Access to Justice

Lone-mothers, Poverty and Access to Family Law Legal Aid in BC

For years, our members have brought forward that lack of access to legal aid in family law proceedings is a crucial issue impacting lone-mothers in BC.

Family law addresses critical issues arising upon the breakdown of a relationship, including child custody and guardianship, division of property, support issues, and protection against violence. More and more women cannot access legal representation because of the unaffordability of private lawyers and the deep inadequacy of legal aid coverage in BC at this time. While men are the principal users of criminal law legal aid, it is a fact that women are the principal users of family law legal aid and civil legal aid.

Therefore, we have taken legal action to address this issue. Please check Westcoast LEAF's Legal Aid Test Case for more information.

Access to justice in family law is a women’s equality issue.

    • Since 2002, current government in BC has radically cut and dismantled access to family law legal aid in the province, disproportionately impacting women, single mothers and their children.
    • Between 2001 and 2015, the number of family law cases approved for legal aid in BC dropped from 15, 526 to 3, 442.
    • Only 32% off those who received a referral to a legal aid lawyer on any matter were women.
    • In 2002, current government cut the Legal Services Society budget by 40% over three years.
    • The family law budget was cut in 2002 by 60%.
    • Funding cuts have resulted in the Legal Services Society assisting fewer and fewer family law litigants, with a rising number of women representing themselves or shut out of the family law system due to their poverty and low income status.


The Single Mothers' Alliance BC asks that the Government of British Columbia:

  • provide new, sustained and adequate funding for legal aid for family law matters,
  • ensure that legal aid is available to those who need it by raising financial thresholds for qualification.
  • reinstate full funding for poverty law legal aid.

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
    commented on Access to Justice 2019-04-10 13:20:59 -0700
    is my ex-husband responsible to pay for our child ? I know it is so difficult if I want to pass court process and prove his income and he can ignore the notices , he lives in Ontario.
    commented on Access to Justice 2019-04-10 13:18:03 -0700
    I am a single mom with a 11 years old child , I am single from March 2017 . I am low income , an I ave already lost my job , It is difficult to pay our expenses , and from March 2017 i could not find any way of supporting single moms , we just receive rental and child benefit which is formal for all families. So how can you guide me ? And also let me know how my education college fee can be refunded to me ?
    commented on Access to Justice 2019-02-21 11:23:07 -0800
    I am a single mom with two very traumatized children where we have lost everything due to lack of laws and Legal Aid and describe our ineffective system as …. Fall from grace and there is no recovery.
    commented on Access to Justice 2018-10-18 19:53:03 -0700
    As a single mother in Vancouver BC I couldn’t agree more with you and am so grateful there’s things like Single Mothers’ Alliance working to make a difference. Thank you so much. This brings a tear to my eye. There’re so many things I could bring up and complain about. I’m tired of sticking my head down and working harder than the average man to support my child. I used to fix appliances for and whenever I would repair something for a fellow single mother I would give them the best discount I possibly could without getting fired. Now I work at the daycare I used to keep my son at. Thank you again for doing what you do!
    commented on Access to Justice 2017-10-20 14:33:33 -0700
    I am a member of LIFE – Livable Income for Equality – an affiliate of Metro Vancouver Alliance, like the Single Mothers’ Alliance BC. LIFE is a diverse group advocating a guaranteed dignified income for all citizens. We are looking for anti-poverty organizations to dialogue about our message.

    The NDP and Greens have committed to organizing basic income pilots in BC in the first budget, following Ontario’s lead. We want to ensure a community version of guaranteed livable income is taken into account by the government.

    Would we be able to meet with members of your organization to discuss the subject to elicit feedback from them?

    Included is a link to our website outlining our position, and two national and international basic income proponents.


    Marv Wheale
    commented on Access to Justice 2017-04-28 20:19:18 -0700
    As a single homeschooling working from home .. Mom- i do know!

    My Son and i have been hurt .. severely so, by a system that is ineffective.

    And, our lives . have been seriously impacted – thereof.

    Grateful for your Single Mom Alliance- supporting all,

    Katherine Marion