Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) is governed by a Board of Directors. The responsibility of the Board is to ensure that the strategies, goals, policies, and directions of the organization are implemented through delegation from the Board to LAA management.
Want to learn more? Read the Legal Aid Alberta Governance Agreement (September 2012).
Legal Aid's Executive Team is lead by President and CEO, Jacqueline Schaffter, who reports to the Board of Directors and holds the Office of Secretary to the Board. The President and CEO is responsible for the overall general operations of the organization and leads LAA’s executive management team.
The primary responsibility of the Legal Aid Executive Team is to inform and communicate properly and effectively with the Board of Directors in accordance with the Board's stated goals and objectives. The Executive Team develops LAA's policies, budget, and business plan for approval by the Board; implements new initiatives or other changes to the business plan; and responds to the Board and Board Committee requests.
Legal aid in Alberta (LAA) was officially established on July 1, 1970, by an agreement between the Law Society of Alberta and the provincial Attorney General to deal with criminal and civil matters. After Legal Aid Alberta was incorporated in 1973, a revised agreement between the Attorney General and the Law Society was signed in February 1979, followed by a subsidiary agreement between the Law Society and Legal Aid Alberta. By virtue of that agreement, the Law Society delegated the administration of the legal aid plan to Legal Aid Alberta.
The current governance agreement recognizes Legal Aid Alberta as an equal partner in the delivery of legal aid services/the legal aid plan.
As a registered society incorporated under the provincial Societies Act, Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) is an organization independent from government, but that is accountable to the Minister of Justice for Alberta and to the Law Society of Alberta. Major sources of funding are:
- Government of Alberta
- Government of Canada
- Alberta Law Foundation
The primary source of funding comes from the Government of Alberta through the Minister of Justice. Funding from the Government of Canada is received by way of reimbursing the province of Alberta for a portion of its legal aid expenditures. LAA also receives an annual grant from the Alberta Law Foundation in the amount of 25 percent of the money contributed each year from interest earned on lawyers' trust accounts.
Other sources of yearly revenue for LAA include contributions and cost recoveries from clients, (funds received from clients paying for legal services acquired) as well as investment revenue generated from funds on hand.