VALUE FOR ALL ALBERTANS

ANNUAL REPORT

2018-2019

Message From The
President & CEO

Our programs and services are essential to the efficiency and speed of the justice system, and as a result save taxpayers significant costs to health care and social programs if legal matters remained unresolved, and thus unnecessarily time-consuming. Studies in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom suggest for every dollar spent on legal aid, the costs savings to taxpayers is six times the investment.

Message From
The Board Chair

Legal Aid Alberta plays an integral part in ensuring that access to justice is afforded to those who are the most vulnerable in our society. Through a user-centred philosophy, Legal Aid Alberta is focused on delivering programs and services that help break down barriers so all Albertans are able to address their legal issues and assert their legal rights.



 
ABOUT LEGAL AID ALBERTA

Legal Aid Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that provides legal representation and support for Albertans facing legal issues.




Representation and Case Management

Intake and Assessment

Appointment Of Counsel

Invoicing, Billing and Client Collections
NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Total Certificates Issued: (excluding Duty Counsel certificates)

 

total calls for 2018-2019

 

Children helped by emergency protection orders

 

Clients issued representation certificates (Family Law)

 

Total Certificates Issued: (excluding Duty Counsel certificates)

 

total calls for 2018-2019

 

Children helped by emergency protection orders

 

Clients issued representation certificates (Family Law)

 



Protecting Albertans

ADULT
criminal law

We have over 1,300 staff and roster lawyers that are actively taking certificates for adult criminal matters across the province for Albertans that meet our financial requirements.

youth
criminal law

All Albertans age 12 to 17 charged with a criminal offense are eligible to get a lawyer from Legal Aid Alberta. We have staff lawyers in Calgary and Edmonton that handle youth matters, and roster lawyers who cover youth matters across the province as needed.

Family law +
child welfare

Legal Aid Alberta may provide a lawyer for a number of legal issues related to Family Law, including client protection and child welfare matters, representation of children, parental custody, access and parenting orders, child and spousal support.

immigration
law

In 2018-2019, 883 certificates were issued for immigration, with over 825 distinct clients represented by Legal Aid Alberta in the areas of refugee claims, judicial reviews of refugee claims, detention reviews, and appeals among other areas.



Year In Review

April 2018

Mental Health Court launched in Edmonton.

The first appeals lawyer in Legal Aid Alberta’s (LAA) history was hired to focus on legal issues that impact our clients and our justice system.

LAA hosted a training session on Representation of Children in High Conflict Parenting Matters for staff and roster counsel in Edmonton.

Intergenerational Historic Trauma and its Impact on Aboriginal Clients in the Justice System training sessions were provided to roster and staff lawyers in Edmonton.

May 2018

The first phase of the Justice of the Peace (JP) Bail Program launched in Calgary.

Intergenerational Historic Trauma and its Impact on Aboriginal Clients in theJustice System training sessions were provided to roster and staff lawyers in Calgary and Red Deer.

June 2018

LAA participated in the annual celebrations of Law Day at Siksika Nation.

Intergenerational Historic Trauma and its Impact on Aboriginal Clients in the Justice System training sessions held for roster and staff lawyers in Lethbridge. In total, 110 roster lawyers and 10 staff lawyers completed the training in 2018-2019.

Newly formed Joint Work Site Health &Safety Committee held their first meeting.

July 2018

Launched new LAA news site and blog to improve public visibility.

After a nearly five year absence, LAA re-booted its articling student program with the hiring of three law school graduates.

Legal Representation & Advice management team was reorganized to better align with future goals and plans.

August 2018

Second phase of the JP Bail Program launched in Northern and Southern Alberta.

Youth criminal lawyer Karen McGowan’s charter challenge against the extended segregation of an Alberta youth was successful when the judge ruled it unlawful confinement and in contravention of national and international law.

September 2018

JP Bail program became available across the province with launch of program in Edmonton.

Hosted a training session on Representation of Children in High Conflict Parenting matters for Roster and staff lawyers in Calgary.

Multiple tours of the Edmonton Law Courts conducted with Federal, Provincial and Municipal political leaders and key stakeholders to inform the public debate and educate leaders about our role in the justice system.

LAA participated in the Criminal Justice Summit to discuss Jordan decision impact and other criminal justice issues.

De-escalation of Potentially Violent Situations training provided to staff across the organization.

October 2018

LAA, the Government of Alberta and the Law Society of Alberta announced new five-year Governance Agreement and sustainable funding model.

Launched full-day in-person criminal assessment services at Edmonton and Calgary courthouses.

Trial program between LAA and Tsuu T’ina/Stoney Nation Correction Society to provide a dedicated phone queue and Legal Services Officer to complete client assessments begins.

November 2018

LAA lawyer Grace Auger received a Leadership in the Profession award during the Women in Law Leadership (WILL) Awards.

Legal Services Officers began training to issue certificates, helping to decrease the time between approval for services and the appointment of a lawyer.

December 2018

A pilot project to study choice of counsel for clients is announced with plans for a January 2019 start date.

The first meeting of the Roster Representation Committee occured.

Team Lead positions are introduced in Legal Representation & Advice to improve overall management structure.

January 2019

LAA co-hosted the inaugural Junior Counsel Criminal Law Conference with over 50 lawyers attending two days of panel discussions.

Launched new three-year Strategic Plan for LAA with new Vision, Mission and Values for the organization.

LAA granted intervener status at Supreme Court of Canada to argue there should be a lower presumptive ceiling for youth proceedings.

A new Support Organizations database launched on the LAA website for clients to access other support services agencies.

February 2019

IT completed Data Centre move, providing a commercial grade and highly secured site to host LAA’s IT services.

Employee Engagement Survey was completed with an 85% participation rate.

Law Society appointed Youth Criminal lawyer Sarah Lanceley to new Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Release of new Occupational Health & Safety Policy, Harassment Prevention Policy, Violence Prevention Policy, and a revised Respectful Workplace Policy, along with training.

March 2019

De-escalation of Potentially Violent Situations training provided to staff across the organization.

Trial program to provide a dedicated phone queue and Legal Services Officer to complete client assessments expanded to include Big Stone Nation.


April 2018

Mental Health Court launched in Edmonton.

The first appeals lawyer in Legal Aid Alberta’s (LAA) history was hired to focus on legal issues that impact our clients and our justice system.

LAA hosted a training session on Representation of Children in High Conflict Parenting Matters for staff and roster counsel in Edmonton.

Intergenerational Historic Trauma and its Impact on Aboriginal Clients in the Justice System training sessions were provided to roster and staff lawyers in Edmonton.

May 2018

The first phase of the Justice of the Peace (JP) Bail Program launched in Calgary.

Intergenerational Historic Trauma and its Impact on Aboriginal Clients in theJustice System training sessions were provided to roster and staff lawyers in Calgary and Red Deer.

June 2018

LAA participated in the annual celebrations of Law Day at Siksika Nation.

Intergenerational Historic Trauma and its Impact on Aboriginal Clients in the Justice System training sessions held for roster and staff lawyers in Lethbridge. In total, 110 roster lawyers and 10 staff lawyers completed the training in 2018-2019.

Newly formed Joint Work Site Health &Safety Committee held their first meeting.

July 2018

Launched new LAA news site and blog to improve public visibility.

After a nearly five year absence, LAA re-booted its articling student program with the hiring of three law school graduates.

Legal Representation & Advice management team was reorganized to better align with future goals and plans.

August 2018

Second phase of the JP Bail Program launched in Northern and Southern Alberta.

Youth criminal lawyer Karen McGowan’s charter challenge against the extended segregation of an Alberta youth was successful when the judge ruled it unlawful confinement and in contravention of national and international law.

September 2018

JP Bail program became available across the province with launch of program in Edmonton.

Hosted a training session on Representation of Children in High Conflict Parenting matters for Roster and staff lawyers in Calgary.

Multiple tours of the Edmonton Law Courts conducted with Federal, Provincial and Municipal political leaders and key stakeholders to inform the public debate and educate leaders about our role in the justice system.

LAA participated in the Criminal Justice Summit to discuss Jordan decision impact and other criminal justice issues.

De-escalation of Potentially Violent Situations training provided to staff across the organization.

October 2018

LAA, the Government of Alberta and the Law Society of Alberta announced new five-year Governance Agreement and sustainable funding model.

Launched full-day in-person criminal assessment services at Edmonton and Calgary courthouses.

Trial program between LAA and Tsuu T’ina/Stoney Nation Correction Society to provide a dedicated phone queue and Legal Services Officer to complete client assessments begins.

November 2018

LAA lawyer Grace Auger received a Leadership in the Profession award during the Women in Law Leadership (WILL) Awards.

Legal Services Officers began training to issue certificates, helping to decrease the time between approval for services and the appointment of a lawyer.

December 2018

A pilot project to study choice of counsel for clients is announced with plans for a January 2019 start date.

The first meeting of the Roster Representation Committee occured.

Team Lead positions are introduced in Legal Representation & Advice to improve overall management structure.

January 2019

LAA co-hosted the inaugural Junior Counsel Criminal Law Conference with over 50 lawyers attending two days of panel discussions.

Launched new three-year Strategic Plan for LAA with new Vision, Mission and Values for the organization.

LAA granted intervener status at Supreme Court of Canada to argue there should be a lower presumptive ceiling for youth proceedings.

A new Support Organizations database launched on the LAA website for clients to access other support services agencies.

February 2019

IT completed Data Centre move, providing a commercial grade and highly secured site to host LAA’s IT services.

Employee Engagement Survey was completed with an 85% participation rate.

Law Society appointed Youth Criminal lawyer Sarah Lanceley to new Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Release of new Occupational Health & Safety Policy, Harassment Prevention Policy, Violence Prevention Policy, and a revised Respectful Workplace Policy, along with training.

March 2019

De-escalation of Potentially Violent Situations training provided to staff across the organization.

Trial program to provide a dedicated phone queue and Legal Services Officer to complete client assessments expanded to include Big Stone Nation.


the path forward

In January 2019, Legal Aid Alberta launched its new three-year Strategic Plan…

a touchstone for everything that the organization will do to keep its focus on what is most important: to deliver services for Albertans that support fairness in the justice system and allow residents to understand and protect their legal rights.


One Organization

To ensure the success of Legal Aid Alberta, qualified and passionate individuals make up the organization's Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and staff members.

The Board

Legal Aid Alberta is governed by a Board of Directors that supports the organizational goal of providing quality and effective legal advice and representation to Albertans to help protect their legal rights and ensure a fair process.

The Executive

Taking direction from the Legal Aid Alberta Board of Directors and the Strategic Plan, the Executive Committee leads the organization and its operations. By supporting the decisions of the Board in support of the legal aid plan, the Executive team leads the development of policies, plans and budgets to align with the strategic direction of the organization.

The Staff

The quality of Legal Aid Alberta staff (knowledge and skills) has a great bearing on the services we provide to Albertans, which ultimately impacts how we interact with the justice system.



Centre Of Excellence

Numerous initiatives have been developed to aid in the fair resolution of matters, while greatly reducing the amount of court time required.

Duty Counsel

Duty Counsel lawyers provide information, guidance, and legal advice prior to an individual’s first court appearance in adult, family and youth matters.

Emergency Protection Order Program

An Emergency Protection Order (EPO) is a legal tool intended to protect Albertans experiencing family violence.

justice of the peace bail program

Using high-tech video and audio technology, lawyers are able to receive disclosure via a secure electronic system, and video conference into the courtroom with their clients.

mental health court

The Edmonton Mental Health Court is designed to deal with matters where there is reason to believe a person’s conflict with the law is due to a problem with mental health.



Download our full Annual Report on PDF