From Wally Oppal, QC, Attorney General of BC
British Columbia’s budget 2008 focuses on addressing climate change, promoting greener choices and encouraging economic investment.
The Ministry of Attorney General’s budget includes an increase of just under $28 million for 2008/09.
We received $12 million in dedicated funding for reforms recommended by the Justice Review Task Force that will improve the effectiveness of British Columbia’s justice system. This funding is over three years, starting in 2007/08. Innovative civil and family justice projects — including pilot front-end justice access centres in Nanaimo and Vancouver — will streamline the justice system so it is faster, more proportionate and supports earlier conflict resolution, with more streamlined court processes. Criminal justice reforms will hold offenders accountable more quickly and effectively.
With the opening of Vancouver’s Downtown Community Court planned for this year, budget 2008 includes $13 million over three years for operating costs, of which just over $4 million is for 2008/09. This project is a collaboration of justice, health and social services and will address the underlying causes of criminal behaviour among repeat offenders — many with mental illness, addictions or who are homeless — in downtown Vancouver. My ministry will continue to work closely with our partners to provide better integrated and coordinated services that encourage earlier, more meaningful resolutions for offenders and the community.
Another $20 million has been allotted for negotiated pay increases for judges, lawyers and other Ministry of Attorney General staff.
With this budget lift, we will continue our efforts to achieve an effective justice system that is accessible, responsive and affordable — and that gives British Columbians early solutions and faster justice.