NEWS RELEASE · 29th April 2010
Ministry of Attorney General
Bill 20, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 3), 2010, introduced in the legislature today, will affect the following provincial statutes and programs:
Civil Forfeiture Act - The Province's Civil Forfeiture Office was set up four years ago to go after the proceeds and tools of criminal activity. As part of that mandate, the office has secured forfeiture of a growing number of properties that have housed marijuana grow-ops and drug labs. Amendments limit the Province's liability for these kinds of properties after they are sold.
Currently, the Province fully discloses all known circumstances of the previous use of a property to prospective buyers. However, there is still a risk that a new owner could file a claim against the Province for damages that may or may not be related to the previous illegal activity - such as mould from a grow-op, soil contamination from a meth lab or something unrelated to the previous use of the property. Additional amendments clarify portions of the act and improve the program's effectiveness and efficiency.
Coastal Ferry Act - Amendments strengthen BC Ferries' governance model, establish limits for board and executive compensation and expand transparency of BC Ferries.
Community Business Loans Program - Legislation transfers the forest community business loans program to the Ministry of Community and Rural Development. The former Forest Renewal BC initiative is delivered by community-based development corporations across B.C.
Amendments authorize extension of the program's lending terms to serve a wider range of rural small businesses in addition to the forest sector. They include clean and renewable energy, innovative development and use of technology, aquaculture, manufacturing, eco-cultural tourism and export-ready small businesses.
Evidence Act - Amendments extend the current fee exemption for commissioner appointments to municipalities, regional districts, the Islands Trust council, treaty First Nations, the Nisga'a Nation and Nisga'a villages. Changes also provide flexibility, as appropriate, to exempt individuals and classes of persons, such as charitable organizations, from the required appointment fee.
Forest Act - Amendments require the transfer of associated replaceable logging contracts when a licence is transferred. They increase protection for logging contractors when licences are transferred in insolvency proceedings.
Gaming Control Act - Amendments ensure all forms of gaming continue to be strongly regulated as the industry becomes more complex and technology-based. They define the roles and responsibilities of both the Province and gaming industry participants and put in place measures to prevent people who are barred or self excluded from claiming winnings at B.C. gaming facilities.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act - Amendments meet regulatory requirements and timelines approved by the cabinet committee for climate action and clean energy. They expand or clarify authorities needed to draft regulations for a cap-and-trade system.
Amendments also help integrate British Columbia's cap-and-trade requirements with those of Western Climate Initiative (WCI) partners. They ensure consistency with the WCI cap and-trade design B.C. is developing in collaboration with partner jurisdictions, including Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, as well as seven U.S. states.
Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements) Act - Amendments ensure the effective implementation of the regulations and maintain B.C.'s position as a leader in reducing the environmental impact of transportation fuels. Amendments allow fuel suppliers to retain fuel credits and carry forward a portion of their surplus to future years, giving them flexibility to be able to fully comply with the regulation.
The amendments also allow small suppliers to apply for an exemption from the renewable requirements, as they may face particular compliance challenges, such as cold weather operability challenges. An exemption gives small suppliers more time to comply with the regulation.
Liquor Control and Licensing Act - Amendments enhance public safety and fine tune regulation of the liquor hospitality industry. They provide the Province new authority to control and enforce the licensing process to prevent serious safety risks, such as gang related activities and serving liquor to minors. Several amendments promote streamlining of the liquor control process and governance of the liquor industry.
Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement - Amendments relating to the Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement effective date are required to enable commitments made in final and related agreements to proceed.
Mineral Tenure Act - Amendments include a number of administrative changes to further improve the tenure process. Building on the 2004 amendments to the act, these greatly increase the efficiency of mineral-claim acquisition and the administration of mineral titles. Furthermore, changes to the mining and placer lease sections will ensure a lease is issued for the purpose of mining activity.
Municipalities Enabling and Validating Act - Legislation transfers control of local land use planning for the University of British Columbia's (UBC) Point Grey campus from Metro Vancouver to the Province. When enacted, the minister of community and rural development will be the decision maker for land use planning on UBC campus. This step is important in developing a long-term governance solution that fits the area's unique nature. It ensures lands set aside early in the 20th century to support B.C.'s first, and now largest, university will continue to advance UBC's 21st century academic mission and help to achieve the goal of making UBC the best endowed public university in North America.
Nisga'a Final Agreement - Consequential amendments ensure that where an amendment is made to provincial law resulting from a provision of a treaty First Nation final agreement and where the Nisga'a Final Agreement contains a similar provision, provincial law is amended to properly reference the Nisga'a Final Agreement.
Police Act - Proposed amendments are in response to Justice Braidwood's Report on the Review of the Police Complaint Process in British Columbia. These changes allow the director of police services to make and issue binding standards in the areas of use of force, as well as officer and recruit training. Directives concerning detention areas and use of equipment and supplies are also covered. Establishing standards this way as opposed to regulation enables government to respond more quickly and effectively to changes in the policing environment. In addition, there is a provision to support Braidwood's recommendation that a special committee of the legislature be established to review the implementation of his report by 2012.
Representative for Children and Youth Act - An amendment clarifies the scope of access to cabinet documents, consistent with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Safety Standards Act - Changes support British Columbia's bio-energy strategy. The new system will give businesses more flexibility by allowing them the choice of developing alternative safety plans using innovative and emerging technologies.
School Act - To help protect students and property, amendments give parents, teachers, principals and students the right to decide through school planning councils whether to install video surveillance cameras.
Small Business Venture Capital Act - To maximize benefits to B.C.'s economy, amendments give provincial authority to allocate tax credits for small business investment in support of specific sectors, such as clean technology. The legislation encourages British Columbians to invest in new companies involved in research and development of proprietary technologies.
South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act - Amendments strengthen TransLink's planning process to facilitate increased consultation and dialogue between TransLink, the mayors' council and stakeholders.
Tobacco Control Act - Changes permit an exemption for signage on buildings designated as heritage properties under the Local Government Act or Vancouver Charter
Transportation Act - Changes ensure future properties acquired within a municipality by the Province for provincial highways remain under provincial ownership when the plan dedicating the property as highway is provided to the land title office.
Vancouver Charter - Amendments allow the City of Vancouver to provide permissive tax exemptions to local charitable, philanthropic or other not-for-profit organizations, such as the Royal Canadian Legion. The amendments are consistent with the existing authorities of other municipalities under the Community Charter.