Quickscribe Services Ltd.
Toll Free: 1-877-727-6978
Phone: 1-250-727-6978
Fax: 1-250-727-6699

Email: info@quickscribe.bc.ca

Website: www.quickscribe.bc.ca

Vol: XIV  –  Issue: IV  –  April 2015


Quickscribe Nominated for the Hugh Lawford Award –
Excellence in Legal Publishing

Each year, the Canadian Association of Law Libraries (CALL) presents the Hugh Lawford Award to a publisher that provides the legal profession with high-quality materials for use in understanding and researching law. The award may be given for a wide variety of publishing endeavours – a specific book, series, service, or a particularly innovative publishing venture. The new version of Quickscribe Online 2.0 was recognized by the CALL executive committee as meeting the criteria for consideration. 

"It's an honour just to be considered for such a prestigious award. This nomination helps to validate our ongoing efforts to come up with innovative ways to facilitate greater collaboration, insight and awareness on the laws that govern us all."
– Mike Pasta, President & CEO, Quickscribe Services Ltd.

Quickscribe Welcomes New Contributors
(Privacy Law/Aboriginal Law)

We are pleased to announce that John Doolan, of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, and Eileen Vanderburgh, of Alexander Holburn + Lang LLP, will begin contributing annotations to the new Quickscribe 2.0 platform. Both lawyers are experienced and well respected in their areas of practice.

John Doolan, a partner at the law firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP, will act as Quickscribe's expert annotator for aboriginal law. Mr. Doolan has extensive experience in aboriginal law matters, including matters in the areas of developments on First Nations' lands and transactions and commercial agreements involving First Nations. He acts as lead counsel to the First Nations Tax Commission on the First Nations led First Nations Property Ownership project and for Tsawwassen First Nation on governance, infrastructure and economic development projects in the implementation of its 2009 treaty. He is recognized as a leading lawyer in aboriginal law in Canada for 2015 by Chambers & Partners and in The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

Eileen Vanderburgh, a partner at Alexander Holburn + Lang LLP, is the leader of the firm's Information & Privacy Practice and Appellate Advisory Practice and will act as Quickscribe's privacy and access to information expert. Eileen advises both private and public sector organizations on compliance with privacy legislation and advises public bodies, including local governments, regulatory bodies and health authorities, on access to information matters. She has frequently appeared on behalf of clients in proceedings before the Information and Privacy Commissioner and in the B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. Eileen has published a variety of articles on privacy and access to information and is a frequent speaker in these areas. She is a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

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:

Amendments to Disclosure
Rules for Venture Issuers

On June 30, 2015, amendments to various disclosure requirements for venture issuers will come into force. The amendments are intended to make the disclosure requirements for venture issuers more suitable and manageable at their stage of development. The amendments relate to continuous disclosure and governance obligations, and to disclosure for prospectus offerings. The amendments (collectively, the "Amendments") will be implemented through changes to National Instrument 51-101 Continuous Disclosure Obligations ("NI 51-102"), National Instrument 41-101 General Prospectus Requirements, National Instrument 52-110 Audit Committees ("NI 52-110"), Companion Policy 51-102CP ("51-102CP"), and Companion Policy 41-101CP. To view the key amendments to venture issuers read the full article by Nafeesa Valli-Hasham with Clark Wilson LLP. 

Vessel Financing and Security
New Practice Point Paper from CLEBC

In this paper, Catherine Hofmann of Bernard LLP explains the basic principles regarding the taking of security over vessels located in BC along with the jurisdictional regime governing vessels. The paper also offers practical tips regarding the registration and recording of vessels as well as specific searches relating to vessels. The paper was published on the CLEBC website and can be accessed here.

BC Securities – Policies & Instruments
The following policies and instruments were published on the BCSC website in the month of April:

  • 43-309 – CSA Staff Notice 43-309 Review of Website Investor Presentations by Mining Issuers
    This notice provides practical information to assist mining issuers in designing investor presentations and websites that meet their disclosure obligations.
  • 11-102 – CSA Notice and Request for Comment - Proposed Amendments to Multilateral Instrument 11-102 Passport System 
    This notice provides practical information to assist mining issuers in designing investor presentations and websites that meet their disclosure obligations. This notice is publishing for comment proposed amendments to Multilateral Instrument 11-102 Passport System. These amendments expand the passport system to two new areas: applications to cease to be a reporting issuer and the issuance and revocation (including a variation) of failure-to-file cease trade orders. The comment period ends on June 15, 2015.
  • 45-315 – Multilateral CSA Notice 45-315 Proposed Prospectus Exemption for Certain Distributions through an Investment Dealer 
    This notice provides practical information to assist mining issuers in designing investor presentations and websites that meet their disclosure obligations. This notice is publishing for comment a proposed prospectus exemption that would, subject to certain conditions, allow issuers listed on a Canadian exchange to raise money by distributing securities to investors who have obtained advice about the suitability of the investment from an investment dealer. The comment period ends on June 15, 2015.
  • 51-343 – Multilateral CSA Notice 51-343 Venture Issuers with Securities Listed on the Bolsa de Santiago, Venture Market
    This notice provides practical information to assist mining issuers in designing investor presentations and websites that meet their disclosure obligations.
  • 51-102 – CSA Notice - Amendments to National Instrument 51-102 Continuous Disclosure Obligations, National Instrument 41-101 General Prospectus Requirements and National Instrument 52-110 Audit Committees 
    This notice provides practical information to assist mining issuers in designing investor presentations and websites that meet their disclosure obligations. The amendments will streamline and tailor disclosure requirements for all venture issuers. Subject to Ministerial approval, the amendments will come into force on June 30, 2015.
  • 24-312 – CSA Staff Notice 24-312 - Preparing for the Implementation of T+2 Settlement
  • 62-104 – CSA Notice and Request for Comment - Proposed Amendments to Multilateral Instrument 62-104 Take-Over Bids and Issuer Bids, Proposed Changes to National Policy 62-203 Take-Over Bids and Issuer Bids and Proposed Consequential Amendments

For more information visit the BC Securities website.

PST Bulletins
The following PST bulletins and notices were issued in the month of April:

For more information, visit the Consumer Taxes website.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Designated Accommodation Area Tax Regulation (392/2008) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 259/2014
Fee, Levy and Security Regulation (8/2014) Apr. 20/15 by Reg 59/2015
New Housing Transition Tax and Rebate Act Apr. 1/15 section 93 (4) repeals section 93 of this act
Provincial Sales Tax Act Apr. 1/15 by 2013 Bill 2, c. 1, sections 160, 200, 283 only (in force by Royal Assent), Provincial Sales Tax Transitional Provisions and Amendments Act, 2013

Energy and Mines News:

New Amendments to the BC Fee,
Levy and Security Regulation

For the second time this year, the Fee, Levy and Security Regulation, B.C. Reg. 8/2014, has been amended by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (the "OGC"). The stated intention of the amendments is to make the fee structure "better reflect the complexities of consultation, advice and reviews required for major oil and gas projects". The OGC began consulting with industry on these amendments last fall. The amendments can be grouped into two sets. The first concerns the fees related to Class C pipelines and LNG facilities. These are the largest projects of their kind, being pipelines with outside diameters of 609.6 mm or more and facilities with a capacity to process more than 5.6 million m3/day. The second concerns fees for other aspects of the operation of LNG facilities. Previously, a basic fee of $370,000 was required on application for a permit for Class C pipelines more than 50 km in length and $650,000 was required on application for a permit to construct or operate a Class C LNG facility. Post-amendment, these have been split. The changes result in the permitting fees for major projects being divided into a "review and consultation" phase and a "permit application" phase. This division affects only the Class C facilities as these are the ones requiring lengthy pre-application work including environmental assessments. Read the full article by Rick Williams and Timothy Bottomer with the law firm Borden Ladner Gervais.   

"Game changer": Gas Company Offers
$1-Billion to First Nations Band in BC

The proponent of a liquefied natural gas plant on British Columbia's north coast is offering more than $1-billion to obtain the consent of a First Nations community, a groundbreaking proposal that could establish the new price for natural resource development in traditional aboriginal territories. In a province where resource projects have stalled and sometimes foundered over aboriginal opposition, the tentative deal between the Prince Rupert-based Lax Kw'alaams band and a joint venture led by Malaysia's state-owned Petronas sets a new benchmark for sharing the wealth from energy extraction. If approved by band members, the agreement will transfer roughly $1-billion in cash to the Lax Kw'alaams band over the span of the 40-year deal, while the BC government is putting more than $100-million worth of Crown lands on the table. For the 3,600 members of the Lax Kw'alaams community, the total package works out to a value of roughly $320,000 per person. Read The Globe and Mail article.

Voters Taking Action on Climate Change v British Columbia
(Energy and Mines)
, 2015 BCSC 471
A recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision concerned a coal handling and storage facility located on Texada Island. The petitioner, an environmental advocacy group named Voters Taking Action on Climate Change ("VTACC"), challenged two provincial government decisions concerning a 2014 permit amendment granted to Texada Quarrying Ltd. ("TQL"), a subsidiary of Lafarge Canada Inc. Since 1990, TQL and its predecessors had been receiving and shipping coal from other corporations at TQL's facility on Texada Island. The Minister of Energy and Mines ("MEM") granted a permit amendment to TQL setting its coal storage capacity at 800,000 tonnes. TQL sought the amendment in connection with an expansion of its transshipment operations due to additional coal exports from Fraser Surrey Docks in Port Metro Vancouver. The stated basis for VTACC's challenge to this decision was jurisdictional. VTACC maintained that the Chief Inspector of Mines was not empowered to grant the permit amendment in question because TQL did not actually operate a coal mine on Texada Island, but rather acted only as a storage and handling facility, an activity VTACC alleged was outside of the scope of the Mines Act, RSBC 1993, c. 293 (the "Mines Act"). In the alternative, VTACC argued that the Chief Inspector of Mines breached the duty of procedural fairness it owed to VTACC regarding the consultation process giving rise to permit amendment in question. Lastly, VTACC also challenged a related Ministry of Environment ("MOE") decision to refrain from exercising its statutory discretion to require TQL to obtain a permit for its transshipment activities under the Environmental Management Act, SBC 2003, c. 53 ("EMA"). Read the full article by Dionysios Rossi and Jessica Duhn of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Fee, Levy and Security Regulation (8/2014) Apr. 20/15 by Reg 59/2015
Mines Act Apr. 1/15 by 2014 Bill 17, c. 14, sections 52 and 53 only (in force by Reg 54/2015), Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2014
Mines Fee Regulation (54/2015) NEW
Apr. 1/15
see Reg 54/2015

Family and Children News:

Dividing Property under the FLA:
Where We're At

The Family Law Act has been law in British Columbia for just over two years now, and we're starting to accumulate a good number of court decisions interpreting the parts of the act dealing with the division of property and debt. Since [John-Paul Boyd] just spoken about these cases for the Trial Lawyers' Association of British Columbia and the Continuing Legal Education Society, [he] thought [he'd] provide a short summary of where we've gotten to. The first case dealing with property under the new act was Asselin v. Roy, a 2013 decision of Mr. Justice Harvey. This was a helpful case, as the judge had to address property that was brought into the parties' relationship, property bought during the relationship with inheritances, property bought during the relationship using the property brought into the relationship, and property bought during the relationship using property brought into the relationship plus new money earned during the relationship. This is important because:

  1. property brought into the relationship is supposed to be excluded from the property the spouses share after separation;
  2. inheritances received during the relationship are supposed to be excluded from shared property;
  3. spouses are presumed to share in property bought during the relationship; and,
  4. spouses are also supposed to share in the increase in value of excluded property during their relationship.

Read the full article by John-Paul Boyd, published on JP Boyd on Family Law the Blog

Parents Spend Millions Battling in
Court over Child's Sleepovers

A Toronto couple spent $2-million in a protracted court battle over whether their little boy could spend nights with his allegedly violent father, in a conflict that turned a precocious and sociable child into a shy, fearful one. The case, known as M. and F., is a cautionary tale for parents who would rather fight than settle. The trial lasted 34 days. At the heart of it was the mother's allegation that the father had been violent toward her, rendering him unsafe to his son, now six, during overnight stays. The case went on to the Ontario Court of Appeal, adding to the costs borne by the mother, who owns a successful insurance brokerage, and the father, a litigation lawyer. In the end, the father won the battle over sleepovers. The trial judge ordered the mother to pay $500,000 toward his legal costs (the father had asked for $900,000, and the mother wanted him to pay her $800,000), on the principle that the loser pays. The appeal court, affirming the father's victory on overnights and costs, told the mother to pay an additional $40,000 toward the father's appeal costs (he wanted $160,000, she wanted him to pay her $120,000). "These amounts are out of proportion to the issues on this appeal," Justice Mary Lou Benotto commented for the appeal court. Read The Globe And Mail article

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

Forest and Environment News:

BC Court Allows Environmental Approvals
Delay Claim to Proceed

In Carhoun & Sons Enterprises Ltd. v. Canada (Attorney General), the British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the federal government by a private developer for losses caused by delays in the environmental approvals process. While the suit may not ultimately succeed, the court confirmed that the government could be liable and that the review of applications for environmental approvals may entail a consideration of the proponent's (business) interests, especially in circumstances where the legislated goal includes the promotion of economic development.

Carhoun & Sons Enterprises Ltd. (Carhoun) applied for an authorization under section 35(2) of the Fisheries Act from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to fill in ravines for a private commercial development. In considering the application, DFO was required to conduct an environmental assessment screening under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The DFO initially advised Carhoun that the authorization would not be issued because it would result in unacceptable harm to fish habitat and as a result, the DFO would not be conducting the CEAA screening. After two further requests, DFO reconsidered its decision, undertook the screening and eventually issued the Fisheries Act authorization. It took 993 days between the initial application and the receipt of the authorization. However, by the time the authorization was issued, financing for the project had collapsed. Read the full article by Janice Walton, Tony Crossman and Nardia Chernawsky (Student-at-Law) with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP (Blakes). 

U.S.-Style Shipping Regulations Could Help
Patch Canada's Leaky Laws: Critics

Detractors of federal government's response to English Bay oil spill point to mandatory safety measures and closer involvement with citizens' groups south of the border. In all his years as a recreational sailor, it was something Rob O'Dea says he'd never seen before: thousands of globules of oil, suspended in the water of Vancouver's English Bay. "The water was thick with oil, pea-sized, up to fist-sized gooey clumps," said O'Dea, who was sailing with a friend on the evening of April 8. "As soon as we realized we were in an oil spill we turned around. The jib sheet dropped into the water, and it was immediately covered with this black goo." Following a relatively small fuel oil spill from a ship anchored at the entrance to Burrard Inlet, critics are taking aim at federal oil spill response measures. They're pointing to the United States as an example of how Canada can do better, in terms of holding oil-transporting companies to account, involving local communities and providing more reassurance to the public. Canada should learn from states such as Alaska and Washington, which strengthened regulations after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, said Karen Wristen, executive director of Living Oceans. "They cautioned that we should not be relying on any voluntary measures on the part of the oil companies," Wristen said, referring to comments made at a 2013 oil spill response symposium hosted by the BC government. "The advice from the United States was quite strong: legislate the requirements down to the last boom and skimmer." Read the full article on the Business in Vancouver website.

Province Needs Better Count on 600,000
Kilometres of Resource Roads: Report

BC Forest Practices Board ays inventory essential
to manage access, environmental impacts

BC's independent forest-industry watchdog said [April 22nd] that the province still doesn't have a good handle on the management of the thousands of kilometres of resource access roads carved into the back country, a decade after it first warned the province about the looming liabilities they pose. In its 2015 report, the BC Forest Practices Board estimates the province has 600,000 kilometres of resource roads on Crown land, with 10,000 kilometres added per year, but the government's "information about and management of these roads remains inadequate," the report said. Resource companies build the roads to access timber, establish natural-gas drilling sites or mining operations, but the province doesn't have an accurate inventory of them, the report said. Often the most current information about them comes from permits issued approving their construction, not reports on how many were actually built. Read more on The Vancouver Sun website. 

Environmental Liability and the Commercial Lease –
Who Pays the Cost to Remediate Contaminated Land
In the paper "Environmental Liability and the Commercial Lease – Who Pays the Cost to Remediate Contaminated Land", Una Radoja and Kora Paciorek of Harper Grey LLP discuss responsibility for remediation of contaminated land and the liability for the costs of the remediation in the context of a commercial lease. The first part of the paper provides an overview of the applicable regulatory regime and how it can give rise to environmental liability. In the second part, the available strategies to identify, minimize and/or allocate the environmental liability risks are discussed. Read the paper here.

  • New regulations that consolidate the amount for payment of fees, rents and royalties, making it easier for users to pay and government to collect.

Read the full government news release

Environmental Appeal Board Decisions
There were two Environmental Appeal Board decisions released in the month of April:

Environmental Management Act

Water Act

  • John Vlchek, doing business as Cariboo Water Wells Ltd. v. Regional Water Manager [Final Decision – Appeals Allowed]

Visit the Environmental Appeal Board website for more information.

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Hunting Licensing Regulation (8/99) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 266/2014
Limited Entry Hunting Regulation (134/93) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 266/2014
North American Gypsy Moth Eradication Regulation, 2015 (55/2015) NEW
Apr. 15/15
see Reg 55/2015
Permit Regulation (253/2000) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 266/2014
by Reg 18/2015
Wildlife Act Apr. 1/15 by 2014 Bill 5, c. 7, sections 65 (a), 66 to 69, 72, 77 to 80, 82 (a), (c), (e) only (in force by Reg 18/2015), Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Statutes Amendment Act, 2014
Wildlife Act Commercial Activities Regulation (338/82) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 18/2015
Wildlife Act General Regulation (340/82) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 18/2015

Health News:

Canada's Health Minister Says Dispensaries
Normalize Marijuana Use

Federal government wants City of Vancouver
to shut down marijuana dispensaries

The City of Vancouver's plan to regulate marijuana dispensaries across the city has drawn criticism from Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose. On [April 24th], Ambrose was interviewed by On the Coast host Stephen Quinn.

Does marijuana not have value as a medicine?
It's important that people know that marijuana is not a medicine. It has not been approved by Health Canada as a medicine.

Why create a regime to produce it and distribute it and allow people to use it for medicinal purposes?
The courts ruled about 10 years ago that said certain Canadians should have access to dry marijuana if they believed this was something that helped them … there is a regime in place that is administered by Health Canada only because it affects our legislation that is very highly regulated. It is a regime that is very robust that is overseen by the medical community and it will provide dry marijuana to people who believe they need it and that's in consultation with the physician.

If it were not for those court decisions then, the Federal Government would not allow people who want to use marijuana for medicinal use, you would not allow that period?
No, Health Canada would definitely not in any way have anything to do with this. What the research and science shows conclusively is that marijuana is bad for kids, especially harmful to the developing brain.
Read the CBC article

Obese Canadians Should Be Granted Legal Protection
from Discrimination, Professor Says

With rates of severe obesity quadrupling in Canada, a provocative line of thinking is emerging to give groundbreaking new human rights to the obese. Obesity isn't a disease of laziness or complacency, something that can be fixed if people simply "try harder," but an issue of human rights, a national conference on obesity heard [recently]. "We need a fundamental shift in our norms and in our regulation in addressing obesity," Bill Bogart, a professor of law at the University of Windsor, told the fourth annual Canadian Obesity Summit in Toronto. That includes moving away from the stigmatization of fat people toward acceptance of people "in a variety of shapes and sizes," he said, and laws protecting people with obesity from discrimination or prejudice. Read the National Post article

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Massage Therapists Regulation (280/2008) Apr. 20/15 by Reg 58/2015

Labour and Employment News:

"Just Cause" for Concern: Dismissal
of a Long-Service Employee

The BC Supreme Court recently reminded employers of the potential consequences of improperly handling a termination for just cause. George v. Cowichan Tribes illustrates the care employers must take when investigating allegations of employee misconduct and when considering appropriate disciplinary sanctions. Ms. George had been an employee of Cowichan Tribes in various positions for 30 years and at the time of her dismissal an Associate Executive Director position. She was a valued senior manager with no previous performance issues or disciplinary history. She was dismissed following an incident that occurred one evening while off duty at a local bar. There was an altercation between Ms. George and another woman, Ms. Seymour. Ms. George admitted that, while intoxicated, she had accosted Ms. Seymour and told her not to interfere with visits between Ms. George's grandchildren and their father whom Ms. Seymour was dating. According to Ms. Seymour, Ms. George also threatened, slapped and insulted her. Ms. George denied these allegations. Ms. George was dismissed for cause for her conduct and for allegedly being dishonest about her conduct to her employer. Read the full article published on the Bull Housser website. 

Using Fixed-term Contracts in a
Potentially Misguided Effort

It seems as though many employers have decided to use fixed-term contracts in a potentially misguided effort to reduce their labour costs and limit their severance obligations. Unfortunately, this decision seems to be based upon a misunderstanding of the law, and can result in unexpected liability and costs. Furthermore, it does not always result in the cost savings that the employer anticipated, and in any event, there are often better ways to achieve those savings.

You don't have to provide benefits to anyone
To begin with, there is a common misconception that "contract employees" are not entitled to benefits. The reality is that every employment contract (written or verbal) is open to negotiation. Whether an employee is hired indefinitely or for a fixed term is irrelevant; an employer could, if they choose, negotiate to offer some benefits to some employees and not to others. Of course, that may not be good HR practice, and is obviously not possible in a unionized environment. However, there is no automatic rule that "permanent" employees are entitled to benefits and fixed-term employees are not.
Read the full article by Stuart Rudner and published on First Reference Talks blog. 

"Virtual Slave" Awarded $50,000 for Injury to Dignity
Human Rights Tribunal found nanny was sexually
assaulted, isolated and underfed by employer

Where an employer fails to meet its human rights obligations, the damages awards for the "injury to dignity" component of damages are becoming increasingly significant. The recent decision of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal in PN. v. FR and another (No. 2), is an example of the scale of penalty an employer can face where the breach of human rights obligations is at the extreme end of the scale. The complainant, a domestic worker from the Philippines, was placed with the respondents as a housekeeper and caregiver to their two children. The complainant had two children of her own, whom she left in the Philippines, and she sent money back to support them. She first worked for the family in Hong Kong and, after about a year, the respondents persuaded her to join them when they moved to Canada. The complainant was only in Canada for about 6 weeks before she escaped from the hotel where the family was staying, eventually taking refuge with an organization that assists victims of human trafficking. Read the full article by Donovan Plomp with McCarthy Tetrault LLP. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Employment and Assistance Regulation (263/2002) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 41/2015
May 1/15 by Reg 62/2015
Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Regulation (265/2002) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 41/2015
May 1/15 by Reg 62/2015

Local Government News:

Richmond Council Moves to Strengthen
Control over House Sizes

Proposal would force land-use contracts
to adhere to zoning bylaws

Richmond council is taking measures to control a proliferation of "monster" homes across the city, with plans to cancel single-family land-use contracts by next year. The move, slated to go to a public hearing this fall, is aimed at bringing land-use contracts under existing city zoning bylaws to ensure homes remain in character with their existing neighbourhoods when they're redeveloped. City staff have been working on the proposed changes for at least a year, after several developers were found to be using a loophole to build three-storey mansion on existing lots prescribed for two-and-a-half storey homes, said Richmond Coun. Linda McPhail. A third storey is allowed as long as it's under a pitched roof, but homebuilders have been building flat, or barn, roofs instead, which lets them create an entire third floor without exceeding Richmond's nine-metre height restriction. Read The Vancouver Sun article

Cultural and Religious Practices at City Hall
In the recent decision of Mouvement laique québécois and Alain Simoneau v. City of Saguenay and Jean Tremblay, 2015 SCC 16, the Supreme Court of Canada set out a clear case for separating church and state when it comes to local government meetings. The main principle underlying this case is clear: local governments must stay neutral. However, that does not mean that local governments must abandon all cultural and heritage traditions (even if grounded in religious practices). In the Court's view, cultural and heritage practices may be appropriate, if there is no intention to favour one belief to the exclusion of others. This case should be of note to local governments and other public authorities which employ traditional or cultural practices in their meetings. In some instances, such practices may be interpreted as discriminatory. Read the full article published on the Bull Housser website. 

Cannabis Laws Twisted out of Joint – City of Vancouver
You can almost see the hair split as the City of Vancouver talks about what it says it's doing in proposing regulations for the city's booming marijuana dispensary business. The city knows perfectly well that it's illegal to sell marijuana in Canada except under licence to people who are authorized by their doctors to use it for medical purposes. And yet the number of pot parlours in the city has grown from 20 in 2012 to more than 80 so far in 2015. So what the city is proposing to do is to regulate the business, not the product. "We need to bring this into the best framework possible under the circumstances," city manager Penny Ballem told the council earlier this week. On Thursday, council sent its proposed legal framework for cannabis-related businesses to a public hearing. The proposal includes a mandatory 300-metre setback from schools and other places where juveniles gather, and imposes a steep $30,000 licensing fee on would-be weed-mongers. Read the full article by Kim Covert and published the CBA National Magazine.

Bill 24 Modernizes Societies Legislation
Bill 24, 2015, the Societies Act, has been given [Third] Reading in the Legislature. This Bill repeals the current Society Act, enacted in 1977, replacing it with something akin to a scaled back and simplified version of the BC Business Corporations Act. Local governments may interact with incorporated societies in a number of ways, including as providers of funding or facilities, or as stakeholders with representatives appointed to society boards of directors. As such, local governments should be aware of some of the impending changes to the legislation governing societies. The Province's 2014 White Paper gives some insight into the motivation behind the changes in the proposed Societies Act:

[It has] been updated and supplemented with new provisions that enhance flexibility by providing societies more internal governance options. Each society will have greater ability to use its own bylaws to structure itself in a way that meets its unique needs. At the same time, fundamental accountability provisions (such as the requirement for three directors and the provision of public access to financial statements) have been largely maintained for societies that perform a broader social function and rely on public financial support.

Read the full article by Marie Watmough with Stewart McDannold Stuart. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Liquor Control and Licensing Act Apr. 1/15 by 2014 Bill 15, c. 13, sections 15, 16 and 31 (k) only (in force by Reg 42/2015), Liquor Control and Licensing Amendment Act, 2014
Liquor Control and Licensing Regulation (244/2002) Apr. 1/15 by Reg 42/2015
Municipal Liabilities Regulation (254/2004) Apr. 16/15 by Reg 57/2015
Taxation (Rural Area) Act Regulation (387/82) May 1/15 by Reg 63/2015

Miscellaneous News:

SCC Decision on Impartiality of Expert
Witnesses Means Nothing Will Change

Counterintuitively, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided that paid expert witnesses have a duty to be impartial and outlined an arguably meaningless process by which their impartiality is to be determined. "This is the first time the Supreme has given guidance on whether experts need to be impartial and how that affects whether or not the court will hear their evidence," says Jon Laxer of Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin, who represented the successful parties in the appeal. "It's a murky area that I've run into several times." To the lay person, the impartiality of an expert paid substantial, and in some cases, enormous amounts of money to provide an opinion that supports the person writing the cheque, borders on laughable. Indeed, during the hearing in the Supreme Court of Canada, at least two judges suggested that if the test for impartiality was whether the witness had been paid, no witness would qualify as impartial. Read the full article by Julius Melnitzer, published on the Financial Post

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

June 1st Deadline to Register Off-Road Vehicles
Off-road vehicles operating on Crown land must be registered by June 1, 2015. This applies to dirt bikes, ATV's, snowmobiles or any self-propelled vehicle as defined in the new Off-Road Vehicle Act. The registration requirements do not apply to vehicles driven on private property. Read more on the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations website.

CVSE – Publishes New Carrier Profile Report (Sample)
CVSE has published a sample copy of the new Carrier Profile Report, which is being updated effective 25-May-2015. This sample provides a look at the new layout. The Carrier Profile Online application will still be available through the link at: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/national_safety_code/carrier_profile.htm.

BC Moves to Eliminate Court
Trials for Traffic Violations

The BC government is shifting traffic violations out of court in a move lawyers fear strips motorists of constitutional rights. The Liberals are implementing amendments passed with no fanfare in 2012 to establish a new process for handling offences under the Motor Vehicle Act, similar to the paradigm shift made dealing with drunk drivers in 2010 when most impaired charges and trials were eliminated with a heavy-handed Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) regime. The Ministry of Justice and Public Safety confirmed [recently] that a two-stage rollout is planned to shift MVA violations from the criminal system. Work is underway on Phase 1, it said, bringing in an electronic ticketing and online payment system; the new hearing system will follow. Read more of The Vancouver Sun article

65/35 Fault Split Following Vehicle/Bicycle Collision
Reasons for judgment were released [recently] by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing fault for an intersection collision between a motorist and a cyclist. In the case (Matkin v. Hogg) the Plaintiff was travelling on a bicycle Northbound on Blanca Street in Vancouver. At the same time the Defendant was operating a vehicle travelling in the same direction. While the Defendant was turning at a stop sign controlled intersection the Plaintiff drove past the vehicle and both collided. The Defendant did not signal his intended turn and the Plaintiff failed to appreciate there was a stop sign at the intersection. In finding the cyclist 65% at fault with the motorist shouldering 35% of the blame Mr. Justice Kent provided the following reasons: Read the full article by Erik Magraken, published on the BC Injury Law Blog. 

Act or Regulation Affected Effective Date Amendment Information
Designation of Motorcycle Safety Helmets Regulation (97/2012) Apr. 15/15 by Reg 56/2015

Property and Real Estate News:

Strata Property: Right to Privacy v. Necessary Repairs
What happens when a strata unit owner's right to privacy conflicts with the need for common property repairs? Generally, the unit owner will lose out to the strata council, provided the strata council acts reasonably and for a legitimate purpose. This is one of the downsides of strata living: you are not really the king of your castle. Your personal interest may need to give way to the collective interests of the strata as a whole. A recent case from North Vancouver illustrates this point, though it also highlights the perils of acting unreasonably and with disregard for the collective interests of your strata neighbours. Mr. Getzlaf had a ground floor strata unit which opened onto the strata parkade roof. The building had a lush and extensive garden on the common property outside his unit that shielded it from the parkade. Unfortunately, the roof membrane beneath his garden required replacing, in part because of the damage done to it by tree roots. The strata held a meeting of its owners and resolved to undertake the membrane repairs recommended by the engineers. Those repairs necessitate the permanent removal of Mr. Getzlaf's garden. While he voted against the measure, it passed and the roof repairs were done. The garden was replaced by concrete pavers and river rock. This resulted in a complete loss of privacy for Mr. Getzlaf's unit. He was not happy about it. Read the full article by Peter Roberts of Lawson Lundell LLP. 

Victoria Woman Faces Off against Strata Company over
$1,500/Month Fees – Strata Property Act

A Victoria woman on the hook for thousands of dollars in service fees from her mother's James Bay condo is in court fighting what could be a precedent-setting case on what kind of expenses a strata corporation can charge owners for."It's unbelievable they think they can do this, but it's happening and people don't know better," said Yvette Craig, 71, who inherited her mother's condo in the Camelot building at 455 Kingston St.Craig is being charged about $1,500 a month for meals, cleaning and other services she doesn't receive at an apartment she doesn't live in. She has refused to pay since May 2013 — she still pays the strata fees and property taxes — and said she is unable to sell the condo because of the attached service fees.The Camelot strata corporation is taking Craig and another owner to court to enforce an amended bylaw that makes support service fees mandatory as a flat-fee part of the strata fees.Craig said she hopes the courts rule the amended bylaw is not enforceable based on the fact that the Strata Property Act does not allow for a strata to charge fees for services beyond general maintenance of the building and common areas. Read The Vancouver Sun article

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

Wills and Estates News:

Heathfield v. St. Jacques
Although the Wills, Estates and Succession Act has now been in effect for over a year, in most of the court cases being reported now, the Courts are dealing with the law as it stood before the effective date of March 31, 2014. This is because most of the provisions of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act only apply if the date of death occurred after the legislation came into effect. It is interesting to note how the law would have applied in some of the recent cases if the deceased had died on or after March 31, 2014. The recent decision of Madam Justice Ballance in Heathfield v. St. Jacques, 2015 BCSC 505, provides an illustration. Read the full article by Stan Rule, published on his blog Rule of Law. 

Compulsory Capacity Assessments
in British Columbia

Remarkable advancements in medical care over the past decades have significantly increased the life expectancy of Canadians. However, with this increase in longevity come the challenges of declining cognitive functions due to dementia and other age related disorders. Cognitive decline may compromise an adult's ability to make decisions about their personal, medical, financial, or legal affairs, and may even make individuals vulnerable to mistreatment and manipulation. The challenge facing our society is determining the appropriate balance between protecting loved ones from these vulnerabilities, while at the same time promoting personal autonomy and dignity. The difficulty associated with striking the right balance is apparent when we examine BC's adult guardianship legislation. Read the full article by Mark Weintraub and Alexandra Andrisoi with Clark Wilson LLP. 

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