On April 2, the Law Foundation marks its 50th anniversary. Over the past 50 years, the Law Foundation, and the groups it funds, have worked to satisfy the mission of the Law Foundation – “To advance and promote a just society governed by the rule of law, through leadership, innovation and collaboration.” Our vision is “A society where access to justice is protected and advanced.”
In 1969, the foundation had income of $50,000 and issued its first grant of $5,000 (to the Legal Services Society). By way of contrast, in 2018, foundation income was $52.7 million, 268 applications for funding were assessed and over $33.4 million in funding was approved for 77 continuing programs and 141 other grants (27 project, 42 on-track, and 70 other grants). Recognizing the need for ongoing work in the community in our five statutorily mandated areas, over $25.4 million of this amount was allocated to continuing programs.
Since 1969, much has happened to improve access to justice in British Columbia:
- More than $600 million in grants have been made by governors of the Law Foundation to a variety of organizations in BC for work within the mandate of the foundation, namely: legal aid, legal education, law reform, legal research and law libraries.
- Some groups have been funded by the Law Foundation for more than 35 years: Canadian Bar Association; Legal Services Society; Community Legal Assistance Society; Legal Services Society; Peoples’ Law School; Law Students’ Legal Advice Program; University of British Columbia; West Coast Environmental Law Association; BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre; Debate and Speech Association of BC; BC Civil Liberties Association; Law Society (Professional Legal Training Course); MPA Motivation Power and Achievement Society; and the University of Victoria Law Centre.
- Since 2002, the foundation has supported a network of legal advocacy groups around the province that provide legal help to people in their communities and in 2018, the board funded 15 new family law advocacy programs and 10 additional poverty law groups.
- Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians have received help with their legal problems, including information, advice, summary service and full representation.
- A variety of law reform and systemic advocacy initiatives have resulted in changes and improvements to the laws of British Columbia.
We look forward continuing to work with the legal community of BC to enhance access to justice in the province.