children's special allowances, family assistance, GST/PST tax credit, tax credit for care of elderly, Parental wage assistance benefits, social housing benefits Family type. Consolidates the number of children to 2+. Y Liquid assets: single person: $2,500 and family: $5,000 8,870 12,500 15,000 No Case by case basis depending on disposable income. Yes Fixed amounts between$100 to $800. $50 is charged to those who are eligible under a contribution. It is deducted from the amount owing in the end.
Contribution 12,640 17,813 21,375
NB Gross income Child tax benefit Family size Yes Case by case basis depending on whether the applicant has enough disposable income. They are"worked out" arrangements No. None
Nova Scotia (1998) Gross income Child tax benefit Family size Y Case by case basis. Income is the primary factor in eligibility 12,804 16,992 to 17,088 20,400 to 20,496 Yes The Commission can, if they feel that the applicant can contribute some amount. No. None
PEI (2001) Gross income Family size N Can be asked to liquidate if needed. 14,176 17,720 22,037 Maybe Case by case basis No. None
Newfoundland (1997) Net income CPP, EI and group insurance and pension. "Take home pay" Family type and size Y Case by case basis. 4,716 5,808 to 6,492 6,324 to 6,960 Yes When the area director determines the applicant can pay some part, they can enter into an agreement. No. None