Increase in Eligibility Thresholds: A Historical Catch-up

MONTRÉAL, Dec. 29, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Me Denis Roy, Chairman of the Commission des services juridiques, and Ms. Stéphanie Vallée, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, are very pleased to announce a 17.75% increase in the eligibility thresholds for free legal aid as of January 1, 2016. Among other things, the increase will allow a person who is single and works a 35-hour week at minimum wage to be eligible for legal aid at no cost.

"This second increase in two years is the culmination of a historical catch-up process to match access to free legal aid to the minimum wage," stated Me Denis Roy, Chairman of the Commission des services juridiques.

As a result, a person with an annual income of $19,201 will have access to a lawyer, at no cost, within the framework of the legal aid system. For other categories of applicants, the thresholds will be increased by the same percentage, based on the composition of their family. For example, legal aid services will be free to a family of two adults and two children whose income is less than $31,485.

"This is a major step forward for access to justice. The increase, together with the coming into force of the new Code of Civil Procedure on January 1, 2016, will provide low-income earners with better access to our justice system. Via this concrete measure thousands more will be able to avail themselves of legal services at no cost or for a lower contribution," stated Minister Stéphanie Vallée.

The Québec legal aid plan includes a component for individuals whose income falls between the eligibility thresholds for free legal aid and the maximum thresholds requiring a contribution (contributory legal aid). In the majority of cases, the increase in the eligibility thresholds for free legal aid will reduce the amount of the contribution required to have access to the services of a lawyer. For example, before the increase, a mother with two dependent children and employment income of $25,000 would have been required to pay $300 in order to be entitled to legal aid. As of January 1, 2016, she will be entitled to free legal aid.

The changes to the eligibility criteria for legal aid will affect working people with modest incomes as well as seniors whose principal source of income is their Old Age Security benefits and the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

The new eligibility scale for services at no cost is as follows:

Class of Applicant

Maximum Annual Income



For a single person

$19,201

For an applicant whose family is comprised of :



one adult and one child...............................................

$23,490


one adult and 2 children or +.......................................

$25,077


spouses without children  ...........................................

$26,720


spouses with 1 child....................................................

$29,897


spouses with 2 children or +........................................

$31,484

 

The new eligibility scale for legal aid under the contributory scheme is as follows:

Class of Applicant

Maximum Annual Income



For a single person.............................................................

$26,818

For an applicant whose family is comprised of : 



one adult and one child...............................................

$32,807


one adult and 2 children or +.......................................

$35,024


spouses without children  ...........................................

$37,324


spouses with 1 child....................................................

$41,757


spouses with 2 children or +........................................

$43,975

 

For a complete list of the legal aid eligibility thresholds, please visit the website of the Ministère de la Justice at: http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/english/ministere/dossiers/aide/seuils_aide-a.htm

About the Commission des services juridiques
The Commission des services juridiques is the agency charged with applying the Act respecting legal aid and the provision of certain other legal services in Québec. Legal aid may be granted to anyone who is financially eligible, in order to cover various legal services involving civil, family, administrative, criminal, health, immigration or youth law matters. It is also the agency charged with offering the services provided for in the Act to promote access to justice in family matters, namely, the Homologation Assistance Service (HAS), which has been in effect since October, 10, 2013, and the Service administratif de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants (SARPA), a child support recalculation service which has been in effect since April, 1st, 2014.

For more information, please visit the Web site of the Commission des services juridiques at: http://www.csj.qc.ca.

Source:

Me Richard La Charité

Director, Communications Department

Commission des services juridiques

514-873-3562, ext. 261

rlacharite@csj.qc.ca

Information:

Jolyane Pronovost, Press attaché

Le Cabinet de la ministre de la Justice, Procureure générale

et ministre responsable de la Condition féminine

418-643-4210

 

Paul-Jean Charest, Media relations

Ministère de la Justice du Québec

418-644-3947, ext. 20932

 

SOURCE Commission des services juridiques

For further information: Source: Me Richard La Charité, Director, Communications Department, Commission des services juridiques, 514-873-3562, ext. 261, rlacharite@csj.qc.ca; Information: Jolyane Pronovost, Press attaché, Le Cabinet de la ministre de la Justice, Procureure générale et ministre responsable de la Condition féminine, 418-643-4210; Paul-Jean Charest, Media relations, Ministère de la Justice du Québec, 418-644-3947, ext. 20932

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http://www.csj.qc.ca

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