This just in. We thought we'd share the DVBIA's press release...
Pivot Legal Society Must Pay Court Costs
The BC Supreme Court has ruled that the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association's Executive Director Charles Gauthier did not breach either a confidentiality agreement or the rules of the BC Human Rights Tribunal in speaking to the media about the current Tribunal case Pivot Legal Society and VANDU have brought against the association's Downtown Ambassadors.
In his ruling, Mr. Justice Powers overturned a BC Human Rights Tribunal ruling of November 6, 2009 that Mr. Gauthier violated an agreement between the parties that issues discussed at a settlement meeting not be made public. As a result, the award by the Tribunal of $2,000 in costs made against the association was also set aside.
Pivot Legal Society has been ordered to pay the DVBIA's legal fees for most of the time spent arguing the case before the Supreme Court.
The BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing continues through mid-June. (Note: it is not sitting on Thursday, June 10.) The DVBIA expects to present evidence from a number of witnesses to refute the allegations against the Downtown Ambassador program, including from service organizations that support disadvantaged people, as well as a number of current and former Downtown Ambassadors, some of whom were marginalized themselves.
The DVBIA continues to deny allegations that the Downtown Ambassadors systematically discriminate against homeless and Aboriginal people. In fact, the DVBIA has a track record of working to resolve homelessness, including supporting shelters, supportive housing projects and employing clients of groups such as Coast Mental Health Foundation and Street Youth Job Action. It also has a ten-year track record of daily outreach to people living on the streets through food & clothing distribution and referrals to shelters.
Downtown Ambassadors are paid employees of Genesis Security, a contractor of the DVBIA, and have been operating for ten years in the downtown core. They are consistently rated by members and the general public as the most visible and valuable service the DVBIA provides. More recently Ambassador service expanded into Yaletown, Gastown, the WestEnd and South Granville.
Downtown Ambassadors have four roles: 1. be eyes and ears on the streets 2. provide referrals and assistance to those living on the streets 3. work with member businesses to protect their property and 4. provide tourism information.
The DVBIA represents the 8,000 businesses in its 90-block area. It is funded by a levy on the business tax its property owner and tenant members pay. It was created in 1990 and recently had its second ten-year mandate renewed by its membership and endorsed by Vancouver City Council.
The full court document is posted on the DVBIA website: