VICTORIA, BC--(Marketwired - February 21, 2017) - The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBABC) acknowledges some steps the BC Government has taken in improving access to justice for British Columbians but calls for further investment.
"BC's justice system requires significant investment to protect the ability of families and businesses to prevent and resolve legal problems in a timely and lasting way. Following years of cuts, fiscal restraint and internal innovation, the justice system has reached its limit in terms of the ability to improve accessibility without additional resources," said Michael Welsh, CBABC president.
In its recent position paper, An Agenda for Justice, the CBABC offered a series of recommendations and reforms to increase the justice system's effectiveness and to improve BC laws. Among more than 30 recommended actions, CBABC continues to call for: increased funding for legal aid to help BC families in crisis find lasting resolutions; investments in specific resources that allow disputes to be resolved out of court and more quickly; and more court staff to improve timely access to justice.
"The funding announced today is a move toward creating better access, but there is much more that needs to be done," added President Welsh.
Today's Provincial Budget extends funding for the Legal Service Society's Justice Transformation Initiatives pilot projects and provides new funding for a Surrey Parents' Legal Centre through the Justice Transformation Expansion. It addresses some issues regarding court services with the announcement of an increase to the court services budget, which will facilitate an increase in the number of sheriffs.
President Welsh continued: "We have been clear that an investment in only one part of the justice system, such as announced today, will have a limited effect overall. There is a need for a comprehensive, sustained approach to investing in the most strained components of the justice system, to ensure that the taxpayers of BC receive better value and fairer access to justice."
For more information on An Agenda for Justice, please visit cbabc.org/A4J.
About CBABC: The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing more than 38,000 lawyers, judges and law students across Canada with nearly 7,000 members in British Columbia.