BC Supreme Court upholds expertise of Environmental Appeal Board

The BC Supreme Court has once again held that on the Court must give decisions of the Environmental Appeal Board substantial deference on judicial review.  In doing so, Justice MacKenzie rejected arguments aimed at narrowing the Court's understanding of the Board's expertise and applying the "general question" exception to the presumption of reasonableness. In upholding the Board's substantive decision Justice MacKenzie also confirmed the way in which the deferential standard of reasonableness ought to be applied by the reviewing court.  Robin Gage was counsel for the Environmental Appeal Board in this judicial review hearing.    

The Court's decision can be found here: Harrison Hydro Project Inc. v. Environmental Appeal Board, 2017 BCSC 320   

Retail Action Network to Intervene in SCC Appeal

The Retail Action Network (RAN), has been granted leave to intervene in the appeal of a human rights case in the Supreme Court of Canada.  RAN is a Victoria-based grass-roots organization that represents and advocates for the rights of vulnerable workers in the Retail, Food Service, and Hospitality Industries.  The appeal is from the BC Court of Appeal's decision in Schrenk v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), and raises issues about the jurisdiction of the BC Human Rights Tribunal to consider complaints of discrimination arising in a workplace setting.  RAN is concerned that the Court of Appeal's ruling may result in diminished protection from harassment and discrimination for the most vulnerable workers.   The Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to hear the appeal on March 28, 2017.  Catherine Boies Parker and Robin Gage, together with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) represent RAN in this matter.  

https://www.retailaction.ca/ 

http://bcpiac.com/

Chief Justice Awards Increased Costs for Complex Public Interest Case

The Chief Justice of British Columbia has found that the defendants in litigation involving the constitutional rights of homeless individuals in Victoria are entitled to increased costs against the Attorney General of British Columbia. The Chief Justice noted that the defendants had enjoyed real success in achieving some of their housing demands, and that it would be grossly inadequate or unjust to only award them costs on the normal scale. Catherine Boies Parker acted for the homeless defendants.

The Court's decision can be found here:  British Columbia v. Adamson, 2017 BCSC 168

Supreme Court of Canada Decision is a Victory for Free Speech

Alison Latimer along with Sean Hern acted for the appellant, the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, in a constitutional challenge to BC laws that require election advertising sponsors to register before they engage in election advertising. The Chief Electoral Officer, charged with enforcing the Act, interpreted this law as capturing individuals and organisations transmitting their own views by posting a handmade sign in a window, putting a bumper sticker on a car, or wearing a T-shirt with a message on it. The lower courts agreed. The Supreme Court of Canada today ruled that the law does not capture those activities. Individuals and organisations who neither pay others for advertising services nor receive advertising services from others without charge are not "sponsors" and can express their own views without registering. The Court also held that such expression is not captured by other parts of the Act, including the Act's expenditure limits.

To read the full judgment, click here.

To learn more about the essential work of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, click here.

Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds Exclusive Jurisdiction of Residential Schools' Claims Adjudicators

The Ontario Court of Appeal has held that the Independent Assessment Process (IAP)   established under the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement is a "complete code” and that the courts must preserve the finality of the IAP process and respect the expertise of IAP adjudicators. The IRSSA is the largest and most complex class action settlement in Canada. Catherine Boies Parker acted for the Chief Adjudicator of the IAP.

The Court's decision can be found here:  Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General), 2017 ONCA 26