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BC legal aid enhances services with Nelson CARES

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
September 9th, 2011

The Legal Services Society (LSS), BC’s legal aid provider, is enhancing its services for British Columbians, and Nelsonites can access those services through Nelson CARES (The Advocacy Centre).

Effective Sept. 1, more people with low incomes in BC may qualify for legal aid. LSS is improving its financial eligibility guidelines for legal representation and advice services with a 2.4 per cent cost of living increase. This will ensure people do not lose access to legal aid because of inflation.

LSS’s financial eligibility guidelines are based on Human Resources Development Canada’s “Market Basket Measure” of goods and services adjusted by LSS for inflation.

By way of comparison, BC’s guideline for a one-person household is a monthly net income of $1,450 while Alberta’s guideline for a one-person household is $1,348 net income and Ontario’s is $900 gross income.

Alberta and Ontario, however, may provide services to clients with higher incomes if they make financial contributions.

The Legal Services Society is also providing funding to 24 social service organizations that will offer free legal information in their communities, including Nelson CARES. Under this new initiative, LSS will provide funding for these organizations to work with remote, rural and Aboriginal communities where there are often barriers to accessing legal services.

These community groups will help people with low incomes access information about a broad range of legal issues from child protection and custody to wills, trusts and estates.

These new community partners will enhance the existing services of LSS’s 31 local agents who take legal aid applications and provide legal information at more than 50 locations, including private law offices, community agencies and courthouses, across the province.

The Legal Services Society is an independent organization established by provincial legislation in 1979 to provide legal information, advice and representation to people with low incomes.

It is funded by the provincial government with additional support from the Law Foundation of BC and the Notary Foundation of BC.

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