The first full budget handed down by British Columbia’s New Democratic Party will provide much-needed injections of funds to the province’s ailing legal community, but at the same time it draws blood from larger corporations and the real estate industry with new tax levies.
The B.C. government budget announcement provides increased investments in the justice sector for the next three years. Allocations include: nearly $4.8 million in additional annual funding for legal aid, with a focus on indigenous and family law services; $3.8 million per year to fund expansion of Parents Legal Centres; $5 million more per year for sheriff services and court staff to help reduce delays in the court system; and an additional $3.3 million annually for government initiatives related to family dispute resolution services and increasing digital access to justice services.
“These are material increases in funding that will improve access to justice for many within the province, including those in indigenous, rural and remote communities,” said Bill Veenstra, president of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch.