Legal Aid Saskatchewan has been providing services to those who need legal assistance since 1974.  

Adrian McBride is the regional director for Legal Aid Saskatchewan in Swift Current and Moose Jaw and spoke about what they do. “Legal Aid offers a number of different services. One of the most visible ones is criminal defense, where there’s a risk of jail.

“We also represent youth between the ages of 12 and 17. We handle child protection matters, where children have been apprehended by the Ministry of Social Services. We do adoptions, divorce, custody, and child and spousal support.” 

All youth ages 12 through 17 are eligible for Legal Aid in Saskatchewan. Requirements for adults to have assistance are determined based on a family's size and gross annual income. “We have a schedule that we follow as to who is eligible,” explained McBride.  

Services available to everyone include their Brydges Line, which gives advice to people in police custody, and their Duty Counsel Service for those on remand who need help at a bail hearing.  

Legal Aid has offices in 11 Saskatchewan communities, with approximately 175 staff.  

“In 2022 and 2023, we had nearly 18,000 clients, and more than 29,500 people contacted our application centre,” said McBride.  

He outlined the impact of Legal Aid Saskatchewan to these people, in light of a changing legal system. “A person cannot manage that on their own. It’s far too intensive. There’re very many rules that people have to follow when they go to court.

“Unless you’ve got someone who’s skilled in what’s necessary, and how to take the action you need to get your matter resolved, it would be very difficult for you to be successful in a timely manner.” 

He said Legal Aid functions as one of many organizations in the justice community. “There’s the RCMP, there’s probation, there’s mental health and addiction, there’s child protection.

“We have a lot of community support in Moose Jaw. In particular, we have a lot of help from the John Howard Society.” 

Legal Aid Saskatchewan will be marking its 50th Anniversary on Tuesday, July 9 outside the Bank of Montreal in Swift Current from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. It’s open to the public, with free hot dogs, drinks, and cake.