Accessibility and Affordability of Lawyers in Canada
Legal counsel is out of reach financially for most Canadians. The estimates are as high as 65% of individuals that are involved in family court actions are currently unrepresented. There are many different issues that arise out of the inability to secure highly qualified advocates in the legal system. As more and more litigants choose self representation over trying to afford the cost of a lawyer the communities have less and less confidence in the legal system. Many times litigants are not well prepared to defend themselves or do not understand the processes in the court so it leads to big delays causing a back up in the system. Do it yourself legal representation also leaves a certain amount of lack of justice.
No Justice for the Poor
The least you can afford a lawyer typically the more you need one. It would seem with the rising cost of legal services that there is no justice for the poor. Justice it would seem is reserved for those that can afford it. Without the advantage of a well trained advocate in court the defendant is at risk of being railroaded by the system and accepting plea deals and other treatments that a lawyer would absolutely not agree too. There are some option available, but this is aside the main objective of this post, you can learn more here.
Whats the Problem?
There are several different theories as to why lawyers have priced themselves out of affordable access for the majority. Some of the most wealthy lawyer are accident lawyers, for instance. Of course lawyers have to pay for law school and spend a total of about 7 years in higher education to become lawyers a lot of people feel that perhaps this is the reason that lawyers charge such high amounts. It would seem they are trying to recoup their education costs from their clients. It may also be that the number of lawyers has not yet reached plentiful enough numbers so the competition is not that steep. Perhaps more lawyers will equal more affordable access to these much needed court room advocates?
Most Canadians are very aware of the problem and would like to hear some solutions. There is some movement to give paralegals more power in the courts. While some critics complain paralegals do not have the back ground training necessary to defend someone adequately. Proponents shrug and ask the critics to consider that something is better than nothing! Giving paralegals more power in the court room will likely at least free up the clerks office from having to explain forms and the like!
Need a car loan? Live in Canada? If you recently relocated from the states you may find the process similar but not quite the same. Canadian laws are very consumer friendly in that there are very strict regulations for lending practices. Find a “bad credit” car loan is easy in the US but in Canada it was not the case until recently. Finding a bad credit lender may be a little more difficult in Canada, at least it is supposed to be. Canada uses a similar credit scoring system as the United States does. It has three major credit reporting agencies like the US does but while in the US consumers can only get one free credit report per year, Canadians can get as many free reports as they want. Securing an auto loan in Canada typically relies heavily on the creditworthiness of the consumer. Pulling a credit report before you shop can give you a better idea of how credit worthy you are.
Dealership or Bank
There are two primary sources of car loans in Canada. Either you get the loan from your bank or you get your loan from the car dealership in most cases. There are other options that has been driving the boom in auto sales the last year that many critics say is setting the economy up for failure. If you have bad credit you may want to check Sarah’s blog here for bad credit loans.
The Sub Prime Problem
The last two years has seen an increase in sub prime lending. This practice has been hailed as dangerous as in the same type of practice that caused the housing industry in the US to take a dangerous dive and take the economy down with it. It should be noted that the payday loan industry has undergone even more scrutiny than the car loan industry. Payday loans are sometimes a necessity if you need to apply please read more here.
It seems as if auto loan accessibility despite the consumer protection laws that are in place have become accessible to people with even the worst of credit. Car sales are booming just as the housing industry in the states was prior to the crash of the housing market. There is plenty of talk about the car loan bubble in Canada bursting.
Another common thread between the US housing industry and the auto loan industry in Canada currently is that these sub prime loans are being sold to Wall Street investment companies!
If you have managed to maintain a good credit rating than you should easily be able to secure an auto loan for any vehicle you choose. Of course you want to maintain your good standing by not over extending yourself so that you can make your payments on time.
How hard is it to get a credit card in Canada? Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke! The answer? Not so funny! Credit Card accessibility and credit in general in Canada was a lot easier at one time than it is now. Basically Canadians have regulated their people out of the credit game. Thanks to the new stricter laws that took effect the super friendly consumer friendly credit rules have left some banks not so willing to do business with the Canadian consumer.
Even Worse Scenario
It can be hard for a Canadian with a Canadian credit history to get a credit card if you are new to Canada and have yet to establish a Canadian credit history it may be a lot harder. As a matter of fact until you do establish credit in Canada you will be denied over and over again. If you have a good credit standing with major credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard or American Express and can get proof of your credit history like a credit report from the states you may be able to meet with the bank manager and plea your case, but before you go ahead and apply you might want to take a look at CCC’s best rewards credit cards here.
Steps to Getting Credit in Canada
There are certain absolutes that you need to have in place to be considered for any type of credit card or line of credit in Canada. You have to be the age of majority which is usually either 18 or 19 depending on the province. You must have a social insurance number and you must be gainfully employed. Although there are some cards that are available to students that have yet to establish their credit history. The main goal should be to build your credit by not over spending.
If you have some trouble with your credit history or are having a problem establishing your credit than you may want to consider starting out with a secured credit card which can help you to build your credit which in turn will make credit more accessible to you.
Much More Accessible
It is far easier to get the best gas credit cards or department store cards than it is to get major bank cards at first. If you want more accessible options for credit than starting out with department store cards or gas cards may help you to build up your credit if you use them wisely and leave you looking more credit worthy to the banks!
Opportunity is the key to improving life. What if you do not have the skills that are needed to take advantage of an opportunity? If you live in Canada you may be in the right place at the right time. Canada has the largest job growth rate in the G7! Unfortunately it could be even higher but studies have shown that there is a lack in skills that keeps employers from filling positions. In the oil and gas industry one such skill training is the H2S Alive course which can be taken online. The Canadian government has instituted a new plan to help Canadians gain the skills they need to meet employers requirements. The government of Canada recently held their annual Essential Skills Day to raise awareness of the need for easier access to skills training for Canadians.
Economic Action Plan 2013
The new Economic Action Plan of 2013 spells out exactly how the government plans on making skills training more accessible to all Canadians. One part of the plan discusses collaborative efforts between local community groups, employers and the greater government to bring skills training to the community level. The Canada Job Grant part of the Economic Action Plan 2013 is designed to bring skills training to under represented groups in the work force. Some of those groups are youth, Aboriginal people, Disabled Canadians and New Comers. It is with the expansion of this program and the dangers of the petroleum industries work sites, that the government hopes to make skills training more accessible to groups at the community level that can take advantage of the training to fill positions that employers have been unable to fill.
Will It Work?
Some Canadians are a bit hesitant to believe that the new plan will work any better than the old plan did. They feel that this is simply just another plan that will not reach the people that need the skills training the most. Canadians that live in rural areas have transportation issues and many of the rural areas are neglected when it comes to the division of funding for these programs. While most people would welcome the opportunity to improve their skills and get a better job most do not feel that accessibility is a real option. It seems like the problem is not really a negative one. You have employers that need skilled employees and you have people that need jobs. Getting people the training that they need through apprenticeship programs and community training options should be easy enough. This new push from the Economic Action Plan 2013 may be enough to get things on the ball!
Comparing the cost of living by investigating the cost of goods between a Canadian city and a US city is one way to see whether moving from the US to Canada or vice versa is going to be cost saving and improve your standard of living. Of course the cost of goods will vary in each country depending on the city. For the purpose of this article we will use Cornwall ON and Durham NC. Both are midsize cities and have similar attributes like public transportation.
Every household has some basic needs that typically come down to milk, bread and eggs. In Canada you will pay 15% more for a liter of milk than you would pay in the USA using the two selected cities. You will pay 57% more for a loaf of bread in the US than you would in Canada. Eggs round out to be right around the same amount. An interesting fact is that a liter of water is 114% more expensive in the states than it is in Canada! If you smoke cigarettes you may want to load up on them before you head to Canada from the states. In the US you will pay $4.29 USD in Canada you will pay a whopping 56.2% more per pack. Although this figure is misleading because if you went from Durham NC to New York City you would be faced with the same amount of inflation. The cost of goods in Canada and the USA are far more similar than they are different.
Well Known Names
Coca Cola is known around the world and if you want a coke in the US plan on paying around $2 in Canada add 30% on to the cost. McDonalds is about 10% cheaper in the US.
Taxes are higher in Canada but health care is not an expense. Housing seems to be almost identical in cost. Public transportation is more reliable in Canada than it is in the states and is actually 20% cheaper overall. While apples and oranges are 30-40% higher in Canada, potatoes and tomatoes are 30% lower in Canada than the US. It would seem that everything works out in the wash. While there are perks and advantages to living in both areas there are also disadvantages as well. The cost of goods in Canada VS the USA is not that different.