VANCOUVER - In a submission to the Select Committee on Finance & Government Services Monday, The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBABC) urged the Provincial Government to implement vital measures in the 2010 Budget that promote Access to Justice for all British Columbians.
James M. Bond, President of the CBABC, presented the submission on behalf of approximately 6,300 practicing lawyers, judges and law students from across the Province.
After thanking the provincial government for implementing RSP protection legislation proposed by the CBABC in 2008, Mr. Bond outlined the Branch’s recommendations for the 2010 Provincial Budget.
That taxation on any kind of legal service creates an additional barrier to access to justice, and should be removed.
That reasonable and sustainable funding for Legal Aid must be implemented.
That the significant collapse of legal services in rural areas of the province must be addressed.
That the current BC Loan Forgiveness program, which forgives student loans at the rate of one third per year for three years for doctors, nurses and pharmacists who work for 3 years in rural British Columbia, should be extended to lawyers.
Mr. Bond further detailed the CBABC recommendation that the government consider articling students to be in a full time education period with their loans staying in the “no payment / interest free” status for the duration of the articling period then converting to “no payment / interest accruing” status for the six month period following. To be called to the British Columbia bar, applicants are required to complete a 12-month training program that includes nine months of articles. Articling involves on the job training while working under the supervision of a lawyer licensed by the Law Society of British Columbia.
Mr. Bond urged the Standing Committee to seriously consider implementing each of the CBABC recommendations saying they represent “a tangible commitment to Access to Justice as well as to supporting our own BC trained students into meaningful community practice and service to our local populations”.
Please visit www.cba.org/BC/Initiatives/main/submissions.aspx to view CBABC submissions to the Standing Committee on Finance & Government Services.
The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing more than 37,000 lawyers, judges and law students in Canada, including 6,300 members in British Columbia.