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Highlights 2006-2007


Second Increase in eligibility thresholds

On January 1, 2007, legal aid eligibility thresholds were increased for the second consecutive year. They had previously been increased on January 26, 2006 following enactment of the Regulation modifying the Regulation respecting legal aid, by Order in Council 1277-2005 on December 21, 2005. The Regulation provided for annual increases up to and including January 1, 2010 inclusively. The 2006 increases were the first since 1982 for a person living alone and the first since 1996 for families. The Commission made a public announcement of this historic “unfreezing”.

Publication of a new pamphlet on Legal Aid

The Commission published a new pamphlet entitled L’aide juridique, un coup de main de maître, in French, and Legal aid lending a judicious hand in English, to explain the legal aid system and the new financial eligibility criteria.

Key decisions by the Commissioners

The Commissioners adopted a Sustainable Development Plan based on two main principles: long-term sustainability of legal aid and maintenance of a blended legal aid system. They also adopted the following guidelines and policies: Guiding Principles for a Policy on Use of the Computer Information and Telecommunications System; Policy on Use of the Commission’s Computer Information and Telecommunications System; Declaration of the Fundamental Values of the Québec Public Service; Policy for Evaluation of Management and Awarding of Bonuses.

Successful negotiations with support staff working at the Commission and nine Regional Centres

On March 5, 2007, the Commission and nine Regional Centres signed a new collective agreement with their support staff, who had been without a contract for three years. This new collective agreement readjusted the salary scales of legal secretaries to a level equal to those of legal secretaries in two Regional Centres who were benefiting from a 2005 arbitration decision on pay relativity.

Pay equity

The Commission has asked the government to amend the Legal Aid Act to declare it the sole employer of the legal aid network for pay equity purposes. Before making this request, the Commission first secured the consent of the 11 Regional Centres, representatives of support employees, lawyers and the representative of management. If the National Assembly adopts this proposal, the legal aid network can go ahead with work on pay equity by creating a single pay equity committee for the entire legal aid network.

Implementation of a new tool to evaluate the application of the Legal Aid Act

The Commission, in cooperation with the Regional Centres, created a new evaluation tool to assess how the Legal Aid Act and related regulations are applied as regards eligibility decisions. Once a year, the Commission randomly selects applications for legal aid from those filed in the previous fiscal year. The selection takes into account the number of applications approved in each region on a pro rata basis. The verification is carried out in accordance with section 91 of the Legal Aid Act, which requires the Commission des services juridiques and all Regional Centres to ensure the confidentiality of communications with legal aid applicants.

Change in accounting methods and the Auditor General’s Report

In keeping with accounting principles generally accepted in Canada and the recommendations of the Auditor General in his report to the National Assembly for 2004-2005, the Commission and 11 Regional Centres now account for all of their income and expenses using the accrual method. This change was noted in the Auditor General’s report for 2005-2006.

Report of the Task Force on Modernization of Government

The report of the Task Force on State Modernization (2005-2006) was released in June 2006. The report recommended maintaining the Commission des services juridiques and its Review Committee, and conducting a study on case-cost estimates.

Robert-Sauvé Award

The Robert-Sauvé Award in the Public award was given to Ruth Gagnon, director general of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Québec, for her community involvement with women caught up in the criminal justice system. The Robert-Sauvé Award in the Network award went to Mtre Jacques Racine, former director of the Centre régional d’aide juridique du Bas Saint-Laurent - Gaspésie et de la Côte-Nord, for his valuable work in setting up a computer system.

Involvement in the Legal Aid Community

During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the Commission and the Regional Centres took part in meetings with Canadian and foreign legal aid organizations with a view to sharing their expertise with those groups.

Two permanent staff lawyers were elected to lead their regional bars: Mtre Benoît Boucher, Barreau de Richelieu and Mtre Louise Levasseur, Barreau Bas Saint-Laurent – Gaspésie - Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Several staff lawyers were appointed to the Court of Québec: Mtre Pierre Bélisle, Mtre Mario Gervais, Mtre Richard Marleau and Me Jean Roy.

Also, Mtre Lise Bibeau was appointed to the Tribunal administratif du Québec and Mtre Julie Caumartin was appointed to the Municipal Court for the City of Montreal.

Last but not least, Mtre Mario Proulx received a Recognition Award from the Barreau de Saint-François and Mtre Claude Beaulieu was awarded a Medal of Merit from the Barreau du Saguenay – Lac Saint-Jean. 

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© Commission des services juridiques Création: Diane Laurin - 2017