A2J Tech Drive seeks to advance Access to Justice in rural BC

  • April 05, 2022

CBABC partners with Electronic Recycling Association to redistribute electronics in remote and Indigenous communities

VANCOUVER, BC (Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territory) - April 5, 2022: The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, in partnership with the Electronic Recycling Association (ERA), is collecting and refurbishing used electronics to distribute to remote and Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia.

The Access to Justice Tech Drive, launching on April 11, will help connect rural communities with the justice system. “While the digital transformation of the courts caused by COVID has been innovative, it has left the most marginalized British Columbians on the wrong side of the digital divide,” CBABC President, Clare Jennings, commented. “Many British Columbians lack access to the basic digital tools—computers, webcams and microphones—needed to participate in virtual hearings.”

In a report by Legal Aid BC, a community worker accounts their shocking realization on how big the technological gap is when they lived in a rural location: “Poor reception, poor access, lack of providers… [there is an] increase in costs to have services because the number of providers is so low.” The report also found that lower income Indigenous residents are three times more likely than lower income non-Indigenous residents to have no access to a computer or a cellphone.

“The A2J Tech Drive hopes to reduce some of the barriers that lower income, rural and Indigenous communities face in their pursuit for connectivity, and of course, access to justice,” said Jennings. “Partnering with ERA, an organization that has worked to address the digital divide since 2004, is the perfect way to facilitate this initiative.”

The partnership also addresses digital disparity through sustainable means. “Nowadays, many of us are quick to replace our computers or phones with their newest version of the same product, even if they’re not broken,” remarks Julia Armstrong, Marketing and Donations Manager for the Electronic Recycling Association. “Instead of prematurely discarding used electronics, we refurbish them and make sure they go to those who need them.”

A number of BC law firms have already shown support for the initiative. “Having a device that accesses the internet is something most of us take for granted. The support of firms across BC will have an immeasurable impact for those left behind when everything is moved online,” Jennings stated.

Collections take place from April 11 to May 20. To learn more about what is eligible for donation, visit cbabc.org/techdrive.

About CBABC:

The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing more than 36,000 lawyers, judges and law students across Canada with over 7,400 members in British Columbia. CBABC members practice at the forefront of the justice system, providing services to British Columbians in every area of law.

About ERA:

The Electronic Recycling Association is a non-profit organization founded in 2004 to address the growing problem of e-waste and the increasing ‘digital divide.’ For over fifteen years, ERA has offered simple solutions to help individuals and organizations prevent operational equipment from premature destruction.

Media Contact:
Sylvie Kotyk, Communications & Marketing Manager
604.721.4548 | media@cbabc.org