Justice For All

The BC Liberal government has mandated deep cuts to the legal aid system in BC yet again. In January, funding cuts forced LSS to reduce staff in the Lower Mainland by 38 positions and cut back core services and special projects, while demand for services rose dramatically. Those cuts followed the massive 40 percent cut to legal aid by the BC Liberal government in 2002-2005.

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The effect of these cuts will be devastating for low-income people, particularly women and their children, who will be unable to access the justice system.

The most recent round of cuts include:

  • closing of five regional centres in Kelowna, Kamloops, Prince George, Victoria and Surrey and the legal aid portion of the Justice Access Centre in Nanaimo -- only the Terrace regional centre and the Vancouver office will remain open;
  • total layoffs: 58 (44 BCGEU members);
  • cuts to tariffs for family, immigration and criminal law;
  • stricter screening processes and eligibility requirements for clients;
  • closing of the family law clinic;
  • reductions in staff lawyers;
  • reductions in services for people who cannot access legal representation through LSS, including cuts to the staffing of the LawLINE, Community Advocate Support Line, and family and other duty counsel.