Legal aid offices, LawLINE, and CASL closing today

VICTORIA, March 26 /CNW/ - Today, five regional legal aid offices are shutting their doors, as are the LawLINE and the Community Advocate Support Line (CASL), all of which are operated by the Legal Services Society of B.C. (LSS).

"This is a very sad day" says Kathleen Kendall, President of the Professional Employees Association, the union representing the lawyers working for LSS. "With the closure of these regional legal aid offices, the LawLINE, and CASL, accessing justice will become much harder for those requiring legal aid."

In April of 2009, LSS made huge reductions in staffing and services due to budget shortfalls. Six months later, a second round of cuts was announced which takes effect today through the closure of regional centres in Kamloops, Kelowna, Prince George, Surrey, and Victoria, and the two legal aid phone lines.

"Since April of 2009, LSS has reduced its collection of staff lawyers from 32 to 21, and as of the end of the day today, only 5 remain" tells Kendall, who is also a staff lawyer working her last day today in the Kamloops LSS office.

Employees at the Legal Services Society will be holding a small information rally today at noon in front of the organization's Downtown Vancouver headquarters at 510 Burrard St.

The Professional Employees Association is an independent union representing professionals in B.C.'s public and private sectors, including lawyers at the Legal Services Society of B.C.

SOURCE Professional Employees Association

For further information: For further information: Jodi Jensen, Executive Director, Professional Employees Association, (250) 385-8791

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