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Vol: XII  –  Issue: VI  –  June 2013


Bills Introduced
The summer session has seen two government Bills introduced as of the release of this Reporter. These include:

A Member's Bill, Fall Fixed Election Amendment Act, 2013 (Bill M201), has also received first reading.

Updated BC Budget Calls for $130M in Spending Cuts
BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong tabled a budget calling for $130 million in cuts to provincial spending over the next three years, in part to make up for lower than expected economic growth. Ministries are being asked to find $30 million in savings this year, and a core review of all government spending is aiming to find an additional $50 million in spending reductions and efficiencies in each of the next two years. “We are putting ministries on notice that across government we are looking for $30 million in savings this fiscal year,” said de Jong. "In order to achieve the objective of balancing the budget it is going to require discipline and vigilance from everyone," he said. "The next 12 to 18 months are going to be tough, they’re going to be tough, but the long term prospects are good.” Read the full CBC article

Tip: Log in to Quickscribe Online prior to clicking Reporter links.

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

[ Previous Reporters ]



Company and Finance News:

New Budget Tax Highlights
(by PWC)
On Thursday, June 27, 2013, British Columbia’s Minister of Finance, the Honourable Michael de Jong, introduced the province’s post-election budget. The budget proposes:

  • BC’s personal charitable donations tax credit rate for annual donations over $200 will remain at 14.70% for 2014 and 2015 (i.e., the rate will not increase to match the top provincial personal income tax rate of 16.80% for those years)
  • the provincial sales tax transitional rules for legal services, related services and telecommunication services will be clarified, effective April 1, 2013
  • the carbon tax exemption for farmers proposed in the February 19, 2013 budget will apply to coloured gasoline and coloured diesel fuel purchased for the same farm purposes that farmers are authorized to use coloured fuel under the Motor Fuel Tax Act
The increase in BC’s general corporate income tax rate (which also applies to manufacturing and processing income) from 10% to 11% on April 1, 2013, is implemented by Bill 2, Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2013, which received first reading on June 27, 2013. Therefore, this rate change is considered substantively enacted for Canadian GAAP as of June 27, 2013, but it is not yet enacted for US GAAP. For more information, please read the full article posted by PWC website.

Consumer Tax Bulletins
A number of consumer Tax Bulletins have been issued recently affecting:

  • PST on vehicles
  • Tax rates on fuels
  • Direct sellers and independent sales contractors
  • Sales and leases to governments
For more details on these and other recently issued bulletins, please visit the Consumer Taxes website.

Zue v. British Columbia (Securities Commission) – Securities Act
The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by Zhu from a British Columbia Securities Commission decision refusing to set aside an order freezing certain bank accounts of a company where Zhu was the sole director. The company was alleged to have breached provisions of the Securities Act, RSBC 1996, c. 418, by operating a cash rebate program which was in substance an investment contract and security, without a prospectus. As well, the rebate program was alleged by the Executive Director to be, in effect, a Ponzi scheme. The Court, in dismissing the appeal, held that the Commission had a very broad discretion in determining whether Zhu had established that revocation of the freeze order would not be prejudicial to the public interest. The Commission's approach was clearly within its mandate and did not lend itself to guidance by way of tests, mandatory criteria or other guidelines that would tie the Commission’s hands. View the full article by Lara Zee of Harper Grey LLP.

Franchising is Big in BC, So Where's the Legislation?
If you’re familiar with the evolution of franchise laws in Canada, you might recall that politically conservative, business-friendly Alberta was the first province to introduce legislation, in the early 1970s, regulating the industry. It was modelled on California’s legislation at the time. Alberta simplified its regulatory regime from a “government reviewed prospectus model” to a “pre-sale disclosure-only model” in the mid 1990s. Franchisors were obligated to prepare, and deliver to prospective franchisees, a comprehensive pre-sale disclosure document containing all material facts related to the franchisor and the franchise opportunity being awarded. View the full article written by Tony Wilson with Boughton Law Corp. and published in the Globe And Mail. 
Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 35 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Cooperative Association Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 23, c. 12, sections 45 to 47 only (in force by Reg 333/2012), Finance Statutes Amendment Act, 2012
Designated Accommodation Area Tax Regulation (93/2013) June 1/13 by Reg 93/2013
Extraprovincial Associations and Corporations from a Designated Province Regulation (89/2009) July 1/13 by Reg 111/2013
Extraprovincial Limited Liability Partnerships and Limited Partnerships from a Designated Province Regulation (90/2009) July 1/13 by Reg 119/2013
Financial Administration Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 38 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Income Tax (BC Family Bonus) Regulation (231/98) July 1/13 by Reg 75/2013
Insurance Act June 1/13 by Reg 291/2012 (effective on the date sections 18 to 20, 25 and 26 of the Limitation Act (Reg 290/2012) come into force)
Provincial Sales Tax Act June 1/13 by 2013 Bill 2, c. 1, section 299 only (in force by Reg 95/2013), Provincial Sales Tax Transitional Provisions and Amendments Act, 2013
Settlement of International Investment Disputes Act NEW
June 1/13
c. 16 [SBC 2006], 2006 Bill 19, whole Act in force by Reg 143/2013
Training Tax Credits Regulation (243/2007) June 27/13 by Reg 191/2013

Energy and Mines News:

Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Revised Service Plan
The Ministry of Natural Gas Development’s Revised 2013/14 – 2015/16 Service Plan was prepared under the direction of Minister Rich Coleman in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act and can be viewed here

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Consultation and Notification Regulation (279/2010) June 3/13 by Reg 56/2013
Environmental Protection and Management Regulation (200/2010) June 3/13 by Reg 136/2013
Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements) Act July 1/13 by 2012 Bill 41, c. 18, sections 15 to 28 only (in force by Reg 335/2012), Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2012
Oil and Gas Road Regulation (56/2013) NEW
June 3/13
see Reg 56/2013
Prescribed Roads Regulation (8/2011) REPEALED
June 3/13
by Reg 56/2013
Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements Regulation (394/2008) July 1/13 by Reg 335/2012

Family and Children News:

Changes to The Supreme Court Family Rules
As of July 1, 2013, an important amendment to the Supreme Court Family Rules comes into effect which will require a hearing record be provided on all registrars’ hearings started by the filing of an appointment. Quickscribe has consolidated these changes and the amending regulation, B.C. Reg. 65/2013, is also available for viewing.

Provincial Court Releases Important Decision on Relocation
in Polyamorous Relationship – Family Law Act

(by John Paul-Boyd, the Blog)
Judge Saunders of the Provincial Court has just released her judgment in the as-yet-unpublished case of Graf v. Beaudoin, giving us what I believe is the court's second ever decision on the relocation provisions of the new Family Law Act. In a nutshell, the mother of the parties' two children sought an order that she be allowed to take the children and move from British Columbia to Alberta. However, there are a number of factors that distinguish this case from a vanilla interprovincial relocation dispute. First, the parties' eldest child was born during their relationship, while they were living together, and the younger child was born after they had separated. Second, the father had a more or less equal amount of time with the eldest child and a much lesser amount of time with the younger. Third, the parties were involved in a polyamorous relationship with another woman, with whom the father had also had a child, and who resided with them. Finally, the father had earlier had a fourth child with another woman, who had also lived with him and the other woman, and whom he continued to parent. As you can guess, this would have made for a pretty complicated set of facts. View full article

Twentysomething Fights in Court for Right to be a Dad – Family Law Act
(Opinion article, by Ian Mulgrew)
A Sunshine Coast man has challenged the constitutionality of the new Family Law Act in a bid to prevent a child conceived during casual sex, and its mother, from moving to Alberta. The names of the twentysomethings are being withheld, but Gibsons lawyer Judith Wilson represents the man, who is trying to establish a connection to the infant and obtained an interim order in provincial court to block the woman’s planned move and obtain a paternity test. “I argued when we got the interim order for guardianship that the Legislature could not have possibly have intended to deprive a child — on the face of it — of the right to their dad,” Wilson said. “It just didn’t seem to wash.” Unless the mother agrees, Wilson said, the new law forces biological fathers into court to prove a relationship and gain visitation or other rights. “The rules of the act say the mom has to agree, you have to have visited the child, or you have to have a pattern of looking after the child — which applies to (an estranged) father or someone who has had access to the child,” Wilson said. View the full Vancouver Sun article by Ian Mulgrew. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Age of Majority Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 33 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Family Law Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 37 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Infants Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 40 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Supreme Court Civil Rules (168/2009) July 1/13 by Reg 65/2013
Supreme Court Family Rules (169/2009) July 1/13 by Reg 65/2013
Forest and Environment News:

Forest Act Amendments
A recently introduced Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2013 proposes some changes to the Forest Act, most of which affect Part 12, Reviews, Appeals, Regulations, Penalties. The majority of these amendments are of a consequential nature; however, sections 142.42 and 142.43 will be added when this Bill achieves Royal Assent. The intent behind these sections provides that the commissioner may assess a penalty against a person who fails to provide information or records as demanded under section 142.31 of the Act or as requested under section 142.41 of the Act, and authorizes the Supreme Court to grant an order requiring a person to comply with a demand notice or request to provide information or records.

Recent Amendments to Fisheries Act
Next to federal taxation and trade legislation, the Fisheries Act (the "Act") is probably the federal legislation of most concern to the BC forest industry. And for good reason. The Act contemplates maximum penalties for a contravention of up to $1 million, three years imprisonment, or both. A court is also able to impose an additional fine to remove any monetary benefit received due to noncompliance with the Act. If a contravention of the Act continues for more than one day, a separate offence occurs each day. And, most chillingly, if a company commits an offence under the Act, then any officer, director or agent of the company who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence is personally guilty of the offence and liable to punishment as provided for in the Act. View the full article published by Jeff Waatainen  in the recent edition of the BC Forest Professional Magazine published by the ABCFP, Jul/Aug 2013, Volume 20, Issue 4.

WorkSafe BC Updates
Recent updates by WorkSafe BC include the following:

  • Employer duty toward other workers
  • Updated OHS Warning Letters Policy
  • New or revised ACGIH Threshold Limit Values and BC OELs
  • Upcoming OHS workplace bullying and harassment policies
Read more in the BC Forest Safety Council's Rumblings, Issue 147, 2013.
Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Forest Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 39 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Health News:

Cancer Society Urges Tougher Anti-Smoking Laws
The Canadian Cancer Society is calling on the BC government to tighten its anti-smoking regulations, in an effort to cut the smoking rate from 14 to 9 per cent over the next five years. The campaign comes on the 50th anniversary of the landmark declaration by Canada's Health Minister Judy LaMarsh that “smoking is a contributory cause of lung cancer”. The statement came at a time when 50 per cent of Canadians smoked, including LaMarsh herself. Today, BC enjoys the lowest smoking rate in the country — 14 per cent — but the society says the figure hasn't fallen in six years. View full article posted by CBC News.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Forensic Psychiatry Act June 1/13 by 2013 Bill 8, c. 12, s. 26 only (in force by Reg 160/2013), Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2013
Health Care Employers Regulation (427/94) June 1/13 by Regs 152/2013 and 155/2013
Labour and Employment News:

Violating Employer's Trust – Grounds for "With Cause" Termination
Dismissing an employee without notice on the basis of "cause" can only be justified by misconduct of the most serious kind and it is often difficult for employers to successfully argue a "with cause" termination. The recent BC Supreme Court decision of Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union indicates that violation of trust placed by an employer in an employee may be sufficient to justify a "with cause" termination. The termination in this case arose from an employee's unauthorized access of a document held in the personal folder of another employee, which was located on the employer’s computer network. View the full article by Allyson Baker with Clark Wilson LLP. 

Old Age Security Legislation Changes Kick In July 1st
Good news for aging baby boomers who are still doing well-paid work: As of this month, a perverse provision of the federal Old Age Security program is no more. As of July 1, thanks to a policy change announced in last year’s federal budget, seniors who don’t ask for their OAS to kick in at age 65 will see their eventual payment edge up by 0.6 per cent for each month they defer. The size of these payments depends on how long a recipient has lived in Canada and how much income they have in their senior years. Those who have lived in the country for 40 years or more and are living on less than $70,954 a year are eligible for the maximum — about $550 a month. That means each month of deferral will add about $40 a year when their pension is eventually claimed. If the pension is deferred for 60 months, the maximum the legislation allows, the difference adds up to an annual payment of about $9,000 at age 70, versus $6,600 at 65. (The increase will be proportionately less for those who have lived fewer years in Canada, or who have retirement incomes over the threshold.) View Vancouver Sun article

The Downside of Employee Perks
Many employers provide extras or “perks” to their employees. This can include a wide range of things such as free coffee or snacks, parties at holiday time, gifts to celebrate an employee’s birthday or new baby, health club memberships, awards for outstanding service, and free parking. It is often these “perks” that make tough days tolerable and employees happier. But would employees enjoy these perks as much if they knew they had to pay tax on them? The government has recently taken a keen interest in the issue of employee perks and benefits, and considers some of them taxable. What makes certain employee benefits taxable? And which ones are tax-exempt? How does the CRA determine the value of a particular benefit? This paper provides answers to these questions and delves into the tax implications of some common workplace perks, including employer-provided parking, employer contributions to employee insurance plans, employer-provided cellphone plans and deduction of employee home office expenses. In addition, tax issues surrounding business travel and overseas or out-of-province employees are also discussed. View the paper published by Davis LLP. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Health Care Employers Regulation (427/94) June 1/13 by Regs 152/2013 and 155/2013
Public Education Labour Relations Act July 1/13 by 2012 Bill 22, c. 3, section 11 only (in force by Royal Assent), Education Improvement Act

Local Government News:

Cities Demand New Laws to Quiet Train Whistles
It is a rare day when the mayor of New Westminster, BC doesn't hear from an angry resident about the horns sounded by train crews transiting his city in the middle of the night or early morning. In recent years, Wayne Wright has noticed a dramatic increase in trains after railway companies moved a lot of their traffic out of Vancouver's downtown port yards. That has brought a spike in complaints from New Westminster residents constantly woken at night by the "whistling" – the use of loud air-driven horns – of trains from four major railway companies that cross the city at six intersections. View the full article published by Leader-Post

SMS Summer LoGo Notebook
Stewart McDannold Stuart has published the summer edition of their popular LoGo Notebook. This edition features the following topics:

  • Definitely Maybe: Unlawful Reservation of Discretion in Bylaws
  • No Liability for Failing to Enforce Bylaws for the Management of Dangerous Dogs
  • A Local Government’s Discretion to Cancel a Tender
  • The Disabled Employee - Part 2: The Duty to Accommodate
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy – Two Recent Decisions
Click here to view the latest edition. 

Building Roads with Gas Tax Funds
UBCM is getting ready to talk to the Province and the Federal Government about a renewed Gas Tax Agreement, and will soon be sending you a survey about that. To provide some context for that survey, [they] are preparing a series of Compass articles about the current agreement.

Road eligibility in BC is the same as in other provinces. One of the common misunderstandings about the current Gas Tax Agreement in BC is that eligibility for road infrastructure is more narrowly defined than is the case in Gas Tax Agreements in other provinces and territories. View the full article published by UBCM. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Additional Tax Regulation for the District of Ucluelet (65/2008) REPEALED
June 1/13
by Reg 65/2008, section 5
Committees of the Executive Council Regulation (229/2005) June 10/13 by Reg 189/2013
School Act June 30/13 by c. 412 [RSBC 1996], sections 77 (3) and 78 (6) only
by 2012 Bill 36, c. 17, sections 12 and 14 only (in force by Royal Assent), School Amendment Act, 2012
School Calendar Regulation (314/2012) June 28/13 by Reg 192/2013
Solar Hot Water Ready Regulation (101/2011) June 21/13 by Reg 163/2013

Miscellaneous News:

Liquor Law Reform is on Liberals’ To-Do List
The Okanagan wine producer who is giving up his seat for Premier Christy Clark to run in a by-election hopes the Liberal government sticks to its plan to improve liquor and alcohol laws. Measures to date include allowing multiplex theatres to serve liquor in adult-only auditoriums, restaurant customers to bring their own wine into licensed establishments, brewers and distillers to operate on-site lounges or tasting rooms, and caterers to get liquor licences. View Globe & Mail article

Supreme Court Rules Amendment (Hearing Records) In Force July 1, 2013
As of July 1, 2013, an important amendment to the Supreme Court Family Rules comes into effect which will require a hearing record be provided on all registrars’ hearings started by the filing of an appointment. Quickscribe has consolidated these changes and the amending regulation, B.C. Reg. 65/2013, is also available for viewing. For more information on this, please visit the Courts of British Columbia website

BC Releases First Justice Summit Report
A report on the inaugural British Columbia Justice Summit, held March 15 and 16, 2013, is now public. The Justice Summit provided the opportunity for more than 50 criminal justice system leaders to have frank and productive dialogue about how the system is performing and how it can be improved. Summit participants recommended that, to maintain momentum on justice reform, at least two summits be held each year. As such, the next Justice Summit will take place in fall 2013. In his report, A Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century, Geoffrey Cowper, Q.C., recommended that government hold a regular Justice Summit as a means to facilitate collaboration among all justice participants to discuss changes in directions or new justice reform initiatives. The Province committed to this in the White Paper on Justice Reform - Part 1: Towards a Modern, Transparent Justice System, including Justice Summits as an element of the Justice Reform and Transparency Act (JRTA) legislation passed in the spring. The inaugural Justice Summit report is available here.  Source: Ministry of Justice 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Apology Act June 1/13 by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 34 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Forensic Psychiatry Act June 1/13 by 2013 Bill 8, c. 12, section 26 only (in force by Reg 160/2013), Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2013
Independent School Regulation (262/89) July 1/13 by Reg 125/2013
Limitation Act NEW
June 1/13
c. 13 [SBC 2012], 2012 Bill 34, whole Act in force by Reg 290/2012
Limitation Act REPEALED
June 1/13
by 2012 Bill 34, c. 13, section 31 only (in force by Reg 290/2012), Limitation Act
Public Education Labour Relations Act July 1/13 by 2012 Bill 22, c. 3, section 11 only (in force by Royal Assent), Education Improvement Act
Motor Vehicle and Traffic News:

Report Finds 15-Passenger Vans Safe For Road
The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators (CCMTA) review shows 15-passenger vans are safe for road and highway use when the vehicles are properly maintained, loaded and operated. In addition, drivers of 15-passenger vans must be properly licensed. For more information about the report please visit the CVSE website

Traffic Signal Sequence Evidence Resolves Liability Dispute
Reasons for judgment were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating the potential value of traffic signal sequence evidence following an intersection collision. In this week’s case (Kuma-Mintah v. Delange) the Plaintiff and Defendant were involved in an intersection collision. The Plaintiff was heading westbound through a T-intersection. At the same time the Defendant was attempting a left hand turn. Both motorists claimed to have a green light arguing the other was to blame. Evidence of the intersections traffic signal sequence ultimately proved important in resolving the dispute. View the full article published by Erik Magraken on the BC Injury Law Blog

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

Property and Real Estate News:

Should Landlords be Allowed to Prohibit Pets? – Residential Tenancy Act
A motion being put before Vancouver city council next week would aim to give more power to renters who have pets, but provincial legislation would have to change before any changes come into effect. Right now, landlords in Vancouver have the right to refuse potential occupants with animals. But councillor Tim Stevenson’s motion, which already has the support of Mayor Gregor Robertson, would prevent landlords from discriminating against renters on the basis of whether or not they own a pet. Similar legislation has been in place in Ontario for more than a decade, and Stevenson argues that if it can work there, there’s no reason why similar rules couldn’t exist in a city like Vancouver. Read CTV article

Failed Condo Pre-Sale Deal Costs Vancouver Buyer $750K
Court upholds terms of pre-sale contract signed by buyer
A man who signed a pre-sale contract for a luxury condo in Vancouver has lost almost three quarters of a million dollars after he failed to complete the final sale on the unit. Lawrence Austin signed a deal to buy the condo at 1499 West Pender in the spring of 2008, just months before the global financial crash. Austin agreed to pay Reliance Properties $2.71 million for the 25th floor Coal Harbour condo, and put down a 10 per cent deposit of $271,000. But within a few months the global real estate market had crashed and Austin began looking at his options to get out of the deal. View CBC article

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

Wills and Estates News:

Dealing with Digital Assets in an Estate
The term "digital assets" is used in different ways by different people. In a broad sense, digital assets include all of the electronic "possessions" an individual may have, including emails, digital photos, videos, tweets, texts, songs and e-books, as well as online account information for websites or programs. Digital assets have three distinct elements: a digital file or record, the right to use and a method of access. As part of the estate planning process, these elements should be addressed by the client and his or her lawyer to ensure that the executor will have all required information to access and administer the digital assets. Ideally, the client should prepare a memorandum of digital assets to catalogue all digital assets and services. This provides access to such information in a centralized location for the executor. The memorandum should express wishes with respect to how the assets should be handled after death. It is important to maintain tight security over such a list, but also to ensure that it is kept up-to-date and that the executor knows its location. View the full article by Richard Weiland with Clark Wilson LLP. 

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