B.C. legal aid suspends immigration and refugee services due to lack of funding

June 28, 2017

By CBC News |

British Columbia’s legal aid society will no longer represent new immigration and refugee claimants starting August 1, 2017 because the society says there is a lack of funding.

The Legal Services Society (LSS) says the money comes from the federal government — the jurisdiction primarily responsible for funding immigration and refugee legal aid.

The LSS says the society receives $1.7 million total per year for immigration legal aid.

However, officials say claims have increased by 145 per cent over the past three years without enough of an increase in funding.

The society says it would need an additional $1.07 million just to maintain services until the end of the year, and so it says it must suspend services to make sure it can pay for the cases that have already been accepted.

Clients who have applied for legal representation before Aug. 1 will be processed as usual.

The LSS says it will also continue to fund duty counsel for people held in custody at the Canada Border Services’ Vancouver enforcement centre.

‘Very concerned’

The Battered Women’s Support Society in Vancouver says this move will gravely affect their clients because more than 40 per cent are immigrant women.

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