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Legal Aid Alberta to stop services over contract dispute with provincial government

EDMONTON — Legal Aid Alberta says it plans end its services next week over a contract dispute with the province.

The society says in a statement that the United Conservative Party government gave it an ultimatum on a new funding arrangement that would undermine its independence and place it financially under the control of the justice minister.

The society, which provides lawyers for those unable to afford one, says that independence is crucial to a well-functioning justice system.

It says the government move came suddenly after month of negotiations.

The government says in a statement that it’s committed to funding legal aid but must also spend tax dollars carefully.

It says a $27.5 million grant is being processed while it waits for the society to sign the agreement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2024.

The Canadian Press