Alberta Justice laying off 90 lawyers due to budget cuts: CBC report

Alberta Justice is reported to be preparing to lay off about 90 lawyers to deal with a $20 million budget cut.

CBC News says it has obtained a memo saying the cuts will be made among civil law lawyers and that government departments will be “outsourcing considerably more legal work than they are now.”

CBC says it has also obtained a copy of an internal draft white paper that found outsourcing of legal work will cost the government about two-thirds more than retaining its own lawyers whose salaries have been frozen for the past several years.

The memo says the department continues to try to mitigate the effect of budget cuts but it needs to provide working notice to about 90 lawyers in January.

The NDP Opposition is concerned that lawyers tasked with making emergency applications to get children out of dangerous situations are among those being dismissed.

“It’s shocking to learn that lawyers who act on behalf of children in child protection applications are among the targets for cuts from this government to pay for their $4.7-billion corporate handout,” said Rakhi Pancholi, Official Opposition Critic for Children’s Services and MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud. “Minister Schweitzer and Premier Jason Kenney have lots of money for energy war rooms, private planes, and five-star luxury London hotels, but none for children that need an emergency application to the courts to keep them safe.”

(With file from The Canadian Press, CBC, NDP media release)