The BC Health Coalition and Canadian Doctors for Medicare were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Joseph Arvay, O.C., O.B.C., Q.C. As Coalition Intervenors in the Cambie trial, Joe was a key member of our legal team. In the legal battle to defend public health care in BC, Joe and his team were our voice in the courtroom.
Joe approached the case with not only his tremendous experience as a constitutional lawyer, but also the passion of an advocate determined to protect the public health care system we all rely on. He was our lawyer, but he was also an ally and a friend.
Those who have worked closely with him over the years remarked that every encounter with Joe was both intellectually rewarding and intensely personal. He was known for his rare gift of having a conversation with the judge and everyone in the courtroom - managing to get at the heart of the matters at hand in an engaging and personal way.
While we were fortunate enough to work with him on the Cambie case, the breadth of Joe’s work and the impact he had on Canadian law over the span of his career cannot be overstated. He was a fierce advocate for human rights and social justice and will be remembered as one of Canada’s greatest constitutional litigators.
Joe is perhaps most famous for his role in Carter v. Canada, the case that paved the way for medical assistance in dying. Other landmark cases involved bringing an end to indefinite solitary confinement, defending the right of a community group to run supervised-injection facilities (Insite), striking down prostitution laws (Bedford), and the 2004 same-sex marriage decision..
At this time, we extend our condolences to Joe’s family, friends, and colleagues. He will be sorely missed by so many.