Affordable and trusted legal services since 1973.

As a publicly funded, non-profit organization, we provide affordable legal services in family law, domestic violence, child welfare, immigration, and youth and adult criminal defence.

We are Alberta-wide: Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Siksika Nation and Wetaskiwin.


An Alberta where everyone is able to understand and protect their legal rights.


We resolve legal problems for disadvantaged Albertans and, in doing so, protect the Rule of Law for the benefit of everyone.


As a registered society incorporated under the provincial Societies Act, Legal Aid Alberta is an organization independent from government, but is accountable to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and to the Law Society of Alberta.

In 2019, a new tripartite governance agreement was signed with Legal Aid Alberta, the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, and the Law Society of Alberta.


Our organization strives to always focus on what matters, to stay true to our values in everything we do. These values are the underpinning of our organization, reflecting on what is truly important to us and guide us in the decisions we make every day.

We Are One

We work together in a collaborative and supportive manner to deliver unwavering and innovative services to our clients as one unified organization.

We Are Protectors

We serve Albertans, often the most vulnerable of us, and work tirelessly to protect their rights and to ensure a fair process.

We Are Exceptional

We are experts at what we do and we continually strive for improvement.

We Are Independent

We operate and provide legal counsel free from outside involvement.

Executive Team

Our executive team is responsible for strategic and business planning and ensuring that LAA delivers crucial legal services to Albertans while operating within the Governance Agreement. They – along with all of LAA’s dedicated team members – strive to achieve our vision of an Alberta where everyone is able to understand and protect their legal rights.

Gianpaolo (John) Panusa, KC

President and Chief Executive Officer

Reporting to the board of directors, John is responsible for the executive planning and coordination of the organization. He also represents the organization in dealing with Alberta Justice, the Law Society of Alberta, the federal government, other legal aid plans in Canada, the legal community, and the public.

Steve Burford

Vice President, Finance and Technology

Steve ensures our systems and infrastructure enable our front-line staff to deliver legal services to our clients. He oversees the facilities, purchasing, and finance departments. This includes preparing budgets, business plans, and sustainability plans for the board of directors and Legal Aid Alberta funders.

Lori Haughian

Vice President, Justice Services

Lori leads, directs, and oversees all client services functions. This includes client intake and assessment, appointing, client payments, and certificate and tariff administration. Lori also guides and oversees the day-to-day operations of the staff law offices and the corporate law and case management group.

Doug Ingersoll

General Counsel and Advisory Counsel Services

Doug oversees Legal Aid Alberta processes, training, and strategic initiatives to safeguard quality of services for clients. He also ensures that Legal Aid Alberta conducts business to the highest ethical standards, aligns with best practices, and eliminates or mitigates all legal, regulatory, and commercial risks.

Laurie Wang

Vice President, People, Culture and Communications

Laurie oversees the Communications, Culture and Human Resources functions at Legal Aid Alberta. In addition to Board governance and policy development, she is responsible for the leadership, strategy, and oversight of LAA values, culture and brand — telling the LAA story, recruiting and retaining the best talent, and engaging teams and the community.

Board of Directors

Legal Aid Alberta is governed and guided by a carefully chosen board of directors. The board makes decisions that are carried out by our executive and management teams.

The Board can consist of up to 11 members – with at least four members of the Law Society and three public directors.

Ryan Callioux, KC


Edmonton, Alberta
Director Since 2016
Membership Status: Chair

Called to the Alberta bar in 2002, Ryan is an Edmonton-area Indigenous lawyer who has dedicated his professional legal career to helping families and children. Having practised family law for the past 20 years, he is an experienced litigator on family and child welfare cases and has advised government on risk management initiatives to reduce domestic violence and enhance legal services to protect children.

Callioux Family Law and Mediation

Catherine Braeuer

Board Member

Edmonton, Alberta
Director Since 2021
Membership Status: Board Member

Catherine is a CPA, CA whose career has focused on finance, technology and corporate governance consulting for a variety of  organizations including publicly funded health care, education, children’s aid and legal aid entities. She currently leads the Global Financial Reporting Transformation Team for Finning International.

Jim Campbell

Board Member

Calgary, Alberta
Director Since 2022
Membership Status: Board Member

Jim is an MBA whose career has focused on external affairs. He is a senior business executive with more than 25 years of government, Indigenous and public affairs experience in diverse industries, including forestry, mining, telecommunications, and oil and gas. Jim also served as the executive director of one of Alberta’s political parties. Jim’s volunteer experience includes service on the boards of Mount Royal University, the Edmonton and Calgary public libraries and the Edmonton Art Gallery. Jim completed his Commerce degree at the University of Alberta and earned his MBA from the University of Calgary.

Owen Edmondson

Board Member

Edmonton, Alberta
Director Since 2017
Membership Status: Board Member

Retired after a 32-year career in finance and utility regulation, Owen serves on the boards of directors of a number of not-for-profit organizations. Currently Owen is the interim chair of the Safety Codes Council, chair of the Handling Commission Review Committee of the Beverage Container Management Board, finance committee member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and a director of L’Arche Edmonton. Owen has a B.Sc. and an MBA from the University of Alberta and is a CPA, CGA.

David Linder, KC

Board Member

Calgary, Alberta
Director Since 2022
Membership Status: Board Member

David recently retired from the Alberta Securities Commission after having served over 25 years as its executive director. During his tenure at the Commission, David also was heavily involved in the executive committees of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the umbrella organization of Canada’s provincial and territorial securities regulators whose objective is to improve, coordinate and harmonize regulation of the Canadian capital markets.

Prior to joining the Commission, David was a partner with the law firm of Parlee McLaws in Calgary. David has taught Business Law at the University of Calgary, and chaired the fundraising committee of the U of C’s Faculty of Law Alumni in its initial campaign.

Randy Mitchell

Board Member

Calgary, Alberta
Director Since 2022
Membership Status: Board Member

Randy is a lawyer in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution group at McLeod Law LLP. Randy practices in a wide variety of areas in all levels of courts of Alberta, including employment disputes, shareholder disputes and urban and rural lease and property disputes. Randy also participates in a variety of pro bono and access to justice initiatives in Alberta.

Brad Pickering

Board Member

Edmonton, Alberta
Director Since 2021
Membership Status: Board Member

Brad is a retired Government of Alberta Deputy Minister, having served 17 years in various senior leadership roles as Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs, Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Agency, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Deputy Solicitor General/Deputy Minister Public Security, and Deputy Minister of Sustainable Resource Development. Prior to joining the Government of Alberta Brad spent 20 years in the municipal government sector.

Hilary Rose

Board Member

Edmonton, Alberta
Director Since 2016
Membership Status: Board Member

Hilary chairs the audit committee of Legal Aid Alberta. She is a CPA, CA with broad experience in government, industry and academia. She has served on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations including Legal Aid Alberta, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Alberta Insurance Council. She is a governor of the International Development Research Centre (a federal Crown corporation) and a trustee of the National Film Board of Canada. Hilary is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors. She holds a BA in economics and political science and certifications in internal audit, risk management and client server computing systems.

Sonya von Heyking

Board Member

Lethbridge, Alberta
Director Since 2022
Membership Status: Board Member

Sonya brings more than 17 years of organizational governance experience from a variety of senior internal, and external board table perspectives. She is the Director, Accounting Program Development with the University of Lethbridge’s Dhillon School of Business and teaches in the accounting program. Sonya also serves on the board of CPA Alberta, and is an appointed public member on the Audit Committee for a local school division. Sonya holds the CPA, CA, ICD.D, and CIA designations, as well as certifications in risk management and internal controls from the Institute of Internal Auditors.


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Featured Cases

We work hard to navigate a complex justice system.

Community Partners

Knowledge-sharing is essential.

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