Advocacy in Action | April 2021

Money Laundering, CRT, Police Act Reform, Spotlight on the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Committee.

April 2021

Advocacy in Action | April 2021


The legislature resumed on March 1, 2021 and is expected to sit until June 17, 2021; watch for important news on legislative updates under the Professional Development section of the CBABC website. The provincial budget will be announced on April 20 and CBABC representatives will be working hard that day to analyze the funding and determine whether core advocacy initiatives will make the cut. Funding and programs to improve court services and implement technological solutions remain a key priority for members as they provide essential services during the ongoing State of Emergency in BC. CBABC continues to lobby government and stakeholders for improvements to the legal and justice system, as outlined in the Agenda for Justice 2021.


The Cullen Commission Inquiry into Money Laundering in BC will be wrapping up in the coming weeks, after two years of compiling documents and reports, and hearing from witnesses in a variety of industries from countries around the world. CBABC plans to file a final written submission, which addresses the responsibilities of lawyers to preserve the foundational principles of the lawyer-client relationship, including the independence of the legal professional, solicitor-client privilege, and the duty of confidentiality. While money laundering is a serious matter in BC, solutions are needed that will not overreach and endanger the independence of the Bar, nor unnecessarily invade the privacy of citizens. Significant improvements in enforcement — from investigations into financial crimes to the laying of money laundering charges — are needed to deter criminals from money laundering activities in BC.


The CBABC’s Auto Insurance Working Group was consulted to address concerns regarding the role of the CRT in determining minor injury claims, and these concerns were outlined in a formal submission to the Attorney General in May of 2020. The BC Supreme Court has now struck down provisions in the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act as being unconstitutional, in a decision rendered March 2, 2021.


A consultation group of members was formed in February and is in the process of finalizing a written submission to the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act. Concerns around police disciplinary proceedings, arbitrary seizures, wrongful death and civil liberties were identified as key areas by the group. In addition, a recommendation for more robust data collection and increased transparency will be made, to identify any negative impact on segments of the population and to drive change in policies and education.


The Indigenous Justice Advocacy Committee, otherwise known as IJAC, was formed in 2019 to develop the CBABC position on issues that include:

  • Restorative justice initiatives;
  • Indigenous courts;
  • Expansion of legal aid services;
  • Child protection reform;
  • Enhanced cultural competence among all justice system participants; and
  • Indigenous-specific victim services.

This standing Committee meets regularly to discuss these issues and to connect with other stakeholders to develop a set of recommendations to amend legislation and improve government policy. The implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) and the BC First Nations Justice Strategy remain a key priority. This committee’s work will be presented to the CBABC Board for consideration in the coming weeks.


CBABC’s policy development and advocacy priorities are determined by members through CBABC Sections and Committees. Volunteers are always welcome. Contact the Director of Advocacy, Jo-Anne Stark at