Why Meet With Your MLA?
Sending a petition submission via the automated tool on our website is a great way to put your name in to your local MLA to express that you care about the issue of modernizing BC’s antiquated wrongful death laws.
However, what makes a much bigger impact is following up with your MLA to schedule a meeting either in-person, by video call, or by telephone.
Your MLA needs to hear from their local constituents and a face-to-face, or voice-to-voice; meeting can better communicate the impact of this issue.
It can also allow you to enroll your MLA in an ongoing dialogue in support of this modernization that you can hold your MLA accountable to.
We estimate the meeting process to take a total of 3-6 hours of your time, from initiating the meeting request to completing the meeting:
- 1-2 hours to read and review the background materials linked to on this page.
- 15 minutes to 2 hours to call, email, and follow up with your MLA constituency office to arrange a meeting.
- 15-90 minutes to attend a meeting in person, by video call, or by telephone.
- 30 minutes to report back to this page and submit an MLA Meeting Tracker Report
We appreciate your consideration of making the commitment to be a leader in your community and make a distinct impact on the future of safety and accountability in British Columbia for your loved ones and for future generations.
Your Guide to Meet With Your MLA
#1 Get yourself informed on the issue. Check out the video on this page visually comparing the legislation between the provinces.
#2 Read the proposed legislation on this page. Then download a copy of the proposed legislation, aka the The Wrongful Death Accountability Act Briefing Note January 20 2021, for both emailing and presenting to your MLA potentially in person.
#3 Visit the legislature website to enter your postal code where you permanently reside in order to verify who your MLA is.
#4 View the profile of your MLA on the legislature website. The profile will contain their office telephone number in Victoria while the legislature is in session. It will also contain the address, telephone, and email address of your MLA’s local constituency office. (Note that for some new MLAs their constituency office contact information has not been made available. Please call their office telephone in Victoria to acquire more direct contact information.)
#5 Telephone your local constituency office. Explain that you are a constituent and you are requesting either an in-person, video call, or telephone meeting with your MLA regarding modernizing BC’s wrongful death laws. Explain that you and/or a loved one have been personally affected, or as a citizen of the province you’re concerned about the issue, and it’s very important that you have a discussion regarding this matter.
#6 After you telephone your local constituency office (whether you talked to a constituency assistant or left a voicemail), please send an email directly to your MLA confirming your request for a meeting. Attach to the email the The Wrongful Death Accountability Act Briefing Note January 20 2021.
#7 If you do not hear back from your local MLA office by either phone or email within a week, you need to rinse and repeat this process (steps #5 and #6) once per week until you receive a response and confirmation for a meeting. Some MLAs get preoccupied with other matters and responsibilities, and the squeaky wheel tends to get the grease, so to speak. Be persistent.
#8 If after 3 consecutive weeks of requesting a meeting by way of telephone and email you are not replied to, then please contact our Society so we can discuss next steps. This may involve contacting the BC Office of the Ombudsperson.
#9 Assuming at some point you do in fact obtain a meeting with your local MLA, you’ll want to present yourself courteously and respectfully; it’s not necessary to be rude or abrasive. Remember, though, that your MLA works for you and your community, and you must be firm in communicating the importance of this issue.
#10 Be mindful of the allotted time and ensure you have your dialogue structured in such a way to communicate why the issue matters to you and that you support what our Society is proposing in the proposed Wrongful Death Accountability Act.
#11 Communicate the impact of why this matters to you. Perhaps you were touched by the wrongful death of a loved one and were denied access to justice. Maybe you witnessed a friend have this type of experience and empathized with their pain. Or as a person who is vulnerable, or has loved ones who are vulnerable, you are concerned with the lack of legislated protections and value of their lives under the law and want to ensure this never affects you or anyone you love. Your MLA needs to understand this personal impact.
#12 Present the The Wrongful Death Accountability Act Briefing Note January 20 2021. Explain how you support the proposed modernization over our current Family Compensation Act that has seen no meaningful updates since the adopted of the original UK’s Lord Campbell’s Act that was passed in 1846. State your concern about how British Columbia is the last province in Canada, including the Yukon, yet to modernize these laws. Express your displeasure at previous governments’ failure to the public. Elaborate how legislated protection provides meaningful deterrence under the law and can save lives in the future.
#13 Explain that the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society, the group proposing this legislative modernization, was founded by families who’ve lost a loved one to wrongful death in BC and were denied access to justice. Clarify that the Society is a 100% volunteer grassroots group funded by small individual donations from members of the public, and is not actively receiving outside funding from any special interest groups. Explain that the families behind the Society have been passionately advocating on this issue for over two decades and previous governments have failed these families and the public in taking action.
#14 Share with your MLA your understanding that BC NDP MLAs have been stating to their constituents the following:
“We understand there is interest in, and diverging views on, the Family Compensation Act as it currently exists. However, at this time, no decisions have been made to reform the Family Compensation Act.”
Ask your MLA who in government has the “diverging” view that BC should continue to remain the last province in Canada where most lives in the province should not have legislated protection and value under the law. Be firm; state that you want to know the names of these politicians and bureaucrats who hold these views.
#15 Your MLA may state to you that the “diverging views” are from insurance companies, which have to be “considered”.
The insurance companies they are referring to are ICBC and the Healthcare Protection Program. The Healthcare Protection Program is often not heard about, although it is an adjunct to the Risk Management Branch, which is part of the BC Ministry of Finance.
Tell your MLA that the government should work for the people and we are the ones who matter and should be consulted with. State that most other developed nations around the world have already modernized their wrongful death laws. The other provinces in Canada, including the Yukon have already undertaken this modernization. The insurance companies have found a way to adapt to these modern standards for human dignity and value.
Explain that it’s the duty of the insurer to promote safer systems and institutions to prevent wrongful deaths in the first place. Presently when it’s free to kill only in BC, there is no deterrent mechanisms for these government bureaucratic insurance bodies to properly function in incentivizing this safety and prevention.
When lives are saved, costs are also saved. Many people in government are unfortunately not well acquainted with this economic argument, so it’s important to distinguish this aspect.
#16 Politicians and bureaucrats oftentimes prefer to proceed down a path of least resistance. Rather than adopting the first class piece of legislation proposed in the Wrongful Death Accountability Act by the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society, they may simply try to copy legislation from another province, because it’s been “done already”. The wrongful death legislation in the other provinces, while much better than BC, arguably still doesn’t do that great of a job when compared to other developed nations. Ask your MLA if they will support the first class piece of legislation proposed by the Society in the Wrongful Death Accountability Act to set a precedent for respecting human rights in Canada, or will they merely copy another province’s legislation? Express to your MLA the importance of legislation that favours the victim and their surviving family members, rather than the wrongdoers with plenty of loopholes as we see presently in our current legislation.
#17 Ask your MLA what they are going to do personally to ensure that this legislation gets modernized as per the recommendations of the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society?
#18 Upon the conclusion of the meeting, thank the MLA for their time. Immediately return to this page and complete and submit the ‘MLA Meeting Tracker’ form below. This will allow us to track which MLAs have been met with regarding this issue and allow us to grade their performance and communicate this to the public.
Thank you so much for your consideration and contribution to this incredibly important advocacy work. We look forward to receiving your MLA Meeting Tracker form submission.
MLA Meeting Tracker
If you’ve had a meeting with your MLA regarding wrongful death law reform, please fill out the form below.