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APB welcomes 3 new directors
APB News

Access Pro Bono welcomes 2024 with three new Directors

Access Pro Bono has bolstered its bench strength for 2024 with the addition of the Honourable Robert J. Bauman KC, Barb Ward-Burkitt and Kelly Melnyk as its three newest Directors.

Hailing from Vancouver, Prince George and Kamloops respectively, Bob, Barb and Kelly bring a broad range of knowledge and service experiences to the APB Board. They join APB's other ten Directors in guiding the organization's work to increase access to justice for all British Columbians.

The Honourable Robert J. Bauman KC

The Honourable Robert J. Bauman KC is the former Chief Justice of BC, former Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for BC, and former Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Yukon. 

Bob was appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court of BC in 1996; as a justice of the Court of Appeal for BC in 2008; as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of BC in 2009; and as Chief Justice of BC in 2013. He retired in October 2023. Prior to becoming a judge, he was in private practice with Bull, Housser & Tupper in Vancouver. He worked largely in the areas of local government and administrative law. While practicing law, he taught administrative law at UBC Law from 1991 to 1996. 

In 2012, and again in 2013, Bob was named by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Most Influential” in the justice system in Canada. In 2012, he was also presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Commemorative Medal for contributions to Canada. As well, he is the 2012 recipient of the Anthony P. Pantages, QC Medal for outstanding contributions to the field of justice. Bob was the recipient of the 2013 TLABC Bench Award by the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. From 2013 to 2016, he held the position of Vice-Chair of the Canadian Judicial Council. He is the founding and current Chair of Access to Justice BC.

Barb Ward-Burkitt

Barb is of Cree ancestry from the Fort McKay First Nation in northern Alberta, Treaty 8 territory, and has resided in northern BC for over 65 years. As the Executive Director of Canada’s largest Friendship Centre (the Prince George Native Friendship Centre), she provides leadership through a lens of reconciliation and cultural grounding. She is in her 54th year with the Friendship Centre movement–– a commitment that reflects her personal philosophy of empowerment of Indigenous people and advocacy for community growth.

Barb has been instrumental in addressing homelessness in her northern BC community by establishing supportive housing facilities. As one example, she helped to establish Tse’Koo Huba Yoh, an Indigenous women’s housing program and Friendship Lodge with 30 coed units, in Prince George where housing needs are particularly acute.

Barb believes very strongly in life-long learning and education. She graduated in 2001 from Simon Fraser University with a Master of Education degree. She is very proud of her Cree ancestry, and of being a role model and providing her cultural teachings to her two children (now deceased) and nineteen grandchildren, five of whom she and her husband Jim have been raising for over twenty years.

Barb received the Order of British Columbia in October 2010.

Kelly Melnyk

Kelly is a lawyer in Kamloops who was called to the BC Bar in 2017. She received her Bachelors degree from the University of Alberta, and her law degree from Thompson Rivers University (TRU).

After articling and practicing in Lumby, Kelly moved back to Kamloops and practiced in the areas of family law, advance planning, and not-for-profit law. As someone who is passionate about issues impacting vulnerable clients, specifically those in the aging population, she has focused much of her career on examining issues of capacity, advance planning in the legal context, and legal decision-making.

Kelly sat as a board member with the Centre for Seniors Information in Kamloops for three terms, and continues to sit as a board member with the Kamloops Bar Association. She is co-chair of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) Advisory Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Issues. On top of teaching Elder Law and Wills and Estates, Kelly is one of the MacIntyre Cup moot team coaches at TRU Law.