Our 2020 highlights!

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Hi Friend,

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that defending civil liberties and human rights is imperative.

Our supporters care about many different issues. Whether it’s ending police harms or protecting our democratic rights - we’ve likely secured victories in an issue you care deeply about. Thank you so much for supporting our work this year, and helping us secure victories for our collective rights and wellbeing.

Read on for the BCCLA’s highlights of 2020 – crowdsourced from our team passionately fighting in the courts, advocating for meaningful law reform, and advancing public legal education.

Read our 20 highlights of 2020!

Flattening the COVID Curve: Equality not Enforcement

We supported nationwide efforts to protect the rights of the most oppressed during the pandemic to ensure no one was left behind,... while speaking out against unreasonable breaches of civil liberties and against policing of the pandemic.

From producing educational resources on your rights in a pandemic, to urging governments to adopt human rights measures, be transparent with Indigenous governments, and protect against unreasonable invasions of privacy, we worked hard to ensure equality, not enforcement.

End to Policing Harms

In the wake of deadly tragedies of police violence, there has been a public outcry against the harms and systemic racism of policing. This year, we’ve fought for an end to policing harms on multiple fronts, most visibly in our policy advocacy with community groups to ban police street checks.

We also began the year standing with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and land defenders against the unlawful RCMP exclusion zone and militarized police operations on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.We’re ending the year by suing the RCMP Commissioner for inexcusable delays preventing the release of a civilian watchdog report into RCMP spying.

Challenging Criminalization

We oppose criminalizing laws that extend into many aspects of our lives, like prisons, the criminal legal system, child apprehension laws, and coercive healthcare.

Amongst our top highlights was the end of our cross-appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada in our historic case with John Howard Society that abolishes prolonged solitary confinement in federal prisons. We also secured an important victory with community organizations in forcing a pause on the coercive Bill 22, which proposed a new form of detention for youth experiencing an overdose in BC

Free Expression

Freedom of expression has been a cornerstone of the BCCLA’s mandate for decades, and 2020 was no different. This freedom is especially essential for oppressed communities to act collectively to challenge unjust laws. This year, amongst a number of wins, such as for anti-SLAPP laws, we also celebrated a timely victory protecting the right of frontline healthcare workers to criticize the healthcare system without fear.

Privacy Rights

With the explosion of digital technologies, protecting privacy rights continued to be one of our priorities. Our incredible litigation team spent much of 2020 at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in BC. As the only civil society organization with standing at the Commission, we support efforts to combat money laundering. However, we stand against some of the government’s recommendations that raise serious concerns for privacy, government surveillance, and police seizure powers, and risk having a disproportionate impact on East Asian Canadians.

Democratic and Human Rights

This year was a reminder that democratic rights are only meaningful when liberty, dignity, and equality are all reinforced. Similarly, decolonization is only meaningful when collective Indigenous rights are affirmed.

Our work defending democratic and human rights spanned many fronts. Our intervention against Alberta’s undemocratic Bill 10, which allows government to unilaterally write new laws without legislative oversight, is underway. And as absurd as it sounds, we’re celebrating a victory for human dignity in the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling that corporations do not have a constitutional right to be free from cruelty!

There is still so much to be done in 2021. We will be ringing in the new year ready for more fights. You can join us in the fight for a more just world by making a donation here.

Thank you for fueling our fires and joining us in these fights!

In solidarity,

Iman Baobeid (she/her/hers)
Communications and Outreach Manager

Harsha Walia (she/her/hers)
Executive Director

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