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ICBC Wrongdoings, a Costly Joke, Workplace Imposters, Defamation and More

Each month, Spraggs Law publishes Vancouver Legal News, a curated selection of articles about legal issues discussed in the news. This month, we’re covering two ICBC cases resulting in the insurer having to pay damages, followed by a BC teacher facing consequences for what he claims was a joke, a BC YouTuber charged with online defamation, two employee imposter cases, and two harassment cases without closure.

Closeup of a bronze Lady of Justice statue.

ICBC Wrongdoings

BC widow awarded damages

Earlier this year, ICBC was reprimanded by the BC Supreme Court and ordered to pay an injured driver more than $400,000 in damages after the court found ICBC guilty of mishandling the injured woman’s claims. Now, ICBC has been ordered to pay again, but under different circumstances. Imagine the grief of losing your partner in an accident — the father of your two children — and then having to go through the ordeal of defending your right to receive a spousal death benefit from your insurer. That’s what one BC widow had to do when ICBC wrongfully denied her the $380,000 spousal death benefit she was rightfully entitled to. Now, ICBC has been ordered to pay the widow $400,000.

Glitter-adorned and painted harlequin masks are displayed on a wall.

A Bad Joke and Workplace Imposters

No laughing matter

A BC teacher who made a joking remark to a math class about shooting them if they did not do well on a test is facing disciplinary measures. Despite the teacher’s intention to jest, some students reported feeling uncomfortable and confused. As a result, the teacher faced reprimand for professional misconduct, including a requirement to complete a course on creating a positive learning environment. The incident highlights the importance of being mindful of things said, even in jest, to mitigate risks of being misunderstood in the classroom and workplace.

Cunning employee imposters 

As an employer or HR manager, a lot of time and energy goes into selecting the right, skilled candidates for your team. A cunning imposter can spell disaster for a business — especially a medical or dental clinic where patients’ health and well-being are at stake. Earlier this year, a man on Vancouver Island was charged for “practicing as dental hygienist without credentials.” This month, a Langley woman has come under fire for duping her employer and “working as a dental hygienist without proper registration.” The woman in question was employed as a dental hygienist between 2019 and 2023 before a patient complaint sparked an investigation by the BC College of Oral Health Professionals. The case serves as a stark reminder to employers to perform their due diligence in ensuring the employees they hire hold authentic credentials — even if it means checking with the appropriate governing bodies if there are any doubts. 

A BC YouTuber is charged with online defamation.

Online Defamation and Harassment 

BC YouTuber charged with online defamation 

A British Columbia YouTuber has been instructed by the BC Supreme Court to pay $350,000 for engaging in extreme online defamation. The YouTuber was found guilty of relentlessly spreading false and damaging statements about a local business owner and their company. The court ruled that the YouTuber’s actions were malicious and went beyond freedom of expression, causing significant harm to the reputation and livelihood of the targeted individual. Unfortunately, due to the YouTuber’s actions to protect assets when initial charges were laid, the victim may not receive the money awarded to them. The court’s decision sets a precedent for holding individuals accountable for their harmful online behaviour and sends a strong message against engaging in defamatory online activities. 

Mental health blamed for threats

A 28-year-old man in British Columbia who pleaded guilty to making death threats towards a woman he had met once won’t be facing jail time, thanks to the extreme measures his family has committed to taking to address the man’s mental health. The man’s threatening behaviour, carried out through repeated text messages, resulted in charges of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. He also faced criminal harassment charges. Despite these serious offences, the man received a conditional discharge and two years of probation. The court recognized the man’s mental health struggles, which include ADHD and OCD, and noted his family’s proactive steps in supporting his treatment. This case highlights the intersection of mental health issues and criminal behaviour within the legal system.

Harassment allegations were left in limbo

Court documents revealed that officers from the Surrey Police Service raised concerns about harassment by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which went unaddressed due to jurisdictional challenges. Twelve Surrey Police officers alleged that the RCMP engaged in conduct that made them feel belittled, intimidated and harassed. 

What Do You Think? 

What do you think about these updates affecting citizens, employers, and employees across Canada? If you have questions about employment law, estate law, business law, personal injury or harassment laws for our team at Spraggs Law, we’d love to hear from you. Contact one of our lawyers in Vancouver today.