Highlights from the Spring 2018 Legislative Session


31 July 2018

By Gurinder Cheema

On May 31st, 2018, the 41st Parliament of the British Columbia Legislature completed its 3rd Session. The Legislative Assembly passed 33 bills. This blog presents a summary of the laws that were enacted.

The full list of bills passed by the Legislative Assembly during the most recent session includes the following (for a summary of each bill, please see below):

  1. the Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2018;
  2. the Tla’amin Final Agreement Amendment Act, 2018;
  3. the British Columbia Innovation Council Amendment Act, 2018;
  4. the Community Care and Assisted Living Amendment Act, 2018;
  5. the Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018;
  6. the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2018;
  7. the Supply Act (No. 1), 2018;
  8. the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2018;
  9. the Family Maintenance Enforcement Amendment Act, 2018;
  10. the International Commercial Arbitration Amendment Act, 2018;
  11. the Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act, 2018;
  12. the Public Service Amendment Act, 2018;
  13. the Taxation Statutes Amendment Act, 2018;
  14. the Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Statutes Amendment Act, 2018;
  15. the Securities Amendment Act, 2018;
  16. the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2018;
  17. the Local Government Statutes (Housing Needs Reports) Amendment Act, 2018;
  18. the Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2018;
  19. the Insurance (Vehicle) Amendment Act, 2018;
  20. the Class Proceedings Amendment Act, 2018;
  21. the Civil Resolution Tribunal Amendment Act, 2018;
  22. the Local Government Statutes (Residential Rental Tenure Zoning) Amendment Act, 2018;
  23. the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2018;
  24. the Real Estate Development Marketing Amendment Act, 2018;
  25. the Child, Family and Community Service Amendment Act, 2018;
  26. the Pill Press and Related Equipment Control Act;
  27. the Public Interest Disclosure Act;
  28. the Voluntary Blood Donations Act;
  29. the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act;
  30. the Cannabis Distribution Act;
  31. the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Amendment Act, 2018;
  32. the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Amendment Act, 2018; and
  33. the Supply Act, 2018-2019.
  1. The Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2018

The Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2018 amends 21 acts to implement tax measures from the 2018 Budget. Some of these amended acts include the Income Tax Act, the Provincial Sales Tax Act, the Property Transfer Tax Act, the School Act, the Tobacco Tax Act, the Motor Fuel Tax Act and the Hydro and Power Authority Act.

  1. The Tla’amin Final Agreement Amendment Act, 2018

On second reading, Minister Scott Fraser noted that the Tla’amin Final Agreement Amendment Act, 2018 “provide[s] the Provincial Court with the authority to issue an enforcement order or orders related to convictions under Tla’amin law enacted in accordance with the Tla’amin foreshore agreement.” Under the foreshore agreement, the Tla’amin Nation have “comparable local government law-making authority” for foreshore areas adjacent to their treaty lands.

  1. The British Columbia Innovation Council Amendment Act, 2018

The British Columbia Innovation Council Amendment Act, 2018 establishes Innovate B.C., an innovation commission, which will provide additional support to the province’s technology and innovation sector. The commission will help establish more life-sustaining jobs and advise the government on several matters, including science, technology and innovation policy.

  1. The Community Care and Assisted Living Amendment Act, 2018

The Community Care and Assisted Living Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Community Care and Assisted Living Act to require the online posting of information about community care facilities and assisted-living residences. On first reading, Minister Adrian Dix noted that this increased transparency “will assist families looking for care to make informed choices, discourage persons operating in violation of the act and better protect the health and safety of children and vulnerable adults in care.”

  1. The Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018

The Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018 makes changes to the Employment Standards Act with respect to its job protection and leave provisions. The Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018 introduces unpaid leave for parents who face the death of a child (up to 104 weeks) and parents whose child has disappeared for crime-related reasons (up to 52 weeks). It also allows parental leave to be taken for a longer time period, allows pregnancy leave to be taken earlier and lengthens the availability of compassionate care leave for a worker who is looking after a dying family member.

  1. The Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2018

The Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 makes the following amendments:

  • The Crown Proceeding Act is amended to correct an oversight from the previous amendment of the act in 2004. On second reading, Minister David Eby noted that the amendment “will ensure that the current practice used to prepare and table a report detailing the money paid out to satisfy judgments and settle claims against the government is in line with the law.”
  • The Interpretation Act is amended to increase accessibility and reduce complexity. The amendments clarify the time of day when statutory appointments take effect and terminate, and they clarify the method of determining the beginning or end of a statutory period.
  • The Ministry of Provincial Secretary and Government Services Act is amended to reflect the long-standing practice of the Royal B.C. Museum having responsibility for government archives.
  • The Cooperative Association Act is amended to restore the rights of members whose membership in a housing cooperative was cut off because of financial default.
  • The Building Act, the Fire Services Act and the Fire Safety Act are amended to clarify that the provincial building and fire regulations are no longer subject to the Regulations Act.
  1. The Supply Act (No. 1), 2018

The Supply Act (No. 1), 2018 provides interim supply for ministry operations and other appropriations during first two months (approximate) of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, as well as interim supply for a part of government financing requirements for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

  1. The Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2018

The Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Workers Compensation Act to include a mental disorder presumption for first responders, sheriffs and correctional officers who are exposed to traumatic events during their work. It also broadens the cancer presumptions currently in place for local government firefighters to federal firefighters working on the province’s military bases. On first reading, Minister Harry Bains described the amendments as recognizing “the important, dangerous and sometimes traumatic work that the workers covered by these changes do every day to serve and protect British Columbia.”

  1. The Family Maintenance Enforcement Amendment Act, 2018

The Family Maintenance Enforcement Amendment Act, 2018 grants authority to the Director of Maintenance Enforcement to direct ICBC to cancel the driver’s licence of a person who has significant child or spousal support arrears. In addition, it replaces the requirement to file all information in a family law agreement or order in the land title office with the requirement to file a notice containing only the information needed to identify the agreement or order.

  1. The International Commercial Arbitration Amendment Act, 2018

The International Commercial Arbitration Amendment Act, 2018 amends the International Commercial Arbitration Act to include Uniform Law Conference of Canada’s recommendations that were drafted in response to the 2006 United Nations Commission on International Trade Law model law. On first reading, Minister David Eby described the amendments as modernizing the B.C.’s arbitration regime and enhancing “B.C.’s standing as an arbitration-friendly jurisdiction.”

  1. The Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act, 2018

The Tenancy Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 makes several amendments the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act and the Residential Tenancy Act. On second reading, Minister Selina Robinson said:

The changes to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act are about strengthening protections for manufactured home park tenants, deterring landlords from using provisions in the act to unlawfully evict tenants and ensuring that there is fair compensation and due process when tenants are displaced.

Some of the amendments to the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act include: increasing the amount of compensation park owners pay to tenants when a park is closed to reflect the average cost of moving; and providing a tenant whose manufactured home cannot be relocated additional compensation.

With respect to the Residential Tenancy Act, on second reading, Minister Robinson said:

Landlords who are doing minor cosmetic changes to get new tenants at a higher rate need to know that this is not acceptable under the law, so we are proposing a number of changes. These initial changes will give tenants more time to find a new place to live. It will give tenants more time to file a dispute of eviction. It will allow a tenant a right of first refusal on the renovated unit. And it will bring bigger consequences for landlords who evict unlawfully.

Some of the amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act include: increasing the two-month notice landlords must give to tenants to end the tenancy because of renovations or redevelopment to four months; increasing the 15-day window to dispute the notice to end the tenancy to 30 days; and providing 12 months rent as compensation for bad faith evictions.

  1. The Public Service Amendment Act, 2018

The Public Service Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Public Service Act to assign responsibility for the review of just-cause dismissals in the public service to the Office of the Merit Commissioner. The Public Service Amendment Act, 2018 also gives the Merit Commissioner the responsibility to provide oversight and identify any systemic issues.

  1. The Taxation Statutes Amendment Act, 2018

As articulated by Minister Carole James on first reading, the Taxation Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Income Tax Act “to reflect the changes made to the federal Income Tax Act and to maintain the policy intent of existing British Columbia income tax-related programs.” The Taxation Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 also ensures consistency in rules between personal tax credits, and it amends the Insurance Premium Tax Act and the Logging Tax Act to ensure the appropriate application of regulations required by spring 2017 amendments.

  1. The Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Statutes Amendment Act, 2018

The Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Statutes Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Oil and Gas Activities Act and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act. On first reading, Minister Michelle Mungall noted that the amendments to the Oil and Gas Activities Act “will help [the] government deal with the issue of increasing number of orphaned wells and prevent their proliferation in the future.” The amendments also expand the scope of the Oil and Gas Commission’s power to respond to emergencies and more efficiently perform heritage inspections and investigations. Amendments to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act ensure that the tenure extension and rental relief provisions enacted in 2014 can be implemented. Specifically, these amendments will give relief to tenure holders who are stopped from accessing their tenure because of circumstances outside their control.

  1. The Securities Amendment Act, 2018

The Securities Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Securities Act to enable certain self-regulatory organizations to file their decisions with the B.C. Supreme Court. On first reading, Minister Carole James noted that this amendment “follows the direction of many provinces across Canada to increase enforcement in order to protect investors.”

  1. The Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2018

The Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Motor Vehicle Act to respond to concerns that the legalization of non-medical cannabis will adversely affect road safety in B.C. Two significant changes from the Motor Vehicle Amendment Act, 2018 include: restricting new drivers from operating a vehicle with any THC in their system; and establishing a 90-day administrative driving prohibition for drug affected or drug and alcohol affected driving.

  1. The Local Government Statutes (Housing Needs Reports) Amendment Act, 2018

The Local Government Statutes (Housing Needs Reports) Amendment Act, 2018 creates a requirement for local governments to collect housing information and publicly report housing needs assessments. On second reading, Minister Selina Robinson noted that “good solutions require good data, and this bill will ensure that local governments have the data they need to provide the homes that people in their communities need.”

  1. The Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2018

The Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2018 renames three class A parks with Indigenous names to reflect their cultural significance to Indigenous peoples: Brooks Peninsula Park to Mquqᵂin/Brooks Peninsula Park, Boya Lake Park to Tā Ch’ilā Park and Roderick Haig-Brown Park to Tsútswecw Park. On first reading, Minister George Heyman said:

Amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act will add lands to an existing conservancy on Haida Gwaii, add lands to ten existing class A parks, modify the boundaries of five parks, improve boundary descriptions, replace metes and bounds with official plans and correct administrative errors.

  1. The Insurance (Vehicle) Amendment Act, 2018

The Insurance (Vehicle) Amendment Act, 2018 provides for ICBC product reform. Notable changes include:

  • an increase in the maximum limit payable as accident benefits for medical and rehabilitation costs, retroactive to January 1, 2018;
  • expansion of the health care provider list that ICBC must pay as accident benefits (government sets the amounts payable as accident benefits);
  • limits on the amount recoverable in a claim to the amount payable as health service accident benefits;
  • the implementation of a minister initiated-review of the amounts payable for the provision of health care as accident benefits every five years;
  • the introduction of a legal definition of what constitutes a minor injury; and
  • prescribed medical and diagnostic protocol for minor injuries.
  1. The Class Proceedings Amendment Act, 2018

The Class Proceedings Amendment Act, 2018 provides for multi-jurisdictional class proceedings. The new provisions are based on the Uniform Law Conference of Canada’s Class Proceedings Act (2006).

  1. The Civil Resolution Tribunal Amendment Act, 2018

The Civil Resolution Tribunal Amendment Act, 2018 gives the Civil Resolution Tribunal jurisdiction over motor vehicle injury claims up to $50,000. The Tribunal’s jurisdiction is also expanded to include disputes related to societies and housing and community service cooperative associations.

  1. The Local Government Statutes (Residential Rental Tenure Zoning) Amendment Act, 2018

The Local Government Statutes (Residential Rental Tenure Zoning) Amendment Act, 2018 gives local governments a new enabling authority to zone lands in a manner that rental is the sole form of occupancy permitted. On first reading, Minister Selina Robinson noted, “This is a bold action that will give local governments a new tool to better enable the development and protection of the homes that people need in their communities.”

  1. The Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2018

The Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2018 makes the following amendments:

  • The College and Institute Act is amended to remove the requirement for approval from the Minister of Finance for land transactions.
  • The Infants Act and the Public Guardian and Trustee Act are amended to facilitate the provision of transition services for youth for whom the Public Guardian and Trustee was acting as property guardian, or default property guardian until they reach age 19, and who are leaving provincial care.
  • The Liquor Control and Licensing Act is amended to resolve omissions and fix inconsistencies.
  • The Property Law Act is amended to modernize outdated terms in section 34.
  • The Procurement Services Act is amended to permit the minister to delegate the authority to conduct procurements on behalf of the province to people besides those who work in the B.C. government or a government organization.
  • The Business Corporations Act is amended to eliminate the Auditor Certification Board.
  • The Societies Act is amended to re-enact provisions currently in an interim transitional regulation, subject to automatic repeal. These provisions clarify voting processes. Other amendments to the Societies Act include: clarifying a society’s minute-keeping obligations; clarifying a remedy for members denied access to a society’s records; and eliminating a waiting period with respect to the restoration of a dissolved society.
  • The Riparian Areas Protection Act is amended to improve the administration of the riparian areas regulation. The minister responsible for the act is to publish manuals detailing the technical criteria and methods used by qualified professionals in preparation of studies, assessments, reports and opinions.
  • A series of minor amendments to the Capital Region Water Supply and Sooke Hills Protection Act, the Library Act and the Cultus Lake Park Act are made to clarify local government legislation and streamline local processes.
  • A series of amendments to the Local Government Act and the Islands Trust Act are made to fix errors, update name references and restore a ministerial regulation-making power.
  • The Vancouver Charter is amended to remove an outdated reference to the Board of Police Commissioners.
  • A series of consequential amendments are made to several other statutes.
  1. The Real Estate Development Marketing Amendment Act, 2018

The Real Estate Development Marketing Amendment Act, 2018 places consumer protection requirements on developers before they start marketing. It requires a developer to consent to the assignment of a strata lot contract and to collect and report comprehensive information about the assignment to the property transfer tax administrator. It also enhances the Superintendent of Real Estate’s enforcement tools.

  1. The Child, Family and Community Service Amendment Act, 2018

The Child, Family and Community Service Amendment Act, 2018 addresses the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in the child welfare system. On first reading, Minister Katrine Conroy summarized the amendments as follows:

The proposed amendments will provide more tools for social workers to share information and involve Indigenous communities in protecting, supporting and caring for their children. Included is the rights of Indigenous children to learn about and practise their Indigenous traditions, customs and languages and live in their communities.

There will be greater opportunities for social workers and Indigenous communities to collaborate and be involved early with a family when there’s a concern. This will help keep children out of care, find permanency for those children who are in care and provide a way for connecting Indigenous children to their cultures and communities.

  1. The Pill Press and Related Equipment Control Act

On first reading, Minister Mike Farnworth described the Pill Press and Related Equipment Control Act  as “part of a suite of public safety initiatives” to address the opioid crisis. The Pill Press and Related Equipment Control Act aims to prohibit the supply of illicit counterfeit pills through limiting who can lawfully own a pill press or similar equipment, like encapsulators or pharmaceutical mixers. The new legislation also requires pill press sellers to register under the act and requires the appointment of a registrar to administer the act. It also includes a comprehensive list of offences and penalties.

  1. The Public Interest Disclosure Act

The Public Interest Disclosure Act applies to the public service and provides protection to employees who report serious wrongdoing to the Ombudsperson or designated officers. Some key aspects of this new legislation include: the requirement that the government designate internal officers to receive and initiate disclosures of wrongdoing; the appointment of the Ombudsperson as an external and investigative entity; and the placement of a positive obligation on the government to inform employees of their protections under the act.

  1. The Voluntary Blood Donations Act

The Voluntary Blood Donations Act prohibits payment for blood donations. The legislation is meant to protect the voluntary donor base from deteriorating because of competition. On second reading, Minister Adrian Dix commented that the legislation “will ensure that plasma collected in B.C. remains in the Canadian system for use by Canadian patients and not sold to the highest bidder.”

  1. The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act

The Cannabis Control and Licensing Act establishes the provincial framework for regulating the possession, sale, supply and production of non-medical cannabis in the province. The legislation establishes: a licensing scheme for private retailers; training and registration requirements for cannabis workers; a minimum age of 19; and a compliance and enforcement regime for licensed cannabis retailers and illegal sellers. On second reading, Minister Mike Farnworth described the legislation as “a first step” and a “major milestone on the path to legalization.”

  1. The Cannabis Distribution Act

The Cannabis Distribution Act authorizes the province as the only wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in B.C. On second reading, Minister Mike Farnworth commented as follows:

Working with Bill 30, the Cannabis Control and Licensing Act, the Cannabis Distribution Act will enable a B.C. distribution and retail system that supports our provincial goals of promoting public health and safety, protecting children and youth, reducing crime in the illegal market and supporting economic development opportunities in our province.

  1. The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Amendment Act, 2018

The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Amendment Act, 2018 gives TransLink new authority to impose and collect development cost charges in its service regions. These funds will support TransLink’s ability to invest in the expansion of its regional transportation system. The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Amendment Act, 2018 also includes accountability and transparency measures, such as the requirement for TransLink to publicly report on its development cost charges.

  1. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Amendment Act, 2018

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Amendment Act, 2018 renames the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act  as the Climate Change Accountability Act. The Climate Change Accountability Act will be the basis of a renewed climate action strategy, which will be announced in the fall. On first reading, Minister George Heyman summarized the amendments as follows:

These amendments will establish new greenhouse gas reduction targets to set a clear path to the 2050 target. They will also expand the scope of the act to include public reporting on government climate adaptation measures. Specifically, the amendments set new legislated targets of a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2007 levels by 2030 and a 60 percent reduction from 2007 levels by 2040.

  1. The Supply Act, 2018-2019

The Supply Act, 2018-2019 authorizes funding for government operating expenses during the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Related BCLI and CCEL Work

The Community Care and Assisted Living Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. In 2013, the BCLI and the CCEL published the Report on Assisted Living in British Columbia. The report contains recommendations for improving the legislative framework in British Columbia.

The Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018 amends the Employment Standards Act. One of BCLI’s current projects is the Employment Standards Act Reform Project. The project reviews British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act and makes recommendations for reform. On June 18th, 2018, the BCLI released the Consultation Paper on the Employment Standards Act. The Employment Standards Act Project Committee invites public comment on its reform proposals. The consultation is open until August 31st, 2018. To access the online survey for consultation, please click here.

The bills discussed in this blog may not currently be in force. For information on their coming into force, you may refer to the bills themselves on BC Laws or, where not specified in the bills, proclamations regarding such bills on the Courthouse Library website.


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