News & Events
Justice system staggering under weight of federal reforms: bar association
Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson dodged a call Monday from the Canadian Bar Association demanding a review of federal legal-aid funding to ensure money for defence is keeping up with the pace of federal justice reforms.
Members of the association's national council maintain federal tough-on-crime legislation will mean more trials and more jail time for more accused in an already strained justice system. The council passed a resolution over the weekend urging Ottawa for the review.
But Nicholson said his government has increased funding for legal aid.
"I know that over the years that I've been justice minister we've boosted the annual amount from $81 (million) to $111 million per year. There's a total commitment of $560 million to the legal-aid system," Nicholson told hundreds of lawyers attending the association's annual conference in Vancouver.
"We've maintained our funding levels even in this time of restraint."