Yan Muirhead LLP’s partner, Nerissa Yan (together with co-counsel, Jennifer Flood) represented Asian Women for Equality to intervene in the constitutional challenge to Canada’s prostitution laws.
On Friday, October 7, 2022, Asian Women for Equality intervened in Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform v. Canada before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to support the constitutionality of Canada’s prostitution law, which came into effect December 2014 as the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.
The Canadian Criminal Code targets and criminalizes pimps, recruiters, sex-buyers and marketing platforms that promote prostitution as a service. The law also recognizes the vulnerability and pressures that push women into prostitution and immunizes them from criminal charges. In this way, law enforcement resources are intended to be focused on the demand side of prostitution. “The law recognizes the impact of sexism and racism in creating the conditions that empower pimps, prostitution recruiters and sex buyers while disempowering women, particularly racialized and poor women,” says Alice Lee, a member of Asian Women for Equality. The group contends that the law is constitutional and requires better enforcement.
Additionally, Asian Women for Equality aimed to assist the Court to understand the negative impact of prostitution advertising which relies on and promotes deeply racist and sexist stereotypes. Advertising or marketing the sexual services of another is criminalized, thereby interfering with rampant commercialization of prostitution.
Yan Muirhead LLP represents John Nuttall and Amanda Korody in a civil action commenced against RCMP officers, the Attorney General of Canada, and others alleging, among other causes of action, that their rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms were violated.
Ms. Korody and Mr. Nuttall were imprisoned for over three years until the criminal charges against them were stayed. Justice Bruce of the Supreme Court of British Columbia found that they had been entrapped by the RCMP in an improper undercover operation.
The case has been reported by the Globe and Mail here. The Globe and Mail quotes Nathan as follows:
What happened to John and Amanda was a travesty of justice. There wouldn’t have been a plot if it weren’t for the actions of the RCMP,” Mr. Muirhead said. “There was psychological coercion (and) logistical support by the RCMP. These were people who were recovering from drug addiction, on welfare, on methadone. They weren’t leaving a small radius around their basement apartment.
Ms. Korody and Mr. Nuttall are represented by Yan Muirhead partner Nathan Muirhead.
A copy of the Amended Notice of Civil claim is available here.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver and the Star of the Sea Parish have issued a historic apology to the White Rock Pride Society and to the wider LBGTQ2+ community.
The apology resolves a complaint the White Rock Pride Society filed with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation. after the Star of the Sea Parish refused to rent its community centre to host the White Rock Pride Society’s annual fundraising event in 2019.
Ernie Klassen, president of the White Rock Pride Society, issued the following statement:
We formed the White Rock Pride Society to build understanding, support and inclusiveness in the community for people who identify as LGBTQ2+ and other at-risk groups. This is a huge step forward in creating an inclusive and diverse society. We are extremely appreciative of the Parish and Archdiocese's willingness to listen, change and work constructively towards identifying further opportunities for support, inclusion and dialogue within the Catholic Church. In the true spirit of reconciliation, the two groups have reached an agreement far better than what a ruling from the Human Rights Tribunal could have achieved.
The White Rock Pride Society was represented by Yan Muirhead partner Nerissa Yan together with Caitlin Ohama-Darcus of Nathanson Schachter & Thompson LLP.
A joint statement issued by the White Rock Pride Society, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, and the Star of the Sea Parish, can be read here. Media coverage of the apology is available here and here.
On the application of Yan Muirhead’s client, a local boat repair company, Madam Justice Forth granted an order setting side an ex parte injuction that had been granted against the company and awarded costs to the company. Forth J. found that the applicant’s counsel had failed to provide important information to the chambers judge at the hearing that had taken place without notice to Yan Muirhead’s client. Nerissa Yan appeared on this application.
The reasons for judgment of Forth J. can be read here.
On January 17, 2022, Madam Justice Newbury of the BC Court of Appeal granted an application brought by Yan Muirhead’s client to preserve a certificate of pending litigation. The certificate of pending litigation, which records in the Land Title Office that a claim is made against title to the residence of the defendants, had been ordered to be struck by a justice of the Supreme Court, but Newbury J.A. allowed an applicaiton to preserve the CPL pending appeal.
The lawsuit involves allegations, which are denied by the defendants, that Yan Muirhead’s client, a car dealership, was defrauded by its former director and general manager. Nathan Muirhead and Nerissa Yan are involved in the representation.
The reasons for judgment of Newbury J.A. are available here.
On January 17, 2022, Master Harper of the Supreme Court of British Columbia allowed an application brought by Yan Muirhead’s client to amend a pleading to allege that the defendant had improperly destroyed evidence in the course of litigation. The defendant had saught to prevent this allegation from being pleaded. The decision is one of the first reported decisions in British Columbia in which a plaintiff has been permitted by the court to plead spoiliation.
Nathan Muirhead and Jaime Gray of Yan Muirhead represented the plaintiff.
The reasons for judgment of Master Harper are available here.