Ian Mulgrew: Final arguments, finally, in Big Brother medicare case


Ian Mulgrew: Final arguments, finally, in Big Brother medicare case

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The plaintiffs call it the medical equivalent of Orwell’s Big Lie: that B.C. has the best health care system in the world and it’s egalitarian.

Indeed, the evidence shows operating rooms sit empty while surgeons twiddle their thumbs and waits for surgery and diagnostic services grow to historic lengths and a slew of exempted patients jump the queues.

The case took a decade to get to court and it’s dragged on for three years, but B.C.’s marathon medicare trial lurches back to life Monday after a hiatus, with lawyers making final submissions.

The plaintiffs — private clinics and a handful of patients — claim draconian provisions in the B.C. Medicare Protection Act should be struck down because they prevent people from paying for private health care to avoid waits for publicly funded care that endanger their health, or buying insurance to cover such care.

They argue the B.C. law violates sections 7 and 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and are not saved by Section 1, which allows “reasonable” limitations on freedoms.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice John Steeves must decide whether they’re right.

There is a library of documents and data entered as evidence but the case rests on a simple argument — though one plaintiff’s lawyer, Peter Gall, takes more than 500 pages to summarize it.

The constitutional challenge does not argue the province caused any harm, but rather that Victoria is preventing individuals from avoiding or alleviating the social, interpersonal and psychological harms of waiting for treatment.

The case was not about dismantling medicare.

Until the mid-1980s, the government funded all surgeries and did not restrict operating times, so effectively there were no lineups.

But ballooning health costs led to the rationing of services and restrictions on surgery that produced long waits that were already a crisis in the 1990s. The court heard some surgeons have so little operating room time they struggle to do enough surgeries to maintain their competence levels.

Dr. Brian Day, the face of the litigation, testified that health authorities and provincial Crown corporations, such as B.C. Hydro, paid for private surgeries for their employees, as have Canada Post and unions including those for nurses, plumbers, postal workers and boiler workers. The Cambie Clinic he helped found in 1996 has also provided private surgeries and services for judges and senators.

The Supreme Court of Canada has wrestled with the issues before, in a Quebec case known as Chaoulli. But t only the prohibition on private insurance, not the ban, as in B.C., on doctors practising in both the private and public sphere.

The majority struck down Quebec’s laws, so private insurance is allowed in Quebec for the three surgeries that had the longest waits. The sky did not fall. Medicare endures in la Belle Province.

For more than 20 years, private diagnostic and surgical services have been available in B.C., performed by specialists who are also enrolled in the public system, and the sky has not fallen either.

Despite being aware that private clinics were thumbing their noses at the law, the government did nothing until recently.

Although Chaoulli directly addressed the insurance issue, three other cases are at the heart of B.C. case — known as Bedford, PHS Community Services and Carter.

They focused on government actions that did not directly cause harm, but prevented people from helping themselves.

In Bedford, Criminal Code provisions against keeping a bawdy-house and living on the avails of prostitution prevented sex workers from taking steps to protect themselves from violent pimps, johns and other predators, such as by hiring security guards or ‘screening’ potential clients.

The situation in Carter was analogous — the impugned law prevented people from ending debilitating suffering through physician-assisted suicide.

Similarly, in PHS Community Services, drug abuse and addiction caused harms but the law prevented individuals from alleviating them.

All three were rooted in the precedent set in the high bench’s decision in Morgentaler, which struck down restrictions on abortions because they violated the security of the person.

In the medicare case, the same principle is at stake, the plaintiffs say — the law prevents people from taking steps to address their own health needs and avoid additional harm caused by waiting for treatment.

They maintain the government has taken a wrong turn — gone from ensuring that everyone has timely access to health care to deliberately erecting barriers to prevent people from obtaining access to care.

Provincial data from March 31 submitted in court confirmed none of the health authorities even came close to meeting the target of testing 85 per cent of patients needing colonoscopies within the maximum acceptable wait time.

Thousands of patients suffer and may have their chances at recovery compromised as a result of the delay for a critical diagnostic procedure — and the number is increasing every year.

The trial heard “non-acute” plastic surgery cases — vital procedures such as breast reconstruction following a mastectomy, facial reconstruction after facial palsy and mastectomies for those with a high likelihood of developing cancer — are often delayed.

There was evidence patients are enduring lengthy and harmful waits beyond the maximum acceptable waiting times for cataract surgery.

Victoria has outsourced many publicly funded cataract surgeries for years to private clinics in order to provide more timely care. Nonetheless, queues persist due to increasing demand.

Despite the focus on hip and knee surgeries, there was evidence B.C. has never come close to meeting the federal benchmark for replacement surgeries or the maximum acceptable waiting times for the more urgent patients.

The evidence showed adult and child patients waited well beyond the maximum acceptable time for a variety of spinal surgeries, with continuing pain and disability and, in some cases, substantial risk of permanent damage.

Waiting times for diagnostic imaging in British Columbia, such as MRI and CT scans, were said to be among the longest in Canada and much longer than in other OECD countries: Only 46 per cent were receiving their MRIs within the maximum acceptable waiting times.

Yet the newly proclaimed amendments to the B.C. Medicare Protection Act remove the option to get private MRI or CT scans.

The indictment went on and on. The system provides a reasonable level of care for many, especially emergency and acute care, but it fails many others.

There is the capacity to perform additional surgeries, but the government won’t or can’t pay for them.

In essence, the court is being asked to stop the government from denying you the right to pay for your own better health or buy private insurance to do the same.

Final submissions are expected to run into next month and Steeves to deliberate into next year.




Skateboarders aim to inspire and educate with weekend event | CBC News

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Vancouver skateboarder Joe Buffalo wants to inspire a new generation of Indigenous skateboarders.

“That’s been like a dream of mine because I never had that growing up,” Buffalo told CBC’s the Early Edition. “I had to figure things out on my own. I just want to be the person that I always wanted.”

That’s a message he’ll deliver this weekend at All Aboard organized by the Vancouver Skateboard Coalition and Granville Island. The event will offer two days of skateboarding at a new indoor mini ramp, free lessons and other activities aimed at bringing Vancouver skateboarders together. 

On Saturday evening, Buffalo will be part of a panel discussion called Skateboarding With Intent to Change which will look at skateboarding’s impact on education, mental health and social awareness.

Buffalo is a member of the Samson Cree Nation and grew up in Maskwacis, Alberta. As a child, he spent five years at one of Canada’s last residential schools, an experience he describes as “really dark.”

Buffalo is working with Colonialism Skateboards which uses the art on boards to teach Indigenous history. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

He left the school at 14 and moved to Ottawa where he started getting skateboard sponsorships. Earlier this year, Buffalo went pro with Colonialism Skateboards, a Saskatchewan-based company that uses skateboard art to teach about the history and legacy of colonization.  

Everett Tetz, manager of community outreach for New Line Skateparks, helped organize Saturday evening’s panel. He said there’s a global movement of people using skateboarding for positive change with international events. 

Tetz said the accessibility of skateboarding makes it a good way to engage with young people. 

“We know there’s a lot of research behind exercise, physical activity in the brain and the connection to mental health,” he said. “And marginalized communities are coming together and empowering each other to create some of these positive changes.”

The panel also includes a social worker who is working in a clinical setting using skateboarding to heal the brain from childhood trauma, as well as speakers on gender and LGBTQ inclusion.  

Everett Tetz, manager of community outreach for New Line Skateparks, says there’s an international movement to use skateboarding for positive change. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Tetz describes Buffalo as a “legend.”

“If you’ve skateboarded in Canada you know Joe, because you saw him skate at a park coming up and he’s just always been one of the most powerful, stylish skateboarders in Canada,” he said. 

For Buffalo, Saturday’s event is a way to educate people about Canada’s history and promote skateboarding as a positive outlet for young people. 

“It teaches you so much about just life in general. Persistence and perseverance. And that’s the vibe I like about it. There’s no wrong way of doing it. It’s just beautiful.” 

“I just want to show the kids that it you can make the right choices, that there’s hope,” he said.


Latimer Village the urban hub of master-planned Langley community

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In 2013, Vesta Properties approached homeowners in the Carvolth neighbourhood of Langley with an offer to purchase and then develop their lots. Fast forward six years and a landmark master-planned community – the largest in the Fraser Valley – is beginning to take shape. Set on no fewer than 74 acres and comprising 31 lots in total, Latimer Heights will provide the area with just under 2,000 new homes.

Latimer Village is the newest section of Latimer Heights to go on sale and represents the urban hub of the entire community with 487 condos. Set for completion in the late summer of 2021, it will include restaurants, retail outlets, amenities and an urban village space. The community will also have more than 17 acres of park space and provide easy access to the Carvolth Exchange, which in turn connects to the SkyTrain system.

Vesta Properties’ Latimer Heights, as shown in an artist’s rendering. [PNG Merlin Archive]


Community building on this scale offers potential homebuyers all kinds of options. For Fisher Lietz, it’s the opportunity to own a home for the first time.

“It was very affordable,” said Lietz. “I’m a pretty young guy and don’t have a crazy amount of money to work with so it was really nice to be able to get into a new development like this. It’s not something that I expected to be able to do.”

“It’s a really great area in my opinion or, at least, it will be soon,” Lietz added. “I work in downtown Langley and it’s getting to be really busy. I wouldn’t want to live right downtown, but this is just close enough to it that I can still get there, but still have access to the highway and good transit options.”

Tara Desmond, sales manager at Vesta Properties, said that Latimer Heights will allow different generations to live in the same location based on their different needs.

“We have young families who have bought one of the townhomes and their parents are going to be moving into one of the condos,” said Desmond. “It’s a very walkable community that’s completely sustainable on its own – people can very much age in place if they want to and have the amenities and the facilities they need right on their doorstep.”

“There are schools, there’s shopping and there’s recreation in abundance here,” said Desmond. “I think it also offers a certain amount of accessibility and less traffic congestion than you might find in places like South Surrey. Langley seems to appeal to people because you have all the restaurants and all the shopping, but you’re also close to the border and close to the airport.”

The first two buildings of Latimer Village, comprising approximately 100 homes, are on sale now, with new phases to be released shortly. Homes range in size from 507 to 1,331 square feet. Available homes have between one and three bedrooms – some with a den as well – and are priced from the mid-$300,000 range.

Homes at Latimer Village will have nine-foot-high ceilings, oversized windows and laminate hardwood-style floors. There are three colour schemes to choose from – grey, caramel and dark – and the kitchens come with Samsung appliance packages, gas ranges and french door fridge freezers with ice and water dispensers.

Latimer Village at Latimer Heights is a project from Vesta Properties in Langley. [PNG Merlin Archive]

Kristen McGaughey /


Bathrooms have dual sinks, frameless glass shower doors, large format tiles on shower surrounds and floors, and quartz countertops.

“There’s a ton of variation here,” Desmond said. “A lot of the time with condo buildings you’ll see the same plans repeated on every floor. That’s definitely not the case with the architecture and the design at Latimer Village. There are at least 40 different floor plans – it’s really unique.”

“We are a local, Langley developer so we know what people are looking for,” she added. “We’re very much involved and invested in the community and our head office is here. We’ve been part of the initial transformation of this area and it’s become one of the most popular places in the Lower Mainland to purchase a home as a result.”

At Latimer Village, Desmond said there has been lots of interest from residents of Burnaby and Coquitlam who are attracted by the value on offer, as well as people who already live in the area. Lietz is one of them and he jumped at the chance to own a condo in what is set to become a highly desirable new area of the Lower Mainland.

“I live in Brookswood, south of downtown Langley,” he said. “I like it where I am but I’m really looking forward to going to the new place. I find renting to be kind of an unfortunate situation. All the rent is just going away to nothing, but with a mortgage you get to keep a lot of your monthly payment as equity. It will be really nice to not have to be losing $1,100 a month.”

The Latimer Discovery Centre, showcasing a typical two-bedroom condo at Latimer Village, is open from noon to 5 p.m. every day except Friday.

Latimer Village at Latimer Heights

Project location: 8242 200 Street, Langley

Project size: The first two buildings of Latimer Village, comprising approximately 100 homes, are on sale now, with new phases to be released shortly. Homes range in size from 507 to 1,331 square feet. Available homes have one to three bedrooms – some with a den as well – and are priced from the mid-$300,000 range

Developer: Vesta Properties

Architect: Ciccozzi Architecture

Interior designer: Area 3 Design

Sales centre: 8242 200 Street, Langley Township

Sales centre hours: noon to 5 p.m., Sat — Thurs

Sales phone: 604-371-1669

Website: http://www.latimervillageco


B.C. man charged over hidden camera found in winery bathroom | CBC News

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A Kelowna, B.C., man accused of installing a hidden camera inside a staff washroom at a winery has been charged with almost 20 criminal offences.

RCMP launched a months-long investigation after a witness discovered the small camera inside the bathroom at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna on Aug. 23, 2018.

Police said investigators arrested a suspect two days after the camera was found. The winery said an employee was fired over the incident.

Winery CEO Ezra Cipes said the company swept the property at the time and did not find any other cameras.

On Thursday, Mounties announced the following charges against Ian Michael Leighton:

  • 13 counts of voyeurism
  • Three charges of making child pornography
  • One charge of possessing child pornography
  • One charge of obstructing justice

A statement from RCMP said investigators are supporting a number of victims involved.

Leighton, 43, is set to make his first appearance in court on Dec. 9.


Man accused of placing camera in winery bathroom facing voyeurism, child porn charges

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VANCOUVER – The BC Prosecution Service has approved 18 criminal charges against a Kelowna man accused of placing a camera in the employee washroom at a winery.

Ian Michael Leighton, 43, is facing 13 charges of voyeurism, three charges of making child pornography, one charge of possessing child pornography, and one charge of obstruction of justice.

All of the charges stem from an investigation that began after a small camera was discovered in the washroom at Summerhill Pyramid Winery on Aug. 23, according to the prosecution service.

Kelowna RCMP announced on Aug. 26 that they had arrested a suspect in the case, noting that the suspect was “a male who was employed by the business.”

At the time, police did not confirm the name of the business at which the camera was discovered, but winery CEO Ezra Cipes told Castanet News that it was Summerhill.

“The staff member involved is no longer a staff member,” Cipes said at the time, noting that the winery had thoroughly searched its premises for other cameras and to ensure the public was not at risk.

“This happened to us, not by us,” Cipes said. “This has been very hard to deal with.”

Online court records indicate that Leighton is scheduled to appear in Kelowna provincial court on Dec. 9. He is not listed as being in police custody.


Kelowna man charged after hidden camera found in winery washroom

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A Kelowna man has been charged with voyeurism and child pornography after a hidden camera was found in the washroom of Summerhill Winery, pictured in this file photo.

Kevin Trowbridge / PNG

A Kelowna man has been charged with voyeurism and child pornography after a hidden camera was found in the washroom of a popular winery.

Ian Michael Leighton, 43, is charged with 13 counts of voyeurism, one charge of obstruction of justice, three charges of making child porn and one charge of possession of child porn, Kelowna RCMP announced Thursday.

‎”The investigation was led by the Kelowna RCMP general investigation section,” said Const. Solana Paré. “The investigators continue to support the victims involved, and will aid in supporting the prosecution as the investigation now transitions to the judicial process.”

In August, police were contacted after a witness found a small camera hidden in the staff washroom of the winery. After a police investigation, another staff member was arrested in connection with the camera.



Kootenay initiative to create jobs, support cannabis businesses

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A new initiative to support cannabis businesses in the Kootenays will soon lead to better access to employment opportunities in the industry and create sustainable cannabis operations in the region.

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative, delivered by Community Futures Central Kootenay with over $675,000 from the Province, will help startup and existing cannabis businesses overcome the barriers to operating in the legal economy.

“This program recognizes the potential for the Kootenay region to support people with local and sustainable employment opportunities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “It will help cannabis businesses get off to a good start with a solid and sustainable plan to create jobs that support local families.”

Community Futures Central Kootenay has hired a new team of cannabis business transition advisors to run the project. They will work with individuals interested in testing tools and resources that would support licensing applications and help businesses transition to the legal cannabis economy. 

“Cannabis production has been a significant economic driver in many of B.C.’s rural communities and it is our goal to help cannabis producers, who are not connected to organized crime, transition to the legal market,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “A failure to transition these producers would not only jeopardize our goal to reduce the illegal market, it would also be a lost opportunity to create stable jobs that support families and communities.”

The underground cannabis market in the Kootenays was well established prior to Canada legalizing non-medical cannabis in October 2018. There are an estimated 2,500 small-scale cannabis producers in the region that hope to expand into the non-medical market, including some authorized to grow medical cannabis. The cannabis business transition advisors will help them identify existing issues, strategies and opportunities in the current legalization process.

“With the legalization of cannabis, our region has an opportunity to transition its underground cannabis economy to a successful legal industry,” said Andrea Wilkey, executive director, Community Futures Central Kootenay. “This provincial funding will help ensure that local entrepreneurs have the support they need to navigate the complex regulatory system and create a sustainable cannabis business.”

Community Futures Central Kootenay’s Cannabis Business Transition Initiative is the first of its kind in Canada. Over the next two years, it is expected to support over 100 clients in their transition to licensed and sustainable cannabis businesses.

“I look forward to the results from this project,” said Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “I believe we have the opportunity to grow the craft cannabis industry in our region and support people and their families through increased employment.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing $676,289 through the Labour Market Partnership stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.
  • Approximately $15 million will be invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.

Learn More:

Learn how CEPs are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

For information on cannabis laws and regulations, visit: https://GetCannabisClarity.ca

Find out more about Community Futures’ Cannabis Business Transition Initiative: http://www.futures.bc.ca/cannabis/


Better rental supports for people in North Vancouver

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People and families facing a financial emergency will have access to better supports to help pay rent and avoid eviction through Harvest Project’s new rent bank.

The North Shore Rent Bank provides short-term, no-interest loans to people at risk of eviction or disconnection of essential utilities because of a temporary shortage of funds. Harvest Project created the program with support from the Province, Vancity Community Foundation’s B.C. Rent Bank program and a private donation.

“We’re bringing tangible and immediate help to North Shore residents in crisis through our rent bank,” said Gary Ansell, executive director, Harvest Project. “When the threat of becoming homeless is removed, families can better focus on the challenges they face in moving forward to healthier lives. The B.C. government and the others funding our rent bank recognize this reality. Together, we can change lives and make our community better. Harvest Project continues to reach out with programs for those on the North Shore who need a ‘hand up.’ ”

Harvest Project’s rent bank also provides financial coaching to help people pay back their loan and plan for the future. For the last 26 years, Harvest Project has helped people through programs that include one-to-one coaching and counselling, monthly grocery support, clothing programs and additional services tailored to meet specific needs.

“Eviction is a very real fear for many families and individuals on the North Shore who are living paycheque to paycheque because of the high cost of living,” said Bowinn Ma, MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale. “Rent banks won’t magically solve our affordability crisis, but having one available in our community can mean the difference between staying housed and becoming homeless for someone who finds themselves a few dollars short when rent is due.”

Harvest Project is one of the first nine organizations throughout the province that have received funding through a $10-million government grant to the Vancity Community Foundation. Since June 2019, Vancity Community Foundation has distributed over $240,000 from this grant to existing rent banks and will provide resources and funding for organizations and communities that are interested in creating a new rent bank. Vancity Community Foundation launched a website in October as a resource for people in search of information about rent banks in their community: BCRentBank.ca

“Rent banks are important for reducing poverty because without a stable housing situation, it’s almost impossible for people to focus on things like health, education or work,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Through our funding to Vancity Community Foundation, we are able to ensure that local organizations with strong knowledge and experience in local issues have the support they need to help people in their communities.”

TogetherBC, the Province’s first poverty reduction strategy, was released earlier this year. It outlines programs and policies across government that will lift people out of poverty — and help them stay there — by removing barriers, creating social inclusion and continuing to focus on reconciliation. Supporting the development of a provincewide system of rent banks is part of the Province’s commitment to creating a stronger foundation of services for people in B.C.

Addressing poverty and homelessness are shared priorities between government and the BC Green Party caucus and are part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • Since June 2019, B.C. rent banks have given over 100 emergency loans, helping 250 people maintain their housing.
  • Nine existing rent banks in B.C. that benefited from the provincial grant, located in Kamloops, Prince George, the Fraser Valley, Surrey, New Westminster, Richmond, Vancouver, North Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.

Learn More:

Find out more about the Harvest Project: https://www.harvestproject.org

Read TogetherBC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy: https://gov.bc.ca/togetherbc


Opinion: Virtual walk-in clinics undermine primary care

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Walk-in clinics — virtual or otherwise — erode the personal relationship and do not provide effective primary care.

noipornpan / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Despite efforts by the B.C. government to increase access to primary health care, new developments risk making it even harder to find a doctor.

B.C. is one of the only provinces that allows doctors to bill government for virtual phone or video visits without restrictions. This may make it more convenient to see your regular doctor, but a number of corporations have identified a lucrative business opportunity to operate virtual walk-in clinics.

Primary care is intended to be our first point of contact with the health care system where we see a regular practitioner or team over the course of our life.

A conclusive body of research tells us that primary care can improve health outcomes, reduce costs to the public system, and social inequities if it is comprehensive, coordinated, community-oriented, and continuous over time.

Primary care works best when there is a long-term relationship between the patient and a team of family doctors, nurse practitioners and other providers. They know our medical history and can more effectively support our health and make referrals to specialized services based on their knowledge of us as a patient. This ongoing relationship is the cornerstone of high-quality primary care.

Walk-in clinics — virtual or otherwise — erode the personal relationship and do not provide effective primary care. We need policies that make it easier to find a regular primary care provider and get timely and convenient access to continuous care, including same-day appointments and virtual visit options with our usual provider. Virtual care can be a useful tool when it supports care between patients and their regular providers.

In March, Telus unveiled its Babylon health app, which allows patients to consult a doctor through a smartphone app. This is a partnership with the U.K.-based Babylon corporation. In England, the app has undermined primary care services, and raised significant quality of care concerns.

The problem with this model of care is that it encourages one-off consultations with doctors that a patient has never seen before. It may be an attractive alternative to waiting in a walk-in clinic down the street, but it further entrenches a problematic model of episodic care.

As B.C. embarks on primary care reforms intended to improve access to regular primary care providers, these virtual walk-in clinics have the potential to undermine the government’s efforts.


Telus, for example, pays doctors a guaranteed amount per hour regardless of whether they consult with patients via the app or not. This is attractive to doctors who are looking for a predictable income and don’t want to a run a business, which is required under the dominant fee-for-service payment model. This leaves fewer doctors to provide relationship-based primary care and less access to this more effective form of care.

What should be done instead?

We need to provide family doctors with opportunities to work in team-based primary care models — like Community Health Centres — where they can focus on practicing medicine, rather than running a business. This is consistent with the kind of workplaces that many family doctors increasingly expect.

Rather than allowing disruptions from companies that undermine effective primary care, the B.C. government should follow other provinces and restrict the use of virtual care to doctors who provide ongoing care at approved clinics.

Rita McCracken is a family doctor and assistant professor at the University of B.C.’s Department of Family Practice; Andrew Longhurst is a research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives; Ruth Lavergne is assistant professor in Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences; and Damien Contandriopoulos is a professor in the University of Victoria’s School of Nursing.


Vancouver Island substitute teacher suspended for comments made during field trip

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CAMPBELL RIVER – A Campbell River substitute teacher had his teaching certificate suspended after complaints were made of troubling behaviour during a Grade 8 field trip in November, 2018.

According to the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation (BCCTR), substitute teacher Joshua Frederick Roland Laurin was overheard making concerning comments by students, many of which involved violence.

The consent resolution agreement for Laurin’s suspension lists the comments heard by students, which included Laurin saying that he did not like his job or being around kids, that he wished to use one student to beat two other students to death and injure a third, and that he wanted to use one of the students to “whack” two others.

After the field trip had concluded, and students were back in their classroom, Laurin also said that if he was going to die the next day he would want to hurt students as he would not face any consequences.

The consent resolution agreement says that some students described Laurin as “weird” and reported feeling shocked by his comments. However, the students also say they believe Laurin was joking.

On Nov. 8, 2018, two days after the field trip, the Campbell River School District (SD 72) issued Laurin a letter of discipline and suspended him from the teachers on call (TOC) list from Dec. 3 to Dec. 21, 2018. Following the suspension, he was also required to complete a course by the Justice Institute of BC called “reinforcing professional boundaries”, which he did in March 2019.

Once the BCCTR was contacted and became involved in April 2019, the organization decided to issue Laurin a one-day suspension as SD 72 had already suspended him for three weeks and required him to complete the professional boundaries course. The organization added that Laurin admitted to making the comments that the students heard and acknowledged that they were inappropriate and constituted as misconducted. 

“Laurin failed to appreciate how his comments might be interpreted by students,” reads the consent resolution agreement.

In a statement, SD 72 said that Laurin would no longer be employed by the Campbell River School District.

Meanwhile, another central island educator recently faced disciplinary action. On Oct. 29, the BCCTR released a document which detailed the events that led to the dismissal of a Comox vice-principal

The commissioner found that on June 19, 2018, a soiled pair of underwear was found on the lid of a toilet in the boys’ washroom at École Au-coeur-de-l’île and feces was found on the floor. 

In an effort to identify who the underwear belonged to, vice-principal Delphine Yvette Andrée Guérineau had male students line up in hallways and show her the waistband of their underwear. 

Guérineau was later fired for her controversial actions, though a former custodian at the school said that misplaced feces in the boy’s washroom was an ongoing issue.

“It wasn’t just some kid having an accident, it was definitely some little brat thinking that he could just go around and do what he wanted,” the former custodian, Chamela Smith, told CTV News earlier this month.  

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