Homeless trial nears end

Final arguments in Abbotsford rights case underway today

  • Jul. 31, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Final arguments in the Supreme Court trial to determine whether several Abbotsford bylaws infringe the constitutional rights of the city’s homeless will begin Friday.

Lawyers affiliated with Pivot Legal Society are suing the city on behalf of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors (DWS), a group of homeless activists who say Abbotsford’s bylaws are unconstitutional. They allege that a combination of the city’s bylaws – which prohibit unauthorized camping in city parks – and a lack of housing options put homeless people at risk and infringe on their right to security of person.

The city contends that it’s been doing its best to help the homeless while keeping parks safe for other users. The city’s lawyers also have said the bylaw being challenged allows people to apply to camp in parks, but that the plaintiffs have never done so.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson has been hearing evidence – first from the plaintiffs, then from the City of Abbotsford – since late June.

Final arguments are expected to stretch into next week, with the trial set to wrap next Thursday.