CLAS has represented clients and community groups at all levels of court. CLAS lawyers have been instrumental in developing the law in the areas of human rights, housing and income security, workers’ rights, mental health and access to justice. Some of our most memorable cases are listed below.
Armstrong v. British Columbia (Ministry of Health), 2010 BCCA 56: CLAS intervened on the test for prima facie discrimination.
Blencoe v. British Columbia (Human Rights Commission),  2 S.C.R. 307: CLAS intervened on behalf of the Human Rights Coalition.
British Columbia v. Bolster, 2007 BCCA 65: CLAS successfully defended the right of a complainant to receive compensation from the government as a result of discrimination.
British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles) v. British Columbia (Council of Human Rights),  3 SCR 868 [Grismer]: CLAS successfully represented the complainant in this seminal decision about discrimination in drivers licence testing and the test for undue hardship.
British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board) v. Figliola, 2011 SCC 52: CLAS represented a group of workers to argue that they should be entitled to bring a discrimination complaint against the Workers’ Compensation Board’s chronic pain policy. This case establishes fundamental principles for the workings of s. 27 of the Human Rights Code.
Fahlman, by his guardian ad litem Fiona Gow v. Community Living British Columbia et al, 2007 BCCA 15: CLAS successfully challenged CLBC’s policy for determining who was eligible for services.
Friedmann v. MacGarvie, 2012 BCCA 445: CLAS successfully represented the complainant in this leading case which affirms that sexual harassment in tenancy is prohibited by the Human Rights Code.
HMTQ v. Hutchinson et al, 2004 BCSC 1536: CLAS successfully challenged the discriminatory government policy which refused funding for family members caring for severely disabled relatives.
Ismail v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2013 BCSC 1079: CLAS successfully represented Lorna Pardy in a human rights complaint against Guy Earle and Zesty’s restaurant as a result of homophobic comments made to Ms. Pardy while she was a patron in the restaurant.
Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation v. Asad, 2010 BCSC 33: CLAS successfully represented a Muslim complainant who had been the subject of discriminatory racial profiling in the aftermath of 9-11.
Langtry Industries Ltd. v. British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2009 BCSC 1091: CLAS successfully represented a family from Nicaragua who had been discriminated against in their workplace.
Lavender Co-Operative Housing Association v. Ford, 2011 BCCA 114: CLAS represented the complainant in this appeal, arguing that a housing co-operative’s rule restricting membership to one member of a family unit was discriminatory on the basis of marital status. See our factum here.
Moore v. British Columbia (Education), 2012 SCC 61: CLAS successfully represented a father in his fight to have his son with dyslexia receive an equal education. This leading Supreme Court of Canada case affirms every child’s right to an education. See our factum here.
School District No. 44 (North Vancouver) v. Jubran, 2005 BCCA 201: CLAS successfully represented a high school student who was the subject of homophobic bullying. The court affirmed that people are protected from the discrimination on the basis of a perception that they belong to a protected group.
GZ v AS
The landlord provided the tenant with a 2 month notice to end the tenancy for landlord’s use of property for a family member moving into the unit. The tenant successfully disputed this notice with the RTB. A short time thereafter, the landlord provided the tenant with another notice to end tenancy for the same reason. However, the tenant was not successful in his dispute of this notice with the RTB and the RTB arbitrator upheld the Notice to end tenancy for landlord’s use. The tenant applied for judicial review with the BC Supreme Court. In the decision, Justice Davies set aside the RTB decision on the basis that the landlord was attempting to re-litigate an issue that had already been decided by the RTB.
Marshall v Pohl, 2019 BCSC 406
The landlord served the tenant with a 1 month notice to end tenancy for cause, which the RTB arbitrator upheld. The tenant applied for judicial review with the BC Supreme Court. In the decision, Justice Skolrood set aside the RTB decision on the basis that the RTB arbitrators reasons for the decision were inadequate.
Aarti Investments Ltd. v. Baumann, 2019 BCCA 165
The landlord provided a client with a 2 month notice for landlord’s use of property for renovations, which the RTB arbitrator upheld. The tenant applied for judicial review with the BC Supreme Court. In the decision, Justice Brundrett set the RTB decision aside on the basis that the arbitrator failed to consider relevant evidence presented by our client and whether the renovations required vacant possession, reversed the burden of proof for the requirement of good faith, and allowed the eviction to stand despite acknowledging that the landlord did not have all the necessary permits. However, the landlord disagreed with the BC Supreme Court decision and applied to the BC Court of Appeal. The BC Court of Appeal dismissed the landlord’s application and partially confirmed the BC Supreme Court decision.
M.B.B. v Affordable Housing Charitable Association, 2018 BCSC 2418
The landlord served the tenant with a 1 month notice to end tenancy for cause. For various reasons our client was not able to call into the RTB hearing. AS a result, the RTB arbitrator upheld the 1 month notice to end tenancy for cause on the basis that our client did not attend the RTB hearing. The tenant applied for judicial review with the BC Supreme Court. In the Decision, Justice Milman set aside the RTB decision on the basis that the RTB arbitrator did not consider whether the statutory requirements for ending a tenancy had been met.
Fernandez v. Sakr, 2012 BCSC 1024
CLAS successfully represented a tenant to challenge a monetary order issued against her after the Residential Tenancy Branch failed to ensure that her hearing met the most basic requirements of procedural fairness.
Barosso v. Frazer Plaza Ltd., 2011 BCSC 1448: CLAS successfully helped a group of tenants to overturn rent increases.
Clements v. Gordon Nelson Investments Inc., 2010 BCSC 31: CLAS helped a group of tenants to overturn a decision of the Residential Tenancy Branch allowing rent increases. This case clarifies the approach the Branch must take for determining whether a rent increase is permissible.
Doughty v. Whitworth Holdings Ltd., 2008 BCSC 801: CLAS represented a group of tenants facing illegal rent increases, successfully arguing that the Residential Tenancy Branch had failed to properly apply the Residential Tenancy Act.
Mochizuki v. Whitworth Holdings Ltd, 2008 BCSC 802
CLAS successfully represented a group of tenants facing illegal rent increases in this case which affirmed the Residential Tenancy Branch’s duty to give adequate reasons for its decisions.
Ross v. British Columbia (Residential Tenancy Act, Dispute Resolution Officer), 2008 BCSC 1862
CLAS successfully represented this tenant in a case affirming the Residential Tenancy Branch’s obligation to adhere to principles of procedural fairness.
Berry and Kloet v. British Columbia (Residential Tenancy Act, Arbitrator), 2007 BCSC 257: CLAS successfully represented two tenants in a case which sets out the applicable principles for when a landlord can evict a tenant in order to conduct renovations.
Gillis v. Canada (Attorney General), 2009 FC 504: CLAS successfully represented this veteran in challenging the assessment of his pension by the Veterans Review and Appeals Board.
Harley v. Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal, 2006 BCSC 1420: CLAS successfully represented a woman who had been denied income assistance on the basis of inadequate reasons by the Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal.
Hudson v. British Columbia (Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal), 2009 BCSC 1461: CLAS successfully represented a woman who had been found ineligible for person with disability (PWD) benefits on the basis of inadequate reasons. This case clarifies the criteria to be applied to a determination of whether a person qualifies for PWD benefits.
Council of Canadians with Disabilities v. Attorney General of British Columbia
CLAS and pro-bono counsel from McCarthy Tetrault are representing the Council of Canadians with Disabilities in a Charter challenge to the deemed consent provisions of the Mental Health Act and related laws.
A.H. v. Fraser Health Authority, 2019 BCSC 227
CLAS represented a woman who was wrongfully detained in mental health wards and facilities for nearly a year. The Court found that the detention was not authorized by the Adult Guardianship Act and issued five declarations that her rights under the Charter were violated during her detention.
Mazzei v. British Columbia (Director of Adult Forensic Psychiatric Services), 2006 SCC 7
CLAS intervened to argue that that Review Boards had jurisdiction to prescribe conditions to ensure the proper treatment of not criminally responsible accused.
R. v. Conway, 2010 SCC 22
CLAS intervened to argue that the Mental Health Review Board had jurisdiction to apply the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Colwill v. Workers’ Compensation Board, 2019 BCSC 826
This case challenged the WCB’s policies that restrict who can get the minimum benefit in the Workers’ Compensation Act for very poor workers who are left permanently and totally disabled. The Court found that the WCB’s policies limiting who can get this minimum benefit were illegal. Rather than sending the worker back into the convoluted and never-ending WCB policy review system, the Court cut to the chase and just struck the policies down.
Denton v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2017 BCCA 403
The worker was denied compensation for her work-related mental disorder because WCB found that the stress she experienced was just part of her job. WCB also found that the unhealthy overtime she was working was the result of her employer’s decision to restructure, which meant she could not get coverage. The worker challenged these restrictions to compensation for workers with mental disorders, saying they violated the equality rights of people with mental disabilities under the Charter. The BC Supreme Court found her case had no chance of succeeding because she had raised her challenge in the wrong place at the wrong time. On appeal, CLAS intervened with West Coast LEAF to explain how hard it is for workers to navigate the complicated WCB appeal system. Courts therefore have an obligation to make sure that workers can access justice and that workers do not lose their rights just because of difficulties understanding the WCB appeal system. Unfortunately, the Court dismissed the worker’s appeal after finding that she should have raised her Charter challenge earlier. This case highlights the ongoing need for law reform to simplify the WCB appeal system.
Goik v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal
The worker had a double lung transplant after he was exposed to silica dust in the workplace. The doctor who did the double lung transplant said it was necessary because the worker had silicosis. Yet someone the WCB decided that he was not entitled to compensation. The Court reviewed the case and found that the decision to deny him compensation was clearly unreasonably.
Chmielewski v. Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2017 BCSC 1756
The worker fractured his face and jaw when he fell while working in a construction camp in northern British Columbia. When a worker has an accident in the course of their employment, it is presumed that the accident is covered by the workers’ compensation system. Yet the WCB denied the worker’s claim without properly applying this presumption. The Court reviewed the case and quashed the decision finding that the accident was not covered by the workers’ compensation system.
Marchant v.Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, 2014 BCSC 1194
The worker’s job required him to work on his knees for long periods of time.He eventually developed arthritis in his knees. The worker’s doctors confirmed that kneeling for long periods of time can cause arthritis. Yet the WCB decided that there was no evidence that kneeling for long periods of time could cause arthritis and denied his claim. The Court reviewed the case and found that the decision denying the worker’s claim was clearly unreasonable.
Jozipovic v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2012 BCCA 174
CLAS successfully challenged WCAT’s policy with respect to the application of the “loss of earnings” method of calculating benefits.
Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays, 2008 SCC 39
CLAS intervened on behalf of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities to argue that human rights protections are an implied term of every employment contract.
Kovach v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Board), 2000 SCC 3
CLAS successfully argued on behalf of injured workers groups from B.C. and Ontario that workers must receive compensation for additional disability caused by negligent medical treatment.
Squires v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal), 2011 BCSC 556
CLAS successfully represented a worker in a challenge to a decision of the WCAT, on the basis that he was denied procedural fairness.
Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society, 2012 SCC 45: CLAS intervened to advocate for a modern approach to public interest standing.