A lawyer who represents asylum seekers accused of crimes by the Canadian government will be paid $4,500 a month, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Access to Information Act.
The $4.2 million contract was signed in September 2016 and is being considered by the Justice Department, which oversees the Office of the Commissioner of Immigration and Refugees.
It was approved by a judge last year.
A lawyer is typically paid $10,000 to $20,000 a month for representing a defendant in court and $2,000-$4,000 for defending a defendant on a cross-border case.
The documents obtained under the federal Access to Info Act show that the office will pay an hourly rate of $8.50 per hour for a case, and an hourly pay rate of around $8 for a trial, if the case is heard by a jury.
The Office of Immigration Lawyers, which is also known as the Office for Refugee Resettlement, was formed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017 to represent asylum seekers charged with offences such as fraud, breach of trust, and terrorism, but that office has been criticized for not representing asylum seekers who have been detained by Canadian authorities.
The OIJ has not responded to requests for comment.
Under the deal, the Office will be responsible for hiring lawyers and representing them in court cases.
A lawyer representing a convicted terrorist is likely to be paid more than a lawyer representing an asylum seeker who was released.
The lawyer who defends an asylum-seeker accused of an offence in Canada is likely not to be charged with any crime because they are not charged.
The Canadian government says the OIJ does not have the capacity to represent accused people and the office is staffed with a small group of lawyers.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the documents.
The office’s chief, Chris Ragan, who previously worked as the immigration minister, was hired by the government as its new immigration lawyer in March.
Ragan said the office would be funded by the federal government, not the Office and that he had not been asked for his compensation.
He told the AP that the pay was a small price to pay for having a seat at the table and representing the interests of asylum seekers.