Press Release: BC Court of Appeal splits on Election Act third party spending

PRESS RELEASE

April 23, 2015

BC Court of Appeal splits on Election Act third party spending

FIPA calls on BC government to fix Election Act third party advertising provisions

VANCOUVER, April 23, 2015 – In a 2-1 ruling handed down this morning, the BC Court of Appeal has upheld an earlier decision which found that although provisions of the Election Act violated the Charter, they could still be justified.

The law makes something as simple as putting a handwritten sign in your window during the election period without registering with the authorities an offence, which could result in a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Last year a BC Supreme Court judge ruled that although these third party spending provisions did violate the right to freedom of expression under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the violation was not ‘trivial or insubstantial’ as claimed by the government, it could be justified under section 1 of the Charter.

FIPA’s appeal of that decision was heard on February 13, 2015, and links to court documents in this case can be found here.

“We are disappointed with the decision, but the fight is not over,” said FIPA Executive Director Vincent Gogolek. “The BC Legislature is currently examining legislation to amend the Election Act (Bill 20), and we call on the government to bring in amendments to end this injustice.”

FIPA would like to thank lawyers Sean Hern and Alison Latimer of Farris Vaughan for their extensive pro bono work on this case.

Contact:

Vincent Gogolek, Executive Director

BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association

Email: Vincent (at) fipa.bc.ca

Phone: 604-739-9788