Sechelt becomes eighth BC municipality to join Sue Big Oil

A group of Sue Big Oil volunteers posing outside of the District of Sechelt Council building.

For Immediate Release – June 20, 2024

Last night, the District of Sechelt Council voted in favour of working with other local governments in BC to file a class action lawsuit against global fossil fuel companies to recover a fair share of the climate costs they are incurring. This means setting aside at least $1 per resident. Citizens in attendance applauded the decision.

The District of Sechelt is the eighth BC local government to join the campaign, following recent positive votes by Burnaby and Port Moody councils. Sechelt joins its sister Sunshine Coast town of Gibsons, which was the first municipality to sign up.

The Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil team collected over 2,100 signatures on a petition calling on local governments to support the suit – with over 70% of those approached eagerly signing. Local resident Maryann Kamphuis was delighted with the Council’s decision: “For our children, their children and their children’s children, I am so very grateful to the District of Sechelt Council for voting to join the class action. A win will mean costs can be borne more equitably by those companies responsible for causing the damage.”

Another Sechelt resident, Monique Roy-Michaeli, said, “I am relieved that the District of Sechelt has joined the campaign to have Big Oil pay its fair share for climate related damages. Their decision demonstrates forward thinking, and supporting this action will help protect our community, families and our environment.”

Councillor Alton Toth made the motion, seconded by Councillor Darren Inkster. Councillor Inkster commented on the decision, “It was very heartwarming to see Sechelt step up to join others who realize that our precious planet is changing and with that change humans will need to adapt and do our best to mitigate as best we can the effects of these changes on our species.”

“The District of Sechelt is smart to recognize that climate change impacts like droughts, extreme heat waves and storms, wildfires and sea-level rise are unbelievably expensive and that communities themselves cannot afford these costs alone,” said Fiona Koza, Climate Accountability Strategist at West Coast Environmental Law, which is the Secretariat to the Sue Big Oil campaign. “Sue Big Oil community groups across the province are demanding that their local governments protect them from climate costs while holding major polluters accountable. Our team is here to support all municipalities and regional districts interested in supporting this class action lawsuit.”

Dawn Allen, Lead Organizer for the Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil campaign, said, “We are elated by this win and very grateful to the Sechelt Council for supporting this investment in our wellbeing and that of our kids….. but the work is not finished. With Sechelt and Gibsons both on board now, Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil is planning to return its attention to the Sunshine Coast Regional District.”

The District of Sechelt joins Gibsons, Burnaby, Qualicum Beach, Squamish, View Royal, Slocan and Port Moody in committing to work together to bring a class action lawsuit against global fossil fuel companies for a share of the costs of climate change. Over 11,000 British Columbians have signed a Declaration calling for BC local governments to Sue Big Oil. The Sue Big Oil campaign is endorsed by over 40 organizations in BC.

Seventy US cities and states, including Chicago and California, are also suing Big Oil.


For more information, please contact:

Dawn Allen | Lead Organizer, Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil

Fiona Koza | Climate Accountability Strategist, West Coast Environmental Law
604-684-7378, ext. 236, fkoza@wcel.org

Andrew Gage | Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
604-601-2506, agage@wcel.org

For more information about the Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil team, visit www.scsbo.ca

Top photo: Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil volunteers and supporters in Sechelt (Photo courtesy of Sunshine Coast Sue Big Oil)