British Columbia

Human rights case against Vancouver's Downtown Ambassadors dismissed

B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal says there is not enough evidence to prove a group of privately paid security guards discriminates against the homeless and drug users in downtown Vancouver.
The Downtown Ambassadors program is paid for by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and run by Genesis Security. (Genesis Security)

B.C.'s Human Rights Tribunal says there is not enough evidence to prove a group of privately paid security guards discriminates against the homeless and drug users in downtown Vancouver.

The tribunal ruling ends an investigation that began four years ago with complaints that the red-shirted ambassadors were targeting certain people, forcing them away from downtown businesses.

The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association says the ruling clears the members of its Downtown Ambassadors program of allegations of harassment and discrimination.

The Pivot Legal Society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users alleged the ambassadors "act very much like homeless police" because they tell people who sit, sleep or panhandle on sidewalks to move along, and that they are not welcome.

But the association argued its ambassadors are paid to help street people, protect downtown business property and also provide tourism information.

now