CBA guide provides tools for justice advocacy

  • October 26, 2020

OTTAWA – Attaining access to justice has been called a “wicked problem.” No lawyer would argue for less access to justice, but it’s hard to know where to begin to make the case for more.

The CBA’s Access to Justice Subcommittee has created the Reaching Equal Justice: Advocacy Guide, to help people in the legal profession find that starting point and effectively advocate for equal justice. The guide summarizes key access-to-justice issues around the themes of preventing problems, providing legal services and transforming justice. The guide links to public legal education resources such as legal health checks, to assist people in recognizing their legal issues early on. It also includes advocacy tools that will help lawyers take action to advocate for needed changes to the justice system, such as key messages, questions to ask politicians, and sample social media posts.


“We all pay the price when others don’t get the legal help they need. Inaccessible justice leads to overcrowded court rooms, a greater burden on our social programs, and an erosion of public confidence in the fairness of our justice system.”

“As lawyers and notaries, we have a professional duty to the courts, the justice system and the public. We need people to feel confident that the justice system is fair and accessible to all. Governments need to invest more and develop creative solutions to our access to justice problem.”

  • CBA Reaching Equal Justice: Advocacy Guide

Canada’s access-to-justice problem is well-documented. This guide provides some everyday steps members of the legal profession can take to help fix that problem, through their own practices or through advocating with people who have the power to make the necessary changes.

Quick facts

  • Vulnerable groups have a negative perception of the justice system, believing it is arbitrary and only serves the rich
  • In 2018 total healthcare spending was estimated to be $253.5 billion in Canada, or $6,839 per person, while Justice Canada’s budget for 2017-18 was $639.7 million, most of which went to policing and prisons
  • Virtually everyone will face a legal problem in the course of a lifetime, but many won’t have access to legal help, and some won’t realize how legal assistance could benefit them

Related links

Reaching Equal Justice final report

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Kim Covert.

The Canadian Bar Association

About the CBA

The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers and law students from across Canada are members