Miriam Kresivo, QC
February 26, 2018

Last Tuesday, the provincial government released its budget. It was the first time in many years that the budget speech by a BC finance minister referred to the administration of justice or resources for the Attorney General’s ministry. Budget 2018 includes new resources for providing access to justice through innovation, hiring additional sheriffs and court staff, and expanding legal aid.

These investments come following constructive dialogue with government, the Legal Services Society and others in the justice sector on how to improve access to legal advice, representation and services. Throughout the past year, the Law Society has increased its engagement with Attorney General David Eby, provincial cabinet ministers, MLAs, and senior public officials – sharing our vision, working together to find common ground, and building support for initiatives that better serve the needs of British Columbians.

The funding measures in Budget 2018 are just a few of the initiatives to improve access to legal services the Law Society has been, and is, discussing with government. Our work toward regulating alternate providers of some legal services requires legislative amendments and collaboration. We are partners in A2JBC and its work. We support each other’s efforts to advance Truth and Reconciliation initiatives. We have a seat at the table for consultations on the Attorney General ministry’s family justice and other reforms.

I am encouraged by the provincial government’s recognition that a fairer, healthier and just society requires new investments in the justice system. The Attorney General deserves credit for getting government’s attention in a budget that focuses primarily on key election commitments to child care, housing affordability and the elimination of the MSP. The new funding that the Attorney General secured provides a good foundation in supporting fairer access to justice.

I also recognize that there is more to do. The Law Society will continue to engage the Attorney General. I’m eager to work with him on advancing our initiatives with government, from alternative legal service providers to securing even more resources that will ensure British Columbians have access to advice and representation so that they can resolve their legal disputes earlier, and more affordably.