Wrongful Death Law Reform Group

September 22, 2008

News Release

Filed under: General Posts — wrongfuldeathreform @ 8:45 pm
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Wrongful Death Law Reform Group (WDLRG) is one of four organizations leading a call for legislative change. The other groups working in partnership with the WDLRG are the Coalition Against No-Fault, the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities, and the Trial Lawyers Association of BC. As well, more than 90 organizations have signed on to support the collective call for a Wrongful Death Act to be implemented in this province.

Until new law is brought in, BC’s legislation governing wrongful death remains modeled after the archaic Lord Campbell’s Act or 1846, legislation that utterly fails to recognize or appreciate loss beyond its direct financial impact. The consequence of this failure has barred a countless number of families from seeking justice for their losses after the wrongful death of their loved ones. And nothing has changed throughout BC’s history as a province. Together, the groups are calling on the BC Government to right this wrong, to scrap BC’s Family Compensation Act and thereby empower innocent families to seek justice.

The lack of proper law at present is particularly hard on people with disabilities, seniors, and other citizens who are not able to rely on a regular wage-earning income. The groups propose that new legislation should include the following provisions:

A. The court, notwithstanding any other damages that may be awarded, may award damages generally to the decedent’s estate and/or survivors for:

  1. solace and bereavement
  2. personal anguish
  3. emotional stress
  4. loss of companionship, comfort, love, and affection
  5. loss of advice, counsel, guidance, protection, and care
  6. the decedent’s mental anguish, pain and suffering from the date of injury to death

B. The court may also award punitive damages to the decedent’s estate for willful, wanton or reckless conduct shown by a preponderance of evidence.

The groups initiated dialogue with the BC Ministry of Attorney General two years ago and their efforts are ongoing. Representatives from all four groups met in late May with key representatives of the BC Attorney General’s Ministry. Last summer, the Ministry embarked upon a consultation process on the topic of Reforming British Columbia’s Family Compensation Act. Though the process indicated the government is considering change in this regard, neither a timeline nor details of developments are known by the groups calling for a fair and effective Wrongful Death Act.

(Written by: Bentley Doyle, June 19, 2008)

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