The province now has the fourth highest hourly rate in the country
The Alberta government has increased the hourly tariff for legal aid lawyers from $100 to $125 per hour, effective January 1, 2023. Block fees will also be increased accordingly.
The move comes after several organizations in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and southern Alberta launched job action on August 8, where lawyers across these provinces refused to accept significant legal cases that could put sexual assault and manslaughter trials at risk.
The tariff increase is in line with Legal Aid Alberta’s (LAA) modernization review of the system in April 2022 upon Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro’s request. Such review will ensure proper compensation for substantive work on each file, while also simplifying the certificate management and administration and the billing under the tariff.
The review was then submitted in October – the same month Alberta decided to have an in-year increase, boosting the hourly rate from $92.40 to $100 per hour. This ranks the province with the fourth highest rate in the country.
“I want to thank all legal aid lawyers for their patience and advocacy as we have worked our way through the review,” Shandro said in a written statement. “Our commitment to review all aspects of legal aid funding remains in place and will be completed in the new year. I also want to commend my colleagues and Premier Smith, who recognized the need for further funding for the legal aid system.”
Legal Aid Alberta will also be updating internal systems and preparing to implement the modernization recommendations in spring 2023.