Children and Youth in British Columbia, Canada, are being denied access to justice in family cases. I wonder how the laws regarding children in Canada can differ so vastly between provinces – why is there such a national Federal dis-connect with Canada’s most precious assets?
As the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond says so eloquently in her recent report to Geoffrey D. Cowper, Q.C. and head of BC’s Justice Reform Initiative:
“One important area of the justice system that my office is currently reviewing concerns the rights of children to be represented by legal counsel in situations where their interests are affected. Apart from a few specific areas where arguments might be advanced for a constitutional right to State funded counsel, there is presently no systematic provision for legal representation for children in British Columbia. Other provinces have addressed this issue in different ways. Legal representation for children is provided in Alberta through a specifically funded Legal Representation for Children and Youth program. Ontario maintains a Children’s Lawyer program. I submit that principles of fairness are undermined when vulnerable children do not have access to legal counsel in matters that affect them, to ensure that their rights and best interests are protected.”
If the government of British Columbia isn’t prepared to protect our children and offer them legal representation, then we, the people, will do it. Please support the Views of the Child Society so that we can institute provincial funding for legal representation for our children and youth.