Access to Justice on the agenda for CBA President's visit to Whitehorse

  • February 14, 2017

WHITEHORSE – The President of the Canadian Bar Association, René Basque of Moncton, will visit CBA-Yukon (CBA-Y) in Whitehorse from February 15 to 17, where he will speak about the ongoing need to improve access to justice, particularly the gaps in legal, correctional and mental health services available in remote communities outside Whitehorse.

"In Yukon, one of the greatest obstacles identified is a lack of lawyers practising outside of Whitehorse,” says René Basque. “Living in rural or remote areas should not be a barrier to fundamental legal rights.”

Access to justice issues have long been a priority for the CBA. In 2013 the association released its watershed report Reaching Equal Justice, which provides a framework for coordinated and effective action on access to justice, and contains a series of targets in 31 key areas to be achieved by 2030. In the fall of 2016, the CBA developed a set of 6 National benchmarks that it hopes will serve as guidelines for the creation of a national integrated system of public legal assistance focused on improving access to justice and meeting the needs of disadvantaged people across the country.

Most recently, the CBA supported Yukon MP Larry Bagnell’s Bill C-235, as it has supported previous attempts to amend the Criminal Code to address the treatment of people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. While the bill was defeated in the House, we did offer suggestions to improve it, and we hope it will come forward again. Within the CBA, the Yukon Branch has offered important feedback to the CBA’s submissions to the Senate on court delays and its impact on Aboriginal people.

René Basque praises CBA-Y’s  leadership on access to justice issues as well as its recent initiatives, including hosting a Services for Yukon Women information session, a second annual Mid-Winter conference (February, 17, 2017) and a New Lawyers’ reception.

René Basque is available for media interviews. Please contact Sylvia Gibson at 867-689-9108 for scheduling.

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.