TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government is raising the income threshold for people to qualify for legal aid funding to $11,448 – about half the poverty line – starting Nov. 1.
The income threshold for a family of five to qualify for legal aid rises to $28,317.
Ontario has different levels of criteria to qualify for other legal aid services, such as duty counsel assistance and legal advice, but not if income is over $19,080 a year for a single person or $45,580 for a family of five.
Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur says it will cost the province $95.7 million dollars to increase the eligibility income threshold by six per cent over three years.
Meilleur says the higher thresholds – the first increases since 1996 – will mean another one million low-income Ontarians will have access to legal aid services after three years, more than double the current number.
A recent report from Legal Aid Ontario estimated about 1.2 million people are below the poverty line but are not poor enough to qualify for full legal aid.