Michael-James Pennie


Michael was brought to the cause of the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society after his Father, Jim, was severely neglected at an extended care facility. When Michael was 17, Jim (aged 52) was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Michael, along with his Mother and younger Brother, cared for Jim at home for 7 years. Eventually, they were forced to place Jim in a care facility for his own safety after he had gone missing several times. While in care, Jim developed a foot ulcer after his orthopaedic shoes with custom-made orthotic insoles were carelessly thrown in the garbage by facility staff. The wound, which was not properly cared for, turned gangrenous and led to a foot amputation followed by a 5-month hospitalized recovery with numerous near-death complications. Jim thereafter was sadly never able to walk again and spent his remaining few short years confined to a wheelchair.

Michael navigated the process of the Patient Care Quality Office, Patient Care Quality Review Boards, and BC Office of the Ombudsperson and overall was extremely dissatisfied with both the government’s investigative process as well as their inability to hold the wrongful parties accountable. As a self-represented litigant, he sued the facility in Provincial Court and later escalated the matter to the Supreme Court. While litigation was ongoing, Jim passed away. Only on Jim’s deathbed did Michael come to learn that under BC’s wrongful death laws, the pain and suffering damages that his Father endured while alive would no longer be recoverable. Jim’s death inevitably became a windfall for the wrongdoer to escape accountability under these perverse and antiquated laws. The concept of Jim’s life having no value under the law left Michael with a burning sense of injustice, and he felt strongly that BC’s legislative framework originating from 1846 shouldn’t continue to permit others to be forced to endure similar preventable circumstances.

Michael joined The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society in 2015, first as a member, later as Vice President, and since 2018, he has served in the Society’s leadership role as President.

On behalf of the Society, Michael has given over 30 media interviews as a subject matter expert, met with over 40 Members of the Legislative Assembly, presented to the BC New Democratic Party and BC United Caucuses, and has been introduced by the Attorney General in Question Period at the Legislature. He is tirelessly dedicated to pursuing provincial wrongful death legislative reform. Michael strives to see a province that respects the liberty and dignity of all individuals fairly under the law, ensuring access to justice and a safer province for both current and future generations.

Aside from his dedication to the Society, Michael has operated a Digital Technology & Marketing Development Consultancy business since 2004 and has been involved in Filmmaking since 2013. In 2008, he travelled with the BC Premier and Cabinet to open the BC Pavilion in Tiananmen Square prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and presented at the Beijing International Business & Technology Summits. He was a member of the 2009 Ascent for Alzheimer’s Team that raised over a quarter million for the Alzheimer Society of BC, which culminated in the summiting of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. In 2010 he advised on the Premier’s Technology Council. Michael has also been both interviewed and featured on television and in numerous publications, some of which include Global, CTV, CBC, CKNW, CKPG, Sun News UK, BC Tech Magazine, Business in Vancouver, Make it Business Magazine, Techvibes, Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, City TV, Business TV, North Shore News, Peace Arch News, The Squamish Chief, Tuff City Radio, and The Tyee.

In Michael’s free time, he enjoys practicing martial arts, weightlifting, ice hockey, and studying Austrian Economics. You can connect with him personally on Linkedin.

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