FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2019
Vancouver, BC – On July 15, 2019, Justice Grauer released a ruling regarding Pivot Legal Society’s application to clarify his February 8, 2019 Order. The ruling is the latest in a series of Court decisions regarding the Anita Place tent city in the City of Maple Ridge.
The Ruling can be found here.
The Ruling amends the February 8 Order in favour of the residents of Anita Place; refutes the City’s contention that Pivot’s clients lack standing to bring the application; and instructs that the issue of constitutionality of the City’s actions were not within his jurisdiction at this time, but can be properly addressed in a future application.
The Ruling orders the City to provide Pivot with the list of 47 people who should be eligible to live at Anita Place. The City of Maple Ridge also consented and Justice Grauer agreed that people should be able to present themselves for verified residency on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, the ruling amended the Order to provide greater privacy protection for Anita Place residents.
Contrary to the City’s July 16, 2019 media release, the Court did not condone the City’s conduct in relation to the original Order. Justice Grauer made clear that a number of the City’s actions, including blocking visitors and searching residents at the gate, were not the intention of his Order.
Also contrary to the City’s media release, Justice Grauer did not recognize the City’s right to engage in these actions on other bases. Rather, the Court clarified the City may have this authority under the Trespass Act, but “whether, in doing so, it has breached any rights of the defendants or others who seek access to the St. Anne Lands is not a matter that comes within the scope of this application.”
The Court did not condone the City’s “priorities and approach” regarding Anita Place, and invited the parties to bring another application regarding the constitutionality of the City’s conduct.
The City of Maple Ridge continues to expend significant resources to weaponize the law in order to treat homeless people as second-class citizens and to displace residents of Anita Place. City officials and authorities continue to deny access to the Anita Place, the only accessible Overdose Prevention Site (OPS) in the City during one of the most fatal health crises we have faced.
The City has clearly demonstrated that it has the resources to support local homeless residents, but instead chooses to use those resources to police and stigmatize those who most need their help. The City’s actions multiply harm and resolve nothing, guaranteeing Maple Ridge will be stuck at the impasse of stigma and denial for the foreseeable future, while local homeless residents bear the consequences.
Anna Cooper, staff lawyer with Pivot Legal Society, will be available for comment.
Communications & Digital Engagement Manager
Pivot Legal Society
604-255-9700 Ext. 154
– 30 –
Anita Place was founded in May 2017 by a group of residents in Maple Ridge, BC. That same month, the City filed an injunction application to close the camp but adjourned the hearing at the last minute after receiving extensive evidence from residents of Anita Place. In the fall of 2017, the City brought forward a second injunction application to disband the camp and evict its residents. The matter was settled by the signing of a Consent Order in which both parties agreed to work together to provide safety supplies to Anita Place residents. The City continues to leverage litigation against Anita Place residents in efforts to minimize the camp, despite failing to provide meaningful housing for residents who do not have other options.
About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot Legal Society is a leading Canadian human rights organization that uses the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion in Canada. Pivot’s award-winning work includes challenging laws and policies that force people to the margins of society and keep them there. Since 2002 Pivot has won major victories for sex workers’ rights, police accountability, affordable housing, and health and drug policy.
Pivot Legal Society files appeal to BC Supreme Court Order after heavy-handed enforcement at Anita Place
For Immediate Release
February 25, 2019
Given the urgency of the situation, Pivot Legal Society is seeking to appear before the Court of Appeal on an expedited basis
Vancouver, BC – After witnessing the City of Maple Ridge’s aggressive, non-collaborative, and wrongful enforcement of Honourable Justice Grauer’s Supreme Court Order (the “Order”) pertaining to Anita Place tent city over the weekend, Pivot Legal Society has filed notice of leave to appeal the Order, which was issued February 8, 2019.
“We intend to appeal Justice Grauer’s Order on an expedited basis and inform the Court of the City and RCMP’s misconduct over the weekend, which included numerous and egregious contraventions of Justice Grauer’s decision,” said Caitlin Shane, staff lawyer with Pivot Legal Society. “The City refuses to collaborate and communicate with residents of Anita Place, despite their stated commitment to do so.”Read more
Pivot Legal Society seeks leave to appeal aspects of BC Supreme Court ruling on Anita Place. Encouraged by recognition of life safety concerns and the allowing of solid structures
For Immediate Release
February 8, 2019
Vancouver, BC – This morning, Justice Grauer of the BC Supreme Court released his decision on the City of Maple Ridge’s application for enforcement orders and injunctions at Anita Place tent city. In his decision, Justice Grauer underscored and affirmed the need for appropriate shelter for Maple Ridge’s homeless residents and agreed that adequate shelter is not, at present, available.
“A satisfactory answer to the problems raised on this application cannot be found in the courts,” he wrote, which underscores the obligation of local and regional governments to ensure the safety of its vulnerable residents. Indeed, Justice Grauer encouraged the City and the Province to “work together urgently to bring an end to the need for Anita Place”.Read more
Project Inclusion: "Conditions of release" are widely applied to people involved with the criminal justice system, but police- and court-imposed conditions have a particularly harmful effect on those who are homeless and people who use substances. Conditions fail to acknowledge the complexities of homelessness and substance use, and in so doing, trap people in a cycle of criminalization and actually produce criminality that undermines health and safety. [Read more]
For Immediate Release
January 15, 2019
(Photo credit: Peter Kim | Pivot lawyer Anna Cooper speaking to media | January 14, 2019)
Vancouver, BC – At BC Supreme Court this afternoon Pivot Legal Society and residents of Anita Place defended the rights and interests of communities affected by homelessness in BC by responding to the City of Maple Ridge’s application for enforcement orders and injunctions against Anita Place.
The City is seeking to enact unreasonable fire safety and solid structure regulations, resident identification policies, and a police enforcement order allowing officers to virtually indefinitely detain people believed to be “on reasonable and probable grounds” in violation of these orders.Read more
Pivot Legal and Anita Place respond to City of Maple Ridge’s Supreme Court Application on first day of winter
For Immediate Release
December 21, 2018
(Photo credit: Geoff Webb | Christmas at Anita Place | December 2017)
Maple Ridge, BC – As the coldest days of the year approach and families settle in for the holidays, the City of Maple Ridge is striving to break apart a community of homeless people living at Anita Place tent city by applying to the BC Supreme Court for an order that would effectively criminalize their efforts to survive. The order would allow City staff to seize all warming devices without offering any meaningful assistance in return and give police the right to arrest any homeless person who resists.
The City of Maple Ridge has not supported the residents of Anita Place in obtaining the necessary supplies detailed in a Consent Order signed last November, which includes the provision of in-tent heaters. At that time we were hopeful that we were entering a new phase in which the City would collaborate with residents facing homelessness to ensure their safety.Read more
BC’s income support programs, shelters, and hospitals exist to serve people in need. But across the province, people are experiencing barriers to accessing income assistance, there are not enough safe and accessible shelter options, and stigma and racism are surfacing in how people are treated in hospitals. These are public services that should serve the public good, but their inaccessibility is putting the health, safety, and human rights of marginalized people at risk.
Read the other chapters of #ProjectInclusion:
- Policing: The Impacts of Police and Policing
- Justice System: Everything Becomes Illegal: How Court-Imposed Conditions Set People up to Fail
- Stigma: Making Stigma Visible – Why a Stigma-Auditing Process Matters for BC
- Read our recommendations for change
This Tent is My Home tells the story of the residents of Anita Place tent city in Maple Ridge. In May of 2017, around 90 homeless individuals banded together to find safety and security in community by setting up a tent city to survive outdoors. Over the following year, that community grew to nearly 200 people. We have followed them in their journey as they’ve taken a stand against the bigotry and stigma that fuel BC’s homelessness crisis to show their courage and determination in the face of systemic discrimination.
Testifying against harmful laws before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
(Lawyers Naomi Moses [Rosenberg Kosakoski LLP] and Caitlin Shane [Pivot Legal Society] before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights | September 2018)
Criminalizing poverty threatens the health and safety of marginalized communities and traps them in an unending cycle of danger and fear of arrest. That is why Pivot lawyer Caitlin Shane and lawyer and Pivot board member Naomi Moses (Rosenberg Kosakoski LLP) recently spoke to members of parliament in Ottawa: to remind them of the impacts of unconstitutional laws on the health, safety, and Charter rights of Pivot’s clients.
Last month, Caitlin and Naomi testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, urging them to adopt certain proposed amendments under Bill C-75: An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts.Read more