LAO newsroom: News archives



Legal aid certificate and service trends

Posted: Friday, May 23, 2014


Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has heard several questions surrounding the decrease in legal aid certificates being issued.


The decline in criminal charges

As the graphs below indicate, both criminal charges laid and criminal charges which would be eligible for certificate covered by LAO have been following the same trend since 2008/09.

As they show, criminal charges received in Ontarios courts have decreased by 5.7 per cent over the past three years, and charges which were covered by LAO have decreased by 8.5 per cent. Charges covered by certificates and duty counsel assists very closely follow the trends of the charges received in the Ontario Court of Justice. Total applications received have decreased by 8 per cent compared to the same period last year.


Criminal charges covered by LAO vs. total charges (MAG)

Criminal charges covered by LAO vs. Total charges (MAG)

Year

LAO

MAG

2008-09

265,320

607,860

2009-10

256,840

602,282

2010-11

218,831

573,047

2011-12

225,420

582,067

2012-13

200,072

540,389



Youth criminal charges covered vs. total youth criminal charges (MAG)

Youth criminal charges covered by LAO vs. Total charges (MAG)

Year

LAO

MAG

2008-09

33,570

81,766

2009-10

31,418

78,117

2010-11

26,080

66,966

2011-12

25,762

67,451

2012-13

19,656

54,766



Changes to refugee legislation

New federal refugee legislation introduced on Dec. 15, 2012 heralded a 50 to 60 per cent drop in certificate application as well as a subsequent increase in calls to LAOs toll-free telephone service.

LAO has ensured a stable certificate approval rate for this group and has issued a certificate for approximately 94 per cent of refugee applications taken since the new legislation came into effect.


Increase in LAO services

The total number of LAO services has increased, through the introduction of new delivery channels such as its toll-free telephone line, free summary legal advice over the telephone and at family law service centres, and free online legal information.

Since 2010, LAOs toll-free line has increased its number of assists by 101 per cent. To meet this demand, LAO increased the number of staff providing direct client services (as a percentage of total LAO staff) by 156 per cent — from 23 per cent in 2009/10 to 59 per cent in the first quarter of 2013/14.

LAO has also added 52 new pages of information for refugee claimants and lawyers to its public legal information website, Lawfacts.ca The pages include an overview of legal expectations and requirements, and explanations on how to complete a Basis of Claim form and the refugee claim timelines. These pages were viewed more than 27,000 times between December 2012 and March 2014.


Questions

Genevieve Oger
Bilingual Senior Communications Media Relations Officer
Phone: (416) 979-2352, ext.5208
Cell: (416) 768-4461
Email: ogerg@lao.on.ca or media@lao.on.ca