June 10, 2023


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Quebec legal aid lawyers set for four-day strike over equal pay with Crown attorneys

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MONTREAL — Quebec’s legal help lawyers are striking this 7 days in protest of the government’s salary offer, which they say will lead to an exodus of attorneys who characterize the most marginalized.

About 200 lawful assist legal professionals walked off the occupation on Monday for a two-working day strike, though a different group of about 210 lawyers are established to strike Wednesday and Thursday. Protests are scheduled across Quebec, together with in front of the offices of government ministers and at the provincial legislature.

Lawful help lawyers, who typically characterize marginalized communities and small-earnings people, are demanding that Quebec go on the 30-yr tradition of having to pay them the identical as Crown lawyers. Quebec is giving legal aid attorneys a two for every cent wage raise for every calendar year more than 3 decades, but it gave Crown prosecutors a 2.5 for each cent increase per yr about four decades starting off in 2020.

Daniel Lessard, president of an affiliation symbolizing lawful support lawyers who will strike Wednesday and Thursday, suggests his users have to fight the federal government each and every time their collective arrangement expires.

“Crown attorneys get their income maximize and new circumstances,” mentioned the president of the Fédération des avocates et avocats de l’aide juridique, on Monday. “And us, we generally have … to justify the cause why our do the job is as difficult and crucial as the function of Crown attorneys.”

Authorized support attorney Fabrice Poirier suggests he recognizes that the .5 for each cent difference between what was supplied to his group and to prosecutors is not significantly, but he questioned why the authorities will not likely make up the gap.

“We signify susceptible populations this sort of as people experiencing homelessness, men and women with mental well being problems,” Poirier said in an interview on Monday. “We have a function … we typically want to be observed and recognized. That’s the objective.”

Poirier was a person of 4 legal support attorneys on Monday at the Montreal courthouse who remained at operate to reduce disruptions in the legal method. “We are normally among 10 to 15 authorized assist legal professionals working.”

He said at the very least 11 people experienced their circumstances delayed on Monday simply because of the strike, incorporating that about 41 individuals will be influenced Tuesday.

“We will not want our clientele to be impacted this is about recognition,” Poirier reported, including that the outcome of the strike could be substantial since legal help attorneys are demanded in most courtrooms across the province.

Treasury Board spokesperson Florence Plourde claimed Monday the operate circumstances of legal assist attorneys are diverse than the conditions of Crown attorneys for the reason that the two groups are not section of the similar collective bargaining process. Legal help lawyers, she explained, are personnel of an agency dependable for implementing Quebec’s authorized assist laws.

“Lawful assist personnel are not the government’s personnel,” Plourde mentioned Monday in an electronic mail.

The company overseeing lawful aid staff — the Commission des providers juridiques — declined a ask for for comment on Monday.

Lessard stated the authorized assist technique is experiencing labour shortages, as numerous younger attorneys change in excess of to the Crown simply because of far better pay back.

“We want a strong and experienced authorized assist system,” he stated. “We want to retain large-good quality attorneys in the technique and a single of the means to reach this is with parity.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed on June 6, 2022.

— With data files from Lia Lévesque in Montreal.

This story was generated with the economic help of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Virginie Ann, The Canadian Push


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