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Nicholas Simons

BC NDP

Powell River-Sunshine Coast

Office:

Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Phone: (250) 387-3655

Fax: (250) 356-4680

Constituency:

109-4675 Marine Ave.
Powell River, BC V8A 2L2

[email protected]

Phone: (604) 485-1249

Fax: (604) 485-2533

Toll Free: 1-866-373-0792

Biography

Nicholas Simons was first elected MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast in 2005, and was re-elected in 2009, 2013, 2017, and 2020. He previously served as the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and as the vice-chair of the Cabinet Committee on Social Initiatives, and was a member of the Cabinet Working Group on Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness. Nicholas also previously served as the Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth.

Nicholas spent over 15 years working in the areas of health, justice, social services and child welfare. He served as the director of health and social development for the Sechelt Nation from 1997 until his election in 2005.

In his role as director with the Sechelt Nation, he oversaw public health, child welfare, alcohol and drugs, financial assistance, and justice programs. He negotiated funding for innovative preventative health and social services which led to a dramatic reduction in adversarial child welfare intervention, and improvements in health outcomes in all age groups.

Prior to his employment with the band, he worked as a child-protection social worker for the Ministry for Children and Families in Sechelt and North Vancouver. He has worked as researcher and consultant for the federal, Northwest Territories, British Columbia and First Nations governments in areas including law reform, child welfare, legal education and crime prevention.

Nicholas has also taught criminology, in which he has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Ottawa and a master’s from SFU,and has taught child protection to social workers based in First Nations communities.

Nicholas has been active in the arts community as a cello teacher, performer, and session musician. He has played with local, national and international artists and ensembles and has two gold records. He is a former president of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council, and the founder and editor of the Lower Langdale Tattler, a limited-circulation satirical newspaper.

Nicholas has served as the chair of the Social Policy Committee of Caucus and on the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. Nicholas has also served as the Opposition critic for tourism, sport and the arts; human rights, immigration and multiculturalism; the Ministry for Children and Family Development; and Community Living B.C.

Where They Stand on Modernizing BC's Wrongful Death Laws

In July 2017, ITN co-founder Catherine Adamson sent MLA Simons a copy of her book ‘Missed Opportunities’ about the wrongful death of her daughter Heidi Klompas. MLA Simons responded in August 2017, thanking Ms. Adamson for the book and suggested she arrange a meeting with then Attorney-General David Eby.

In September 2019, MLA Simons met with a constituent regarding modernizing BC’s wrongful death laws. MLA Simons was reported to be very receptive to discussing the issue and indicated he would be willing to help advocate for modernizing BC’s wrongful death legislation.

Further indicators of support remain to be seen.

How Can This MLA Improve Their Grade?

He has met with constituents on this issue.

Meet with The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society on this issue.

Write a letter of endorsement for modernization to the Attorney General and Premier.

Please petition MLA Nicholas Simons now »

This individual has scored a B grade with respect to their position on modernizing BC's wrongful death laws. Learn More »

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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As Seen In

The following news outlets have featured the issue of BC's antiquated wrongful death laws alongside stories of tragedy countless times for decades, although the provincial government still fails to right this legislative wrong.

What British Columbians Are Saying

The public is unanimously outraged and expressing their views through many channels.

Organizations That Have Endorsed Modernization

The following organizations have endorsed repealing and replacing the 'Family Compensation Act' and replacing it with our Society's drafted 'Wrongful Death Accountability Act' to ensure the full measure of value to British Columbians lives and access to justice with no loopholes for wrongdoers to escape accountability.

Vancouver City Council
Union of BC Municipalities
Lower Mainland Local Government Association

Prominent Figures Who've Endorsed Modernization

The following prominent figures and elected officials have written letters endorsing legislative modernization of BC's wrongful death laws.

Vancouver City Councillor Pete Fry (Green)
MLA Michael DeJong (BC United)
MLA Douglas Routley (NDP)
MLA Andrew Mercier (NDP)

Petition Your MLA Now

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 – https://intheirname.ca/stories/

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,
Your Full Name
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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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