VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Feb. 12, 2014) - Representatives from families who have suffered the loss of loved ones due to the wrongful conduct of others (i.e. reckless and/or negligent actions) continue to demand that new legislation be put in place for the citizens of British Columbia. It is imperative that a new piece of legislation is implemented to govern in cases of wrongful death because three types of vulnerable citizens - children, seniors and people with disabilities - are completely disregarded in BC, rendered worthless in the eyes of our law.
"This is a terrible, long-standing injustice," says Beatrice Pereira, whose mom (Theresa Pereira, 71) died in 2006 as a result of medical negligence. "As members of the Wrongful Death Law Reform Group (WDLRG), we have volunteered to be advocates in honour of our deceased loved ones," explains Beatrice. "The legislation that exists in BC is so old and so horribly inadequate. It prevents families from seeking, let alone obtaining, justice!"
What exists in this province is an antiquated piece of legislation known as the Family Compensation Act. It is based upon British law dating back to 1846, a piece of legislation that only places value on the lives of income earners. The law excludes huge sectors of our population and - in doing so - turns an abrupt cold shoulder to the families left behind if they attempt to seek justice in honour of their deceased loved ones.
The Pereira family is one of several dozen families who have been working for positive changes to the law for the last eight years. "An enormous injustice will continue to exist until the BC Government brings in fair and meaningful legislation," asserts Beatrice. "It's too late to help our family, but we are carrying on with our call for new law to help the families of the future."
The vast majority of families are denied access to the legal system, even in cases where the evidence of wrongdoing is overwhelming. The very rare exceptions are the relative few cases that receive extraordinary media coverage due to a high-profile injustice (e.g. the 2007 death of Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport) or the aftermath of a highly publicized criminal trial (e.g. the multiple murder victims of Robert Pickton). However, justice must be equal for all. It does not exist in society if wrongful death is only recognized by politically charged government payouts fuelled by the court of public opinion, and trial by media, rather than courts of law.
Society's response to tragedy is a hallmark of how citizens are valued. Ignoring the realities of terrible events leads to additional tragedies. Whether a tragedy impacts one family or many, such as the recent mass tragedy at the seniors' home in Quebec, it is necessary for individual citizens to have the power to respond by way of the legal system and, if necessary, in the courts. Providing justice is one of society's primary responsibilities. It is necessary for the sake of safety and security of individual citizens. Otherwise, the people of the province are living - and dying - in a land of neglect.
The families of the WDLRG have a draft piece of legislation they urge the BC Government to adopt as a model for new law in the province. It is called the Wrongful Death Accountability Act. It and other information regarding this effort can be accessed online through the following link: http://www.protectingjusticeforbc.org/campaigns/wrongful-death/.
NOTE: Representatives from the WDLRG can be booked for interviews and called upon for more information.