“We recognize that legal aid is an important tool for many Albertans who may face financial barriers in accessing legal supports and would like to reassure those Albertans that supports will continue to be available.

“Over the last nine years, Legal Aid Alberta's grant funding from the Alberta Government has almost doubled, growing from $66 million in Budget 2015 to $110 million in Budget 2024, with expenditures projected to be over $138 million this year. Obviously, this funding growth is unsustainable.

“Even more puzzling to our government is the fact that despite this massive increase in funding, Legal Aid Alberta is not materially expanding the number of clients it serves, nor is it being forthcoming with a credible explanation or details as to why this is the case.

“Albertans expect their government to be responsible with their hard-earned tax dollars.

“Beginning in March of this year, the Ministry of Justice, Legal Aid Alberta and the Law Society of Alberta have been negotiating a new governance agreement to ensure sustainability, transparency and financial accountability, while maintaining the independence of Legal Aid Alberta to provide independent legal advice to its clients.

“As the current funding agreement expired on June 30, we have offered to extend the existing funding agreement to ensure the delivery of legal services by Legal Aid Alberta continues unaltered while we continue to work with Legal Aid Alberta on the new funding agreement with strengthened transparency and accountability measures.

“The Law Society of Alberta’s role as regulator of the legal profession remains unchanged, and they will continue to be involved in legal aid board governance via the bylaws of Legal Aid Alberta.

“The funds our government has already provided Legal Aid Alberta in this budget year are more than sufficient to maintain a strong roster of lawyers as well as day-to-day operations in the coming months, pending finalization of the new funding agreement. Alberta’s government remains committed to ensuring Albertans have access to legal aid services.”

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