Canadian Bar Association, B.C.: Legislative Committee acknowledges legal aid shortfall

THE Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, on Wednesday commended the provincial government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services for reflecting its recommendations for family law legal aid in their 2024 Budget Consultation Report.

On June 15, CBABC delivered its 21st submission to the committee as part of the government’s Budget 2024 Consultations. CBABC President Aleem Bharmal called on the government to provide sufficient funding for family law legal aid and to lower the income threshold so that low-income British Columbians can access legal representation for typical family law matters such as child support, division of asset and debts, and parenting arrangements.

Notably, the Consultation Report recommended that the BC government “improve access to legal aid, particularly for family law matters, by increasing funding and reviewing the income threshold for legal aid eligibility”.

“Access to justice is a fundamental right that should not be compromised due to financial constraints”, said CBABC President-elect, Scott Morishita. “We are heartened to see that the Committee shares our vision for an accessible and well-funded legal aid system. This is the fifth year in a row the Committee has recommended this funding and we will continue to advocate and monitor to ensure that this time, the recommendations become reality when the budget is announced in February.”

CBABC said it remains committed to collaboration to ensure the successful implementation of these recommendations and will continue to work towards a more accessible, fair and just legal system for all British Columbians.