Litigation, Bylaw Enforcement, Conflicts, Information and Privacy
Email: dubinsky@lidstone.ca
Phone: 604-899-2269
Toll Free: 1-877-339-2199
Download vCard
navigateleft Go Back

Sara Dubinsky

Litigation, Bylaw Enforcement, Conflicts, Information and Privacy
Email: dubinsky@lidstone.ca
Phone: 604-899-2269
Toll Free: 1-877-339-2199
Download vCard

Sara has practiced local government law at Lidstone & Company since her call to the bar in 2009. She is a litigation lawyer and provides legal opinions on a wide variety of issues, with a particular emphasis on cannabis legalization, bylaw enforcement, conflicts of interest and freedom of information. Sara has provided legal advice on cannabis issues to in excess of 50 local governments and agencies in British Columbia and she is counsel of record in more than a dozen cannabis cases. Sara represents clients at the BC Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Provincial Court and in matters involving the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and Ombudsperson.

Sara regularly volunteers as a supervising lawyer at clinics run by UBC’s Law Students’ Legal Advice Program. She is a member of the firm’s student hiring committee and mentors students via the Canadian Bar Association & UBC Student Mentorship Program, as well as informally.

Education
  • LL.B, University of Victoria, 2008
  • B.A (Honours with Distinction), Criminal Justice and Public Policy, University of Guelph, 2005
RECENT CASES

2018

  • CannaWorks Inc. v. District of Lake Country
    Representing the District on a judicial review regarding a foundation permit for a cannabis production facility in the ALR.
  • Benoit v. Strathcona Regional District and City of Campbell River
    Representing the City on a petition for judicial review seeking to impugn a fee bylaw.
  • Apartment Legacy One Ltd. v. City of Vernon
    Successfully defended an appeal regarding the validity and the City’s administration of its building bylaw.
  • District of Central Saanich v. Bachand and Van Wyk
    Obtained a statutory injunction, by consent, regarding the unlawful use and construction of a dwelling unit and additions to a structure.
  • Nelson Home Furnishing Ltd. v. City of Nelson
    Obtained a consent order dismissing a petition against the City that sought to impugn the City’s application of its building bylaw.
  • R v. Todd
    Represented the City of Nelson Police Department on an O’Connor application for production of documents.
  • Murray Purcha & Son Ltd. v. District of Barriere
    Successfully defended the District’s RFP and contract for winter road maintenance services. Successfully argued that a Councillor should not be compelled to give evidence. Decision regarding the RFP appealed and on reserve.
  • Paldi Khalsa et. al v. Cowichan Valley Regional District
    Obtained a consent order dismissing a Notice of Civil Claim against the CVRD for declaratory relief and damages.
  • 667895 B.C. Ltd v. Corporation of Delta
    Appeal of challenge to road closure bylaw. Court of Appeal upheld trial decision regarding procedural fairness and remedy; consent and compensation remain open to be decided.
  • District of Kent v. WeeMedical Dispensary Society
    Application for special costs dismissed. Supreme Court declined to distinguish Court of Appeal ruling regarding the availability of special costs for pre-litigation conduct.
  • City of Delta v. 667895 B.C. Ltd
    Application for contempt of court for breach of a consent order requiring removal of a structure.

2017

  • City of Abbotsford v. Simba Holdings Ltd. and Medicinal Express Society
    Obtained a statutory injunction against a landlord and dispensary tenant, including special costs and a police enforcement order, to shut down a marihuana dispensary operating in contravention of  business licence and zoning bylaws.
  • District of Kent v. WeeMedical Dispensary Society
    Obtained a consent order to shut down a marihuana dispensary.
  • District of Central Saanich v. Johal
    Obtained a statutory injunction to restrain a landowner and a business owner from contravening District land use, business licence and building bylaws.
    Successfully defended application for change of venue of proceedings.
  • City of Richmond v. WeeMedical Dispensary Society
    Obtained a consent order to shut down a marihuana dispensary.
  • City of Campbell River v. WeeMedical Dispensary Society
    Obtained a consent order to shut down two marihuana dispensaries.
  • P&S Holdings et al v. The Corporation of Delta et al
    Obtained a consent order dismissing a petition that sought to impugn a building permit.
  • District of West Vancouver v. Morshedian
    Successfully defended appeal of trial decision awarding $100,000 in fines in an Offence Act prosecution of two West Vancouver landowners who engaged in a large scale soil dumping operation on their property in contravention of District bylaws.
  • City of Abbotsford v. Mary Jane’s Glass and Gifts
    Obtained a statutory injunction to enjoin a marihuana dispensary operating in contravention of City bylaws and successfully defended the dispensary’s challenge to the constitutionality of City bylaws. Decision appealed by operator then abandoned prior to hearing.

2016

  • 667895 B.C. Ltd v. Corporation of Delta
    Successfully defended Delta’s decision to close a road without: the adjacent landowner’s consent, paying compensation, or receiving oral submissions; final adoption of the bylaw remitted to Council for reconsideration.
  • Delta (Corporation) v. WeeMedical Dispensary Society
    Obtained a statutory injunction, including special costs and a police enforcement order, to shut down a marihuana dispensary operating in contravention of Delta’s business licence and zoning bylaws;
    Obtained a contempt order when the dispensary re-opened.
  • Colbert v. Bond
    Successfully applied to dismiss a Petition that alleged a pecuniary conflict of interest on the part of a Council member.
  • Columbia Shuswap Regional District v. Darnell
    Obtained a statutory injunction to enforce the development permit provisions of the Local Government Act and Official Community Plan.
  • West Vancouver v. Liu
    Successfully appealed a BC Supreme Court decision regarding the legality of encroachments on a District road allowance.
  • City of Abbotsford v. Weeds Glass and Gifts
    Obtained a statutory injunction to shut down a marihuana dispensary operating in contravention of City bylaws.
    Successfully defended the dispensary’s application to stay the injunction in the Court of Appeal.
  • R. v. Morshedian and Janani
    Conducted an Offence Act prosecution of two West Vancouver landowners who engaged in a large scale soil dumping operation on their property in contravention of District bylaws, resulting in a sentence of $100,000 in fines.

2015

  • Port Clements (Village) (Re),
    Obtained and successfully defended an order to allow Council members to vote on OCP and zoning amendments despite their conflicts of interest.
  • Forsythe v. ‘Ksan Association (unreported)
    Obtained an order dismissing a claim against a Councillor/ director in her personal capacity.
  • Goudie v. District of Sechelt
    Successfully defended the District against a claim for damages arising from the removal of referendum and business signs.
  • Sudbury v. Delta (Corporation)
    Successfully defended Delta on a petition for judicial review relating to the zoning and use of municipally owned land.

Earlier Cases

  • Okanagan Land Development Corporation v. City of Vernon
    Successfully appealed and upheld the validity of the City’s latecomer bylaw.
  • Amix Salvage & Sales v. Chilliwack (City)
    Successfully defended the City against a claim that it had a duty provide and pay for the installation of water service to private property.
RECENT PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS
  • November 2018: CBABC Administrative Law Section Meeting. Speaker regarding Cannabis and Administrative Law.
  • October 2018: PIBC Fall Webinar Series, Cannabis Legislation and Implementation. Presenter.
  • October 2018: MIABC. Cannabis Legalization: What Local Governments Can Do and How Best To Do It. Presenter.
  • September 2018: EDAC 50th Annual Conference, Fredericton NB. Presenter regarding cannabis and economic development.
  • June 2018: LIBOA Conference and AGM. Presenter regarding cannabis law.
  • April 2018: CBABC Aboriginal Law – Vancouver & Municipal Law Section Meeting. Speaker regarding cannabis legalization and regulation
  • April 2018: Municipal Law in BC. Capilano University. Guest speaker regarding council behaving badly (conflicts of interest, confidentiality, bullying and harassment)
  • April 2018: Municipal Issues in the Legalization of Cannabis (West). Conference Chair and presenter
  • April 2018: PBLI Local Government 2018: Current Issues. Scheduled presenter regarding municipalities and marijuana regulation
  • January 2018: PIBC Presenter regarding Cannabis Legislation and Regulation in BC: What Planners Need to Know
  • Planning West, Summer 2017 Issue: Medical Marihuana – What’s the deal (and how to nip dispensaries in the bud)
  • CBA National Municipal Law Section 2017: Presenter regarding marihuana law and municipalities
  • LIBOA Conference and AGM 2017: Presenter regarding marihuana law and dispensary enforcement
  • PIBC 2017: Presenter regarding regulation of medical marihuana
  • LIBOA 2016: Presenter regarding marihuana and municipalities
  • PBLI: Local Government 2016. Presenter regarding marihuana and municipalities
  • LIBOA Conference and AGM 2015: Presenter regarding bylaw enforcement and FOI
  • Lidstone & Company Seminars: Presenter regarding marihuana regulation (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) and bylaw enforcement (2014)