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Thanks to You...

In 2013 we've made some incredible gains. Thanks to you, we've reached further and fought harder for a more free, just, and equal Canada. Here is just a peek that what we've accomplished together:

In the Courts

Since January, we've been involved in 28 court cases aimed at protecting the rights and freedoms of Canadians. We accomplish this work through the incredibly generous help of dozens of pro bono counsel alll over the country. Here are just three of those important cases.

Working to End Indefinite Solitary Confinement

Photo courtesy of CBC.ca

In May of 2013 we announced a settlement for our client Bobby Lee Worm, a young woman placed in solitary confinement for months at a time, under a program known as the “Management Protocol".

Two days after our lawsuit was launched, Correctional Services of Canada announced they would stop use of the program across the country. Read more here.

Privacy and the Fight to Stop Illegal Spying

In October, we filed a lawsuit calling on the government of Canada to state clearly who they are watching and how they are handling Canadians’ private communications and information.

Our lawsuit is just one of a number of ways in which the BCCLA is working to preserve the privacy of Canadians. Education on why privacy matters, policy work on current bills  and advocacy as part of Canada's largest ever pro-privacy coalition, are all part of our plan.

With a US court recently ruling that the NSA's metadata collection was unconstitutional, the global fight to restore our privacy keeps gaining momentum. Now is the time take back control of our information. We're proud to be on the frontlines for Canada. Read more here.

Dying with Dignity goes to Canada's Supreme Court

It's been 20 years since Sue Rodriguez fought for the right of incurably ill Canadians to make private decisions about their end of life wishes. Since that time, while so much of the context around physician assisted dying has changed, the incredible suffering faced by so many incurably ill Canadians has not. 

We remain strongly committed to making dying with dignity a right for all seriously and incurably ill Canadians. Following our historic win in the BC Supreme Court in 2012, we are ready to take this fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.  Elayne Shapray, pictured above, has bravely joined us as the most recent public face of this case.  We are indebted to her courage. Read more here.

More Historic Wins:

Restoring the Mother-Baby Prison Program

The BC Supreme Court ruled in Inglis et al v. The Minister of Public Safety that the cancellation of a program that allowed women prisoners to remain with their newborn babies was unconstitutional.

Grace Pastine, Litigation Director for the BCCLA said, “This decision is a tremendous victory for Canadian women and their infants. The Mother Baby Program respected the family unit and the bond between mother and infant." Read more here.

Protecting Picket Lines as Key Sites of Free Expression

The BCCLA argued that picketing is one key way a union communicates about a labour dispute. Videotaping a picket line is a way for union members to express their views freely.

On November 15, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada agreed with the submissions of the BCCLA. The Court criticized the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) for not balancing a union’s constitutional right to freedom of expression with the interests protected by the legislation. Read more here.

In Our Communities

  • Provided direct assistance to almost 2000 people with civil rights complaints covering a wide range of issues with a particular focus on complaints involving police and privacy issues
  • Reached thousands of people at more than 40 free public education events, held across the country, including our youth forum in Vancouver, which was attended by more than 200 high school students
  • Distributed thousands of copies of free public education resources for Canadians, including our recently updated guide for youth, Rights Talk Students and Civil Liberties at School, and our new HIV and Occupational Exposure: A Guide for First Responders and Their Families

Coming Up Tomorrow!

This is no time to slow down! Tomorrow, we are expecting a ruling in the historic Attorney General of Canada, et al. v. Terri Jean Bedford, et al., the constitutional challenge to the three provisions of Canada's Criminal Code concerning prostitution.

The BCCLA is an intervener in the case. We have long-advocated for sensible and compassionate legal responses to issues surrounding sex work. Read more here.

We Can't Thank You Enough

Thank you to our donors, supporters, volunteers, pro bono counsel, family and friends for making these gains possible. As the oldest and most active human rights and civil liberties organization in Canada, we vow to keep pressing for positive change and making bigger impacts.

We can't wait to see what we'll achieve together in 2014.


Josh Paterson, Executive Director, and the entire BC Civil Liberties team

This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Freedom

Searching for a meaningful gift this Christmas? Consider giving someone you know a stake in fighting for freedom, justice and equality.

Membership in the BC Civil Liberties Association is the perfect present for someone interested in human rights. By choosing this gift you will help to protect civil liberties and hold the powerful to account. 

Read more here.