And McLachlin says lives can be ruined when legal problems can't be resolved.
Speaking in Saskatoon on Saturday, McLachlin says a lot of people don't get access to justice because they don't know where to go.
She would like to see action taken to ensure costs are affordable and that there are enough courts and staff to hear cases.
A full report on access to justice will be released this fall, but a summary report is being released Sunday at the Canadian Bar Association conference in Saskatoon.
McLachlin says it's important for the association and governments to act so the report doesn't gather dust on a shelf.