Ontario cancels planned future cuts to legal aid; this year’s cut remains

0

TORONTO — Ontario’s attorney general is partly backing down on planned cuts to legal aid funding.

Doug Downey says there won’t be further reductions to Legal Aid Ontario’s budget after this year.

However this year’s cut of $133 million — or 30 per cent of its funding — remains.

The Progressive Conservative government’s spring budget had planned successive budget cuts for legal aid, with the funding set to be reduced by $164 million in 2021-22.

Downey made the announcement as he introduced legislation that would make changes to more than 20 different acts, with a goal of modernizing parts of what he called an “outdated, complex” justice system.

One of the changes includes a “more stringent test” for certifying lawsuits as class actions.

The legislation would also require people to file judicial review applications within 30 days, stop judges and justices of the peace removed from office due to misconduct from billing taxpayers for legal fees, and sharply increase the maximum fine for lawyers guilty of professional misconduct from $10,000 to $100,000.