Joseph Arvay died on Monday December 7, at the age of 71, after a heart attack.
Joe was a lawyer who helped bring about sweeping legal changes to Canada, including same-sex marriage and the right to a medically assisted death, through decades of passionate courtroom advocacy. Other cases in which Mr. Arvay represented the person challenging a law, or groups intervening to help persuade courts to strike down a law, include one that brought an end to indefinite solitary confinement in federal prisons in the past year. He also argued for a community group’s right to run a supervised-injection facility (the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favour of the Insite facility, in 2011); the 2013 case known as Bedford, in which the court unanimously struck down prostitution laws; the same-sex marriage reference in 2004, which helped pave the way for marriage equality; and the Little Sisters case in 2000, in which the court ruled Canada Customs unfairly targeted a gay and lesbian bookstore. When he died he was in the middle of a years-long case about whether the governments of Ontario and of Canada have been fulfilling their obligations to the Anishinaabe nation under the Robinson Huron Treaty; and taking the government to court, on behalf of fifteen children aged between 10 and 19, due to their failure to adequately respond to the threat of climate change.
Apart from his wife of 20 years, Connie Addario, Mr. Arvay leaves the five children of their blended family: Louigi, Hannah, Carmen and Gina Addario-Berry, and Emily Arvay. He also leaves six grandchildren: Solomon, Francesca, June, Caspar, Zoe and Oliver. And he leaves his sisters, Mary Jane Cruise and Jeanne Pender.
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Other obituaries and tributes:
* The Globe and Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-constitutional-lawyer-joe-arvay-71-helped-change-canadas-laws-on/
* CBC News: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-joseph-arvay-obituary-1.5832191
* Vancouver Sun: https://vancouversun.com/news/joseph-arvay-one-of-canadas-leading-constitutional-lawyers-dies-at-age-71
* BC Attorney General: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020AG0065-002016
* BCCLA: https://bccla.org/news/2020/12/in-memory-of-joseph-j-arvay-1949-2020/