I have disappointing news.
The Protection of Public Participation Act hearing originally scheduled to begin today has been postponed. We were not able to get a judge assigned to our case, so it could not proceed. The hearing will be rescheduled for February 2022.
Because of this delay, Proctorio’s appeal of Justice MacNaughton’s June 14th judgment will take place ahead of the anti-SLAPP hearing. It is scheduled in the BC Court of Appeal for January 28, 2022.
Today has tested my resilience, but I will withstand Proctorio’s lawsuit for as long as it takes. I don’t want anyone else to have this same experience, and have identified two things that can change to help protect public participation.
First, the law must change. While BC’s Protection of Public Participation Act requires that anti-SLAPP applications be heard “as soon as practicable”, this is not defined. In Ontario, the law requires that anti-SLAPP applications be heard within 60 days. If we had a similar requirement here, my application could have been heard in 2020 instead of 2022.
Second, we need more judges. In BC, we have the fewest number of Supreme Court judges per capita of any Canadian province. This is partially due to the high number of vacancies – there are 84 judges in office, and 8 vacancies. As a result, the number of “bumped” cases is on the rise. These vacancies must be filled so that anti-SLAPP applications can be heard sooner.
Thank you to my wife, my family, my lawyers, and all of you for getting me to today.