Law & legal issues

Tailings dam collapses in the Americas: Lessons learned?

Aug 8, 2019
In fewer than five years, three major dam collapses have occurred in the Americas—the most recent of which killed more than 230 people, and likely killed up to 260; many of the dead have never been recovered from the toxic mining sludge in which they were buried. The disasters that unfolded in both British Columbia… View Article

Great news for human rights in BC!

Dec 18, 2018
On November 27, sixteen years after the previous government abolished it, the BC government passed legislation to bring back the BC Human Rights Commission. Human rights commissions play a vital role in promoting, defending and protecting human rights. Commissions across the country work to prevent abuses by building awareness of human rights, investigating issues of… View Article
Image: The massive Sunrise Plant, the largest gas plant built in Western Canada in 30 years, sits on farmland near Dawson Creek. It was one of three gas plants in a row exempted from provincial environmental assessments. © Garth Lenz

Shielding fossil fuel corporations from public scrutiny: The new “neutral”?

Oct 31, 2018
British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office bills itself as a “neutral” provincial agency. But there is evidence that this is not the case, and that BC Environment Minister George Heyman — who is tasked with “revitalizing” the province’s environmental assessment law — needs to make serious reforms. When a public regulator makes major decisions behind closed… View Article

Glacial pace of governments out of sync with fentanyl crisis

Dec 20, 2017
British Columbia is experiencing the worst opioid overdose crisis in its history. By October 31st, the BC Coroners Service reported that 1208 people had died from overdose: higher than the next three causes of unnatural deaths combined—suicides, motor vehicle incidents and homicides. The numbers for November and December will be released early next year and… View Article

Legal Aid Denied: A 20th Anniversary retrospective

Oct 20, 2017
Legal Aid Denied: Women and the Cuts to Legal Services in BC was written in 2004 shortly after the election of a neo-conservative Liberal government in BC. The report outlined the nature of the changes this government quickly introduced to the provision of Legal Aid in BC including slashing funding from almost $100 million to… View Article

To protect her legacy, Premier Clark should put a moratorium on the destruction of documents

Jun 1, 2017
British Columbia is in interesting times politically and that makes transparency around government decisions more important than ever. It is both a medium-term issue and a critical short-term issue. Controversies around access to government information dogged the government in recent years. The “triple delete” scandal saw a government functionary fined $2,500 for making false statements… View Article

A Dam Big Problem: Regulatory breakdown as fracking companies in BC’s northeast build dozens of unauthorized dams

May 3, 2017
A subsidiary of Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned petro giant courted by the BC government, has built at least 16 unauthorized dams in northern BC to trap hundreds of millions of gallons of water used in its controversial fracking operations. The 16 dams are among “dozens” that have been built by Petronas and other companies without… View Article