British Columbia 2020 Provincial Election Party Report Card

Under Our 174 Year Old Wrongful Death Laws, British Columbia is the Last of all the Provinces, Including the Yukon, Where it’s Still FREE to Kill Children, Seniors, and the Disabled, With No Access to Justice for Surviving Family Members, or Financial Accountability to Wrongdoers.

In BC, only those who meet the discriminatory criteria of being both a breadwinner with dependents have “worth” under the law. No value = no available judgement amount to cover court costs for surviving family members to access truth, justice and to hold wrongdoers accountable. When it’s FREE to kill in BC, there is no incentive for corrective action to prevent wrongful deaths in the future. Families are left with a burning sense of injustice, and no ability to right a wrong.

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FAILING GRADE – F Despite numerous meetings, letters, and telephone calls with many MLAs and the Attorney General David Eby, the BC NDP have stated that they have no intention to modernize our wrongful death laws following the 2020 BC Provincial Election.

John Horgan has openly stated in a press conference that the BC NDP are ensuring that they do not put the province under any liability when they wrongfully kill the citizens of the province.

As of 2020, the BC NDP have also passed legislation that has repealed victim rights further through the motor vehicle No-Fault legislation (the BC NDP and ICBC have named this under the Orwellian doublespeak term “Enhanced Care Coverage”). Victims of motor vehicle accidents no longer will receive pain & suffering compensation, or access to legal representation to advocate for their care, recovery, and compensation.

The BC NDP have proven that they do not have an interest in respecting the rights and dignity of the individual, especially with respect to victim rights and access to justice. The citizens of the province will continue to become even further subordinate to the political bureaucracy and victims will fall through the cracks. Therefore we have rated the BC NDP with a FAILING GRADE – F.

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GRADE – C+The BC United were aware of the need to modernize BC’s wrongful death laws when they took control of the provincial government in 2001. In 2011, Liberal MLA from West Vancouver, Ralph Sultan, proposed legislation that was a duplicate of Alberta’s legislation (not that great, but still better than BC’s current legislation). ICBC intervened, gave the Liberal government (inflated) numbers of how ICBC would be impacted. This data was not made available for public scrutiny. In turn, the BC Liberal government decided to not undertake this necessary legislative modernization and were unresponsive until recent meetings in 2019.

In 2019, the BC Liberal Party expressed interest and a willingness to pursue legislative modernization. Critic for the Attorney General, MLA Michael Lee has made himself available for numerous meetings and telephone calls in review of the Family Compensation Act.

Further, the BC United opposed the victim rights diminishing legislation known as No-Fault, which the BC NDP passed in the Summer legislative session of 2020.

In October of 2020, the BC United have released a statement:

“The BC United believe wrongful death legislation in B.C. is badly outdated and it is time to update it, as Ontario did many years ago, to ensure B.C. families receive the appropriate level of support and compensation they deserve in the unfortunate event they lose a loved one as a result of someone else’s fault.”

While the BC United failed to modernize previously when they have had control of the government, they have since shown interest in modernization, and have opposed BC NDP No-Fault legislation that repeals victim rights further. Therefore we give the BC United a GRADE of C+.

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FAILING GRADE – F Further results pending – October 16, 2020 update – we spoke to Nicole Duncan, candidate for Oak-Bay Gordon Head who was very receptive to our Society’s calls for legislative modernization. She stated that this issue needs to be resolved promptly and would like to carry the torch within her party to do so. She stated that she would talk to party leader Sonia Furstenau to get a better indication with respect to where the party stands on this issue.

Our concerns however remain with respect to the fact that the Green Party supported and voted for the victim rights diminishing BC NDP legislation known as No-Fault.

Pending further updates, in the interim we are required to retain the status of the Green Party of BC holding a FAILING GRADE – F.

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GRADE A+The BC Libertarian Party of BC is the first party in the history of the province to publicly commit to modernizing BC’s 174-year old wrongful death laws as part of its party’s campaign platform.

The party has invited our Society into to numerous party meetings with leadership to discuss and become acquainted with the issues. They fully support the implementation of the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’s Wrongful Death Accountability Act.

They also oppose the ICBC No-Fault motor vehicle legislation and have put together a comprehensive plan to reform ICBC – converting it to a member-owned and operated co-op and having it compete in the marketplace with other private insurers. They do not believe that a crown corporation should have any influence with respect to repressing and diminishing victim rights, accountability, and justice in the province of BC. Therefore, we issue the BC Libertarian Party a GRADE of A+.

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The information on this page has been prepared by the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society. We are a BC registered non-profit incorporated in 2015 and operated by the families who’ve experienced the wrongful death of a loved one and were denied access to justice under our 175 year old wrongful death laws. We are 100% reliant on unpaid volunteers and are funded by the family members of our Society and individual donations from the public. Prior to 2015, we were known as the Wrongful Death Law Reform Working Group.

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The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’s goal is to modernize BC’s wrongful death laws, which unlike other provinces, currently denies justice to the surviving family members of children, seniors, the disabled, or anyone who wasn’t considered a breadwinner with dependents, when killed by the careless or intentional acts of another.

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Unlike other Canadian provinces, BC has not made any significant amendments to its wrongful death legislation—ever. The current BC Family Compensation Act only values the lives of income-earners. This neglect must stop. Petitioning your local MLA, the Attorney General, and Premier with our automated tool can make a lasting difference to the lives of British Columbians for generations to come.

Dear Local MLA, Attorney General Niki Sharma, Premier David Eby, Minister of Health Adrian Dix, Minister of Public Safety & Solicitor General Mike Farnworth,

I am writing to you about British Columbia’s woefully outdated wrongful death laws; which are still based on colonial-era legislation from 1846.

BC’s current “Family Compensation Act” only takes into account the direct financial losses resulting from the wrongful death of a loved one. As a result, only the families of deceased breadwinners see the inside of a courtroom in cases of wrongful death.

Children, seniors, people with disabilities, or anyone who does not meet the discriminatory criteria of having both an income and dependents are classes of people whose lives are not valued or respected when they are killed in BC.

This is a human rights issue.

Investigations into the wrongful death of these classes of citizens most often do not occur because there is no ‘loss of earnings’ to cover civil trial costs.

Accordingly, families have been denied the ability to right the wrong and ensure that the same preventable actions which resulted in the wrongful death would not happen to another.

Unlike other provinces in Canada, which in most cases have modernized long ago, many of your constituents are considered “worthless” under the discriminatory law in British Columbia.

Their stories are actively being documented and published here –

The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society is comprised of families who have been fighting for over two decades to see our laws modernized. They have drafted legislation that can solve this problem now.

These families, based on each individual personal experience of loss, have demanded that the legislation include the following tenets:

#1 The value of human life must not be based merely on whether the wrongfully killed was a breadwinner with dependants. There must be a legal recognition for the value of each life and the loss of love, guidance, care, companionship, and affection wrongfully taken from surviving family members.

#2 The value of human life must not be arbitrarily capped by legislation. Damages for the loss of life must be assessed individually by constitutionally independent superior courts, in recognition of the distinct relationship that existed between each of the surviving family members and the wrongfully killed loved one.

#3 All forms of non-pecuniary damages, including aggravated and punitive damages must be available under the legislation to be awarded in appropriate cases. Financial penalty assessed by a civil court when a wrongdoer maliciously, or recklessly kills another person is essential when criminal prosecution is not pursued or fails. General deterrence of future wrongdoing is an important objective.

#4 If an individual is not initially killed by a wrongful act, but later dies before the conclusion of litigation, this should not be a windfall for the wrongdoer. There should not be a perverse incentive for the wrongdoer to delay, or prolong litigation. Damages relating to conscious pain, suffering, and disability during the period between the wrong and the decedent’s death, including damages for loss of expectation of life, pain and suffering, physical disfigurement, or loss of amenities must remain available under the legislation.

#5 Families deserve the right to have their day in court with the ability to obtain professional legal representation on a contingency basis. No other piece of legislation in the province should bar the pursuit of an at-fault wrongful death claim against a negligent party. The contingency fee system does not discriminate socioeconomically, and it ensures the family can obtain the best representation necessary to obtain truth, justice, and accountability against a wrongdoer, no matter how big and powerful that wrongdoer might be. Families also deserve the right to have the case decided by a jury of their peers. This fundamental aspect of our democracy must be preserved.

What will you do to create a fair and adequate wrongful death law in BC?

Yours Truly,
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cc: BC United Leader Kevin Falcon, BC United Critic for Attorney General Mike de Jong, BC United Critic for Public Safety & Solicitor General Mike Morris, BC Greens Leader Sonia Furstenau

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