Welcome from the Chief Justice

Welcome to the Access to Justice BC website. It is my sincere pleasure to provide updates on Access to Justice BC’s activities and progress, continuing the work of my predecessor, founding chair Robert Bauman, KC.

I look forward to reaching people across the province who are concerned about the accessibility of the civil and family justice system in BC. I want to provide information about what Access to Justice BC is doing and to invite your feedback.

In this post, I explain why supporting Access to Justice BC is so important to me. I also share what the initiative will be doing in the coming months.

Access to Justice BC first started in 2015, when a few of the province’s justice leaders and thinkers took to heart the recommendation of the National Action Committee to create a provincial forum dedicated to improving access to justice.

One of my top priorities as Chief Justice of BC will be to ensure we have a justice system for all. Working with Access to Justice BC to improve access to justice by, among other things, removing barriers to the justice system, will be essential in this work. Access to Justice BC supports communication, collaboration and shared leadership in the sector as helpful means to improve service for all. Access to Justice BC also embraces the objectives of truth and reconciliation, and looks closely at technology’s role in improving access.

Some of the plans Access to Justice BC has for this year, further to its vision and objectives, include:

  • Engaging more justice sector organizations to become signatories of the Access to Justice Triple Aim Measurement Framework and strengthening relational and user-centred data collection, use, analysis, and sharing processes*;
  • Continuing to take and promote aligned steps to advance truth, reconciliation and equitable access in relation to barriers caused not only by lack of resources, but also by differences in culture, language, literacy, gender, race, age, ability and life experiences;
  • As a part of modernization efforts, improving the resources available in the justice sector to support user-centred design and evaluation methods;
  • Implementing strategies and measuring results related to the Transform the Family Justice System Collaborative‘s five capacity-building objectives; and
  • Developing the common knowledge and understanding of what meaningful participation of children and youth looks like in the justice sector.

I am looking forward to my first Access to Justice BC Leadership Group meeting in May 2024. I am thankful for the justice sector and inter-sectoral stakeholders’ ongoing support and dedication to addressing access to justice issues during COVID-19 and through past and upcoming transitions in this forum. We will continue to build alignment and momentum around collaborative, user-centred, evidence-based and experimental systems change. I also note that we are part of a wider effort in Canada to address access to justice and that those in other provinces and territories look to us as leaders in this field.

I hope that you will visit our website and follow our progress over the next year.

– Leonard Marchand, Chief Justice of British Columbia


*See also: British Columbia’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner (2020). Disaggregated demographic data collection in British Columbia: the grandmother perspective.