Today saw the release of an Ipsos Reid survey on the legal problems faced by low-income British Columbians. More than 80 per cent have faced problems since 2005 that have been serious and difficult to resolve. The poll was commissioned by the province's legal aid program.
Consumer, money, and housing issues topped the list of legal problems with employment and family relations following close behind.
"The high incidence of legal problems is troubling," said Mark Benton, QC, Executive Director of the Legal Services Society, the organization that provides legal aid in BC. "This survey, along with other research in Canada and abroad, shows that legal problems have a serious impact on a person's physical and emotional health which, in turn, has a significant impact on health care and social service programs."
The Legal Services Society commissioned the poll to "get a better understanding of the current legal needs of low-income people and to learn more about how best to meet those needs."
Here is an overview of the results.
The Ipsos-Reid poll involved 1,189 online surveys of British Columbians 18 or older with a household income of less than $50,000 a year. The results are considered accurate to within 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
The sources of legal information are interesting: Males (69%), those aged 35 to 54 (66%) and higher income earners are more likely to use a lawyer. Younger BCers and lower income earners are more likely to seek legal aid. The Internet is just behind BC government offices as the fourth most used source of information on the law.