The Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin Access to Justice Fund (“McLachlin Fund”) was established in 2019 to provide financial support for innovative projects and programs to improve access to civil and family justice. The McLachlin Fund prioritizes projects and programs that address a defined access to justice problem in a way that can be effectively evaluated and scaled-up or adopted elsewhere if successful.
The McLachlin Fund has not yet reached its full capital goal. In this inaugural funding call, the McLachlin Fund plans to grant up to a total of $180,000 to projects with the potential to improve access to civil and family justice in Canada. The McLachlin Fund anticipates making between one and three grants through this first funding call while continuing to raise funds to support larger granting calls in future years.
Who can apply?
Applicants from throughout Canada are invited to apply. Successful applicants will have a strong record delivering programs that facilitate and/or evaluate access to civil and family justice on a regional or national level. Successful applicants will also have demonstrated capacity to deliver and evaluate their proposed project and to contribute to a national dialogue on enhancing access to civil and family justice. Applicants must be either a registered charity or other qualified donee under the Income Tax Act, or a registered non-profit organization. A non-incorporated organization may apply in partnership with an eligible organization. The eligible organization must serve as the lead applicant.
The McLachlin Fund was established to support innovative projects and programs that are:
- working to improve civil and family justice by developing and implementing practical solutions to enhance access to justice;
- stimulating innovation in the administration of civil and family justice;
- developing evidence-based methods for evaluating outcomes in the civil and family justice system;
- supporting collaboration and knowledge-sharing amongst jurisdictions and stakeholders; and
- raising awareness of and commitment to the need for improved access to civil and family justice at all levels of the justice system.
The McLachlin Fund defines access to justice issues broadly. The McLachlin Fund recognizes that access to justice issues affect certain vulnerable people and communities disproportionately, including Indigenous people, Black people and people of colour, and members of other equity-seeking groups.
Collaborations are welcome, as are pilot projects with the potential to scale up or be replicated elsewhere in Canada if successful. Projects need not be national in scope – projects with provincial/territorial and regional/local scopes are welcome.
The McLachlin Fund will not support:
- capital expenses; and
- projects that are being delivered outside of Canada.
Applicants can apply for between $20,000 and $60,000 per year for up to three years (between $60,000 and $180,000 in total multi-year funding).
How to apply
There is a two-staged application process for this funding call:
- letter of intent stage; and
- full application stage.
All eligible applicants are invited to submit a letter of intent. We strongly encourage applicants to contact program staff at [email protected] before preparing their letter of intent to arrange a time to discuss the proposal. This is an opportunity to discuss the project funding process and get feedback on the project idea and how it relates to the McLachlin Fund mandate. We encourage applicants to get this feedback as early in the process as possible and no later than March 26, 2021.
The McLachlin Fund uses the SmartSimple online grant submission and management system. The SmartSimple Portal can be found at:
To be considered, please submit a letter of intent through SmartSimple by 5:00pm PST April 9, 2021.
Letters of intent will be evaluated and all applicants will be advised as to the outcome of that process.
Applicants that are invited to submit a full application based on their letter of intent are advised to work with the McLachlin Fund to develop their proposals. Completed applications will be submitted through SmartSimple.
If you have any questions concerning the application process, please contact staff at: [email protected]
Please note: The Law Foundation of British Columbia provides secretariat services to the McLachlin Fund to support the assessment and administration of the granting process, including review of all materials.
Submitting an application is not a guarantee of funding.