VICTORIA - In his role as chair of B.C.'s Justice Reform Initiative, Geoffrey Cowper, QC, has launched a new website to initiate conversation and generate ideas about how B.C.'s justice system can be made more efficient, transparent and accessible for all British Columbians.
The British Columbia Justice Reform Initiative website - www.bcjusticereform.ca - provides a forum for the public and stakeholders to provide their input. It invites constructive dialogue on the challenges facing - and potential solutions for - B.C.'s justice system through the use of an interactive blog and social media updates, as well as regular surveys seeking public feedback.
Consultation is a vital component of the action B.C. is taking on justice reform. As part of Cowper's mandate from government, the public and stakeholders are to have opportunities to provide input and feedback during the review.
Cowper has been asked by the Province to identify barriers to timely criminal justice and measures to improve the system's outcomes, as well as look for new ways that collaboration and co-operation can be fostered among various justice system participants. The B.C. government's Green Paper, Modernizing B.C.'s Justice System, provides the foundation for this review.
Government continues to invest critical resources in B.C.'s public safety and justice system, spending over $1 billion annually. The crime rate in British Columbia has fallen 33 per cent since 2004, the number of new provincial court cases has declined, and the length of adult and youth criminal cases has remained stable. Innovation and advancements in technology have helped streamline court procedures, and yet costs and case delays continue to rise.
The Justice Reform Initiative will identify long-term, fiscally responsible solutions and provide recommendations for dealing with the challenges faced by B.C. justice system.
Cowper must provide his final report to government in July 2012. This report, as well as updates expected mid-March, mid-April and mid-May, will be posted on the Justice Reform Initiative website.
Read the B.C. government's Green Paper, "Modernizing B.C.'s Justice System", here:
Read the news release about the B.C. government's justice system reform initiative here:
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice
Justice Reform Initiative