In any three-year period, almost half of Canadians over 18 will come up against a legal issue. It could be something like a child custody problem, or wrongful firing, or unjust eviction. Inadequate funding of justice services means too many people don’t have the legal help they need when these issues arise. This results in self-representation, overcrowded court rooms, or even people reverting to the internet for legal advice. People who represent themselves in court almost always get poorer outcomes, sometimes losing rights to things they should have.

Unresolved legal problems also cost governments at least $800 million a year – for additional social assistance, employment insurance, healthcare and emergency housing. Cost-benefit research suggests that $1 spent on legal aid saves about $6 on other social services.

Governments need to invest more and be more creative to fix this situation.

Stable, sustainable legal aid funding is an access to justice issue. You can make it an election issue. 

Speak up! Be social! Check out these stories and join the social media conversation by sharing the messages and images. Be sure to follow the CBA’s social media accounts and use the #LegalAidMatters and don’t forget to tag the CBA.

Ask questions! When candidates come knocking at your door, ask them if their Party will make legal aid a priority.