Vancouver business association appeals homeless discrimination ruling

VANCOUVER – An association representing Vancouver businesses is appealing a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found its street patrol program discriminates against homeless people.

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association says it will argue that a judge made mistakes with a judgment on the Downtown Ambassador Program.

The case dates back to complaints between 2000 and 2008 that the red-shirted ambassadors were asking homeless people to leave public areas in the downtown core.

In 2012, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal quashed a legal action by the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users following a hearing two years earlier involving 17 witnesses.

But early last month, the court reversed the decision, prompting praise from advocates who said it upheld human rights for the homeless.

Business association president Charles Gauthier says the court action didn’t address the real issue of homelessness and that he hopes the appeal will reduce legal uncertainties created by the decision.