The Business Case for Access to Justice
On May 24, 2014, the BC Chamber of Commerce unanimously passed a resolution calling for a timely and effective justice system through strategic investment, efficiencies and a fixed complement of Provincial Court judges. See the resolution here. In July 2013 the CBABC began working on a Justice Task Force with the Chambers of Prince George, Kamloops and Campbell River to develop this resolution that confirms that delays in the justice system impacts business and businesses in BC will benefit from reforms and strategic investment in the justice system.
President Crawford, Past President Simmons and LSS Chair Tom Christensen joined lawyers Mike Boulet of Campbell River, Rick Heney of Kamloops and businesswoman Ranjit Gill of Prince George on the Justice Task Force.
They met every 2-4 weeks from September to May. During the three-day AGM, Crawford and Simmons met with Chamber representatives from throughout BC to talk about justice issues in communities and the need for this important resolution. The strong connections between lawyers and local Chambers were clear, with many Chamber members mentioning positive relationships with CBABC members.
The support of the BC Chamber for the resolution will add another voice advocating for the justice system. The resolution will form part of BC Chamber policy for three years and BC Chamber executives will meet with the BC Government to discuss funding, efficiencies and the Provincial Court judicial complement.
The passing of this resolution represents three years of work by the CBABC to build its relationship with the BC Chamber of Commerce and increase public awareness of the need for legal aid funding. Beginning in 2011-12, the CBABC Public Awareness Campaign led by then-President Sharon Matthews, inspired the Kamloops Chamber to propose a variation of this resolution at the 2012 AGM which passed but without the necessary 2/3rds majority. Continued support of the Kamloops Chamber, particularly lawyers Ryan Scorgie and Rick Heney, kept the resolution alive through 2013. With the additional support of Campbell River and Prince George, we achieved our goal in 2014.
The CBABC looks forward to working with the BC Chamber on issues of mutual interest such as ensuring that small communities have access to legal services and reforming the PST legislation to eliminate double taxation on legal fees. The CBABC Executive wishes to thank all Chamber members, especially lawyers who support the business communities by being members of their local Chamber.
View Access to Justice Resolution 2014
BC Chamber of Commerce
CBABC An Agenda for Justice
CBABC Advocacy, Initiatives and Legislative Updates