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British Columbia Civil Liberties Association

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British Columbia Civil Liberties Association

British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
Formation 1962
Type Non-government organization
Headquarters Vancouver, Canada
Membership over 1000 members
Official language English
President Rob Holmes

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association or BCCLA is a British Columbia, Canada dedicated to the preservation, maintenance and extension of civil liberties and human rights in Canada.

Founded in 1962, the BCCLA is the oldest civil liberties organization in Canada. It is based in Vancouver and is jointly funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia and by private citizens through membership.

The BCCLA has developed over 200 policy briefs, which serve as the principled cornerstones for the association's work. The BCCLA meets with government and private sector officials to persuade them to change laws or policies which infringe on civil liberties and to develop new laws and policies which protect fundamental rights and freedoms. If the association's efforts are unsuccessful, the association is sometimes able to go to court, either by arranging for pro bono counsel for clients, by intervening in legal cases or by litigating the issue.

The BCCLA publishes and distributes free publications such as the Arrest Handbook (English, Spanish, Arabic and Vietnamese), The Citizenship Handbook (English, Punjabi and Vietnamese) and Rights Talk (English), a guide for high school students. The association also publishes pamphlets which provide information on drug testing in the workplace and assists those who would like to make a police complaint. The Association also provides assistance to those who think they might have a civil liberties issue that needs resolution.

The association organizes forums on topics such as Eddie Greenspan, Beverley McLachlin, Michael Ignatieff, John Ralston Saul and Maher Arar.

The BCCLA publishes a newsletter twice a year, (The Democratic Commitment) as well as an annual report. It also presents an annual Reg Robson Award, named in memory of the organization's longtime president, to honour people who have been active on civil liberties issues. Past recipients of the award have included Janine Fuller, Peter and Murray Corren, Tara Singh Hayer, Kim Bolan, Philip Owen, Joseph Arvay, Monia Mazigh and Maher Arar, William Kuebler and Stewart Phillip.

Its current president is Rob Holmes, a Vancouver-based lawyer who practices criminal and civil litigation. David Eby was executive director from 2008 until 2012.


Supreme Court of Canada

The BCCLA has intervened in the following cases before the Supreme Court of Canada:

British Columbia Court of Appeal

The BCCLA has intervened in the following cases before the B.C. Court of Appeal:

Supreme Court of British Columbia

The BCCLA has intervened in the following cases before the Supreme Court of B.C.:

British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal

The BCCLA has intervened in the following cases before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal:

Federal Court of Canada

The BCCLA has intervened in the following cases before the Federal Court of Canada – Trial Division:



  • The Democratic Commitment, a semi-annual newsletter, published every July and November
  • Civil Liberties Update, an email newsletter issued every 1–2 months


  • (2003) The Arrest Handbook: A Guide to Your Rights
  • (2003) The Arrest Pocketbook: A Guide to Your Rights
  • (2002) The Teaching and Workshop Guide for ESL Teachers and Settlement Counselors
  • (2001) Kiddie Porn: Sexual Representation and the Robin Sharpe Case
  • (2001) Rights Talk: Students and Civil Liberties at School
  • (1998) The Citizenship Handbook: A Guide to Democratic Rights and Responsibilities for New Canadians
  • (1995) Restricted Entry: Censorship on Trial
  • (1994) The Privacy Handbook: A Practical Guide to Your Privacy Rights and How to Protect Them
  • (1994) Protecting Rights and Freedoms: Essays on the Charter's Place in Canada's Political, Legal and Intellectual Life
  • (1992) Proceedings of the 1992 conference: The Charter: Ten Years After
  • (1990) Catastrophic Rights: Experimental Drugs and AIDS
  • (1989) The Burden of Office: Agamemnon and Other Losers
  • (1989) Liberties


  • The Facts About Drug Testing in the Workplace
  • Suggestions for Writing a Letter of Complaint to the Police

See also

External links

  • Official site
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