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Jan Advocate 2017

THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 7 99 1. Engage citizens early and often to ensure you understand their needs Engaging justice system users forces us to think through outcomedriven approaches to innovation that focus on the “jobs to be done” rather than just on modifications or enhancements to products or processes. For innovation to meet citizen-defined metrics such as time, cost, quality, reliability, convenience, ease of use, etc., we must first understand what citizens want the justice system to do for them. What are the unmet needs we are trying to address? That will lead us to how it should be done, and we can then develop innovations accordingly. As Henry Ford is famously quoted as saying: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Applying the outcome-driven lens to British Columbia’s very successful Parenting After Separation program (“PAS”) allowed us to introduce an innovative online delivery option for parents going through separation or divorce. Under Rule 21 of the Provincial Court (Family) Rules, it is mandatory for most family litigants in 17 court registries to participate in PAS. With online PAS, approximately 6,200 parents a year are able to access the program at their convenience, avoid work absences and childminding costs, save time and meet the requirement to participate. A recent positive evaluation of online PAS demonstrated that nine per cent of participants are diverted from court. The next step will be expansion of online PAS to all remaining Provincial Court registries in B.C. This approach has also extended to distance mediation. We established accessible mediation for all British Columbia families province-wide by having mediators work with parties in different parts of the province using a multi-media tool (audio/video/text). A recent update has also allowed participation via smartphones. 2. Seek out different perspectives from beyond the justice sector Many of the issues dealt with in the justice system are not solely specific to justice, so it is safe to say that neither are the solutions. For example, there are strong correlations among issues of mental health, substance misuse and the justice system. Innovative solutions recognize the interrelated nature of matters that bring people into the justice system and develop holistic and collaborative approaches to addressing those issues. Sometimes, a legal response is not necessarily the only, or even the best, response. British Columbia’s 2016 justice summits, held in June and November, focused on this very complex and intercon-


Jan Advocate 2017
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