Legal Aid Survey (LAS)

Detailed information for 2014-2015





Record number:


The survey provides the justice community, academics and the public with information on revenues, expenditures, personnel, and caseload statistics associated with the delivery and administration of legal aid in Canada.

Data release - April 20, 2016


The Legal Aid Survey is an annual survey first conducted in 1983/84. Data are collected through an electronic survey questionnaire that is completed by the 13 provincial and territorial legal aid plans in Canada. The survey provides the justice community, academics and the public with information on revenues, expenditures, personnel, and caseload statistics associated with the delivery and administration of legal aid in Canada. The Legal Aid Survey is an aggregate survey, meaning that there is no information on individual cases, and data are collected and reported for pre-defined categories.

Reference period: Fiscal year

Collection period: The two months following the reference period.


  • Crime and justice
  • Legal aid

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The survey provides information on revenues, expenditures, personnel, and caseload statistics (e.g. total, approved and refused applications for legal aid services) associated with the delivery and administration of legal aid in Canada.

Instrument design

The Legal Aid questionnaire was designed and tested in collaboration with federal, provincial and territorial officials involved in the delivery of justice services. It is a respondent completed electronic questionnaire, and contains only closed questions.


This survey is a census with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2015-08-01 to 2015-09-30

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data collection for all but a few data elements is administered through an electronic survey questionnaire to the legal aid plans in each province and territory. Data on provincial/territorial government financial contributions are obtained from the appropriate departments responsible for justice matters. Justice Canada provides the figures for federal contributions for criminal legal aid. Follow-up and verification of data is done through phone calls to the respondents following return of the questionnaire. Data from data sources other than the legal aid plans are gathered via letters requesting individual data items.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

The data are entered manually into an electronic survey questionnaire in Excel spreadsheets. All edits are conducted manually, and follow-up contact is carried out (usually through telephone contact), as required, with the appropriate legal aid plan. Any subsequent changes are documented in electronic format and updated in the Excel spreadsheet(s) if necessary.


Expenditure estimates are those figures provided by the respondents using their own calculations. Techniques for imputing non-responses are not used.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Quality evaluation

Deviations of the data from the national definitions are reported. Inherent differences among the plans, such as the types of services provided and the methods used to deliver those services, are central to understanding national legal aid statistics. "Legal Aid in Canada: Description of Operations" (available through the online catalogue number 85-217-XIB or through the link "Publications" included in the side bar menu above) complements the statistical information gathered through the Legal Aid Survey.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Individual respondents to this survey (the provincial/territorial legal aid plans) have agreed to the publication of their data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Seasonal adjustment does not apply to the survey. Revisions to the survey data are made in the event that survey respondents submit revised figures.

Data accuracy

This survey collects high level aggregate administrative data from jurisdictional Legal Aid Plans. Because the information obtained by the survey is produced by respondents in the course of administering their programs, it is generally very accurate. However, where information is missing or incomplete, the survey notes the nature of the problem, and to the extent possible, quantifies its magnitude.

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