Legal Services Society (LSS) unionized staff lawyers, represented by the Professional Employees Association (PEA), have issued 72-hour strike notice.
The strike will begin on Friday, November 1 at 7 a.m. with a one-day walkout and picketing, targeting LSS headquarters at 510 Burrard in downtown Vancouver. All legal aid centres throughout the province will remain open. Allies and media are invited to attend a rally to show support at 12 p.m on November 1 as part of the strike.
As the first point of contact for individuals seeking legal aid, the LSS staff lawyers oversee the legal aid cases that are referred to contract lawyers working in private practices. They are also the ones managing and staffing the 10 Parent Legal Aid and Regional Legal Aid Centres throughout the province.
LSS staff, mostly women and Indigenous lawyers, comprise the most important point of contact and serve on the front lines of justice for vulnerable British Columbians who need legal aid.
B.C. Attorney General David Eby agreed to a 25-per-cent wage increase in March 2019 for the 1,000 legal aid contract lawyers, and additional wage increases over the next three years were announced earlier this month. In turn, LSS staff lawyers have been offered a two-per-cent annual increase over three years. That is not enough.
Without higher increases, legal aid centres throughout the province will continue to face challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified staff lawyers. After years of underfunding, LSS staff lawyer wages are 30 per cent lower than Crown Counsel.
- Oct 28, 2019 - Option: B.C.'s front-line legal aid lawyers ignored - Vancouver Sun
- Oct 28, 2019 - Legal aid staff lawyers to strike Nov. 1 - Vancouver Courier, Business in Vancouver, New West Record, Alaska Highway News, Richmond News, Dawson Creek Mirror, Powell River Peak, Burnaby Now, Squamish Chief, Prince George Citizen, North Shore News
- Oct 16, 2019 - Legal aid lawyers in B.C. get pay hike - Vancouver Sun
- Oct. 28, 2019 - B.C.’s front-line legal aid staff lawyers serve strike notice
- Oct. 16, 2019 - Staff lawyers at the Legal Services Society have voted to strike
Brett Harper, Senior Communications Officer
250-385-8791 ext. 206
Jordana Whetter, Communications Officer
Phone: 250-385-8791 ext. 210