“Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) received $354 million in funding during the 2010/11 fiscal year, with 76% of that coming from the provincial government. Additional funds came from the federal government under a cost-sharing agreement, from the Law Foundation of Ontario, and from clients whose income levels require them to help pay for legal assistance.” (Ontario Auditor’s Report 2011)
Firstly note that the federal government makes the criminal law and the provincial government builds the courthouses and pays the Crown Attorney’s to prosecute you and pays the Judges to judge you. Secondly they don’t have enough money for lawyers to defend you and even if they did, do you really want a government paid lawyer, because with money comes control.
LAO however does seem to have plenty of money to pay themselves. “LAO incurred $47 million in expenditures on administration and other expenses.” (Ontario Auditor’s Report 2011)
If a certificate is issued to you, you can take that certificate to a lawyer of your choosing who is willing to accept that at the sole source of compensation for defending your criminal charge. According to the report less than ½ (49.17%) of LAO’s expenditures were for the issuance of certificates.
You will most likely NOT be granted a certificate is your annual gross individual income is over $10,800 AND you must be facing a likely (in their sole opinion) period of incarceration, if convicted, exceeding 90 days.
In other words, we won’t be issuing YOU a certificate, but here, have a cookie. A cookie always makes you feel better.