No new funding for legal aid in BC.
That’s what stood out to Canadian Bar Association BC Branch president Alex Shorten in yesterday’s provincial budget.
A press release describes how in their annual presentation of the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services last fall, the CBABC recommended that the government invest $10 million over the next three years. (Read the submissions here).
Despite the CBABC’s request and reminder of the Cowper report recommendations, the budget contained no new funding for the province’s legal aid services, which are widely viewed as underfunded to begin with.
According to Shorten,
“Today’s announcement recognizes the need for stable funding for court facilities such as the expansion and addition of courtrooms in the lower Fraser Valley. However, it is difficult to fathom how the government could not have found increased funding for legal aid within the almost $1 billion surplus announced for the 2014/15 updated forecast or the projected surplus of $284 million in this budget.”
See the press release, 2015 BC Budget Disappoints: Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch President Reacts to Lack of Legal Aid Funding, for more detail.