The Advisory: Volume 9, Issue 3, December 2011

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Alberta Law Foundation Increases in Funding provides Stability to Legal Aid

The Alberta Law Foundation Board of Directors recently approved a change in the Foundation’s annual contribution to Legal Aid Alberta for the next three years.

Under current legislation, Legal Aid is entitled to receive an annual amount equal to 25 per cent of the revenue received by the Foundation from interest earned on lawyers’ general trust accounts in the preceding year. At current historically low interest rates, this would amount to about $2 million a year, but is still expected to leave Legal Aid with a cumulative deficit of almost $10 million by the end of its 2014 fiscal year.

This recent decision will see the Foundation contributing the greater of $5.5 million and the 25 per cent statutory requirement in each of 2011, 2012 and 2013. Based on current forecasts, this represents an increase in Foundation funding of $3 to $3.5 million each year, or about $10 million over three years. The additional support will provide greater stability and predictability to the Legal Aid Alberta revenue stream and is expected to enable Legal Aid Alberta to better meet the legal service needs of low income individuals all across Alberta.

The Alberta Law Foundation is an independent foundation established under the Legal Profession Act that receives the interest paid by financial institutions on lawyers’ general trust accounts.

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