EDMONTON –NDP Leader and Justice critic Rachel Notley is calling on the PCs to find a meaningful, long term solution to the legal aid crisis in Alberta.
Justice Minister, Jonathon Denis announced new funding for legal aid today, but said the money is a one-time infusion and may not be included again in the next provincial budget.
“Today’s funding announcement comes too little, too late. This $5.5 million is drop in the bucket of what is actually needed to ensure Albertans have fair access to justice in this province,” said Notley.
Legal Aid Alberta said earlier this year that it needs at least another $8 million per year to continue to operate. It has predicted a $15 million dollar deficit by 2016-2017.
“It’s not enough. Albertans who work a full time job and make minimum wage are still making too much money to qualify for legal aid. They are being denied their fundamental right of access to justice because they can’t afford representation,” said Notley.
The Alberta New Democrats are calling for the PCs to commit to long-term funding for Legal Aid Alberta.
“The PCs need to prove to Albertans that they take responsibility for justice in this province by committing to funding legal aid, long term rather than a one-time infusion that leaves Legal Aid $10 million dollars short of what it needs to keep its doors open,” said Notley.