A group representing single mothers is taking the province to court over their ability to access legal aid.
The Single Mothers’ Alliance of B.C. has filed a petition to BC Supreme Court stating the provincial government hasn’t been fulfilling its duties to all of its citizens.
Lawyer Kasari Govender says single mothers or victims of abuse have to be in extreme poverty to access legal aid.
“This isn’t the government’s decision anymore, how to spend money. This is about constitutional rights and the government has a legal obligation to fulfil constitutional rights.”
She says women earning minimum wage don’t qualify because they’re above the income bracket.
“One of our plaintiffs in this case has received numerous death threats. Her ex has been charged and pled guilty to uttering threats against her in a context that resulted in an entire maternity ward being shut down. These are really, really serious situations, and she has been denied legal aid.”
Govender adds what is offered to mothers now is enough for a restraining order, but not enough for a child custody battle.
She says the province slashed funding to legal aid by 60 per cent in 2002.
The provincial government refused to comment due to the election campaign.
The Legal Services Society hasn’t responded to our interview request.