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Vol: XI  –  Issue: II  –  February 2012


New Enhancements
Quickscribe is pleased to announce the completion of our new historical BC Legislative Digest (BCLD) tool. The BCLD has been delivering customizable legislative alerts for several months now; however, clients will now have the ability to view a historical and cumulative version of these alerts on demand. The new feature can be accessed via the BC Legislative Digest button located on the left navigation pane.

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FEDERAL LEGISLATION — For notification of federal amendments, we recommend you use our RSS feed.

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Energy and Mines News:

BC Government Releases a BC Coal Industry Overview 2011
Click here to view the report which was released by the Ministry of Energy and Mines on March 2nd.

Canadian Electricity Association Calls for Regulatory Efficiency
We at the Canadian Electricity Association have publicly raised, many times, that our electricity sector faces a complex challenge over the next two decades. In order to meet Canada's increasing demands for electricity, we must invest in electricity infrastructure. That means renewing, replacing and adding to the generating stations and power lines that power the economy. According to the Conference Board of Canada, we must invest almost $300 billion, or about $15 billion per year, if we are to maintain reliability, make our power supply even cleaner, and adopt advanced technologies. It's also essential that electricity remain not only affordable for consumers, but a competitive advantage for Canada. Right now, Canada is in the enviable position of having average power rates that are below those of most countries. This helps drive our economic development, and allows our communities to prosper. If we are to successfully renew our electricity system, however, we must improve our ability to make timely decisions on what, where and how to improve the system. It comes down to improving our decision-making structure by increasing regulatory efficiency. Click here for the full story as reported by Jim Burpee with Globe-Net.

Alberta Hopes to Make Oilsands Pipeline Worth the Risks for BC
BC undertakes all the risk and bother of getting the oilsands bounty to market while Alberta scoops the billions in benefits? The question arises as Alberta Premier Alison Redford steps up efforts to promote the oilsands as a national asset, yielding gains for the entire country. That notion sparked a tiff earlier this week between Redford and Ontario’s Dalton McGuinty who complains the strong petro dollar resulting from a booming oilsands industry is hurting his province’s manufacturing sector, making the goods produced more expensive and discouraging export markets. For BC, the issue is entirely different, relating mainly to construction and operation of pipelines across the province’s turf, and tanker ports to transport the crude to United States and Asian markets. It should be noted that Redford is quite correct; both BC and Ontario do benefit substantially from the Alberta resource. According to the Calgary-based Canadian Energy Research Institute, Ontario is the province that will benefit most other than Alberta. Read more.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Electricity Self-Sufficiency Regulation (315/2010) Feb. 3/12 by Reg 16/2012
Special Direction No. 10 to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (245/2007) Feb. 3/12 by Reg 17/2012

Family, Wills & Estates News:

B.C. Appeals Ruling on Sperm Donor Identities (Adoption Laws)
Leah Greathead told the Appeal Court of B.C. on Tuesday that a lower court erred in a ruling that favoured a woman who was conceived in 1982 at a Vancouver fertility clinic with the help of a sperm donor. Olivia Pratten sued the province last year because records pertaining to egg and sperm donors can be legally destroyed after six years, meaning people like her don't have the same rights as adopted children to learn about their biological fathers. B.C. Supreme Court Judge Elaine Adair sided with Pratten last May, giving the B.C. government 15 months to amend its Adoption Act and saying Pratten and others who are deprived of their genetic backgrounds suffer psychological harm. Adair also ordered a permanent injunction against the destruction of donor records, but the government appealed the ruling. View the full article at CTV News.

Little Known Family Law Fact
Section 60(1) of the Law and Equity Act says that: "For all purposes of the law of British Columbia, a married man has a legal personality that is independent, separate and distinct from that of his wife and a married woman has a legal personality that is independent, separate and distinct from that of her husband." The purpose of this subsection is to cure a problem of the antique common law on domestic relations arising from the unity of the person doctrine. Under this doctrine, a married man and woman were treated as one person by the law, although one person under the man's control. Among other things, this meant that upon marriage the husband took all of his wife's property, but also became responsible for the lawsuits she had started and those started against her, and the wife became able to pledge her husband's credit. View the full article published by John-Paul Boyd.
Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
There were no amendments this month.
Forest and Environment News:

Provincial Forest Plan Needed to Ensure Forests for Future Generations
VICTORIA – Auditor General John Doyle has released his latest report, An Audit of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations’ Management of Timber. Nearly two-thirds of British Columbia’s 95 million hectares is forested. These forests contribute to employment, tourism and recreational opportunities, as well as generate significant revenue for government to finance public services. However, trends indicate that the future availability of timber will be smaller and less diverse, putting future revenue opportunities at risk. Stewardship responsibility for these forest resources lies with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. "Industry is legally obligated to reforest the areas it harvests, and it does so," says Doyle. "But government, which is responsible for over 90 per cent of British Columbia’s forests, and whose reforestation decisions have a significant impact on our future forests, is not clear about its own commitments." The audit found that the ministry has not clearly defined its timber objectives and, as a result, cannot ensure that its management practices are effective. Furthermore, existing management practices are insufficient to offset a trend toward future forests having a lower timber supply and less species diversity in some areas. Finally, the audit found that the ministry does not appropriately monitor and report its timber results against its timber objectives. Click here to read the report.

Avatar Grove to be Protected
A grove of giant, old-growth trees near Port Renfrew, which has brought thousands of visitors to the area over the last two years, will be protected by the province. Avatar Grove, a unique stand of centuries-old Douglas firs and red cedars, will be included in an expanded, 59-hectare old-growth management area, Forests Minister Steve Thomson said Thursday. That means no logging or mining, but is one step short of the legislated protection of park designation. Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group, which holds logging rights for the area around Avatar Grove, is being compensated with 57 hectares removed from other old-growth management areas. Read more.

Environmental Class Actions
Harper Grey LLP Lawyers: Lindsay Johnston
Residents of a small town in Northern Ontario launched a class action in 2001, seeking damages for diminished residential property value due to the stigma of nickel contaminants found in soil. The case evolved over 10 years, and the Ontario Court of Appeal ultimately set aside a $36 million award to the claimants. The reasons? Environmental damages need to be proven with concrete evidence – the inability to produce hard, scientific evidence of harmful effects, to prove that land was not used in an exceptionally dangerous manner while the refinery was in operation and to gauge public perception based on facts, not hearsay, all worked against the claimants in the end. Harper Grey's Lindsay Johnston summarizes the implications of this case in the following article: Class Actions and Contaminated Land: Smith v. Inco Limited, ONCA 628.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Carbon Tax Regulation (125/2008) Feb. 22/12 by Reg 24/2012
Limited Entry Hunting Regulation (134/93) Feb. 28/12 by Reg 29/2012
Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (296/97) Feb. 1/12  by Reg 188/2011 
Health News:

BC Dumps Generic Drug-Pricing Deal
VICTORIA - The BC government is tearing up its generic drug pricing deal with the BC Pharmacy Association and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, saying the agreement is saving far less money than hoped. Health Minister Mike de Jong said the deal isn't paying off for the government and he will introduce legislation this spring to ensure government buys generic drugs at 25 per cent of the cost of brand name drugs. He said the BC legislation will be modelled on an Ontario drug pricing bill adopted in April, 2010. "It is equally appropriate to acknowledge the agreement hasn't worked," de Jong said. "It hasn't reaped the benefits for PharmaCare and for families that it was intended to. That can't continue and it won't continue." View the full story.

New Provincial Regulations for Tanning Beds
About once a week, fifteen-year-old Julia walks the two blocks from her Vancouver high school to Hot Shots Sun Studio in Kerrisdale for a dose of UV rays. Julia says her mother first took her for an indoor tan at the age of 14 before a family spring break vacation to Hawaii. A base tan is a gradual buildup of colour many vacationers believe protects the skin from sunburn brought on by sudden, long hours of exposure to tropical rays. Julia returned to the salon after her holiday to “maintain” and a year later is a regular user. It’s not heroin, or alcohol she is using, but if health authorities have their way, BC will soon introduce legislation making it illegal for teens like her to indulge. Read more.

Amendments to Nurses (Licensed Practical) Regulation
New amendments brought about by B.C. Reg. 20/2012 to the Nurses (Licensed Practical) Regulation 283/2008 came into force March 1st and allow LPNs to provide services under the direction of a nurse practitioner.

Minister Reverses Decision to Add Siloxane D5 to CEPA Toxic Substances List
In October 2011, Blakes reported on an unprecedented decision by an independent review board to recommend to Canada’s Minister of Environment that he reverse his decision to designate a chemical substance as being toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) (to view the October 2011 article, click here). The substance in question is Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, which is better known as Siloxane D5. Siloxane D5 is an odourless, colourless liquid that is used in consumer and industrial applications. It is mainly used in blending and formulating personal-care products and cosmetics, and is an intermediate in the production of polydimethylsiloxane silicone polymers. Click here to view the full article by Robert Fishlock with Blakes.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Continuing Care Fees Regulation (330/97) Feb. 1/12 by Reg 231/2011
Hospital Insurance Act Regulation (25/61) Feb. 1/12 by Reg 231/2011
Milk Industry Standards Regulation (464/81) Feb. 1/12 by Reg 197/2011
Milk Pasteurization Regulation (39/75) REPEALED
Feb. 1/12
see Reg 197/2011
Nurses (Licensed Practical) Regulation (283/2008) Mar. 1/12 by Reg 20/2012
Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (296/97) Feb. 1/12 by Reg 188/2011
Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act Feb. 1/12 by 2007 Bill 26, c. 19, s. 32 (part) only (Reg 240/2011), Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2007
Labour, Company and Finance News:

British Columbia Securities Commission:
Commission Panel Sanctions BC Man for Trading on Insider Information

A British Columbia Securities Commission panel has sanctioned a BC man who breached securities laws when he purchased securities in a mining company that was engaged in an acquisition. David Charles Greenway, a 35-year-old resident of B.C., purchased 68,500 shares of Global Uranium Corp. with knowledge of the company's acquisition of mining claims in Arizona (known as the Anderson Property) before that information was made public. Greenway admitted that he was a person in a special relationship with Global during the acquisition period and that his purchase contravened the prohibition against illegal insider trading. View the full article.

Disciplinary Action and the Timeliness of Warnings
Most employers know that it is not easy to fire or discipline an employee for just cause, especially if the reasons are due to performance problems that continue over time. That is because the employer has to document the problems, provide warnings, and prove that the employee understood that his or her job was on the line if they did not improve. In a recent case, the BC Supreme Court decided that too much time had passed between the employer’s last warning to the employee and the firing and that the employer owed the employee damages for wrongful dismissal when it attempted to demote and then fire that employee. However, in a somewhat contradictory finding, the court also decided that the employee should have accepted the demoted position in order to reduce his wage loss from the termination. Click here to view the full article by Heather Hettiarachchi with Clark Wilson LLP.

BC Plans to Balance in 2013 by Selling Assets, Raising Corporate Taxes
The BC Liberal government charted its return to balanced budgets, tabling a document that promised to privatize its two liquor distribution warehouses, increase MSP premiums and some business taxes, and impose a strict three-year spending freeze across most areas of government. “We made a commitment to the people of British Columbia to return to balanced budgets by 2013-14,” Finance Minister Kevin Falcon told the legislature as he tabled BC’s latest budget, “we will honour that commitment.” Falcon said government will run a $968-million deficit for the coming 2012-13 fiscal year, but plans to return to balance by 2013-14 – the year it is legally obligated to do so. To do this, Falcon said his government will cancel this April’s planned drop in the small business corporate income tax rate, holding it at 2.5 per cent instead of cutting it to zero. Read more.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Education and Health Sector Organizations Regulation (53/2010) Feb. 21/12 by Reg 23/2012
Exemption Regulation (27/2002) Feb. 21/12 by Reg 23/2012
Film and Television Tax Credit Regulation (4/99) RETROACTIVE
to Sept. 1/10
by Reg 25/2012
Government Reporting Entity Regulation (134/2001) Feb. 21/12 by Reg 23/2012
Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit Regulation (187/2010) RETROACTIVE
to Sept. 1/10
by Reg 25/2012
National Instrument 31-103: Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations (226A/2009) Feb. 28/12 by Reg 27/2012
Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (296/97) Feb. 1/12 by Reg 188/2011
Workers Compensation Act Mar. 1/12 by 2011 Bill 16, c. 25, ss. 473, 475 and 478 only (in force by Reg 28/2012), Family Law Act

Local Government News:

Metro Vancouver's Country Mega-Mansions to Continue
by Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
Metro Vancouver has backed off from a push to restrict the size of homes on agricultural land, but directors have renewed a call for B.C. legislation governing where the house can go and limiting the residential footprint. The move, promoted by Surrey directors and approved by the Metro Vancouver board Friday, was hailed by some as a “middle-ground” approach to protect farmland across the region, while allowing municipalities to dictate land use on farms in their communities. A third of Surrey’s land mass is agricultural. Read it on Global News.

BC Aims to Permanently Cap Port Taxes
The BC government plans to make permanent a cap on municipal taxes levied on ports throughout the province, a move aimed at attracting investment in port infrastructure. The cap on tax rates, which is scheduled for this session of the legislature, affects 20 terminals in nine BC municipalities. Making the cap permanent is designed to encourage long-term investments in BC ports, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom said Monday in announcing the proposed changes. The cap has been in place since 2004, but was to expire in 2018, creating business uncertainty, Lekstrom said. The change to make the cap permanent is to be carried out through an amendment to the Ports Property Tax Act during the current session of the legislature. Read more.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Additional Tax Regulation for the Regional District of Alberni-Clayoquot (322/2006) REPEALED
Feb. 1/12
Spent by Reg 322/2006, s. 5
Hotel Room Tax Regulation for the City of Surrey Feb. 29/12 by Reg 30/2012
Hotel Room Tax Regulation for Vancouver's North Shore Tourism Association (323/2006) Feb. 1/12 by Reg 208/2011
Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation (244/2002) Feb. 7/12 by Reg 18/2012
Sled Dog Standards of Care Regulation (21/2012) NEW
Feb. 17/12
see Reg 21/2012
Miscellaneous News:

CBA Expresses Disappointment in Government’s Handling of Justice System Crisis
VICTORIA, BC – The Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia (CBABC), responding to the provincial budget released today, expressed disappointment that the Government decided to maintain “status quo” levels in the justice system and overlook public demand to restore funding to legal aid as an essential service. Underfunding legal aid affects families in crisis and results in clogged courts that slow all cases down, increasing the risk of serious criminal cases being dismissed because they take too long to get to trial. “The CBABC acknowledges the government’s previous allocation of $2.1 million in funding for family law legal aid which is continued in this budget,” said Sharon Matthews, CBABC President. “However, this funding was provided to avoid further cuts to family law legal aid and does not address the status quo crisis in legal aid. This province needs legal aid. Legal aid facilitates cases being resolved efficiently and eases the strain on public resources which fund the justice system.” Matthews continued, “The CBABC has long advocated for a restoration of funding to legal aid as an essential service for families, children and the most vulnerable British Columbians.” View official CBA news release.

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

The Point of No Return:
More on ICBC Settlements, Finality and Consent

As previously discussed on the BC Injury Law Blog (click here to read all archived posts on this topic), a binding ICBC settlement can be reached even before the "full and final release" is signed. An oral contract can be the point of no return. Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating that once a lawyer accepts a settlement offer on behalf of a client, it likely becomes too late for the client to change their mind. In last week’s case (Truong v. Marples) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision. She hired a lawyer to advance her personal injury claim. In the course of the lawsuit, ICBC’s and the Plaintiff’s lawyer agreed to a $10,000 settlement. The Plaintiff agreed her lawyer had authority to accept the offer but argued the deal should not be binding as the offer was ambiguous as it should not have disposed of her no-fault benefits claim with ICBC. The Court disagreed, finding that a binding settlement was reached. Click here to read the full article.

B.C. Eliminates Jet Fuel Tax
British Columbia has delivered on its promise to eliminate the aviation fuel tax for international flights, reducing costs for airlines, creating jobs, giving travellers more choice and supporting the "Canada Starts Here – The BC Jobs Plan" goal of expanding markets. The change is effective April 1. Each new daily international flight creates between 150 and 200 new jobs at Vancouver International Airport (YVR). About 400 additional indirect jobs are created in the community at businesses such as hotels, restaurants, travel agents and tour operators, among others. View government news release.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
There were no amendments this month.
Real Estate & Builders Lien News:

Strata Property Act Changes
Strata corporations must now attach to the Information Certificate (Form B) copies of:

  • the strata corporation’s rules

  • the current budget of the strata corporation

  • the owner developer’s Rental Disclosure Statement under section 139, if any, and

  • the most recent depreciation report, if any.
Regulations for audited financial statements are expected next year.

New Tax Credit for First-Time Home Buyers will Stimulate Market
A new tax break for first-time buyers of new homes will help stimulate the construction industry and create plenty of new jobs, an industry executive said of Tuesday’s 2012 provincial budget. “This is welcome,” Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association president and chief executive officer Peter Simpson said of a temporary bonus for first-time homebuyers. The bonus will be effective until March 31, 2013 and is worth up to $10,000. “They have a difficult time getting into the market and typically get assistance from the bank of Mom and Dad. So this helps property virgins get on the first rung of home ownership and helps stimulate construction. For every home start, there are approximately three full-time jobs each year.” Read more.

Working with a Realtor®
In real estate, like many other fields, professional representation is available for every step of the process. How much or little representation you need or want will depend on your knowledge and background in real estate, as well as the amount of time you have to dedicate to the process. The purchase or sale of real estate has significant financial implications for those involved, although the way in which the transaction unfolds can have more significant consequences than the price tag. "It's critical to understand your comfort level going in. Buying or selling a home is the largest financial transaction that most people will ever be a part of and you want to ensure that all aspects of the transaction are handled in an efficient manner that helps protect you," Rosario Setticasi, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president said. "Realtors provide clients with professional representation in a real estate transaction. As your agent, they are duty-bound to work and advocate in your best interest." Read the full article here.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Strata Property Regulation (43/2000) Mar. 1/12 by Reg 238/2011
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