The eligibility threshold for legal aid has increased by 5.6% to keep pace with the recent increase in the minimum wage, announced on Tuesday the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette, and the President of the Legal Services Commission, Me Daniel LaFrance.
This increase is intended to promote access to legal aid for people earning the minimum wage. Thus, anyone working 35 hours a week at minimum wage for an annual salary of $25,935 will be able to obtain the services of a legal aid lawyer, free of charge.
“Accessibility to justice is essential for the government and this notably involves legal aid services. In fact, the services offered by the Commission des services juridiques and by the lawyers who fulfill legal aid mandates are essential and beneficial for the most vulnerable citizens,” declared Mr. Jolin-Barrette.
A contributory component is also offered to people who cannot afford the usual fees of a lawyer. This component also offers a formula that allows eligible persons to know in advance the maximum cost of the fees of the lawyer who will represent them as well as the costs that could be claimed from them.
“This component allows a person to receive legal services if their income, property and liquid assets correspond to the eligibility scale in effect and if they pay a financial contribution varying between $100 and $800, depending on their family composition and financial situation. “, he said in a press release.
Without the indexation of the eligibility thresholds based on the minimum wage, more than 23,000 people would not have had access to legal aid for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, estimates the Commission des services juridiques.