This is Allan’s second engagement on the Board; he also served in the early 2000s. Asked why he returned to this volunteer position, Allan said that he feels strongly about the value of the Board in its role as civilian oversight to the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) on behalf of the community.
Allan is a well-respected labour and employment lawyer with extensive experience representing trade unions, faculty associations and employees in all facets of labour relations, administration, employment, human rights and education law. All of which serve him well as a Board director, in his work as Chair of the Board’s Service or Policy Complaints Review standing committee, and as a member of the Human Resources and the Governance standing committees.
Q: What made you want to be a director on the Vancouver Police Board?
AB: I am committed to contributing, and I feel that my legal background provides value to the Board’s work. Our focus is on governance and policy, and that takes a range of diverse people with varied experience so that we can more authentically reflect the values of all of the people of Vancouver.
Q: What do you feel you bring to the Board?
AB: I think that previously serving on the Board more than two decades ago is helpful because I can provide some context of how things have changed. It is important that we understand what came before so that we can define what should be done today. There is an old adage that says: “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
In addition, I believe my experience as a lawyer and that I am a former member of the Arbitrators Association of British Columbia, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers is helpful – especially within the context of the committee work that I do. For Service or Policy complaints, I think that the work I did when I served as Vice-Chair of the British Columbia Labour Relations Board and that I have acted as an arbitrator in numerous grievances is helpful.
Q: What do you wish the people of Vancouver knew about the Vancouver Police Board?
AB: I think it is useful for the people of Vancouver to know that municipal police boards are created independently from municipal councils and the provincial government. This allows us to remain apart from partisan politics and recognizes that the municipality and the government have legitimate interests in municipal policing.
It is also helpful to understand that, in British Columbia, a police board performs four main governance functions, which for us means that we are the employers of sworn and civilian staff of the VPD, we set policy and direction, we oversee the budget, and we address policy and service complaints.
The Board provides crucial civilian oversight to the VPD. We act as a voice on behalf of the community, and enhance transparency and accountability. Our goal is always to provide strategic direction and governance that allows the VPD to serve the people of Vancouver with integrity, compassion and honour. I am proud of the work that we do.