Court Allows Claim by Former Representative for Children and Youth to Proceed

Chief Justice Hinkson of the Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed two applications brought by the Legislation Assembly of British Columbia and the provincial government seeking to strike a claim made by the province’s former Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. Ms. Turpel-Lafond alleges that the Assembly and the government breached an agreement to provide her with certain entitlements, including an enhanced pension, in consideration for her work as the Representative for Children and Youth. The Assembly and the government applied to have Ms. Turpel-Lafond’s case dismissed, primarily on the basis that the allegations are covered by parliamentary privilege and so the court has no jurisdiction to consider them.

In dismissing the two applications, the Chief Justice found that the scope of parliamentary privilege “does not preclude the enforcement of the plaintiff’s contractual rights to the compensation she was entitled to receive for her role once appointed [as Representative for Children and Youth]”, and that “inquiring into and ensuring that the contracts the Legislative Assembly chooses to enter into are not within parliamentary privilege”.

Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C., and Arden Beddoes represented the plaintiff, Ms. Turpel-Lafond.

The decision can be found here.