Immigration legal clinic offers support for B.C. newcomers

March 14, 2020

By Voice |

B.C.’S largest immigrant-serving agency will host a legal clinic to provide improved support for new British Columbians as part of government’s commitment to increase access to justice.

“These funds allow Immigrant Services Society of B.C. (ISSofBC) to expand its work in support of newcomers to British Columbia as they navigate the immigration system,” said David Eby, Attorney General, on Wednersday. “Challenges adjusting to a new language and new culture only add to the barriers faced by new arrivals to our province. This legal clinic will also provide support to advocates across the province who support newcomers.”

As part of a continued commitment by government to help create legal clinics throughout the province, ISSofBC received a $250,000 grant to hire lawyers and legal staff who can offer legal advice and act as lawyers in legal proceedings, at no cost to clients. The Law Foundation of B.C. will provide coaching, tools and support to enhance the services the society provides.

ISSofBC has provided support services for immigrants and refugees since 1972. It works with more than 20,000 people annually, helping them to get settled, find careers and learn what they need to know about starting their new lives in Canada.

“We have seen how devasting cuts to legal aid services can be to the most vulnerable British Columbians,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “That’s why we’ve taken action to reverse that history, and to ensure immigrants and refugees are able to access the legal help they need.”

Tim Bailey, Program Director, Law Foundation of B.C., said: “This new legal clinic will serve the very specific and complex legal needs of refugees and immigrants, particularly for highly vulnerable people with complicated cases who might otherwise fall through the cracks. The Law Foundation of B.C. is proud to be able to provide this grant that will allow this critical new service to be opened at the Welcome House.”

Patricia Woroch, CEO, ISSofBC, said: “Access to the justice system for our clients is greatly needed. Funding of this program to help the most vulnerable of our clients receive the legal help they need in a timely and consistent manner will go a long way towards facilitating their integration into Canadian society.”

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