VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – New provincial plans for a Parents Legal Centre do little to address a big funding shortfall for legal aid, according to the Trial Lawyers’ Association.
“If you total all [current funding], it’s about $80-million,” says Bentley Doyle with the TLA. “That is, in today’s dollars, it’s less than funding it 20 years ago. On a per-capita basis, BC is one of the worst in Canada.”
Doyle says the problem could be solved by simply taking the tax applied to legal services and pumping it back in to fund legal aid — what he says was the original intention of that tax in the first place.
“$145-million is coming in by way of the provincial tax on legal services,” says Doyle. “It’s an unfair tax, and as long as it’s being taken in, it should be applied to legal aid.”
Doyle says he doesn’t oppose the pilot project, which will cost the province about $300,000 a year, but says there’s much more the province can do to help low income people using the court system.