Interim agreement with government averts legal aid job action scheduled for April 1st

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Negotiations over the past month between the B.C. government and the Association of Legal Aid Lawyers (A.L.L.) has resulted in an interim agreement to head off job action scheduled for Monday that would have limited or suspended the provision of legal aid services.

The 624 members overwhelmingly voted in favour of accepting the government’s proposal that provides for a grant of $7.94 million to support development of a new framework for legal aid funding and an interim 25 per cent increase in payment to legal aid lawyers during the six-month period from April 28 until October 31, 2019.

This interim agreement is an important recognition by this government that legal aid lawyers are being taken seriously. It is an endorsement by legal aid lawyers that the Government of B.C. will continue to bargain in good faith with a goal to permanently improve the legal aid system. This benefits each and every British Columbia resident.

Historically B.C.’s legal aid budget did not come close to meeting the needs of vulnerable and marginalized people in British Columbia. As a result, they are not receiving the legal help they need. Too many people facing difficult family, child-protection, immigration and criminal law problems are having to go to court alone.

B.C.’s Legal Aid lawyers have only had one pay raise in 28 years. That was in 2006 when there was a modest increase to the hourly rate of approximately 10 per cent.

A.L.L. negotiators Marilyn Sandford, Chris Johnson and Richard Fowler state: “This interim agreement reflects the government and Minister Eby’s recognition of the history of underfunding of legal aid and the important work legal aid lawyers do to provide services to the most vulnerable people in the province.”

For more information

Ross Sullivan
Peak Communicators
Ph: 604 689-5559
Cell: 604 802-7139