Jim Quail


Interviewed by Carmela Allevato

Progressive lawyer Jim Quail first worked for legal aid organizations in B.C. helping farmworkers and tenants in the late 1970s and 80s. He successfully fought Bill Bennett’s attempt to eliminate tenants’ rights, was a leading participant in the Solidarity Coalition and has been an activist in leftwing municipal politics for decades. Over the years Jim has worked with many unions, including CUPE, VMREU, HEU, and MoveUP, as well as with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre and more.

In this interview, Jim discusses his many legal battles against legislation that threatened workers’ rights. He was involved in a Charter challenge to protect the right to collective bargaining, and at the end of the day saw victory at the Supreme Court of Canada with the 2007 Health Services decision.

Jim describes catastrophic climate change as the biggest issue facing the labour movement, but he sees a positive role for unions. His efforts before the B.C. Utilities’ Commission have helped to put forward a progressive agenda for climate change mitigation.



COPE (Committee/Coalition of Progressive Electors); Harry Rankin; Libby Davies; municipal politics; tenants’ groups; tenants’ rights; Legal Aid Society; Farmworkers’ Union; employment standards; CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees); TRAC (Tenants’ Rights Action Coalition); Operation Solidarity; Solidarity Coalition; Legal Services Society; VMREU (Vancouver Municipal and Regional Employees’ Union); BCPIAC (BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre); HEU (Hospital Employees’ Union); Bill 29; Supreme Court of Canada; right to collective bargaining; health services decision; MoveUP; Utilities’ Commission; climate change; IWA (International Woodworkers of America); wealth disparity; activism; Ben Swankey; labour law; Joe Arvay; constitutional law

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