Systematic Barriers to Justice: Financial Eligibility for Legal Aid- A Gendered Analysis
30 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2023
Date Written: April 14, 2023
Provinces and territories across Canada offer legal aid programs to facilitate access to justice for those who are economically disadvantaged. While requirements differ by province/territory, eligibility for legal aid is dependent on having a case of merit and having income and assets below a certain threshold. In this paper, we focus on income thresholds for legal aid, and empirically measure their impact on gendered access to family legal aid. We find that legal aid income thresholds pose a higher access barrier to single women living in MBM poverty in BC, Alberta, and Ontario compared to single men living in MBM poverty, families with children living in MBM poverty, and residents of Quebec. We show this is due to different distributions of income and the placement of the legal aid income threshold. This analysis is an example of how GBA+ should be applied to examine systematic barriers to program access.
Keywords: Legal Aid, Access, GBA+
JEL Classification: I38, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation