Criminal Lawyers' Association Welcomes the 2007 Ontario Budget and Additional Legal Aid Funding

    TORONTO, March 22 /CNW/ - The Criminal Lawyers' Association congratulates
the McGuinty Government and Minister Sorbara on the 2007 Ontario Budget
released today that will help reduce social disparities in our justice system
through additional legal aid funding.
    "With today's additional funding for Legal Aid Ontario, the government
has ensured that more low income Ontarians will have proper representation in
our legal system," said Louise Botham, President of the Criminal Lawyers'
    In a recent public opinion poll commissioned by Legal Aid Ontario, more
than 85 per cent of Ontario residents supported providing legal aid services
for low-income individuals and another 71 per cent said that ensuring fairness
and equity in the justice system is reason to increase funding for legal aid
    In its 2007 pre-budget submission to the Government of Ontario, the CLA
recommended that the government make legal aid funding a priority by
addressing overall program funding, relaxing financial eligibility guidelines
and enhancing lawyer compensation.
    "Today's budget announcement begins the process of rebuilding legal aid
in Ontario. It is a positive step by the McGuinty government to ensure that
Ontarians receive this essential public service. We support the government's
efforts and we will continue to consult with the Minister of Finance and the
Attorney General to ensure that legal aid remains a priority," said Botham.

    About Criminal Lawyers' Association:
    The Criminal Lawyers' Association is one of the largest, specialty legal
organizations in the country, representing over 1,000 members. The Association
is a strong voice for criminal lawyers and everyone concerned with the quality
of criminal justice. The Criminal Lawyers' Association regularly consults with
all levels of government and the judiciary on all issues relating to the
legislation and administration of criminal justice in Ontario and across the
country. The objectives of the association are to educate, promote and
represent the membership on issues relating to criminal and constitutional
law. The Association is governed by an executive and board of directors
elected by its members. More information about the Criminal Lawyers'
Association can be found at

For further information:

For further information: Louise Botham, President, CLA, (416) 968-7554

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