BCCLA is pleased to announce new Executive Director Josh Paterson

The BCCLA has hired one of BC’s leading human and environmental rights campaign lawyers to lead the organization. Josh Paterson, former Aboriginal and Natural Resources lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, is the new Executive Director of the BCCLA.

“It’s a great honour to work for the BC Civil Liberties Association and to join their fifty year tradition of defending and promoting rights and freedoms,” said Paterson. “I look forward to working with the organization on some of the critical issues we’re facing across BC and Canada: expanding prisons, drug policy reform, the right to a death with dignity, increasing state surveillance coupled with attacks on people’s privacy, the demonization of dissent, and many others.”

Paterson was recently featured on the cover of Lexpert magazine for his work defending the legal rights of First Nations communities in Northern BC related to the Enbridge pipeline project. Fluently bilingual in English and French, he has a Masters and a Law degree from the University of Toronto, and coordinated the surveillance education project of the Vancouver Public Space Network.
“We are thrilled to have Josh join our talented and hard working staff team,” said Lindsay Lyster, President of the BCCLA. “Josh’s record defending and protecting democratic, human and environmental rights speaks for itself. We are incredibly fortunate to have him working with us.”

Paterson formerly led the Freedom of Expression, Equality and Dignity Project of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in Toronto. He spent several years working in employee-side labour law in British Columbia spending much of his time on one of the largest racial-discrimination cases in B.C. history.

“I have an extensive background in defending and protecting the rights of individuals and communities whose dignity or autonomy is being threatened by government or powerful private interests, so this job will be a perfect fit for me,” said Paterson. “I look forward to bringing my skills gained in the environmental and labour fields, and my experience working for northern communities and First Nations, to the Association’s work protecting the rights of people in every corner of BC. I can’t wait to work with the very talented Board and Staff of the Association.”

Paterson is replacing David Eby, who ends his term as Executive Director of the BCCLA on December 31, 2012. Paterson starts as Executive Director of the BCCLA on January 1, 2013.