The Issues


The CBA is concerned about the growing gaps in access to justice. The system is difficult to navigate, especially without legal help. Specific complaints include:

  • Longer delays to get to court, according to the Chief Justice of Ontario.
  • Access to the non-criminal legal system is predominantly for the wealthy and corporations, according to the Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Low income people have limited access to civil legal aid, for example in British Columbia, as a result of changes to legal aid plans.
  • More people are going to court on their own without a lawyer, all across Canada.
  • More people are giving up on seeking justice through the legal system.

The CBA is committed to achieving equal justice in Canada, with our overall mandate to:

  • Propose a common vision of equal justice in Canada and develop a broad-based commitment to help reach it
  • Improve and promote access to justice for the poor and middle class in Canada
  • Ensure Canada protects access to justice for all Canadians through properly funded legal aid plans for criminal and civil matters
  • Coordinate and integrate CBA activities

In many ways justice has been devalued. Many Canadians see justice as a luxury that we can no longer afford – not as an integral part of our democracy that upholds rights and helps realize opportunity.

Everyone, regardless of income level, should be able to use the remedies that Canadian laws and the Canadian legal system provide. Otherwise, there is no justice.