“Lindsey was my baby. Before her passing, I had already lost my husband and my other daughter. When I lost Lindsey, I lost my whole family.” – Lorie, mother of Lindsey Kean
16-year old Lindsey Kean from Nanaimo had her leg broken after being struck by a car while crossing the road. Her surgery was unnecessarily delayed, causing a fat embolism (a preventable medical error), and died as a result.
17-Year Old Heidi Klompas
Hauntingly, 17-year old Heidi Klompas, daughter of one of The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’s founding members, died 19 years earlier, from the exact same preventable medical error after having been hit and her legs broken by a drunk driver.
Only after Lindsey’s death did her mother discover that her daughter’s life had no value under BC’s 174-year old wrongful death laws.
No value means no ability to sue the wrongdoer and hold them financially accountable, to right the wrong, and make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else.
Only when there is financial penalty to wrongdoers will there be incentive to retrain doctors across the board when these incidents happen.
When there is no consequence, these penalties and retraining opportunities never occur.
The BC government subsidizes doctors Canadian Medical Protective Association insurance fees to the tune of 50%.
Yet the citizens of BC are not afforded the same legislated protections and access to justice as all the other provinces in Canada, who have already modernized these laws in many cases long ago.
How many more teenage girls in the sunrise of their lives need to die from the same preventable medical errors in BC, before the government will change our laws, as all other provinces have already done?
‘In Their Name’ is the campaign of ‘The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’ – a BC registered non-profit organization comprised of volunteer families who have lost a loved one to wrongful death in BC and were denied access to justice. In response to the biggest human rights issue facing the province today, our goal is to modernize British Columbia’s antiquated wrongful death legislation, which predates confederation (1846). Under current legislation, the value of a human life is measured only by the deceased’s future lost income, so long as they had dependents.
As a result of the province’s antiquated law, access to justice has been denied to the families of the wrongfully killed who do not meet this discriminatory criteria. This has affected especially vulnerable groups, namely children, seniors, the disabled, and anyone without dependents when they are killed by the negligent or intentional acts of another.
BC is presently the last of all the provinces, yet to have undertaken this critical legislative modernization to allow for dignity, value, and protections for all its citizens under the law.
When it’s ‘free’ to kill in BC, wrongdoers are not held accountable. This lack of general deterrence holds the province back in terms of incentivizing innovation of safety measures and protocols to prevent wrongful deaths in the first place.
Here’s How You Can Get Involved…
The Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, is responsible for the modernization of BC’s wrongful death laws. Our Society provided David Eby with the drafted ‘Wrongful Death Accountability Act’ when he was acting as the Attorney General for British Columbia for 6 years between 2017-2022. The new Attorney General, Niki Sharma, also shares responsibility as she is the Minister responsible for the ‘Family Compensation Act’ – the current guiding piece of legislation that the civil courts must follow in cases of wrongful death. Minister Sharma receives feedback from the regional ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly’ (MLAs) and follows orders from the Premier, David Eby, who is ultimately responsible for modernization.
Reform is presently at a standstill, as the BC NDP government does not presently view access to justice for the surviving family members of the wrongfully killed as a priority in this province. This is despite the fact that the families behind our Society have been fighting for modernization for over two decades. And despite the fact that all other provinces, including the Yukon, have already modernized in most cases long ago.
The only way to move this forward is by creating massive public awareness and outcry for legislative modernization. Only under the scrutiny of the public and the media will our politicians be forced to take this necessary, and long overdue action.
How many more people will need to die from the same preventable wrongful actions before our politicians will do their job?
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