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29 J.L. & Soc. Pol'y 1 (2018)

handle is hein.journals/jlsp29 and id is 1 raw text is: 
Zemans and Amaral: A Current Assessment of Legal Aid in Ontario

A Current Assessment of Legal Aid in Ontario


      Cet article porte sur l'6volution des services d'aide juridique en Ontario ces deux
      dernires d6cennies. En tenant compte de l'inflation, les auteurs ont constat6 le d6clin Ai
      long terme des d6penses par personne consacrdes aux services d'aide juridique du
      gouvernement f6d6ral (malgr6 quelques remont6es cycliques), ce qui a des r6percussions
      n6gatives sur 'acc~s d la justice des personnes ayant besoin d'aide juridique. Depuis les
      coupures effectu6es au milieu des ann6es 1990, les lignes directrices sur 'admissibilit6
      demeurent en ddcalage d 1'6chelle provinciale par rapport aux vraies faqons de mesurer
      la pauvret6, comme les seuils de faible revenu de Statistique Canada. De plus, le
      financement par personne commence tout juste Ai augmenter. Dans la province, la gamme
      de foumisseurs de services d'aide juridique est composde de moins d'avocat.e.s
      acceptant des certificats d'aide juridique et d'avocat.e.s de service r6munr6s Ai la journ6e
      qu'auparavant. L'arrivde rdcente de nouveaux foumisseurs de service et d'innovations
      technologiques, motivde par un ddsir de rdduire les coits et d'amdliorer les services
      offerts d la clientele, a donn6 certains rdsultats positifs. Toutefois, les recherches n'ont
      pas encore 6tabli si les nouveaux fournisseurs de service et les nouvelles technologies
      viennent simplement maintenir les niveaux de services ant6rieurs plut6t que les bonifier.
      Les auteurs concluent que les 6volutions qu'ils ddcrivent ndcessitent davantage de
      recherche, tout comme la fayon dont les services d'aide juridique peuvent 6tre amdliords
      et 61argis d l'avenir.

      This article explores the development of legal aid services in Ontario over the past two
      decades. The authors find that per capita inflation-adjusted spending on legal aid services
      by the federal government has been in long-term decline (albeit with periodic upturns)
      with resulting negative impacts on access to justice for those in need of legal assistance.
      At the provincial level, since cuts made in the mid-1990s, financial eligibility guidelines
      have remained out of line with real measures of poverty, such as Statistics Canada's low-
      income cut-offs, and per capita funding has only recently increased. The mix of legal aid
      service providers in the province consists of fewer certificate lawyers and per-diem duty
      counsel than in the past. The recent introduction of new service providers and
      technological innovations-driven by a desire to both reduce costs and improve client
      services-may have produced some positive outcomes, however, research has not yet
      established whether new    service providers and new      technologies are simply
      backstopping, rather than augmenting, prior levels of service. The authors conclude that
      there is a need for more research on the developments they describe and on how legal aid
      services can be enhanced and expanded in the future.

LEGAL AID SYSTEMS IN CANADA, as we now know them, date from the mid-to-late 1960s.
Their early years have been chronicled elsewhere.' This article deals primarily with current

* Frederick Zemans is a Professor Emeritus at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Justin Amaral received
his JD from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2016 and practices labour, employment, human rights, and disability law.

Published by Osgoode Digital Commons, 2018

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