CBA President’s Statement on Federal Budget 2016
March 23, 2016
The CBA supports the federal government’s financial commitment to access to justice and improvements the justice system contained in the 2016 federal budget. In particular, four areas will benefit from increased funding announced on March 22.
Court challenges program
As long-time supporters of the Court Challenges Program, the CBA welcomes the government’s commitment to reinstate the program and the $12 million in new funding. The program serves as an important safeguard against unequal and unfair treatment of vulnerable individuals and communities. All Canadians benefit when individuals and groups are able to enforce language and equality rights through the courts.
Criminal legal aid
Legal aid provides access to justice for Canadians who cannot afford to pay for legal services. The CBA has a long history of unwavering support for a legal aid system for essential criminal matters. The CBA welcomes the $88 million for criminal legal aid to help to address a long-standing shortfall. This funding will help close the justice gap for the most disadvantaged Canadians.
Aboriginal courtwork program
Focusing on another shortfall in the criminal justice system, the announcement of increased funding for the Aboriginal Courtwork Program is welcome news. The CBA supports the program as an important measure to address the unacceptable overrepresentation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.
Federal Court improvements
The Courts Administration Service will receive much needed funding to invest in IT upgrades. $7.9 million will improve services of the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Court Martial Appeal Court and the Tax Court through up to date technology. The CBA supports adequate funding and administrative infrastructure for courts as a key element of access to justice.