Infographic: Legal Aid in Canada 2021-22
Infographic: Legal Aid in Canada 2021-22 – Text version
Legal Aid in Canada
The annual legal aid report presents data on legal aid delivery in Canada. This infographic presents trend data over five years from 2017-18 to 2021-22.
Expenditures began to increase in 2021-22 after a pandemic low, while administrative costs continue trending downward. There were $978 million in expenditures and $162 million in administrative costs in 2021-22.
Legal aid plan revenues have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels
- 2017-18 contributions: $831 million from PTs, $164 million from Justice Canada, $88 million other
- 2018-19 contributions: $834 million from PTs, $167 million from Justice Canada, $126 million other
- 2019-20 contributions: $714 million from PTs, $202 million from Justice Canada, $167 million other
- 2020-21 contributions: $717 million from PTs, $199 million from Justice Canada, $79 million other
- 2021-22 contributions: $697 million from PTs, $195 million from Justice Canada, $78 million other
* Administrative costs have decreased due to operational disruptions attributed to COVID-19.
Expenditures, costs, and revenue are reported in 2022 constant dollars to make comparisons between years more accurate. Constant dollar comparison calculated on March 6, 2023
The number of legal aid applications and duty counsel assists began to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2021-22 after hitting a pandemic low
- 2017-18 total applications received: 598,848; total duty counsel assists: 1,214,222
- 2018-19 total applications received: 593,676; total duty counsel assists: 1,229,291
- 2019-20 total applications received: 559,279; total duty counsel assists: 1,204,877
- 2020-21 total applications received: 458,149; total duty counsel assists: 742,082
- 2021-22 total applications received: 493,372; total duty counsel assists: 1,161,853
The approval rate of legal aid applications increased slightly between 2017-18 and 2019-20, and has decreased in the past two years.
- Criminal applications went from 82% approved in 2017-18 to 82% approved in 2021-22
- Civil** applications went from 79% approved 2017-18 to 78% approved in 2021-22
- Total applications went from 76% approved in 2017-18 to 73% approved in 2021-22
**Includes Immigration and Refugee (I&R) matters
Application characteristics 3
- The majority of legal aid applicants are male (61% average). A large proportion of applicants are between 18 and 34 years of age (43% average). These proportions have remained stable over the past 5 years.
- Slightly over half of applications are for criminal matters (53%) and the most common reason for refusing an application is financial ineligibility (55%). Application type has remained stable, and the proportion of applications refused for financial inelibibilty has increased in the past two years.
- Expenditures are payments made by legal aid plans to private law firms for the delivery of legal services and the costs of legal services delivered by legal aid plan staff.
- Duty counsel assists are 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.
- 5 year average proportion.
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