We provide advice and representation on a number of issues, including aboriginal rights and title claims, treaty entitlements, the duty to consult and band governance.
We also assist corporate clients on matters involving First Nations consultation and accommodation.
We have been involved in a number of leading aboriginal cases, including R. v. DeSautel, Grassy Narrows First Nation v. Ontario (Natural Resources), Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, R v. Kapp, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, Paul v. British Columbia (Forest Appeals Commission), Haida First Nation v. British Columbia, and Campbell v. British Columbia.
We have acted as counsel for numerous tribunals and agencies, including the British Columbia Review Board, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Environmental Appeal Board, the former Expropriation Compensation Board, the Forest Appeals Commission, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, and the Yukon Environmental and Socio Economic Assessment Board.
We have considerable expertise with respect to proceedings under the Judicial Review Procedure Act, having acted for a number of individuals and organizations in applications for judicial review. Some of the regulatory regimes with which we have experience include:
- Aeronautics Act
- B.C. Human Rights Code
- BC Assessment
- Community Care and Assisted Living Act
- Crime Victim Assistance Act
- Environmental Management Act
- Farm Industry Review Board
- Firearms Act
- Forest Act
- Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
- Health Professions Act
- Labour Relations Code
- Liquor Control and Licensing Act
- Mines Act
- Oil and Gas Commission
- Personal Information Protection Act
- University Act
- Water Act
- Yukon Environmental and Socio Economic Assessment Act
We have been involved in proceedings involving a number of professional regulatory regimes, including representation of individuals in disciplinary matters. Those regimes include:
- Land Surveyors Act
- Foresters Act
- Dentists Act
- College of Applied Biology Act
- College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia
- Chiropractors Act
- Optometrists Act
- Financial Institutions Act
- Teaching Profession Act
We also have significant experience in student government disputes.
Charter & Constitutional Litigation
We act as counsel on a number of constitutional cases involving matters of constitutional law including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Some recent cases of note are:
- representing the plaintiffs in every level of court in the constitutional challenge to the laws that absolutely prohibited physician assisted dying;
- representing the plaintiff in the BC Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada in a constitutional challenge to laws that restrict political expression;
- representing the plaintiffs in the BC Supreme Court in a constitutional challenge to the laws that regulate administrative segregation;
- representing the plaintiff in a constitutional challenge to the prohibition against heroin assisted therapy;
- representing the Canadian Federation of Students and British Columbia Teachers Federation in the Supreme Court of Canada in their constitutional challenge to the advertising policies of Translink and BC Transit as being contrary to the s. 2(b) right to freedom of expression;
- representing the plaintiffs in the British Columbia Supreme Court and the British Columbia Court of Appeal in the constitutional challenge to the City of Victoria’s bylaws restricting the right of homeless people, under s. 7 of the Charter;
- representing Adbusters Media Foundation in the British Columbia Court of Appeal in their claim that the refusal of private and public broadcasters to air advertisements on matters of public interest contravenes s. 2(b) of the Charter;
- representing the petitioner in a constitutional challenge to the definition of “strike” in the Labour Relations Code on the basis that it infringes the right to political expression under s. 2(b) of the Charter;
- representing an individual before the Pension Appeals Board in a challenge to pension provisions which distinguish between common law and legally married spouses, on the basis of the s. 15 equality guarantee of the Charter;
- representing an intervenor in the British Columbia Court of Appeal in a case involving the scope of freedom of expression on publicly owned property.
We act for defendants facing asset forfeiture under British Columbia's Civil Forfeiture Act. We currently represent individuals challenging the constitutional validity of the civil forfeiture regime in BC.
We act in a wide variety of civil litigation matters for both plaintiffs and defendants. We have particular expertise in the following:
- Breach of Confidence
- Contractual Disputes
- Corporate Commercial & Business Disputes
- Non-competition Agreements
- Wills and estate litigation
- Wrongful Dismissal
We also have experience in conflict of laws and jurisdictional disputes. We regularly handle referrals for appeals and conflicts, as well as agency work for out of province counsel. Client relationships are always respected
Our lawyers have acted for both representative plaintiffs and defendants, including cases involving the “tainted blood” scandal, price fixing in respect of animal vitamins, charitable gaming fees, the closure of a pulp mill, log salvage fees, and survivor pension benefits.
We are presently co-counsel for the representative plaintiff in the marketing of cough medicine to children, and for a sub-class in a class action involving commercial halibut fishing. We have also acted for a corporate defendant in a class action involving allegations of price fixing with respect to air cargo fees.
We provide agency services for Ontario or Quebec lawyers seeking the assistance of local counsel in British Columbia class actions.
We have experience representing individuals facing criminal charges at both the trial and appellate level. We have acted for individuals charged with:
- criminal negligence causing death;
- a youth charged with possession of child pornography;
- a youth charged with possession of child pornography for the purpose of distribution;
- terrorism related offences;
- uttering threats.
We have significant experience and expertise in litigation involving the remediation of contaminated sites.
Our experience ranges from large-scale commercial and industrial contamination to smaller residential contamination (usually involving leaking and failing residential home heating oil tanks).
Contaminated sites litigation in British Columbia is governed in large part by the cost recovery provisions of the Environmental Management Act, and requires an in depth understanding of the legislation and the case law that has developed around it. We have developed an expertise in this area and has worked with many of the leading environmental remediation companies to ensure that the ultimate resolution is both environmentally sound and in keeping with the applicable legal principles.
We act for individuals, groups and tribunals on a wide range of environmental issues. We currently act as counsel for both the Environmental AppealBoard and the Forest Appeals Commission. We have significant experience and expertise in contaminated sites issues, including commercial and industrial contamination and residential oil tank contamination. We have represented numerous environmental groups, including the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, the Vancouver Island Community Forest Action Network, and the Denman Island Conservancy Association, on a variety of land use and regulatory issues.
We act for individuals, groups and organization on a wide range of human rights matters, including:
- Workplace discrimination and accommodation issues
- Discriminatory publications and “hate speech” provisions in human rights codes
- Discrimination in accomodation
We have appeared before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and act as counsel for the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. We have also appeared on behalf of individuals and groups on judicial reviews of tribunal decisions in both the British Columbia Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Canada.
Labour & Employment
We act for employees, employers and unions, including providing advice on the following:
- Wrongful and Constructive Dismissal
- Severance Entitlements
- Disability and Benefit plans
- Employment Standards Act
- Workplace Privacy
- Human Rights and Accommodation
In addition, we act on behalf of both unions and employers in relation to individual grievances and workplace issues and in broader constitutional claims. We have particular experience providing employment advice to First Nations and to aboriginal organizations including Tribal Councils, schools and commercial ventures.
We provide advice and representation on a variety of municipal (local government) and land use matters for land owners and developers, including:
- The validity and application of municipal (local government) bylaws, challenging bylaws when appropriate;
- Municipal decisions related to zoning, subdivisions, official community plans, development permits, development variance permits, easements and statutory rights-of-way, phased development agreements, and other land-related matters;
- Municipal, provincial and federal environmental approvals, including contaminated sites and riparian areas regulation;
- The applicability and effect of regional growth strategies and official community plans;
- Matters and proceedings before and involving the Agricultural Land Commission; and
Privacy & Access
We act as counsel to individuals and groups on privacy and access issues, and provide advice on the following legislative schemes:
- B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FOIPPA”)
- B.C. Personal Information and Privacy Act (“PIPA”)
- The federal Personal Information and Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”)
- The federal Privacy Act
- The federal Access to Information Act
We have expertise on the following:
- Workplace Privacy Standards
- The Development of Privacy Policies
- Exceptions to Disclosure Requirements
- Responding to Privacy Breaches
- Initiating and Responding to an Access Request
- Initiating and Responding to a Privacy Complaint