THE Province announced on Monday that it will open eight new legal clinics around B.C. as part of a $2-million investment to improve access to justice.
“Accessing the justice system in Canada can be costly and complex,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Previous governments chose to cut funding for both legal aid and poverty law. We are committed to reversing that history of neglect and ensuring that all British Columbians can find legal help when they need it.”
Each new clinic will receive a grant of up to $250,000 to hire lawyers and legal staff. Once the new lawyers are in place, they will be able to offer legal advice on issues including poverty, housing, immigration and disability, and to act as counsel in legal proceedings at no cost to their clients.
The first clinic, through the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, will be in Vancouver to support renters with issues related to tenancy and housing. Locations for other clinics are being finalized.
Grants will be awarded through the Law Foundation of B.C., a non-profit organization mandated to fund legal education, legal research, legal aid, law reform and law libraries for the benefit of British Columbians. The foundation will provide the new legal clinics with coaching, tools and support to enhance the services they provide.
“Increasing access to expert legal help is a key component of our government’s strategy to reduce poverty and improve life for all British Columbians,” Eby said. “This investment allows several existing legal advocacy offices to become legal clinics, staffed with experienced lawyers who will offer guidance and support to the most vulnerable members of the communities they serve.”
Josh Paterson, Executive Director, Law Foundation of B.C., said: “We are proud to be able to award this much-needed funding in support of legal clinics, which perform incredibly important work in supporting marginalized British Columbians. We thank the government for its continued efforts in keeping the justice system accessible for all British Columbians.”
Law Foundation of B.C.: