April 2022, Alberta’s minister of justice and attorney general instructed Legal Aid Alberta to conduct a modernization review of the legal aid system. They submitted their recommendations to the minister in October. The review will benefit the roster by simplifying certificate management and administration, simplifying billing under the tariff and ensuring adequate compensation for substantive work required on a file.
Also in October, an in-year increase within the existing budget envelope was made possible due to increased federal funding, allowing Alberta’s government to increase the tariff, financial eligibility guidelines and block billing by 8.225 per cent. The hourly tariff rate of $92.40 for roster lawyers was increased to $100 per hour, making Alberta’s hourly tariff rate the fourth highest among provinces.
With modernization work on its way to being implemented, Alberta’s government has approved a further 25 per cent increase to the tariff rate and block billing for legal aid lawyers to $125 per hour from $100 per hour.
“I want to thank all legal aid lawyers for their patience and advocacy as we have worked our way through the review. Our commitment to review all aspects of legal aid funding remains in place and will be completed in the new year. I also want to commend my colleagues and Premier Smith, who recognized the need for further funding for the legal aid system.”
Legal Aid Alberta will update internal systems and prepare to implement the modernization recommendations in spring 2023.
- The tariff rate is how much roster lawyers are paid to do legal aid work.
- Financial eligibility guidelines is a calculation used to determine eligibility to receive representation through legal aid.
- The Alberta Law Foundation, the Government of Alberta and the federal government fund legal aid