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Media Release | British Columbia

Media Release: BC Budget excels on child care, falls short on access to justice

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British Columbia

Today, West Coast LEAF is in Victoria for the release of the provincial budget. The budget contains mixed news for the rights and safety of women. While we are celebrating the first important steps towards universal child care and increased investment in affordable housing, we are disappointed by the government’s failure to adequately provide for legal aid, for social assistance increases, and for survivors of gender-based violence.

WireService.ca Media Release (02/20/2018) British Columbia - We are pleased to see the significant investment in child care. Today's announcement represents a comprehensive approach to building a universal child care system, with a focus on affordability, accessibility, inclusivity, and quality. This unprecedented investment follows years of activism by women's organizations and child care advocates, and is responsive to the huge costs and safety concerns flagged by many BC families.

"The human rights of women and children will be enhanced by today's child care announcement," says Kasari Govender, Executive Director of West Coast LEAF. "Investing in child care is investing in women's economic security and independence. Steps towards a universal child care system will have significant ripple effects for gender equality, including providing support for women to leave abusive relationships."

In October 2017, West Coast LEAF joined with other legal organizations to call on the province to make much needed investments in the justice system. We highlighted the need for reinvestment in legal aid in our budget submissions. Legal protections are meaningless for those without the tools for enforcement.

Therefore, we are very disappointed with the Province's failure to adequately fund legal aid. Some additional funds are welcome, but the five million per year promised to Legal Services Society for legal services, only some of which will be targeted to family law, and additional funding for dispute resolution fall far short of the need for legal representation.

Govender says: "The safety, dignity, and well-being of women and children are at stake when legal aid services are chronically and woefully underfunded, as they are currently in British Columbia. We were looking to today's budget to address this significant gap in the justice system, but these additional dollars are nowhere near what is required to meet the needs of those dealing with relationship breakdown or fleeing violence."

West Coast LEAF will continue to push for meaningful access to justice in BC.

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Media contact:

Kasari Govender
Executive Director, West Coast LEAF
exec@westcoastleaf.org

 


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