The process to apply for legal aid is slightly different in Saskatchewan and in Alberta.
FINANCIAL ELIGIBILITY: In both provinces, you must contact the regional legal aid office to apply for assistance from a legal aid lawyer. Each province will screen its applicants for financial eligibility. In Alberta, you will be screened based on your income. In Saskatchewan, you will be screened based on both your income and your assets.
LAWYER QUALIFICATIONS: In both provinces, legal aid lawyers are all qualified lawyers who graduated from law school, just the same as lawyers who are privately retained. In Alberta, most legal aid lawyers are in private practice and have agreed to take on legal aid clients in addition to their existing client base. In Saskatchewan, legal aid lawyers are employed by the Legal Aid Commission and exclusively take on legal aid clients. Their qualifications are the same in each province, it’s the way they are employed that is different.
COST: Legal aid may not be “free”. In Alberta, you will be asked to repay the costs of your legal representation. In Saskatchewan, you may be asked to repay some or all of the costs of your legal representation.
Share your stories with me – send me an email or follow me on Twitter at @sdobsonlawyer and send me a tweet. I want to hear from you! Find archives of my articles on our website.