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Vol: X  –  Issue: X  –  October 2011


Fall Session In Full Swing

The fall parliamentary session is well underway with a total of 21 bills being introduced thus far, including three private member's bills.  For a full picture of the legislative session, click onto our recently enhanced Bills page, accessible via the "Bills" button on the top-left navigation when you log in to Quickscribe. The current legislative session is scheduled to wrap up on November 24th.

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Act or Regulation Affected

Energy and Mines News:

New Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act
This new Bill, currently in 3rd reading, restricts mining and oil and gas activity in the Flathead watershed area, prohibits disposition of Crown land in that area, designates coal land in that area as a coal land reserve and establishes a mineral reserve on that area. The Bill is expected to come into force shortly, on Royal Assent.

Mineral Explorers Support Fair Settlement to Address Consequences of the Uranium Exploration Ban in British Columbia
In October, the Association for Mineral Exploration BC (AME BC) expressed its strong support of the BC government’s recent $30 million out-of-court settlement with Boss Power Corp and its move to resolve the consequences of the politically driven ban on uranium and thorium exploration in British Columbia.

“While late in the proceedings, we appreciate the provincial government’s clear signal and commitment to follow well established permitting laws and to take into account fair market value when mineral explorers become prohibited from working on their mineral tenure and reasonable compensation is therefore required,” said Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO of AME BC. “Fundamentally, we believe the ban on uranium and thorium exploration is an unsound public policy based on very little science and enacted without due process or public consultation. We hope to bring balance to the issue by working with government and the public to increase the understanding of the permitting process and geoscience through wider education and outreach. Ultimately, this should increase certainty about where responsible mineral exploration and development are permitted, restore the public’s and industry’s confidence and attract investment to the benefit of all British Columbians.” View the full news release by AMEBC.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas Facility Regulation (281/2010) Oct. 4/11 s. 7 (1)(b) and (d) added, see Reg 281/2010

Family, Wills & Estates News:

Marriage Fraud Targeted by Canada Boarder Agency
Canada's border agency has opened more than three dozen criminal investigations related to marriage fraud in the last few years, newly released documents show. The Canada Border Services Agency has also begun a probe of possible organized criminal involvement in arranging marriages of convenience to attain status in Canada. Read the full article by CBC.

Government has done little to help B.C. families find information about quality of care homes
B.C. has a care system for seniors that is balkanized, open to abuse and difficult to understand. It’s a patchwork of laws, regulations and differing costs and standards. Vulnerable seniors and confused families don’t know what rights to care they have, and are afraid complaints could lead to retribution.

You’d think the government would help families to assess the safety and value they’re getting when entrusting the care of an elderly loved one to a home. But in B.C., it’s far easier for a shopper to go online and confidently pick a suitable car. In a nutshell, those were the jarring conclusions of provincial ombudsperson Kim Carter after the province-wide investigation into B.C.’s long-term care system she launched in 2008. Read the full article as published in the Province.
Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Family Maintenance Enforcement Act Regulation (346/88) Oct. 27/11 by Reg 182/2011
Forest and Environment News:

Changes to Forest Act, Foresters Act and More..
Bill 6, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Statutes Amendment Act, 2011, proposes a number of substantive changes. The Bill achieved 3rd reading at the time of this release. The intent of this new legislation is to make it easier for compliance and enforcement officers to hold offenders accountable for violating natural resource legislation.

Proposed amendments under the Forest Act will:

  • Extend the tenure terms of a Master Licence to Cut to 10 years and a Free Use Permit to 5 years. These tenures, used by the energy and mines sectors to cut timber, will now have similar terms to tenures issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Oil and Gas Commission.
  • Allow woodlot owners to remove private land from their woodlots, at the discretion of the minister, to provide woodlot owners flexibility in managing their assets in changing economic times and to plan for retirement.
  • Enable direct award of Fibre Supply Licences to Cut to access wood residue and debris to support the growing wood bioenergy sector.
  • Ensure timely and accurate submission of information from timber cruises to calculate stumpage fees.

Proposed amendments to the Foresters Act will enable timber cruisers to be officially certified, to provide confidence that accurate information used to calculate stumpage is being collected. Timber cruising involves gathering data on the amount, type, grade and value of trees to be cut into timber in a particular cutblock.

Proposed amendments to the Resort Timber Administration Act will:

  • Allow for a more coordinated approach to administering Crown timber within controlled recreation areas, such as ski hills, by ensuring Crown timber on private land can be dealt with under the Act.
  • Reflect that the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is now the Minister responsible for the Act.

BC'S New Natural Resource Road Act Project
British Columbians are invited to comment on a policy project for better regulation of natural resource roads, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson and Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman announced this month. The Natural Resource Road Act Project aims to establish a single legislative framework for the use, construction, maintenance and management of resource roads. This simplified process will create certainty about rules and regulations, and provide consistency for all sectors and resource road users.

A discussion paper has been prepared to inform stakeholders and to encourage feedback on proposed principles and key policies for consideration. This discussion paper is available online here. Click here to read the full the government news release. 

Contaminated Sites: EAB Directs Ministry of Environment to Issue Certificate of Compliance
In a recent decision, the BC Environmental Appeal Board (“EAB”) directed the Ministry of Environment to issue a Certificate of Compliance (“COC”) for a property that had been remediated and where the Ministry of Environment had refused to issue a COC because of the potential that the contamination had migrated to nearby properties. That is, the property owner did not have to investigate and remediate the nearby properties that may have been contaminated in order to obtain a COC. Click here to view the full article by Tony Crossman published by Miller Thompson.  

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
There were no amendments this month.
Health News:

Feds Eye Regulating Cosmetic Lenses
Private member's bill gets support from federal health minister and Opposition

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq is getting behind legislation to regulate cosmetic contact lenses as medical devices — almost guaranteeing the bill's passage into law. Conservative MP Pat Davidson won the high-profile backing for her private member's bill Monday, after opposition MPs stood in the House of Commons to also voice support for amending Canada's Food and Drugs Act to treat non-correction cosmetic contact lenses just like corrective contact lenses. Cosmetic contact lenses, also called fashion contact lenses or colour contact lenses, are unregulated in Canada. That means Twilight vampire eyes and other colour contact lenses can be sold over-the-counter by street vendors, convenience stores and Halloween stores. Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun.

Nurse Practitioners Statutes Amendment Act, 2011
BC recently introduced the Nurse Practitioners Statutes Amendment Act, 2011, allowing nurse practitioners (NPs) to work within their existing scope of practice. Amendments will allow NPs to act as an effective first point of contact as well as primary care providers for patients. A number of current statutes restrict NPs from providing services that are within their scope of practice. The changes will also provide British Columbians more options when seeking medical opinions and improve access to a variety of government programs. The Bill achieved 2nd reading on November 2nd.

Smoking bans backfiring at some hospitals: Study
Intravenous lines freezing in the cold. Patients in wheelchairs being accidentally locked out of the hospital on winter nights. Patients smoking in their hospital beds. Pounds of discarded cigarette butts near "no-smoking on hospital property" signs. New Canadian research has found that not only are patients and staff ignoring hospital smoke-free bans, but also the policies are creating unintended safety issues for patients. Not enough support is being offered to the five million Canadians who smoke to help manage withdrawal symptoms if they suddenly need to be hospitalized, the researchers say. Smoking needs to be treated as an addiction, they argue, and not simply as a bad habit — because when it's framed as a habit, health-care providers can have a hard time understanding why anyone facing a serious health issue would continue to smoke. Read full article posted on canada.com.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Drug Schedules Regulation (9/98) Oct. 31/11 by Regs 189/2011 and 190/2011
Pool Regulation (296/2010) Oct. 8/11 by Reg 296/2010
Labour, Company and Finance News:

BC to allow workers' compensation for post-traumatic stress, harassment on the job
People who suffer from post-traumatic stress or are victims of ongoing harassment, violence or bullying in the workplace will be able to claim workers' compensation under proposed legislation. A government bill introduced into the legislature Thursday will broaden coverage for workplace mental stress conditions and help to promote healthy workplaces, said Margaret MacDiarmid, minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government. Read the full article published in Times Colonist.

Red Tape Legislation Introduced
The new legislation (Regulatory Reporting Act, 2011) will require annual provincial reports on regulatory accountability.

“This is a vital win for small business owners whose lives are made miserable by red tape from all levels of government,” Laura Jones, a senior vice president with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ director for B.C., Shachi Kurl, said “This is a first in Canada. It’s actually been introduced as law as promised. This is the first province to put into law a commitment to monitor and watch and be accountable on the red tape files.” View the full article posted in the Vancouver Sun.

New Finance Statutes Amendment Act Introduced
Proposed amendments introduced this week as Bill 17, the Finance Statutes Amendment Act, 2011, align with government’s commitment to simplify and streamline regulatory requirements and will help to ensure statutes are clear, current and effective. The amendments will affect the Financial Institutions Act, Credit Union Incorporation Act, Society Act, Financial Administration Act, Infants Act and Securities Act. Click here to view a detailed breakdown of how these Acts are affected. (Gov’t news release).

Minimum wage jumped to $9.50 Effective November 1st
The raise, which marks the second of three incremental increases planned in the province, brings the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, matching those of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick. It jumps another 75 cents in May 2012, which will tie B.C.'s minimum wage with Ontario for the second highest in the country at $10.25. The increases, announced by Premier Christy Clark in March, are the first the province's lowest paid workers have seen in a decade. Clark also ended the province's $6 training wage for employees with less than 500 hours of paid work experience. View full article on CTV.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Employment Standards Regulation (396/95) Nov. 1/11 by Reg 67/2011
National Instrument 45-106 Prospectus and Registration Exemptions (227/2009) Oct. 3/11 by Reg 170/2011
National Instrument 51-102 Continuous Disclosure Obligations (110/2004) Oct. 31/11 by Reg 180/2011
National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices (241/2005) Oct. 31/11 by Reg 180/2011
Training Tax Credits Regulation (243/2007) Oct. 27/11 by Reg 181/2011

Local Government News:

Community, Sport and Cultural Development Statutes Amendment Act, 2011 - Implications for Local Government
Some of the more relevant changes being proposed include:

Community Charter:

  • section 220 increases the limit on the assessed value of farm improvements that is exempt from taxation under the Act.
  • section 222 adds a transitional provision applicable to real property, in a newly incorporated municipality or in an area newly included in a municipality, that was, immediately before the incorporation or inclusion, exempt from taxation because of section 15 (1) (f.1) of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act, added by this Bill.
  • section 280 clarifies that regulations may be made under section 280 despite the Act.

Local Government Act:

  • section 799.2  clarifies that regulations may be made under section 799.2 despite the Act.
  • section 813.07 authorizes the minister to specify a time period within which the parties to negotiations in a service review must conclude the negotiations and authorizes the minister to extend the specified time period.
  • section 813.08 authorizes the minister to determine that a part of a service is to be considered a separate service for the purposes of sections 813.09 to 813.19 of the Act.
  • section 813.09 adds to the list of possible actions one or more of which the minister must take after receiving a notice of service withdrawal.
  • section 813.19 provides that regulations under section 813.19 of the Act may be different for different regional districts and different circumstances.
  • section 814 provides that provisions of the Community Charter relating to the use of money in a reserve fund for the purposes of another reserve fund apply to reserve funds established by a board for capital purposes for the same service or different services.

Taxation (Rural Area) Act:

  • section 15 exempts from taxation under the Act an owner's dwelling on land that is classified as a farm under the amendments made by this Bill to the Assessment Act.
Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
British Columbia Building Code Regulation (216/2006) Oct. 3/11 by Reg 95/2010, as amended by 289/2010
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act Nov. 1/11 by Reg 191/2011
Health Care Employers Regulation (427/94) Oct. 6/11 by Regs 173/2011 and 174/2011
Prescribed Classes of Property Regulation (438/81) Oct. 27/11 by Reg 183/2011
Ski Hill Property Valuation Regulation (291/2007) Oct. 27/11 by Reg 184/2011
Social Services Employers Regulation (84/2003) Oct. 6/11 by Reg 175/2011

Miscellaneous News:

Critics Say New B.C. Privacy Laws Put Data At Risk
New legislation that would increase the ability of B.C. government ministries to share citizens' information amongst themselves and centralize that data electronically is drawing criticism from civil liberties and privacy advocates. The Liberal government introduced legislation this session that would change the way information is stored, make it easier for the province to offer services online and allow for more sharing between ministries and agencies. The province says the legislation is necessary to bring B.C.'s 20-year-old privacy laws into the digital world, and the proposed changes have received the tentative approval of the privacy commissioner. However, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Freedom of Information and Privacy Association released a joint statement suggesting the new law would needlessly put citizens' privacy at risk without offering any real benefit to government efficiency. Read full article on CBC.

B.C. Law Targets Metal Thieves And Dirty Scrap Dealers
The B.C. government is hoping to reduce metal theft, including the wholesale plundering of copper telephone lines, with new legislation that requires scrap metal dealers to report their purchases to police. Under the proposed Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, 2011 dealers will have to record the names and addresses of metal sellers, and where the seller got the material, and pass this information on to police every day. The law would also ban dealers from buying scrap metal from anyone who won't provide the required information. There will be a dealer registry and a system of inspectors who will enforce the law. View full story on CTV.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Criminal Record Check Authorization Regulation (386/2007) Oct. 1/11 by Reg 128/2011
Criminal Records Review Act Exemptions Regulation (504/95) REPEALED
Oct. 1/11
see Reg 128/2011
Motor Vehicle News:

Greater Vancouver Transit Enhancement Act
At the request of the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation, the Province is introducing legislation, under Bill 11, the Greater Vancouver Transit Enhancement Act. This legislation will allow the region to increase fuel tax by two cents per litre starting April 1, 2012. The additional regional fuel tax revenue will help fund the Evergreen Line rapid transit project and other priority transportation projects across Metro Vancouver. The legislation amends the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act and the Motor Fuel Tax Act. This Bill had achieved 3rd reading at the time of this publication. Click here to view full government news release.

B.C. Residents To Get $5K Off Clean Energy Cars
B.C. residents will get up to $5,000 off the sticker price of a qualifying clean energy vehicle starting Dec. 1. Environment Minister Terry Lake said Saturday that the rebate includes qualifying new vehicles that are battery electric, fuel-cell electric, plug-in hybrid electric and those that operate on compressed natural gas. Andrea Mercer, a spokeswoman for the ministry, said there are currently up to 30 such vehicles for fleets in B.C., and 10 to 20 for residential use. Click here for full story as reported by CBC.

Offence Act amendments introduced 
Bill 4, introduced recently by Attorney General Shirley Bond, contains amendments to the Offence Act that will enhance sentencing provisions for offenders convicted under provincial statutes. The changes to the act would permit more effective management of offenders in communities, while making provincial legislation consistent with the Criminal Code of Canada. If passed, amendments will give the court options for imposing probation, with a wide range of conditions that are better tailored to reflect offences and offenders’ circumstances. Key provisions will:

  • Give the court the power to impose probation orders for up to two years, with conditions appropriate to the offence and offender.
  • Create an offence for breach of an order.

Currently, sentencing options under the Offence Act include fines, incarceration or suspended sentences. The act does not permit a court to sentence people to probation conditions besides “to keep the peace and be of good behaviour” (under the act’s recognizance provision.) Read government news release.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Motor Fuel Tax Regulation (414/85) Oct. 5/11 by Reg 202/2009
Real Estate & Builders Lien News:

Strata managers' role in tribunal unclear - Owner suggests fines for councilors, changes to Strata Property Act
The following article was written by By Suzanne Morphet, Special to The Sun
. In welcoming the long-awaited news that strata owners in B.C. may soon have a new and better way to resolve disputes, did I overlook an important piece of the puzzle, or more precisely, an important player in the puzzle? A couple of columns ago, I wrote about a government proposal that envisions establishing an impartial tribunal to hear both sides in a dispute and offer a resolution. As it's being proposed, the process appears to be available to anyone involved in a strata-related dispute. Anyone, that is, except a strata manager. The government's consultation paper, which explains the process, hints at the possibility of strata managers being caught up in disputes, but doesn't go any further. "There is uncertainty and misunderstanding about the role of strata managers, who may sometimes find themselves involved in disputes," according to the online document. Read the full article published in the Vancouver Sun.

How To Deal With a Disruptive Condo Owner
The following article was written by Marilyn Lincoln, National Post

Q What can we do when an owner continually disrupts our condo meetings and also harasses owners after the meeting is over? Our condo meetings are getting out of control.

A The conduct of unruly owners rests with the chairman of the meeting. He/she has the power to control the conduct of the owners. The chairperson has the authority to expel anyone from the meeting. However, this should be the last resort. At the beginning of the meeting, it is imperative the chairperson sets rules and explains that individuals will speak when recognized by the chair.

Individuals should be reminded that any disruptive behavior will not be tolerated and the chairperson will act on their authority to have someone removed. In most cases, if the chairperson sets out the rules for the meeting at the outset and remains impartial, disruptive behavior can be prevented. Read the full article in the Vancouver Sun. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
There were no amendments this month.
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