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Family Law is the Most Significant Unmet Legal Need in BC

The amount of legal aid available for family law matters in BC has been drastically cut since 2002. Today legal aid representation in family law cases is only available where there is actual or threatened family violence, or to resolve the serious denial of access to children – even for people whose low income would otherwise make them eligible for assistance. Even when women do qualify for legal aid, they may not receive enough time with a lawyer to resolve all of their outstanding legal issues.

The Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, in a recently published report, states that BC’s justice system requires attention now to avert a growing crisis. It calls for adequate funding for family law services which were eliminated in 2002, including issues of divorce, child access and custody, financial support and asset division. They note that 71 per cent of people who would financially qualify for such services are women.

Women are often left to represent themselves when trying to resolve important issues related to their family, home, and financial security.


The crisis in public legal services for family law in BC continues to have an especially heavy impact on women. Women are less likely than men to be able to afford a lawyer and more likely to have their safety at risk. A woman’s capacity to be independent often depends on her ability to resolve disputes over spousal support, child custody and property division. Access to justice is an issue that impacts women’s equality, and women’s safety.



Our service model is intended to complement and work closely with existing community services – while also providing a service unlike any other in BC. We rely on donations to help us to continue to strengthen our services and facilitate access to justice for women.


We help in three ways:

Providing legal advice and representation to women who have no other means of getting legal help.

Creating opportunities for law students to learn how to deliver community based legal services and carry forward a commitment to providing access to justice and family law services in their legal careers.


Identifying cases that have the potential to advance women’s legal rights at a systemic level.

Rise Women’s Legal Centre is not yet a registered charity. If you would like a charitable receipt for your donation, you can donate to West Coast LEAF through their Canada Helps Webpage.

To ensure that your donation is sent to Rise, please select “Rise Women’s Legal Centre” from the menu instead of “General Operating Fund.”

Donations can also be mailed to:

Rise Women’s Legal Centre
#201 – 456 West Broadway Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1R3

Our Current Funders

Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia


The Peter A. Allard School of Law is recognized as one of the leading law schools in Canada, and has a reputation worldwide for innovative research, inspiring teachers, and outstanding graduates. The law school is committed to preparing our students to become exceptional global citizens, to conducting leading-edge research that serves our community nationally and internationally, and to promoting the values of a just, civil and sustainable society.



The following special donors have pledged their support to Rise by committing to an annual major gift contribution:

Nancy Bradshaw and Robert Brown
Alison Brewin
The Honourable Kirsti Gill
Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP
Judith Korbin
The Honourable Donna Martinson

We also thank those generous Sustaining Circle supporters who have requested anonymity.


Rise offers our sincere gratitude to all those who have supported our clinic, which helps strengthen our financial foundation, to ensure Rise’s future.

We have been fortunate to receive generous contributions from dedicated members of the community, including financial donations, in-kind donations, and hundreds of volunteer hours. All contributions have played an important role in building a clinic and a community dedicated to ensuring women receive better access to justice.


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