Legal Aid in Canada, 2017-18

List of tables

Legal Aid in Canada, 2017-18

The Legal Aid Survey was a Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS)/Statistics Canada annual survey on revenues, expenditures, personnel, and caseload statistics associated with the administration and delivery of legal aid in Canada. The Legal Aid Survey was first conducted in 1983-84 and data was last published in 2016 (for fiscal year 2014-15). After the discontinuation of the Legal Aid Survey in 2016, the Department of Justice Canada (JUS) began data collection and reporting in-house. This is the second annual edition of this report.

Access to justice is a key issue facing all stakeholders in the justice system. Legal aid services support access to justice for those who are economically disadvantaged and unable to pay for a lawyer on their own.

The federal government supports legal aid services in the provinces and territories through two sources. The Department of Justice Canada’s (JUS) Legal Aid Program provides funding to the provinces through contribution agreements for criminal legal aid, and to the territories, through consolidated access to justice services agreements. The Legal Aid Program also contributes annual funding to six provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Quebec) for immigration and refugee (I&R) legal aid. I&R legal aid covers the provision of legal advice, assistance and representation for immigration and refugee matters.

The Department of Finance Canada’s Canada Social Transfer (CST) is a block transfer payment provided to each province and territory for provincial health care, post-secondary education, social assistance and social services. Civil legal aid is an eligible expenditure under the CST.

Each province and territory is responsible for the delivery of legal aid services based on their own policies and procedures.

Provinces and territories contributed more than three quarters of legal aid revenues in 2017-18

Legal aid plans in Canada reported receiving total funding of more than $969 million in 2017-18. Government sources contributed the vast majority of this amount—92% of the total. The remaining funding was received from client contributions, cost recoveries from legal settlements, and contributions from the legal profession and other sources (Table 1).

Provincial and territorial (P/T) governments directly fund legal aid. In 2017-18, provincial and territorial governments contributed more than $743 million to legal aid plans across Canada, which amounts to 77% of total legal aid revenues.

In 2017-18, JUS contributed more than $146 million to the provinces and territories for the delivery of criminal legal aid, civil legal aid, and I&R legal aid (where applicable). This amounts to 15% of total legal aid revenues (Table 1).

Ontario and Quebec were the largest legal aid plans, comprising 50% and 18% of all legal aid plan revenues respectively, or 68% for the two plans combined (Table 1).

Table 1 - Legal aid plan revenuestable note 1, by type of revenue, annual, 2017-18

Provinces

Type of Revenue

Total legal aid plan revenues
Dollars (%)

Federal contributions from 2017-2018 agreementstable note 2

P/T contributions to legal aid planstable note 4
Dollars (%)

Client contributions and cost recoveries to legal aid planstable note 5
Dollars (%)

Contributions of the legal profession to legal aid planstable note 6
Dollars (%)

Other legal aid plan revenuestable note 7
Dollars (%)

Criminal (+civil in Territories) Dollars (%)

I&Rtable note 3
Dollars (%)

NL

17,519,774 (100)

2,221,505 (13)

6,423 (0)

14,859,572 (85)

210,835 (1)

190,085 (1)

31,354 (.2)

PEI

2,100,830 (100)

452,207 (22)

 

517,866 (25)

 -

1,130,757 (54)

NS

26,615,629 (100)

3,866,779 (15)

 

22,589,960 (85)

53,512 (.2)

 -

105,378 (.4)

NB

9,314,912 (100)

2,556,298 (27)

 

6,028,941 (65)

111,840 (1)

175,000 (2)

442,833 (5)

QC

178,580,849 (100)

24,897,709 (14)

3,240,343 (2)

145,674,848 (82)

3,933,478 (2)

-

834,471 (.5)

ON

487,655,006 (100)

46,651,356 (10)

15,898,107 (3)

365,466,436 (75)

11,823,217 (2)

-

47,815,890 (10)

MB

37,956,444 (100)

5,864,729 (15)

563,675 (2)

27,554,698 (73)

2,301,195 (6)

1,273,701 (3)

398,446 (1)

SK

25,697,877 (100)

5,340,462 (21)

 

20,128,538 (78)

10,157 (0)

-

218,720 (1)

AB

96,644,707 (100)

12,530,554 (13)

784,231 (1)

76,114,448 (79)

3,831,924 (4)

2,905,137 (3)

478413 (1)

BC

84,579,964 (100)

15,345,908 (18)

2,076,101 (3)

63,248,795 (75)

-

3,219,005 (4)

690,155 (1)

YK

2,573,822 (100)

964,654 (37)

 

1,599,658 (62)

9,435 (.4)

-

75 (0)

NT

 -

1,880,125

 

 -

 -

-

NU

 -

1,813,177

 

 -

 -

-

Canada

969,239,814 (100)

124,385,463 (13)

22,568,880 (2)

743,783,760 (77)

22,285,593 (2)

7,762,928 (1)

52,146,492 (5)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes:

A majority of jurisdictions spend more on criminal matters than civil matters

While the data collection for the Legal Aid Annual Report is done at a national level, it is important to note that from year-to-year some limitations on coverage exist and some legal aid plans may be unable to report all or some data elements. Due to these limitations, Canada-level totals may not include all provinces and territories.

Table 2a shows 2017-18 legal aid plan expenditures, broken down by type of expenditure. Overall, 50% of legal aid expenditures were related to criminal matters, 6% were related to I&R matters, and 44% were related to all other civil matters. Ontario and Quebec had the highest legal aid expenditures in the country, with 51% of all expenditures as a proportion of the national total from Ontario and 19% from Quebec.

Looking at legal aid expenditures by jurisdiction, the jurisdictions with the highest proportion of total legal aid expenditures on criminal matters (of all legal aid expenditures for that jurisdiction) were Saskatchewan (76%), and Manitoba (72%). Quebec (42%), and Ontario (45%), had the lowest proportions of expenditures dedicated to criminal matters.

Table 2b breaks out the total administrative costs for legal aid plans in 2017-18. These expenses are also reflected under ‘legal aid plan expenditures’ in table 2a, and they amounted to over $157 million dollars.

Table 2a - Legal aid plan expenditurestable note 1, by type of expenditure, 2017-18

Provinces

Total
Dollars (%)

Legal aid plan expenditurestable note 2
(including direct administrative and other costs)

Criminal matters
Dollars (%)

Civil matters

I&Rtable note 3
Dollars (%)

All other civil
Dollars (%)

NL

17,317,907 (100)

10,621,747 (61)

21,364 (.1)

6,674,796 (39)

PEI

1,950,403 (100)

969,722 (50)

 

980,681 (50)

NS

26,671,008 (100)

15,721,111 (59)

 

10,949,897 (41)

NB

8,164,995 (100)

4,487,712 (55)

 

3,677,283 (45)

QC

176,185,634 (100)

74,488,740 (42)

5,065,253 (3)

96,631,641 (55)

ON

476,208,041 (100)

214,528,515 (45)

42,622,936 (9)

219,056,590 (46)

MB

36,750,641 (100)

26,290,899 (72)

625,405 (2)

9,834,337 (27)

SK

25,477,369 (100)

19,425,545 (76)

 

6,051,824 (24)

AB

95,568,696 (100)

61,400,986 (64)

1,032,236 (1)

33,135,474 (35)

BC

77,938,423 (100)

47,156,769 (61)

3,402,538 (4)

27,379,116 (35)

YK

2,635,382 (100)

 -

 

 -

NT

 -

 

 -

NU

3,747,662 (100)

2,583,766 (69)

1,163,896 (31)

Canada

948,616,161 (100)

477,675,512 (50)

52,769,732 (6)

415,535,535 (44)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes

For NU, total expenditures are not audited.

Table 2b - Total legal aid plan administrative costs, 2017-18 (Dollars)

NL

2,893,351

PEI

141,545

NS

2,058,998

NB

2,191,097

QC

21,927,193

ON

93,340,367

MB

6,740,793

SK

1,485,139

AB

12,797,669

BC

13,373,592

YK

790,779

NT

-

NU

-

Canada

157,740,523

Total legal aid plan expenditures from Table 2a include these admin costs.
– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Legal aid services are delivered primarily by private bar lawyers

Looking at the breakdown of legal service delivery by type of lawyer, in 2017-18, 88% of the over 10,000 lawyers providing legal aid services in Canada were private bar lawyers (Table 3). Staff lawyers made up the remaining 12% of lawyers providing direct legal aid services to clients.Footnote 1

Among private bar lawyers, 55% provided both criminal and civil law services. There were slightly more lawyers providing only criminal law services than those providing only civil law services (21% versus 18%). The highest proportion of staff lawyers provided both criminal and civil law services (62%), while 33% provided only criminal services and 5% provided only civil law services.

Overall, 36% of all lawyers providing legal aid services in Canada were in Ontario, and 27% were in Quebec. When looking at the breakdown between private and staff lawyers within each province/territory, British Columbia and Alberta had the highest proportions of private bar lawyers (99% and 94%), while Nunavut and Prince Edward Island had the highest proportions of staff lawyers (100% and 89%) (Table 3).

Table 3 – Legal aid service delivery by private bar, staff, and other lawyers, 2017-18

Provinces

Total lawyers providing legal aid services
N (%)

Type of lawyer providing legal aid services

Private bar lawyerstable note 1

Staff lawyerstable note 2

Other lawyers (e.g. Executive Director)table note 3

Criminal

I&Rtable note 4

Civil

Criminal & Civil

TOTAL
N (%)

Criminal

I&R

Civil

Criminal & Civil

TOTAL
N (%)

Criminal

I&R

Civil

Criminal &Civil

TOTAL
N (%)

NL

104 (100)

29

4

 -

33 (32)

 -

68

68 (65)

 -

 -

3

3 (3)

PEI

9 (100)

 -

 

 -

-

3

 

5

 -

8 (89)

-

 

-

1

1 (11)

NS

355 (100)

 -

 

 -

 -

256 (72)

 -

 

 -

95

95 (96)

 -

 

4

4 (4)

NB

140 (100)

24

 

46

37

107 (76)

21

 

10

-

31 (22)

-

 

1

1

2 (1)

QC

2,761 (100)

 -

 -

 -

2,361

2,361 86)

 -

 -

 -

336

336 (12)

 -

 -

 -

64

64 (2)

ON

3,702 (100)

1,377

231

1,222

571

3,401 (92)

286

10

5

-

301 (8)

 -

 -

 -

MB

343 (100)

-

-

-

282

282 (82)

26

-

16

14

56 (16)

-

-

-

5

5 (2)

SK

210 (100)

 -

 

 -

127

127 (61)

 -

 

 -

83

83 (40)

 -

 

 -

 -

 -

AB

1,568 (100)

9

 -

 -

1,471

1,480 (94)

-

 -

88

88 (6)

 -

-

 -

 -

 -

BC

1,062 (100)

422

87

325

221

1,055 (100)

-

-

-

-

-

 -

 -

11

11 (1)

YK

12 (100)

2

 

-

-

2 (17)

5.5

 

3.5

-

9 (75)

-

 

-

1

1 (8)

NT

43 (100)

25

 

3

-

28 (65)

8

 

7

-

15 (35)

-

 

-

-

-

NU

17 (100)

 -

 

 -

 - 

12

 

5

-

17 (100)

-

 

-

-

-

CA

10,326 (100) 

1,917

280

1,639

5,040

9,132 (88) 

364

10.5

53.5

686

1,114 (11)

-

-

1

90

91 (1) 

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes:

For MB, Civil includes all staff lawyers taking I&R, CFS, domestic and civil matters; For MB, Private Bar accept cases in all identified categories.

For SK, the number of private bar lawyers reported is irrespective to the number of files handled throughout the year, as private bar lawyers with only one appointment are included in the count.

Non-lawyers made up 16% of legal aid plan personnel

Legal aid plans employ a variety of non-lawyer personnel to support the delivery of legal aid services to clients. While lawyers made up 84% of legal aid plan personnel, non-lawyers made up the other 16% (Table 4).

Of the 1,921 non-lawyers working for legal aid plans, the most common were support staff (50%), while intake workers (26%), legal assistants (11%), and ‘other’ (i.e. managers) (8%) were the next most common types of non-lawyer personnel. Articling students (3%) and paralegals (1%) made up the remaining personnel (Table 4).

Table 4 - Legal aid plan personnel as of March 31, 2017-18

Provinces

Total legal aid plan personnel

Lawyers providing legal aid

Non-lawyers

Total lawyers

Private bar lawyerstable note 1

Staff lawyerstable note 2

Othertable note 3

Total non-lawyers

Intake workerstable note 4

Support Stafftable note 5

Para-legalstable note 6

Legal assistantstable note 7

Articling studentstable note 8

Other (managers)table note 9

NL

172 (100)

104 (60)

33

68

3

68 (40)

4

15

3

35

7

4

PEI

15 (100)

8 (53)

-

8

-

7 (47)

-

6

-

-

-

1

NS

432 (100)

355 (82)

256

95

4

77(18)

 -

8

-

65

2

2

NB

176 (100)

140 (80)

107

31

2

36 (21)

11

5

-

6

-

14

QC

3,316 (100)

2,761 (83)

2,361

336

64

555 (17)

73

436

0

30

16

0

ON

4,384 (100)

3,702 (84)

3,401

301

-

682 (16)

275

252

10

2

20

123

MB

447 (100)

343 (77)

282

56

5

104 (23)

31

21

5

34

12

1

SK

281 (100)

210 (75)

127

83

-

71 (25)

-

50

-

15

2

4

AB

1,722 (100)

1,559 (91)

1,480

88

 -

154 (9)

76

54 

-

24

 -

 -

BC

1,218 (100)

1,073 (100)

1,055

7

11

145 (12)

32.2

103.8

3

6

-

-

YK

19 (100)

12 (63)

2

9

1

7 (37)

-

5

-

-

-

2

NT

48 (100)

43 (90)

28

15

-

5 (10)

-

3

1

-

1

-

NU

31 (100)

17 (55)

 -

17

-

14 (4)

-

8

-

-

-

6

CA

12,261 (100)

10,336

9,132

1,114

90

1,925 (16)

502.2

966.8

22

217

60

157

- Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes:

For SK, the number of private bar lawyers reported is irrespective to the number of files handled throughout the year as private bar lawyers with only one appointment are included in the count.

In NS, while the number of private bar lawyers are greater than staff lawyers, the latter does handle 70% of the files because Nova Scotia Legal Aid is a staff lawyer plan.

Over 598,000 legal aid applications were received in 2017-18

When looking at applications for legal aid, the number of applications reflects the number of individual requests for assistance, rather than the total number of persons seeking assistance. Of the 598,848 applications for summary or full service assistance received in 2017-18, over half (54%) were for criminal matters, while 44% were for civil matters (including I&R). The highest proportion of civil matter applications were for ‘other’ family (44%), followed by child protection (22%), ‘other’ civil non-family matters (22%), and 12% for I&R. Of the 325,966 applications for criminal legal aid, 92% were from adults and 8% were from youth (Table 5).

Quebec received the most applications at 271,203, which accounted for 45% of all applications received nationally in 2017-18. Ontario and Alberta were the next two provinces that received the most applications (20% and 9% respectively). Looking at the breakdown between criminal and civil applications within each province/territory, Yukon (80%), Saskatchewan (73%), and Manitoba (69%) had the highest proportion of criminal applications compared to civil (including I&R). Nunavut (38%) and Quebec (45%) had the lowest proportion of criminal applications compared to civil.

Ten jurisdictions (Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut) reported on the number of applications received (for all types of matters) from individuals who self-identified as Indigenous. Northwest Territories and Nunavut received the highest proportions of legal aid applications (as a proportion of applications within the jurisdiction) from self-identified Indigenous applicants (87% and 85% respectively). Nova Scotia had the lowest proportion of self-identified indigenous applicants of all those received in the province (4%), followed by Newfoundland and Labrador (10%).

Table 5 - Legal aid applications receivedtable note 1, by type of matter, 2017-18

Provinces

Total legal aid applications
N (%)

Criminal legal aid applications

P/T offences
N (%)table note 3

Civil legal aid applications

Self-identified as Indigenoustable note 8- All matters

Total criminal applications
N (%)

Adult

Youthtable note 2

Total civil applications (incl I&R)
N (%)

Child Protectiontable note 4

Other Familytable note 5

Other Civil Non-familytable note 6

I&Rtable note 7

NL

8,212 (100)

4,741 (60)

4,310

431

-

3,471 (42)

420

2,895

123

33

844

PE

1,444 (100)

1004 (70)

927

77

-

440 (31)

 -

 -

 -

 -

NS

48,470 (100)

33,324 (69)

31,125

2,199

1,045 (2)

14,101 (29)

1,428

10,555

2,118

 

1,778

NB

4,516 (100)

2,111 (47)

1,938

173

4 (0.1)

2,401 (53)

200

2,201

-

 

388

QC

271,203 (100)

120,820 (45)

110,385

10,435

5,768 (2)

144,615 (53)

40,083

44,753

46,233

13,546

ON

117,392 (100)

63,804 (54)

59,481

4,323

-

53,588 (46)

7,079

25,847

5,870

14,792

17,219

MB

34,324 (100)

23,734 (69)

20,865

2,869

83 (0.2)

10,507 (31)

2,560

6,339

638

970

19,649

SK

19,451 (100)

14,158 (73)

12,046

2,112

-

5,293 (27)

835

4,458

-

 

11,929

AB

52,975 (100)

35,758 (68)

33,886

1,872

179 (0.3)

17,038 (32)

1,836

12,069

2,285

848

15366

BC

36,434 (100)

23,475 (64)

22,356

1,119

866 (2)

12,093 (33)

3,095

7,261

-

1,737

9,770

YK

2,304 (100)

1,851 (80)

1,668

183

7 (.3)

446 (19)

29

216

201

 

 -

NT

1,282 (100)

867 (68)

832

35

-

415 (32)

69

337

9

 

1121

NU

841 (100)

319 (38)

303

16

-

522 (62)

69

303

150

 

715

CA

598,848 (100)

325,966 (54)

300,122

25,844

7,952 (1)

264,930 (44)

57,703

117,234

57,627

31,926

78,779

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes:

For NB, the number of self-identified as Indigenous includes data from April 15, 2017 to March 31, 2018 only.

More than three quarters of legal aid applications received were approved for full service

An application for legal aid may be approved for either summary or full legal aid services. Summary services include the provision of legal advice, information, or any other type of minimal legal service granted to an individual during a formal interview. Full services represent more extensive legal assistance. Applications not approved for full legal aid services may receive summary services instead. Out of the 598,848 applications received in 2017-18 (table 5), 474,002 applications (table 6), or 79%, were approved for full service.

Table 6 shows the number of approved legal aid applications for full service. In 2017-18, there were 474,002 applications approved for full service; 56% of these were for criminal legal aid, and 43% were for civil legal aid (including I&R). Of the criminal applications, the majority (91%) were for adult matters, and 9% were for youth matters. For civil matters, more than a third (37%) were for family matters, 26% were for child protection matters, and 20% were for other civil matters. I&R matters made up the remaining 14% of civil applications.

When looking at the proportion of approved applications by province/territory and type of matter, Yukon (80%) and Alberta (79%) had the highest proportion of approved applications that were criminal as opposed to civil. New Brunswick had an almost even split between criminal and civil legal aid applications approved for full service at 49% approved applications that were criminal.

Table 6 - Approved legal aid applications for full servicetable note 1, by staff and private lawyers, annual, 2017-18

Provinces

Total approved legal aid applications
N (%)

Criminal applicationstable note 2

P/T offencestable note 5
N (%)

Civil applicationstable note 3

Total approved criminal applications 
N (%)

Adult

Youthtable note 4

Total approved civil legal aid applications
N (%)

I&Rtable note 6

Child Protectiontable note 7

Familytable note 8

Other Civil Non-familytable note 9

NL

4,437 (100)

3,088 (70)

2,711

377

-

1,349 (30)

12

294

1,040

3

PE

327 (100)

53 (16)

52

1

-

274 (84)

 

-

-

-

NS

19,783 (100)

13,070 (66)

11,866

1,204

54 (0)

6,659 (34)

 

1,102

1,594

929

NB

3,450 (100)

1,693 (49)

1,534

159

2 (0)

1,755 (51)

 

-

-

-

QC

223,562 (100)

100,229 (45)

90,206

10,023

4,348 (2)

118,985 (64)

12,599

37,962

34,449

33,975

ON

105,237 (100)

59,136 (56)

54,575

4,561

-

46,101 (44)

13,687

6,277

20,774

5,363

MB

36,049 (100)

27,601 (77)

24,421

3,180

171 (0)

8,277 (23)

939

2,176

4,733

429

SK

16,633 (100)

12,431 (75)

10,346

2,085

-

4,202 (25)

 

753

3,449

-

AB

34,745 (100)

27,481 (79)

25,671

1,810

122 (0)

7,142 (21)

474

1,402

5,246

20

BC

25,841 (100)

18,738 (80)

17,640

1,098

465 (2)

6,638 (26)

1,107

2,255

3,276

220

YK

2,250 (100)

1,793 (80)

1,610

183

12 (0)

445 (20)

 

29

215

201

NT

1,147 (100)

732 (64)

698

34

-

415 (36)

 

66

349

-

NU

541 (100)

218 (40)

205

13

-

323 (60)

 

67

188

68

CA

474,002 (100)

266,263 (56)

241,535

24,728

5,174 (0)

202,565 (43)

28,818

52,383

75,313

41,208

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes:

Financial ineligibility was the most common reason for application refusal

Refused applications refer to all requests for legal aid that have been denied legal services. This includes applications for which no services have been approved, as well as those applications denied for full service that subsequently receive summary services. Overall, of the 98,021 applications (both criminal and civil) where a reason for refusal was reported, 46% were refused for financial ineligibility. ‘Coverage restrictions’ and ‘other reasons for refusal’ were the next most common reasons for refusal (17%, and 12% respectively) (Table 7).

When looking at the breakdown of reasons for refusal by province/territory, Prince Edward Island had the highest proportion of applications refused for financial ineligibility (87%). New Brunswick (52%) and Newfoundland (51%) had the highest proportions of applications refused for coverage restrictions.

Table 7- Refused legal aid applicationstable note 1, by reason for refusal, all legal aid matters, 2017-18

Provinces

Total reasons for refusaltable note 2
N (%)

Reasons for refusal

Financial ineligibilitytable note 3
 N (%)

Coverage restrictionstable note 4 
N (%)

Lack of merittable note 5
N (%)

Non-compliance or abusetable note 6
N (%) 

Other reasons for refusaltable note 7 
N (%)

NL

3,010 (100)

532 (18)

1,529 (51)

530 (18)

-

419 (14)

PEI

101 (100)

88 (87)

5 (5)

6 (6)

2 (2)

-

NS

1396 (100)

643 (46)

289 (21)

150 (11)

78 (6)

236 (17)

NB

421 (100)

98 (23)

221 (52)

1 (0)

1 (0)

100 (24)

QC

44,608 (100)

34,225 (77)

5,793 (13)

1,354 (3)

65 (0)

3,171 (7)

ON

9,130 (100)

4,601 (50)

3,288 (36)

844 (9)

-

397 (4)

MB

8,204 (100)

2,228 (27)

2,177 (27)

845 (10)

1,586 (19)

1,368 (17)

SK

2,127 (100)

1,114 (52)

768 (36)

182 (9)

63 (3)

-

AB

18,093 (100)

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

BC

10,373 (100)

1,911 (18)

2,846 (27)

-

-

5,616 (54)

YK

81 (100)

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

NT

473 (100)

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

NU

4 (100)

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

Canada

98,021 (100)

45,440 (46)

16,916 (17)

3,912 (4)

1,795 (2)

11,307 (12)

– Refers to data that is not available or that was not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Highest proportion of criminal legal aid applications were refused for financial ineligibility

When looking specifically at criminal legal aid applications, financial ineligibility remained the most common reason for refusal (47%), followed by coverage restrictions at 17% (Table 8). By province/territory, Quebec had the highest proportion of financial ineligibility refusals (86%), Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest proportion of coverage restriction refusals (60%), Nova Scotia and Ontario had the highest proportions of lack of merit refusals (10% and 8% respectively), and Manitoba had the highest rate of refusal of all jurisdictions for non-compliance or abuse, at 21%.

Table 8 - Refused legal aid applicationstable note 1, by reason for refusal, criminal matters, 2017-18

Provinces

Total reasons for refusaltable note 2
N (%)

Reasons for refusal

Financial ineligibilitytable note 3
N (%)

Coverage restrictionstable note 4
N (%)

Lack of merittable note 5
N (%)

Non-compliance or abusetable note 6
N (%)

Other reasons for refusaltable note 7
N (%)

NL

1,268 (100)

281 (13)

755 (60)

108 (9)

0 (0)

124 (10)

PEI

72 (100)

72 (100)

-

-

-

-

NS

292 (100)

126 (43)

38 (13)

29 (10)

24 (8)

75 (26)

NB

271 (100)

29 (11)

159 (59)

1 (0)

1 (0)

81 (30)

QC

18,496 (100)

15,938 (86)

1,727 (9)

42 (0)

1 (0)

788 (4)

ON

4,614 (100)

2,010 (44)

2,071 (45)

347 (8)

-

186 (4)

MB

4,867 (100)

1185 (24)

1,502 (31)

103 (2)

1,038 (21)

1039 (21)

SK

1,499 (100)

661 (44)

754 (50)

46 (3)

38 (3)

-

AB

8,877 (100)

 -

 -

BC

4,737 (100)

832 (18)

882 (19)

-

-

3,023 (64)

YK

30 (100)

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

NT

173 (100)

 -

 -

 -

 -

 -

NU

4 (100)

 -

 -

 -

Canada

45,200 (100)

21,134 (47)

7,888 (17)

676 (1)

1,102 (2)

5,316 (12)

– Refers to data that is not available or that was not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

When looking at table 9 which breaks down reasons for refusal by ‘other civil’ and I&R applications, the proportions remained consistent, with 47% of applications nationwide being refused for financial ineligibility, and 16% falling under coverage restrictions. Saskatchewan and Quebec had the highest proportions of ‘other civil’ applications refused for financial ineligibility (72% and 71%). Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest proportion of ‘other civil’ applications refused for coverage restrictions (45%), and Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba had the highest proportion of ‘other civil’ applications refused for lack of merit (24%). For I&R applications, Quebec had the highest proportion refused for financial ineligibility (77%), Manitoba had the highest proportion refused for coverage restrictions (32%), and Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest proportion refused for lack of merit (30%) (Table 9).

Table 9 – Refused legal aid applicationstable note 1, by reason for refusal, civil matters, 2017-18

Provinces

Total refusedtable note 2
N (%)

Financial ineligibilitytable note 3
N (%)

Coverage restrictionstable note 4
N (%)

Lack of merittable note 5
N (%)

Non-compliance or abusetable note 6
N (%)

Other reasons for refusal table note 7
N (%)

NL

Other Civil

1,722 (100)

250 (15)

770 (45)

416 (24)

-

286 (17)

I&R

20 (100)

1 (5)

4 (20)

6 (30)

-

9 (45)

Total

1,742 (100)

251 (14)

774 (44)

422 (24)

-

295 (17)

PEI

Other Civil

29 (100)

16 (55)

5 (17)

6 (21)

2 (7)

-

I&R

Total

29 (100)

16 (55)

5 (17)

6 (21)

2 (7)

-

NS

Other Civil

1,104 (100)

517 (47)

251 (23)

121 (11)

54 (5)

161 (15)

I&R

 

Total

1,104 (100)

517 (47)

251 (23)

121 (11)

54 (5)

161 (15)

NB

Other Civil

149 (100)

69 (46)

61 (41)

-

-

19 (13)

I&R

 

Total

149 (100)

69 (46)

61 (41)

-

-

19 (13)

QC

Other Civil

23,921 (100)

17,012 (71)

3,424 (14)

1,208 (5)

61 (0)

2,216 (9)

I&R

771 (100)

597 (77)

41 (5)

97 (13)

2 (0)

34 (4)

Total

24,692 (100)

17,609 (71)

3,465 (14)

1,305 (5)

63 (0)

2,250 (9)

ON

Other Civil

3,749 (100)

2,257 (60)

1,037 (28)

305 (8)

-

150 (4)

I&R

767 (100)

334 (44)

180 (23)

192 (25)

-

61 (8)

Total

4,516 (100)

2,591 (57)

1,217 (27)

497 (11)

-

211 (5)

MB

Other Civil

2,981 (100)

1,014 (34)

472 (16)

703 (24)

524 (18)

268 (9)

I&R

77 (100)

9 (12)

25 (32)

20 (26)

4 (5)

19 (25)

Total

3,058 (100)

1,023 (33)

497 (16)

723 (24)

528 (17)

287 (9)

SK

Other Civil

628 (100)

453 (72)

14 (2)

136 (22)

25 (4)

-

I&R

 

Total

628 (100)

453 (72)

14 (2)

136 (22)

25 (4)

-

AB

Other Civil

8,909 (100)

I&R

250 (100)

-

-

Total

9,159 (100)

-

BC

Other Civil

4,825 (100)

814 (17)

1,735 (36)

-

-

2,276 (47)

I&R

410 (100)

188 (46)

80 (20)

-

-

142 (142)

Total

5,235 (100)

1,002 (19)

1,815 (35)

-

-

2,418 (46)

YK

Other Civil

51 (100)

-

-

-

-

I&R

 

Total

51 (100)

-

-

-

-

NT

Other Civil

127 (100)

-

-

-

-

-

I&R

 

Total

127 (100)

 -

-

-

-

-

 

NU

Other Civil

72 (100)

-

-

-

-

-

I&R

 

Total

72 (100)

 -

-

-

-

-

CANADA

Other Civil

48,267 (100)

22,402 (46)

7,769 (16)

2,895 (6)

666 (1)

5,376 (11)

I&R

2,295 (100)

1,129 (49)

330 (14)

315 (14)

6 (0)

265 (12)

Canada

50,562 (100)

23,531 (47)

8,099 (16)

3,210 (6)

672 (1)

5,641 (11)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes:

NT, NU, YK and AB data is not broken down by reason for refusal, therefore Canada totals should be interpreted with this in mind.

Over 1.2 million duty counsel assists were provided in 2017-18

Duty counsel is legal assistance rendered without charge to unrepresented individuals who, in many cases, are about to make an appearance in court. Duty counsel services refer to services provided by a lawyer at a location other than a legal aid office, generally at court or a place of detention. Most often, the services provided are brief, and pertain to provision of summary services, docket court appearances, or representation at a first appearance or plea court.

Eleven jurisdictions provided data on duty counsel services in 2017-18 (Table 10). There were 1,214,222 duty counsel assists provided to legal aid clients in these jurisdictions. A total of 82% of these assists were for criminal matters, and 18% were for civil matters (including I&R).

For jurisdictions that provided data on both criminal and civil duty counsel services, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan had the highest proportions of criminal duty counsel assists provided, with 100%, and 99% of duty counsel assists for criminal matters, respectively. British Columbia had the lowest proportion of criminal matter assists, with 71% criminal assists and 29% civil.

Table 10 - Duty counsel services, by type of matter, 2017-18

Provinces

Total duty counsel services
N (%)

Criminal duty counsel servicestable note 1

Provincial Statute Offences
N (%)

Civil duty counsel servicestable note 2

Total criminal duty counsel services
N (%)

Adult matters

Youthtable note 3 matters

Total civil duty counsel services
N (%)

I&Rtable note 4

Family matterstable note 5

Civil non-family matterstable note 6

NL

14,558 (100)

13,841 (95)

10,872

2969

-

717 (5)

-

717

-

PEI

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

NSA

21,898 (100)

18,767(86)

17,805

962

894 (4)

2,237 (10)

 

2,236

1

NBA

22,681 (100)

21,382 (94)

21,135

247

89 (0)

1,210 (5)

 

1,210

-

QC

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

ONA

950,124 (100)

774,719 (82)

736,093

38,626

-

175,405 (18)

4

164,216

11,185

MBA

49,289 (100)

45,258(92)

39,411

5,847

-

4,031 (8)

-

151

3,880

SKA

24,981 (100)

24,705(99)

21,796

2,909

276 (1)

-

 

-

-

AB

 -

-

-

-

-

-

-

 -

BCA

122,006 (100)

86,872 (71)

84,854

2,018

-

35,134 (29)

1,113

34,021

-

YKP

1,793 (100)

1,784 (99)

1,666

118

-

9 (1)

 

8

1

NTA

4,470 (100)

4,470 (100)

3,982

488

-

 

-

 -

NUP

1,770 (100)

1,521 (86)

1,356

165

-

249 (14)

 

196

53

Canada

1,214,222 (100)

993,971 (82)

939,622

54,349

1,259 (0)

218,992 (18)

1,117

202,755

15,120

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.
P – Count is by number of persons assisted.
A – Count is by number of assists – this refers to the number of times duty counsel was provided for each category of service provided for adult and youth criminal legal aid, provincial statute offences, I &R and civil legal aid. 

Notes:

Over 81 million dollars of expenditures on duty counsel services in 2017-18

The highest proportion of duty counsel expenditures were for criminal duty counsel services, at $56,028,573, or 70% of total expenditures in 2017-18. Civil duty counsel services made up 29% of expenditures. Within criminal duty counsel services, 93% of expenditures went towards adult matters. And within civil duty counsel services, the highest proportion of expenditures was towards family matters (67%) followed by ‘other civil matters’ (32%) (table 11).

Table 11 - Duty counsel service expenditurestable note 1, by type of matter, 2017-18

Provinces

Total duty counsel services $ (%)

Criminal duty counsel servicestable note 2

Provincial Statute Offences
$ (%)

Civil duty counsel servicestable note 3

Total criminal duty counsel services
$ (%)

Adult matters

Youthtable note 4 matters

Total civil duty counsel services
$ (%)

I&Rtable note 5

Family matterstable note 6

Other civil matterstable note 7

NL

209,514 (100)

209,514 (100)

205,625 (98)

3,889 (2)

0 (0)

-

-

-

-

PEI

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

NS

2,464,847 (100)

2,098,525 (85)

2,009,198 (82)

89,327 (4)

-

366,322 (15)

 

366,322 (15)

-

NB

1,123,006 (100)

1,023,975 (91)

1,017,039 (91)

6,936 (1)

2,499 (0)

96,532 (9)

 

96,532 (9)

0 (0)

QC

1,043,387 (100)

1,043,387 (100)

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

ON

56,081,690 (100)

37,561,316 (67)

35,991,830 (64)

1,569,486 (3)

0 (0)

18,520,374 (33)

776 (0)

11,380,323 (20)

7,139,275 (13)

MB

2,388,771 (100)

2,177,124 (91)

1,897,321 (79)

279,803 (12)

0 (0)

211,647 (9)

0 (0)

7,628 (0)

204,019 (9)

SK

215,819 (100)

211,680 (98)

186,024 (86)

25,656 (12)

4,139 (2)

0 (0)

 

-

-

AB

6,731,456 (100)

5,882,266 (87)

5,505,255 (82)

377,011 (6)

0 (0)

849,190 (13)

0 (0)

633,955 (9)

215,235 (3)

BC

9,418,051 (100)

5,756,205 (61)

5,426,114 (58)

330,091 (4)

343,170 (4)

3,318,676 (35)

132,692 (1)

3,185,984 (34)

0 (0)

YK

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

NT

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

NU

 -

-

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

CA

79,741,122 (100)

56,028,573 (70)

52,302,987 (93)

2,682,199 (5)

349,808 (0)

23,362,741 (29)

133,468 (1)

15,670,744 (67)

7,558,529 (32)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Almost three quarters of applications for legal aid services to deal with an appeal were approved

Out of the 6,528 applications for legal aid services for an appeal case, almost three quarters were approved for legal aid services (73%). For criminal matters, 64% were approved, and for civil matters more than three quarters (80%) were approved (Table 12).

Aside from Saskatchewan, where all appeal applications were approved in 2017-18, Ontario and Nova Scotia had the highest proportion of appeal cases approved for legal aid services (89% and 87%), while Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest proportion of cases approved (33%). For criminal cases, Nova Scotia had the highest proportion of cases approved (95%) and Yukon and British Columbia had the lowest (25% and 26%). For civil cases, Ontario had the highest proportion of cases approved (95%), and Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest (34%) (Table 12).

Table 12 – Appealtable note 1 applications, approved and refused for legal aid services, by criminal and civil matters, 2017-18

Provinces

Total criminal and civil matters

Criminal matters (adult and youth)

Civil matters  

Total Approved and refused appeals
N (%)

Total Approved appeals
N (%)

Total Refused appeals
N (%)

Approved and refused appeals  
N (%)

Approved appeals
N (%)

Refused appeals
N (%)

Approved and refused appeals
N (%)

Approved appeals
N (%)

Refused appeals
N (%)

NL

290 (100)

96 (33)

194 (67)

155 (100)

50 (32)

105 (68)

135 (100)

46 (34)

89 (66)

PEI

1 (100)

-

1 (100)

1 (100)

-

1 (100)

-

-

-

NS

76 (100)

66 (87)

10 (13)

56 (100)

53 (95)

3 (5)

20 (100)

13 (65)

7 (35)

NB

27 (100)

13 (48)

14 (52)

21 (100)

9 (43)

12 (57)

6 (100)

4 (67)

2 (33)

QC

890 (100)

473 (53)

417 (47)

408 (100)

245 (60)

163 (40)

482 (100)

228 (47)

254 (53)

ON

3,864 (100)

3,439 (89)

425 (11)

1,493 (100)

1,189 (80)

304 (20)

2,371 (100)

2,250 (95)

121 (5)

MB

340 (100)

231 (68)

109 (32)

157 (100)

85 (54)

72 (46)

183 (100)

146 (80)

37 (20)

SK

45 (100)

45 (100)

-

41 (100)

41 (100)

-

4 (100)

4 (100)

-

AB

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

BC

960 (100)

381 (40)

579 (60)

469 (100)

120 (26)

349 (74)

491 (100)

261 (53)

230 (47)

YK

15 (100)

9 (60)

6 (40)

4 (100)

1 (25)

3 (75)

11 (100)

8 (73)

3 (27)

NT

20 (100)

16 (80)

6 (20)

20 (100)

14 (70)

6 (30)

-

-

NU

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

CA

6,528 (100)

4,769 (73)

1,761 (27)

2,825 (100)

1,807 (64)

1,018 (36)

3,703 (100)

2,960 (80)

743 (20)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

Notes:

For PEI data provided under adult matters also includes youth.

Roughly 800 civil cases were managed under the interprovincial reciprocity agreement in 2017-18

The interprovincial reciprocity agreement refers to an agreement among legal aid plans in Canada to handle non-resident civil cases. Under the terms of the agreement, applicants must request legal aid in their province/territory of residence, rather than in the province/territory where the legal recourse is sought. An approved application is then forwarded from the legal aid plan of the client’s province or territory of residence, to the legal aid plan which provides the legal aid service.

Outgoing cases refer to the number of applications for civil legal aid approved by the legal aid plan of a province or territory that are forwarded to other P/T legal aid plans for service. Incoming cases refer to the number of applications approved for civil legal aid by other provincial/territorial legal aid plans which are forwarded to the legal aid plan for service and for which service has been provided.

Data from 2017-18 indicate that there were a total a total of 757 incoming cases and 836 outgoing cases (Table 13). Ontario had the highest number of cases incoming from another province, with 299 cases approved in another province/territory, and forwarded to Ontario where the service was provided. Ontario also had the highest number of outgoing cases, with 223 cases which were approved in Ontario, but the service was provided by legal aid lawyers in another province or territory.

Table 13 - Incoming and outgoing civil legal aid cases processed under the interprovincial reciprocity agreement, 2017-18

Provinces

 Total by jurisdiction 

Incoming

Outgoing

Newfoundland and Labrador

16

28

Prince Edward Island

6

4

Nova Scotia

37

72

New Brunswick

20

41

Quebec

149

180

Ontario

299

223

Manitoba

69

79

Saskatchewan

106

86

Alberta

-

-

British Columbia

48

110

Yukon

4

3

Northwest Territories

3

10

Nunavut

-

-

Outside Canada

-

-

Total

757

836

The highest proportion of legal aid clients were male, and accessed criminal legal aid services

As shown in Table 14, overall, 61% of legal aid clients were male, while 39% were female. For criminal matters, the proportion of males was even higher (79%). For I&R matters, 63% of clients were male and 37% were female, however it is important to note that where an I&R matter relates to a principal applicant with family, only the principal applicant is counted as a client. For civil matters, a majority of clients were female (63%).

Overall, the most common age category was 18-34 (45%). This trend appears to be the same for males, females and others in all types of matters (criminal, I&R, and civil), with the exception of males in civil matters. For this group, the most common age category was 35-49. For male criminal legal aid clients, the most common age group was 18-34 (51%), followed by 35-49 (28%). The same pattern was true for female criminal legal aid clients, with the most common age group being 18-34 (53%) followed by 35-49 (29%).

For I&R legal aid, most male clients were in the 18-34 and 35-49 age groups (47% and 41%). The same was true for female clients, with 45% in the 18-34 age group, and 40% in the 35-49 age group. For civil legal aid, male clients were most often in the 35-49 and 18-34 age groups (32% and 25%); female clients were most often in the 18-34 and 35-49 age groups (41% and 33%) (Table 14).

Table 14 - Legal aid clients, by age, gendertable note 1, and type of matter, Canada, 2017-18

Gender & age

Type of matter

Total

Criminal

I&R

Civil

male 17 and under

14,753 (8)

183 (1)

13,276 (20)

28,212 (10)

male 18-34

98,513 (51)

8,701 (47)

16,740 (25)

123,954 (45)

male 35-49

54,434 (28)

7,625 (41)

21,502 (32)

83,561 (30)

male 50+

24,540 (13)

1,917 (10)

14,995 (23)

41,452 (15)

Total males

192,240 (100)

18,426 (100)

66,513 (100)

277,179 (100)

female 17 and under

3,428 (7)

126 (1)

13,039 (11)

16,593 (9)

female 18-34

26,935 (53)

4,882 (45)

46,533 (41)

78,350 (45)

female 35-49

14,935 (29)

4,293 (40)

36,923 (33)

56,151 (32)

female 50+

5,652 (11)

1,429 (13)

17,054 (15)

24,135 (14)

Total females

50,950 (100)

10,730 (100)

113,549 (100)

175,229 (100)

other 17 and under

6 (4)

*

45 (19)

52 (12)

other 18-34

85 (56)

*

89 (37)

174 (41)

other 35-49

30 (20)

*

62 (26)

92 (22)

other 50+

32 (21)

28 (97)

47 (19)

107 (25)

Total other

153 (100)

29 (100)

243 (100)

425 (100)

Total 17 and under

18,187 (7)

310 (1)

26,360 (15)

44,857 (10)

Total 18-34

125,533 (52)

13,583 (47)

63,362 (35)

202,478 (45)

Total 35-49

69,399 (29)

11,918 (41)

58,487 (32)

139,804 (31)

Total 50+

30,224 (12)

3,374 (12)

32,096 (18)

65,694 (15)

Canada

243,343 (100)

29,185 (100)

180,305 (100)

452,833 (100)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

*cell count under 5 supressed.

Notes:

NT, YK, NB data are not included due to missing data.

PEI limited reporting on age of clients. The only breakdown reported by PEI on age and gender of their legal aid clients is for male under 17 and female 17; and under the category of ‘Criminal Only. No data is provided under ‘Other’.

More than half of Indigenous legal aid clients were males accessing criminal legal aid services

Legal aid plans from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut provided data on self-identified Indigenous legal aid clients. Out of a total of 60,419 Indigenous clients that self-identified in these provinces and territories in 2017-18, 70% accessed criminal legal aid (adult and youth), while 22% accessed civil legal aid. The highest proportion of clients were male adults, accessing criminal legal aid services (52%) (Table 15).

A majority of Indigenous adult and youth criminal legal aid clients were male (84%). In civil cases, there were about twice as many female Indigenous clients as male (67% versus 33%).

Table 15 – Indigenoustable note 1 legal aid clients by gender and type of matter, 2017-18

Provinces

Total criminal and civiltable note 2
N (%)

Criminal

Civiltable note 4

Total Criminal adult
N (%)

adult

youthtable note 3

Total criminal youth
N (%)

male

female

other

male

female

other

male

female

other

Total civil
N (%)

NS

955 (2)

620 (2)

382

238

-

66

20

-

86 (2)

65

184

-

249 (2)

ON

15,671 (31)

11,521 (31)

8,859

2,660

*

465

222

*

688 (18)

1,206

2,255

*

3,462 (34)

MB

11,154 (22)

7,838 (21)

5,866

1,972

-

600

308

-

908 (24)

876

1,532

-

2,408 (24)

SK

14,781 (24)

9,657 (23)

7,341

2,182

134

1,501

510

30

2,041 (40)

859

2,168

56

3,083 (23)

AB

9,952 (19)

7,056 (19)

5059

1993

*

693

309

*

1,003 (26)

625

1265

*

1,893 (19)

BC

6,308 (12)

4,475 (12)

3,385

1,088

*

208

93

-

301 (8)

458

1,074

-

1,532 (15)

NT

1,128 (2)

747 (2)

606

141

-

32

*

-

33 (1)

133

215

-

348 (3)

NU

470 (1)

195 (1)

168

27

-

11

*

-

13 (0)

112

150

-

262 (3)

CA

60,419 (100)

42,109 (100)

31,666

10,301

142

3,576

1,465

32

5,073 (100)

4,334

8,843

60

13,237 (100)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

*cell count under 5 supressed.

Notes:

For NB, Indigenous legal aid clients by age and gender and type of matter is not captured.  Report configuration is required.

Legal aid cases for assault were the most frequent offence category, with the highest proportion of in-year expenditures for adult criminal legal aid

Table 16 provides a breakdown of criminal legal aid cases that were approved for service, and incurred expenditures in 2017-18 in addition to cases that were ongoing from previous years and incurred expenditures in 2017-18. These are broken down by general offence categories, as well as the proportion of in-year expenditures dedicated to each offence category. Note that the offence categories do not refer to specific offences under the Criminal Code, rather, they represent groupings of similar offence types.

The category ‘other offences’ made up the highest proportion of both case volume and in-year expenditures, at 26% of cases, and 28% of in-year expenditures in 2017-18. Among more specific offence categories, assault (19% of case volume and 16% of in-year expenditures) and ‘theft, break and enter, possession of stolen property’ (18% of case volume and 12% of in-year expenditures) were the most frequent type of legal aid cases.

There were a few categories of offences that made up a very small proportion of case volume, but in comparison, a higher proportion of in-year expenditures. These included homicide, which accounted for 0.7% of cases, but 7% of in-year expenditures; sexual assault which made up 3% of case volume and 7% of expenditures, and robbery cases which each made up 2% of the case volume, but 5% of expenditures (Table 16).

Table 16 – Criminal legal aid casestable note 1 by type of offencetable note 2 and in year expenditures, adult, Canada, 2017-18

List of Offences

Total volume of cases N (%)

Total in-year expenditures (fees and disbursements) 
Dollars (%)

Homicide

2,032 (.7)

18,636,828 (7)

Sexual Assault

7,960 (3)

17,535,762 (7)

Robbery

6,786 (2)

13,541,854 (5)

Kidnapping

726 (.3)

1,587,144 (.6)

Arson

511 (.2)

574,438 (.2)

Narcotics

29,340 (11)

29,318,893 (11)

Theft, Break & Enter, Possession of Stolen Property

49,783 (18)

33,212,582 (12)

Impaired Driving

7,501 (3)

5,511,378 (2)

Other driving offences

2,536 (1)

2,698,451 (1)

Assault

52,180 (19)

44,044,168 (16)

Breach of Probation

30,489 (11)

10,285,368 (4)

Administration of Justice

13,615 (5)

17,301,805 (6)

Proceedings under Part XX.1 Criminal Code (Mental Disorder)

1,819 (.7)

343,458 (.1)

Proceedings under the Extradition Act

8 (0)

31,254 (0)

Other Offencestable note 3

72,278 (26)

75,485,258 (28)

Subtotal

277,564 (99)

270,108,641 (99)

Appeals:

 

 

a.  Crown

1324 (.5)

359,989 (.1)

b.  Eligible Person Requested

380 (.1)

1,284,283 (.5)

c.  Proceedings under Part XX.1 Criminal Code (Mental Disorder)

140 (.1)

0 (0)

d.  Proceedings under the Extradition Act

9 (0)

26,926 (0)

Subtotal - Appeals

1853 (7)

1,671,198 (.6)

Total - Criminal Legal Aid – ADULT

279,417 (100)

271,801,641 (100)

Notes:

QC, NB, YK, NT, NU not included due to incomplete data

SK data only represents private bar, breakdown by offence type not available for staff lawyers.

BC YCJA Ministry costs are excluded.

Given the legal complexities of each case, not all costs are included in the ‘total in-year expenditures’ column; therefore the above data should not be used to calculate cost per case.

Legal aid cases for assault were the most frequent offence category, with the highest proportion of in-year expenditures for youth criminal legal aid

Table 17 provides a breakdown of current youth legal aid cases and incurred expenditures in 2017-18 in addition to cases that were ongoing and incurring expenditures but might have been approved the previous fiscal year or earlier. These are broken down by general offence categories, as well as the proportion of in-year expenditures dedicated to each offence category. Note that the offence categories do not refer to specific offences under the Criminal Code, rather, they represent groupings of similar offence types.

Assault cases made up the highest proportion of case volume (24%) and the second highest proportion of in-year expenditures (19%), while ‘other offences’ made up 21% of cases, and 24% of in-year expenditures in 2017-18. ‘Theft, break and enter, possession of stolen property’ was the next most common offence category with 18% of case volume and 12% of in-year expenditures.

There were a few categories of offences that made up a very small proportion of case volume, but in comparison, a higher proportion of in-year expenditures. These included homicide, which accounted for 0.7% of cases, but 10% of in-year expenditures. Arson offences made up 0.6% of the case volumes, but 4% of expenditures (Table 17).

Table 17 – Criminal legal aid casestable note 1 by type of offencetable note 2 and in year expenditures, youthtable note 3, Canada, 2017-18

List of Offences

Total volume of cases N (%)

Total in-year expenditures (fees and disbursements)
Dollars (%)

Homicide

130 (.7)

2,131,288 (10)

Sexual Assault

1,106 (6)

1,649,845 (8)

Assault

4,725 (24)

3,943,778 (19)

Robbery

1,623 (8)

1,467,830 (7)

Kidnapping

11 (.1)

33,541 (.2)

Arson

117 (.6)

89,981 (4)

Narcotics

1,096 (6)

1,418,318 (7)

Theft, Break & Enter, Possession of Stolen Property

3,476 (18)

2,431,828 (12)

Impaired Driving

128 (.6)

180,534 (1)

Other Driving Offences

52 (.3)

156,221 (.7)

Breach of Probation

1,517 (8)

771,954 (4)

Administration of Justice

1,557 (8)

1,663,113 (8)

Proceedings under Part XX.1 Criminal Code (Mental Disorder)

2 (0)

2,948 (0)

Proceedings under the Extradition Act

0 (0)

0 (0)

Other Offencestable note 4

4,143 (21)

4,925,043 (24)

Subtotal

19,683 (99)

20,866,222 (99)

Appeals:

 

 

a.  Crown

34 (.2)

2,557 (0)

b.  Eligible Person Requested

6 (0)

17,175 (.1)

c.  Proceedings under Part XX.1 Criminal Code (Mental Disorder)

0 (0)

0 (0)

d.  Proceedings under the Extradition Act

0 (0)

0 (0)

Subtotal

40 (.2)

19,732 (.1)

Total - Criminal Legal Aid – YOUTH

19,723 (100)

20,885,954 (100)

Notes:

QC, NB, YK, NT, NU not included due to incomplete data.

SK data only represents private bar, breakdown by offence type not available for staff lawyers.

Given the legal complexities of each case, not all costs are included in the ‘total in-year expenditures’ column; therefore the above data should not be used to calculate cost per case.

Over 28,000 immigration and refugee legal aid certificates were issued in 2017-18

Refugee claimants have the right, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), to be represented at immigration and refugee proceedings. Through the Legal Aid Program, the federal government contributes annual funding to the six provinces that provide I&R legal aid services (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Quebec). I&R matters refer to proceedings of persons (individuals, or principal applicants and family) involved in the immigration and refugee determination system under the provisions of IRPA. I&R legal aid covers the provision of legal advice, assistance and representation for immigration or refugee proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada, the Federal Court (FC), or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officials on post-determination actions. 

Table 18 shows the volume of I&R legal aid certificates as well as expenditures for I&R legal aid for 2017-18, including certificates carried over from previous fiscal years for cases that are ongoing. The table also shows the volume and costs associated with I&R duty counsel services in jurisdictions where data (and duty counsel services) were available. In 2017-18, there were 38,936 legal aid certificates issued, with 2,876 certificates carried over from previous fiscal years, for a total of 41,812 certificates that year. A majority of (current and previous fiscal year) certificates were handled by private bar lawyers (70%), while 25% were handled in specialized clinics, and 5% were handled by staff lawyers. The majority of expenditures related to I&R legal aid (61%) were associated with private bar certificates.

Alberta was the only province where the percentage of staff lawyer certificates was almost as high as that of private bar certificates (57% versus 43%), while Ontario had the highest proportion of cases handled through specialized clinics (37%) (Table 18).

Table 18 - Immigration and refugee legal aid certificates and expenditures, by province/territory and type of lawyer, 2017-18

Provinces

Certificates issued in the fiscal year
N (%)

 Expenditures for certificates issued in the fiscal year  (dollars)

Certificates carried over from previous fiscal year
N (%)

Expenditures for certificates issued in a previous fiscal year (dollars)

Duty Counsel

Administration  and Other Costs
(dollars) (%)

Total number of certificates (previous and current fiscal year)
N (%)

Total expenditures (dollars) (%)

#

Dollars (%)

Alberta  

Private Bar

421 (37)

324,723

262 (58)

108,748

 

  

683 (43)

433,471 (42)

Staff Lawyer

729 (63)

301,339

191 (42)

159,582

 

  

  

920 (57)

460,921 (45)

Specialized Clinics

-

-

-

 

 

  

-

-

AB totals 

1150 (100)

626,062

453 (100)

268,330

-

-

137,844 (13)

1603 (100)

1,032,236 (100)

British Columbia  

Private Bar

1,107 (100)

1,250,866

587 (100)

955,780

 

  

  

1,694 (100)

2,206,646 (65)

Staff Lawyer

-

-

-

-

 

  

  

-

-

Specialized Clinics

-

-

-

519,296

 

  

 

-

519,296 (15)

BC totals

1,107 (100)

1,250,866

587 (100)

1,475,076

1,113

132,692 (4)

543,904 (16)

1,694 (100)

3,402,538 (100)

Manitoba  

Private Bar

890 (95)

396,322

111 (99)

117,906

 

  

1,001 (95)

514,228 (82)

Staff Lawyer

48 (5)

308

1 (1)

320

 

  

  

49 (5)

628 (0)

Specialized Clinics

-

-

-

-

 

  

-

-

MB totals

938 (100)

396,630

112 (100)

118,226

 -

-

110,549 (18)

1,050 (100)

625,405 (100)

Newfoundland and Labrador  

Private Bar

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

Staff Lawyer

15 (100)

17,603

6 (100)

-

 

21 (100)

17,603 (82)

Specialized Clinics

-

-

-

-

 

-

-

NL totals

15 (100)

17,603

6

-

 -

-

3,761 (18)

21 (100)

21,364 (100)

Ontario  

Private Bar

13,687 (59)

11,672,828

13,545,802

 

 

13,687 (59)

25,218,630 (59)

Staff Lawyer

868 (4)

4,409,162

-

 

  

868 (4)

4,409,162 (10)

Specialized Clinics

8,572 (37)

4,244,857

-

 

  

8,572 (37)

4,244,857 (10)

ON totals

23,127 (100)

20,326,847

13,545,802

776 (0)

8,749,511 (21)

23,127 (100)

42,622,936 (100)

Quebec 

Private Bar

 10,631

1,748,828

1,718

1,578,431

 

  

 

 12,349 (86)

 3,327,374 (76)

Staff Lawyer

26

 18,159

-

 -

 

  

 

 26 (0)

 18,159 (0)

Specialized Clinics

1,942

 1,020,242

-

 -

 

  

 

 1,942 (13)

 1,020,242 (23)

QC totals

12,599 (100) 

2,787,343

1,718

 1,578,431

-

-

14,317 (100)

5,065,253 (100)

 Canada 

Private Bar

26,736 (69)

15,393,682

2,678 (93)

16,306,667

 

 

 

29,414 (70)

31,700,349 (61)

Staff Lawyer

1,686 (4)

4,746,571

198 (7)

159,902

 

 

 

1,884 (5)

4,906,473 (9)

Specialized Clinics

10,514 (27)

5,265,099

0 (0)

519,296

 

 

 

10,514 (25)

5,784,395 (11)

Canada totals

38,936 (100)

25,405,352

2,876 (100)

16,985,865

1,113 

133,468 (0)

9,545,569 (18)

41,812 (0)

52,070,254 (100)

– Refers to data that were not available or that were not provided by the jurisdiction as reported in the Statement of Final Claim.

  1. Certificate refers to the number of principal claimants receiving legal aid services for each stage of the process.
  2. In British Columbia, only private bar volumes and expenditures were provided.
  3. Quebec did not provide a breakdown of volumes and expenditures by certificate and by private bar or staff lawyer. Total volumes and total expenditures were included in the Quebec totals.

Specialized Courts

Specialized, or problem-solving courts focus on a particular type of offence or offender. They typically involve an interdisciplinary team that is focused on addressing the underlying causes of a particular type of crime or offender to reduce reoffending.Footnote 2 The following section provides information on the specialized courts operating in Canada.

Mental Health/Wellness/Community Courts

Mental health courts are designed to assist accused persons who have mental health issues. This typically involves specially trained personnel and processes that take into consideration the difficulties that a person with mental health issues may encounter in the criminal justice process.

Wellness/community courts offer integrated supports and services designed to address the problems associated with repeat offenders struggling to reintegrate into society.

There are 11 jurisdictions that operate mental health/wellness/community courts. This includes Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Yukon.

Drug Treatment Courts

Drug treatment courts aim to reduce crime committed as a result of drug dependency through court-monitored treatment and community service support for non-violent offenders with drug addictions. Drug treatment courts currently operate in Nova Scotia, Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

First Nations/Gladue Courts

First Nations/Gladue courts offer restorative justice and traditional approaches for sentencing Indigenous offenders. These courts currently operate in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Youth Courts

Youth between the ages of 12 to 17 who are accused of a crime have their matters heard in youth court, which is a separate court division. Youth courts currently operate in every province and territory in Canada.

Family/Domestic Violence Courts

Family/domestic violence courts are designed to handle cases of domestic/family violence by offering an integrated, collaborative approach focusing on supporting victims, increasing offender responsibility, and providing early intervention. These courts currently operate in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories.

Table 19 – Legal aid program innovations

Legal aid plans provided information on innovative practices or programs that were implemented for criminal legal aid in 2017-18. An “innovation” refers to a new or improved way of delivering criminal legal aid that targets vulnerable populations, modernizes processes using technology, enhances business practices, and/or supports improved data collection and performance measurement.

Nova Scotia
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Computer Upgrades

Replaced computers with tables designed to allow better remote service.

Throughout 2017-18

Improved Courthouse-based service.  More efficient use of technology.

Less downtime for lawyers and court support workers. More efficient services.

Staff lawyers, Court Support Workers & clients.

Cultural Competency Training

To improve cultural competency of staff.

Throughout 2017-18

Improve culturally competent services

 

Clients from marginalized communities

Funding of cultural impact assessments in criminal and youth matters

To provide culturally competent representation to African Nova Scotians charges with serious criminal offences.

Throughout 2017-18

Culturally competent services.  Reduces inmates from ANS community.  Address root causes

Reduction of African Nova Scotians serving prison sentences.

Criminal clients from marginalized communities

Improved tracking of African Nova Scotians clients

To track number of client who self-identify as African Nova Scotian to insure appropriate services are available.

Throughout 2017-18

Improved culturally competent services and support for necessary funding.

 

Clients from marginalized communities

Improved tracking of gender by adding ‘Other’ category

To track the appropriate gender of applicants.

Throughout 2017-18

Improved tracking of gender

Ability to report number of applicants in the other gender category.

Governments for reporting services. Clients who want to report the proper gender.

Dedicated lawyers and time of Indigenous Social Worker to ground breaking First Nation Court

Working with other Justice partners to improve services for First Nations people.

Throughout 2017-18

 

 

Clients from marginalized communities

New Brunswick
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Financial eligibility criteria for certificate services updated to implement income grids defining income brackets per household size rather than disposable income.

To enable potential applicants to self-screen financial eligibility and contribution amount; minimize the documentation required from applicants and expedite the application process.

Implemented April 15, 2017.

Average application interview time with applicants reduced from 30 minutes to 20 min.

Interview time.

Clients; New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission (NBLASC) Intake Officers;

Applications refused for "financial eligibility" reduced by 31% over prior year.

Reason for refusal.

Clients; NBLASC Intake Officers;

Average # of days to determine eligibility reduced from 10 days to 5 days.

Difference between date of application and decision date.

Clients; NBLASC Intake Officers; Judiciary;

Number of eligibility appeals consistent with prior year.

# of appeals received.

Clients; NBLASC Intake Officers & Directors;

Impact on client contribution vs lien revenue to be assessed as the end of fiscal 18-19 with full year of data with the new criteria.

Revenue received.

NBLASC;

# of liens required reduced from approx 190 annually (criminal and family applications) to 1 in the first year.

#of liens registered.

Clients, NBLASC Intake Officers & Corporate Services;

Quebec
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Programme d’accompagnement justice en santé mentale [justice and mental health support program]. PAJ-SM

Avoid imprisoning people who have mental health problems by providing support and follow-up in the community.

Ensure continuous follow-up of these people so as to reduce the risk of recidivism.

Improve the judicial process at the City of Montreal's municipal court for this type of offender.

Enable a more equal and consistent processing of court files.

Reduce the time spent in detention for forensic evidence and preventive detention purposes.

Launched in 2008

A full-time lawyer at the Centre communautaire juridique de Montréal.

Break the revolving door cycle: mental illness, offence, imprisonment, health care, release.

Ensure public protection with adapted case management for people with mental illness for the purpose of helping them control their illness.

Ensure efficient and rapid responses to the treatment needs of people with mental illness.

University studies on the implementation of the program.

Number of cases handled under this program.

Accused before the City of Montreal municipal court with mental health issues.

For summary conviction offences.

Substance Abuse Program

Prevent and reduce the number of crimes committed because of drug or alcohol addiction, by offering offenders with substance abuse issues a structured program with legal supervision before sentencing.

Launched on December 10, 2012

All criminal and penal lawyers at the Legal Aid Office may represent their clients.

Break the cycle of addiction and related criminality.

Achieve sustainable social and community reintegration and rehabilitation.

Ensure greater community safety.

Number of cases handled under this program.

Implementation study.

Impact study to come.

Accused before the Court of Quebec in the district of Montreal with substance or alcohol abuse problems.

All offences are eligible for the program subject to the consent of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions and provided that the expected sentence is within the range of sentences that are eligible for a stay or other non-custodial measures.

Protocole d'intervention lavallois en santé mentale [Laval mental health interventional protocol]. PIL-SM

Reduce the time spent in detention for forensic evidence and preventive detention purposes.

Reduce the risk of deteriorating mental health of the individuals.

Avoid the flow of legal services.

Cost savings.

Protect public safety.

Launched in September 2017

All criminal law lawyers at the Laval Legal Aid office may represent their clients.

Change the usual intervention protocols of the various stakeholders to encourage a quick response for people with mental health issues.

Reduce mental health stigma related to contact with the justice system.

Number of cases handled under this protocol.

Impact research project being negotiated.

Accused in the District of Laval with mental health issues, deficiencies or on the autism spectrum.

Programme d’accompagnement justice itinérance à la Cour [justice and homelessness court support program]. PAJIC

Help people who have been or are currently homeless that are in an integration process to regularize their legal situation.

Pilot project February 2009

Launched in July 2011

All criminal and penal lawyers from legal aid practising at the City of Montreal municipal court may represent their clients.

Voluntarily, a defendant may integrate their summary offences and criminal records by presenting their reintegration plan.

Number of cases handled under this program.

Homeless people.

For violations of municipal regulations or Quebec provincial legislation subject to the provisions of the Quebec Code of Penal Procedure, or certain criminal offences.

Programme d’accompagnement en justice – Maltraitance aux aînés [justice and elder abuse support program]. PAJMA

Eligibility is automatic: a facilitator meets with the victim at the very first appearance in Court.

The Centre d’aide aux victimes d’actes criminels (CAVAC) can offer the victim support through the legal process (explanations, listening, information, help preparing testimony and accompaniment in court).

The facilitators take the victims' requests into consideration.

All criminal and penal lawyers from legal aid practising at the City of Montreal municipal court may represent their clients.

The main goal is to stop wrongdoing.

Number of cases handled under this program.

For all people called upon to testify in a case at the City of Montreal municipal court.

EVE Program

For female offenders.

Find an alternative to conviction and imprisonment.

Since the 1980s
All criminal and penal lawyers from legal aid practising at the City of Montreal municipal court may represent their clients.

On a voluntary basis.
Participation in group sessions and follow-ups to better understand the reasons they committed the acts.

Number of cases handled under this program.

For economic offences, shoplifting, workplace theft, fraud, cheque forgery.

Discoveries

Reduce number of cases where a hearing before a judge is required.

Launched in 2017

Reduce wait times for hearing trials.

Identify the legal issues of discovery.

Allow examinations that target these issues.

Number of cases handled under this program.

The accused.

Processing legal aid request by videoconference

Reduce processing time for legal aid requests for beneficiaries.

Launch planned for May 2017

Contributes to reducing wait times for trial hearings.

Render decisions on legal aid eligibility as soon as possible.

Number of cases handled by videoconference.

Deadline for issuing legal aid warrants in private practice.

Inmates in the Bordeaux and Rivière-des-Prairies detention centres.

IMPAC Project (Intervention multisectorielle programmes d'accompagnement à la cour municipale) [Multisectoral response - municipal court support program]

Increase the feeling of security in the area and encourage a more attractive living environment.

Reduce the risk of recidivism.

Encourage settlement of debt without imprisonment and facilitate a return to action.

Implement sustainable solutions better adapted to the situation of the target clients.

Encourage access to justice.

Improve processing for this type of case at the City of Quebec municipal court.

Adapt the legal process and encourage ongoing supervision and follow-up in the community as a means of reinsertion.

Since 2013-2014

Criminal and penal lawyers from legal aid practising at the City of Quebec municipal court may represent their clients.

Implement other methods for processing cases at various stages in the legal process to achieve community justice.

Focus on intrinsic causes of the offence to bring lasting solutions.

Make the community a partner in the problem-solving process.

Include participation by all stakeholders in the legal system to work together to bring lasting solutions rather than relying solely on traditional sentences.

Number of cases handled under this program.

Accused before the City of Quebec municipal court with mental health issues, intellectual deficiencies, substance abuse issues and the homeless.

Alternative Measures Program

Increase the involvement of victims and, where possible, ensure that it is easier for them to obtain fair compensation for damages suffered.

Allow prosecutors and all judicial officials to act together at all stages in the alternative measures process.

Deal with alleged offences in a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent manner, in a way that is respectful of the rights of victims and alleged offenders.

Encourage individuals who recognize that they are responsible for the act or omission at the root of the offence with which they are charged to accept responsibility for their conduct, play an active role in repairing the harm caused and address the problems that may have contributed to their becoming involved with the justice system.

Promote the social engagement of these individuals by mobilizing the resources and assistance available in their region.

Ensure that the terms and conditions of the alternative measures constitute a fair, proportionate and relevant response to the alleged offences.

September 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018

Accused takes responsibility sooner through a true awareness of the consequences of his or her acts or omissions and through a sincere desire to become an active member of society.

Number of cases handled under this program.

Accused before the Court of Quebec of Sherbrooke, Saguenay and Joliette and for certain offences.

Alternative Measures Program for adults in Indigenous communities

Promote greater participation by Indigenous communities in the administration of justice in their community

Allow communities to re-establish the traditional intervention practices required for their members.

Give communities greater responsibility for the conduct of their members who are in conflict with the law.

Give victims an opportunity to present their point of view and to take part, if they want to do so, in a process of reparation and reconciliation.

Offer solutions that encourage members of the community to:

  • Accept responsibility for their own conduct
  • Play an active role in repairing the harm they have done
  • Deal with the problems that may have led to their conflict with the law.

Since 2001 and revised in 2015

Achieve sustainable social and community reintegration and rehabilitation.

Number of files handled.

Applies exclusively to members of the Indigenous population charged with certain offences.

Ontario
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) Bail Strategy: LAO Bail Project

A multi-stakeholder initiative to improve bail court efficiency and outcomes, and address issues for clients in remand custody. Ten new Duty Counsel Bail Coordinators (BC's) work alongside 10 Bail Vettor Crowns in high-volume bail courts to streamline bail by facilitating discussions of pre-trial release and early resolutions. Six new Institutional Duty Counsel (IDC's) work in six provincial correctional institutions to address client issues and liaise with court duty counsel and external stakeholders, with the goal of filling service gaps and making each court appearance meaningful.

Duty Counsel Bail Coordinators and Institutional Duty Counsel in place as of spring 2017. The positions were made permanent in 2018. Data collection and reporting are in place.

Four months of data (March-June 2018) from eight of ten Bail Coordinator sites show an increasing trend; 4,480 clients were served over this period. Bulk of services are related to preparing client bail plans and negotiating with Crown Bail Vettors. Three months of data (April-June 2018) from four of six Institutional Duty Counsel sites show an increasing trend; 1,243 services provided, with average of 3 IDC services provided per client. 392 client worksheets were initiated by IDC during this period. Summary legal advice and bail preparation made up the bulk of services.

Anticipated benefits are:  improved client service; improved stakeholder relations; reductions in delay and workflow improvements. All Bail Strategy sites (ten courts and six jails) use the electronic interview worksheet to capture client data, streamline client service, and capture outcomes. The strategy has improved relations with the private bar, and improved communications and relations with Crowns and institutions. In some locations, all scheduled bail hearings are being dealt with on the same day, as opposed to being routinely adjourned. When clients refuse to go to court, IDC are able to get instructions for them so their next court appearance is not wasted. IDC also facilitate efficient certificate issuance and build relationships of trust with vulnerable mental health clients. Many courts have noticed fewer delays and more efficient use of court time, addressing R. v. Jordan concerns.

Clients, including vulnerable mental health clients and Indigenous and racialized clients who are over-represented in corrections including in the remand population. Courts and institutions, through reductions in delay and adjournments, and reduced pressure related to high numbers of persons in remand custody.

LAO Bail Strategy: Bail Advocacy and Bail Review Initiatives

The Bail Strategy supports reduction of the remand population by reducing bail system delay as well as by encouraging more appropriate bail releases in cases where public safety is not at risk, through correct application of the “ladder principle” of bail law, which states that a more onerous form of release should not be ordered unless the Crown shows why a less onerous form is inappropriate. The strategy addresses bail and remand issues by supporting high quality bail advocacy and facilitating access to quick bail reviews, to tackle over-reliance on sureties and overly-restrictive bail conditions.

1) Ongoing: development of supports and resources for counsel conducting bail hearings, after R. v. Antic (lunch and learn sessions, standard bail court submissions, bail book with leading cases);  2) Beginning spring 2017, a two year pilot project: 1000 Finch (Toronto) Duty Counsel Best Practices Bail Court , including a focus on quick bail reviews by duty counsel; 3) Effective summer 2015, expanded certificate authorizations for second bail hearings, bail variations, and bail reviews by private bar counsel;  4) improved access to bail review authorizations (effective fall 2018).

Positive results at the 1000 Finch pilot site, including successful duty counsel bail reviews, have led LAO to commit to developing a framework for duty counsel across the province to conduct bail reviews for appropriate cases.

Improved bail practice and processes, and adherence to proper bail principles as set out in the Criminal Code and in R. v. Antic, through high quality bail advocacy and access to fast bail reviews.  R. v. Tunney, 2018 ONSC 961,was argued by LAO duty counsel working at Toronto’s Bail Strategy court pilot site. In Tunney, Justice DiLuca established that a time-saving “bifurcated” approach which does not require an in-court surety approval process should be the norm, rather than a rare occurrence, at bail hearings:  “Using out of court surety approval processes … makes bail hearings simpler, shorter and more focussed.” (para. 40)

Clients, through fairer bail outcomes. Justice system, through an anticipated reduction in administration of justice charges related to unrealistic bail conditions, and a reduction in justice system delay. Correctional system, through an anticipated reduction in remand custody.

School-to-Prison Pipeline Education Grant

Provide funding to Black-led and Black-focussed community-based organizations to deliver legal aid services to Black students who are facing suspension or expulsion.

In July 2017, two $100,000 grants were awarded to TAIBU Community Health Centre in Scarborough and Somali Centre for Family Services (SCFS) in Ottawa. Implementation began shortly thereafter. The program is ongoing, with the funding agreement scheduled to conclude on July 31, 2019.

Reduce the number of Black students who are suspended and expelled from school. Help ensure that these students do not enter the criminal justice system. 

The services provided by TAIBU  resulted in withdrawn suspensions in 33 instances, shortened suspensions in 8 instances, students not being expelled in 28 instances, and students being expelled from the school only (as opposed to all schools in the school board) in 12 instances. The services provided by SCFS resulted in withdrawn suspensions in 14 instances, shortened suspensions in 25 instances, and students not being expelled in 2 instances.

Clients, justice and community partners:

  • initiative helps address systemic issue of overrepresentation of Black youth in suspension and expulsion proceedings
  • studies have shown that suspension and expulsion from school are significant predictors of future engagement with the criminal justice system
  • by basing legal services in community-based organizations, clients are able to receive wraparound services
  • strengthened relationship between LAO and members of Ontario's Black communities

Discretionary Expanded Legal Eligibility Certificates for Vulnerable Clients Not Facing Incarceration

Discretionary access to an expanded legal eligibility certificate for full representation for the following types of cases regardless of the fact that the accused is not likely facing incarceration:  1) the case merits a trial and the accused is a member of a vulnerable client group (someone who self-identifies as First Nation, Métis or Inuit; someone experiencing domestic abuse; someone with mental health issues; or someone who self-identifies as a member of a racialized community) ; 2) the accused is a domestic violence survivor without a criminal record and has been charged with assault against their abusive partner while defending themselves and where the accused (a) self-identifies as First Nation, Métis or Inuit or (b) also has a continuing family matter with LAO or (c) has an ongoing refugee status claim.

Introduced December 2016. Under-utilization of these certificates to date has prompted internal messaging to increase awareness of when it is appropriate to issue them.

Address over-representation of Indigenous and racialized persons in the criminal justice system. Support vulnerable clients including those with mental health issues and those experiencing domestic violence. Assist vulnerable clients with meritorious cases to avoid a criminal record.

Between December 2016 and June 2018, a total of 62 discretionary criminal ELE certificates were issued, with the majority (32 of the 62) being for cases that merit a trial and involving mental health. The second largest number of certificates (14 of the 62) were for cases meriting a trial and involving domestic violence.

Clients and justice system:  vulnerable clients who meet the criteria may be able to avoid a criminal record; early intervention to avoid a criminal record may help clients to avoid future interaction with the justice system; legal assistance for meritorious cases can reduce self-representation, thus avoiding justice system delay.

Application Review and Access Improvements: In-Custody and Out-of-Custody

In-custody application initiatives: Objective is to avoid instances where an accused making an appearance is returned to jail for the sole purpose of completing their legal aid application, where a bail or sentencing hearing is otherwise ready to proceed. The process does not guarantee a certificate, only an assessment of eligibility. LAO is also conducting a full province-wide assessment of all certificate application processes and is in the process of developing a client digital service channel to enable self-access and seamless service delivery online. Adding digital service channels to the overall service model will significantly expand access, improve client experience and gain efficiencies.

Individual initiatives related to in-custody applications in progress beginning in 2017-2018 (Toronto South Detention Centre, where counsel may make certificate applications for in-custody clients by submitting an application form) and continuing in 2018-2019. Same-day in-custody assessments, piloted in Ottawa since August 2018, will be rolled out province wide in 2018-2019.

Goals for in-custody application review and improvements are to: expedite service; simplify processes and reduce steps where possible; coordinate in-custody applications across service channels (by phone using the dedicated inmate phone line; by video; in person at court); assist vulnerable clients.

Same-day in-custody application process, where counsel is ready to proceed in a meaningful way, to be rolled out to courthouses across the province in 2018-2019. The client digital service channel is under development and will be implemented in phases to ensure appropriate safeguards. The creation of KPI’s will ensure proper reporting and support all channels within the service model.

In-custody assessments: Clients; courts, and justice system. Clients, and particularly those from vulnerable groups facing additional barriers, receive access to legal assistance earlier; fewer adjournments as a result. Ensures that no accused person will have to be remanded in to custody for the sole reason of making a legal aid application.

Service Integration - Duty Counsel Worksheet

Deploy and continue to improve online worksheet to capture bring-forward and service information about clients to improve client service, improve record-keeping and better understand (through enhanced reporting) services delivered. Obtain better data and understanding of issues related to bail and delay in criminal courts.

Deployment was completed in January 2018. System stabilization and optimization throughout June 2018. Worksheet has been updated to include fields to identify reasons for adjournments, and tracking of bail conditions.

As of March 2017, the system had approximately 100 users in 20 locations. As of December 2017, the system was in place at 121 criminal court locations.

Have system available at all court sites. Target is to have all duty counsel services recorded through the system.

Clients: improved services and record-keeping. Justice system partners: more accurate records; reduced appearances; more accurate reports resulting in better allocation of scarce resources.

Embedded Counsel Programs:

Justice In Time and C – Court Project

Hamilton Legal Outreach

 Provision of legal services to clients with complex mental health and addiction needs, and intersecting legal challenges including in criminal and quasi-criminal law, through a community partnership "embedded counsel" model. In Toronto the Justice In Time project places a legal aid staff lawyer in a mental health multiservice agency who provides summary legal advice and connects clients to legal aid services and makes referrals. The lawyer also provides representation for clients with POA matters. The program provides public legal education and works for justice reform in areas of law that impact their client

The Hamilton Legal Outreach program is a partnership between the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and LAO where clinic and LAO staff lawyers attend community service sites to provide summary legal advice and referral services for clients with mental health and poverty needs. Sites include a doctor’s office affiliated with McMaster University’s medical school, a psychiatric crisis centre, aboriginal health centre, youth shelter and a food bank. A social worker from the legal clinic provides warm referrals and further assistance to clients with acute mental health needs.

Justice In Time was introduced in 2016 as a two year project and is ongoing

Hamilton Legal Outreach commenced in 2015 and is ongoing

Improving legal outcomes for persons with mental health issues and assist those persons and their support workers with navigating the justice system and accessing legal aid services.

Provide clients and community service partners with legal information relevant to persons with mental health needs as well as information about legal aid services.

Both programs regularly survey clients and community service partners as well as track key performance metrics and produce regular reports outlining the program performance.

Performance measures from clients and community service partners from both programs indicate that embedded counsel programs have been a success

Clients with mental health issues (able to receive community-based support for their intersecting needs earlier in the process); justice system partners (support provided to high-needs clients supports avoidance of entanglement or re-entanglement with the criminal justice system); health care and community services providers.

Project Rosemary

Project Rosemary is the name given to LAO's program to collect and analyze information about the race of applicants and clients of legal aid to support evidence-based service planning.

Developed Race-Based Question and implementation of technical aspects of Project Rosemary (September and December 2017). Developed and delivered training to LAO Staff (January to April 2018).  Data collection began April 1, 2018 as planned.

Data collection began April 1, 2018.

Race-Based Question (RBQ) to be asked and answer to be recorded (including “chose not to answer”) 95% of the time. Answers (including “prefer not to self-identify my
race”) to be gathered for 110,000 people per year.

Clients and justice system will benefit, as project enables LAO to:

  • verify, monitor, measure and address gaps, trends, progress and perceptions
  • proactively identify opportunities for improvement and growth
  • improve the quality of decision-making, service delivery, and programming
  • enhance perceptions of being progressive leaders in their sector or industry
  • achieve organizational goals and strategic objectives.

Aboriginal Self Identification Question (ASIQ)

Strengthen and expand LAO's ability to collect data on services to Indigenous clients, including by expanding data collection beyond certificate services to include duty counsel services.

LAO rolled out Indigenous Self Identification Training over June 2017 to all staff to assist them in asking clients whether they self-identify as First Nation, Métis, or Inuit and to gain a better understanding of the complexities of Identity. The Service Integration Duty Counsel Worksheet is being used by duty counsel to track data. The ASIQ was reconfigured in December 2017 to improve the way in which information is collected and recorded.

Training completed by all staff. Service Integration worksheet is being used by duty counsel.

Have data collected by duty counsel using the Service Integration worksheet; improved compliance by duty counsel using the Aboriginal Self Identification question

Clients, justice system partners. LAO better able to develop and customize services and programs to serve Indigenous clients and better able to meet the goals of its Aboriginal Justice Strategy.

Expanded Access to Gladue Services and Improved Local Access for Indigenous Clients

Continue to support the goals of LAO's Aboriginal Justice Strategy and meet the needs of Indigenous Clients.

Continue to sustain expanded Gladue services province wide and introduce new place-based services that meet the needs of communities. In 2018-2019 LAO plans to review its provision of Gladue services as part of a ten-year review of the Aboriginal Justice Strategy.

LAO continues to provide funding to Aboriginal Legal Services, Grand Council Treaty #3 and Nishnawbe-Aski Legal Services Corporation to provide Gladue Report writing services; LAO has established duty counsel services at both the Ottawa and Cayuga newly launched Indigenous Peoples Court; supported community ownership by transferring criminal and family legal advice services to Six Nations of the Grand River`s Justice Program to oversee and manage; piloted an exemption at Six Nations to the requirement of prior approval for lawyers providing advice services to acknowledge certificates.

Availability of Gladue report writing services province-wide. Strengthening of local and place-based services that respect the needs of communities.

Clients; justice system partners; stronger relationships between LAO and Indigenous communities.

Manitoba
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Weekend Duty Counsel Pilot Project

In conjunction with Manitoba Justice, this project seeks to reduce and avoid unnecessary delay of matters appearing on bail docket. The new process should be more efficient than the old process.

Trial period: May to December, 2018 with a view to permanent implementation

Avoiding delays where counsel are not available.  Faster resolution of matters resulting from the presence of decision makers (client, counsel, and Crown on weekends and dedicated judges on Monday and Tuesdays.

Reduction of time to release / time to disposition.

Clients, courts, remand centre, Legal Aid Manitoba (LAM) and private bar

Access to Justice Report published in partnership with Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Report on the inventory of service providers delivering access to justice and reporting on efficiency and effectiveness of those organizations in bringing those services to Manitobans.

Published in October, 2017

Complete inventory as of Fall, 2017 of access to justice services offered in Manitoba

Distribution of publication to general public; increase awareness of services; and identifiable gaps in service

general public, agencies, justice stakeholders

Updated Strategic Plan

Focusing on four strategic goals to improve access to justice for Manitobans.

Development: Fall, 2017; implementation: 2018/19 to 2023/24

https://www.legalaid.mb.ca/wp-content/WordPress/PDF/LAM_Strategic_Plan.pdf

All stakeholders including clients

E-application – Agencies and General Public

Implement an electronic application for use by agencies and the general public.

I&R version rolled out in May, 2017; full version in Sept., 2017

Observed decreased time to process applications, decreased error rates due to transcription; increase data collection.

Applications received from agencies and the public (this was not an option before).

Clients, LAM  and private bar

Indigenous, Inuit, and Metis cultural-competency training

Provide all staff with tools to better service this group of clients through cultural competency training including legacy of residential schools and 60's scoop in accordance with TRC recommendations. 27 & 28.

Various sessions over 2017-18

Staff gain a better understanding of Indigenous, Inuit, and Metis issues and are better able to assist applicants and clients.

Clients receive better representation resulting in fewer changes of counsel, higher quality of service, better client/counsel relationships.

Clients, staff

Engagement with Indigenous Nations and Peoples

Engage with Indigenous Nations and peoples to organize educational retreats and events respecting issues of reconciliation, Indigenous legal systems, and MMIWG.

Various sessions over 2017-18 and on-going

Better relationships with Indigenous leaders and communities; improved services.

Increase the number of opportunities available to participate in Indigenous-led justice innovations. More opportunities for addressing systemic discrimination.

Clients, staff, justice stakeholders

Cross-cultural competency training

Provide staff who interact with immigrants and refugees with tools to better service this group of clients

March, 2018; on-going

Staff gain a better understanding of immigrants and refugees and are better able to assist them regardless of the type of service they are seeking

Applications contain more and better information regarding services needed.  Approved clients receive better representation

Clients, staff

On-demand representation for asylum seekers

Provide on-demand representation services to individuals detained by the CBSA on short notice.

Implementation: summer, 2017

LAM is able to match applicants attending an IRB hearing with counsel within one hour of LAM receiving notification of the hearing date/time.

Applicants have legal representation for initial and subsequent IRB detention review hearings.

Asylum seekers, IRB officers

Mental Health Review Board (MHRB) duty counsel pilot project

Provide on-demand representation services to individuals involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act.

Implementation: summer, 2017

LAM is able to match applicants with counsel within 20 minutes of LAM receiving notification of the hearing date/time.

Applicants have legal representation for initial and subsequent MHRB review hearings.

Clients, LAM, MHRB  and private bar

Collaborative law training for staff lawyers

To provide additional out-of-court resolution training to staff in advance to changes to federal and provincial procedures and legislation.

Winter, 2018

Staff lawyers will have appropriate training to offer out-of-court family dispute resolution services to clients.

Increase in the number of matters resolved using an out-of-court family dispute resolution process.

Clients, justice system stakeholders, staff

Saskatchewan
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Application Centre

This centre takes phone and online applications from across the province and country.

Soft launch Sept 28, 2018

Increased hours for applications; more consistent application process

Number of applications; length of wait time; length of application

Clients

Sunday remand work - Crown and Defense counsel met on Sundays to resolve cases for Monday

Reduces the amount of time spent on remand

Began January 2017; expanded in 2018

Reduction in remand

Number of remand days

Clients

Rapid Remand Resolution - Crown and defense meet each day to resolve files that day

Reduces the amount of time spent on remand

Began October 1, 2018

Reduction in remand

Number of remand days

Clients

Time keeping - staff lawyers will time keep on their files

Increased accountability; demonstration of where time is spent.

Staggered rollout started May 1, 2018

 

 

 

Alberta
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Roster representation committee

Establish a means for Roster input to changes

Finished in 2018/2019

Committee in place

 

Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) system/ clients/ staff & roster

Metis youth advocacy co-ordinator

Establish a role with responsibility for assisting Metis clients

 Feb 2018

Role is developed and person is in place

 

Metis communities in Alberta/ Metis clients

British Columbia
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

Expanded Criminal Duty Counsel

Increase early resolution of cases; Increase the scope of recipients of criminal legal aid services;  reduce the number of court appearances, increase continuity of service for clients

Pilot timeline April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017. Ongoing program funding to continue at one or more locations; plan to open a second location in 2018/19.

Independent evaluation found evidence of early resolution of cases, reduced court appearances, and expansion of legal aid service for clients not otherwise eligible for legal representation, and increased continuity for clients.

time to resolution, # of appearances, volume of clients (total); volume of eligible clients  not eligible for full representation services; proportion of resolutions achieved

All clients facing a criminal matter in the program court location, but in particular those clients with matters that can be resolved without trial and those not eligible for full representation services but eligible for this service; judges, crown, court services in the program locations, due to increased efficiencies; complementary justice system initiatives with similar aims.

Yukon
Name of Innovation/Program Objective(s) Timeline Expected/Actual Outcome(s) Performance Measure(s) Beneficiaries

New Database (CRM plus incorporation/migration of existing data)

Customize new system so it can help improve processes and meet statistical reporting requirements.

January 1, 2018 - September 30, 2020

Updated database/statistical tracking system that can meet our current operational and reporting needs.

 

YLSS, YTG Gov, Federal Gov, Clients who will receive expedited services through upgraded system and improved processes.

Website upgrade and rebranding with logo image

Update the 10+ year old website and rebrand YLSS with a logo, stationary and business cards. All clinic offices to be standardized.

 

Make it more user friendly and include better information for users / Yukoners and others seeking information.

 

Clients, anyone interested in learning more about legal aid.

Mobile phone and laptop program. Other technological advances and improvements to IT infrastructure

Introduce mobile reimbursement plan and laptop computer use policies, upgrade and improve IT infrastructure to reduce server and email disruptions

 

Need to modernize processes. Staff happy about reimbursements and laptops but constantly frustrated with IT failures and consistent disruptions to systems we rely on such as client database, emails, etc.

 

YLSS staff, clients

Introduction of new programs and services: consultations

Staff to provide consultations in the areas of child protection, mental health and poverty law.

Started January 2018 - ongoing

These new services have been working well for the first few months. Clients are very grateful and we seem to be "filling a gap in justice."

 

Clients

Community info sessions

Community visits to offer info sessions on our services and Crim/Family law matters 101.

Started in 2018. Two sessions were offered in FY18.

Community contacts show a great interest in this. Visits conducted to date have been very successful. The only issue is finding time to make them happen.

 

Clients 

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