Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 44

Wednesday, November 1, 2006
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


Funding for Legal Aid

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Will her government commit to restoring the funding for legal aid? When the Minister of Justice met with his provincial counterparts, it is my understanding that no commitment was made to restore the funding. Will the government restore some legal aid funding on a permanent basis?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): I thank the Honourable Senator Jaffer for her question. Our government and the previous government are well aware that the provinces and territories are experiencing considerable pressure in the area of legal aid, for which the federal funding was scheduled to end on March 31, 2006. However, this government decided to extend the existing funding levels for one year. The extension will allow the Government of Canada to work closely with the provincial and territorial officials to develop a long-term approach to legal aid. Many are aware that the problem is not only the money but also the entire structure of the legal aid system, which needs to be looked at by the provinces and territories.

The funding has been extended to March 2007 so that the government can work with the provinces and the territories to develop a long-term approach to a legal aid system.