Bill 8, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2013, was introduced in the legislature today by Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond.
If passed, the amendments will affect the following provincial statutes:
Child, Family and Community Service Act - Proposed amendments will enhance government's ability to support families and protect vulnerable children by:
- Clarifying that exposure to domestic violence is a relevant factor to consider when assessing whether a child needs protection.
- Authorizing child protection workers to assess a child's safety, risk of future harm and the family's strengths and needs when a child protection investigation is not required.
- Enabling the director designated under the Child, Family and Community Service Act (the act) to apply to intervene in guardianship proceedings under the Family Law Act, when it is in the child's best interests to do so.
- Granting individuals the opportunity to apply for a review by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of decisions made under the act respecting information access or disclosure.
Clean Energy Act - An amendment to the Clean Energy Act will extend the submission due date for BC Hydro's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) under the Clean Energy Act. The IRP deadline will be changed to Aug. 3, 2013, to give government, liquefied natural gas proponents and BC Hydro the time and flexibility to complete electricity supply agreements so that the IRP is a realistic plan for British Columbia's future power needs.
Forensic Psychiatry Act - These amendments will remove the requirement for employees - including nurses, licensed professionals and other unionized workers - of the Forensic Psychiatric Services Commission to be members of the BC Public Service and designate them as health-care employees. This supports an ongoing process in government to transfer health services and programs from the public sector to the health sector, which began with regionalization of health services in 1997.
Forest Act - Proposed amendments to the Forest Act will provide for the conversion of volume-based forest licences to area-based tree farm licences, and the creation of supplemental forest licences to provide fibre security to bio-energy, pellet producers and secondary manufacturing operators. The amendments also provide the ability to establish sustainable maximum harvest limits on the amount of low-grade timber that can be credited to non-sawlog timber processing facilities. A number of related and consequential housekeeping amendments also are proposed. These amendments are part of the Province's mid-term timber supply action plan and follow from recommendations made by the Special Committee on Timber Supply.
Integrated Pest Management Act - The proposed amendments to the Integrated Pest Management Act will give the Minister of Environment authority to make regulations that reduce the unnecessary use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes. The amendments take into account feedback following public consultation and input, as well as the work of the special committee. If passed, the amendments will provide authority for regulations requiring a licence for using most pesticides on landscaped private land, with some exceptions. The regulations are currently being developed.
Interpretation Act and Statute Revision Act - Proposed changes to both these acts are about clarifying how acts that have been revised are cited by legal professionals. This will bring clarity to ensure that people refer to revised statutes correctly.
Land Act - The bill includes a provision that will retroactively authorize the Province's method of interest, calculated daily and compounded monthly, on money owed under the Land Act. This method of interest calculation is consistent with standard accounting practice and government regulation, and the change validates any interest collected to date. These charges apply to things like Crown land payments, leases, right of way fees, easements and royalties.
Liquor Control and Licensing Act - Amendments to the Liquor Control and Licensing Act will permit eligible organizations and individuals to auction liquor to raise funds for charitable purposes.
In addition, liquor manufacturers and agents will be able to donate liquor to eligible organizations hosting events to raise funds for charitable purposes under a special occasion licence. Organizations selling liquor by auction for a charitable purpose also will be able to accept donations.
Finally, changes will allow individuals to sell liquor to the Liquor Distribution Branch for the disposal of unwanted stocks of liquor through the Branch's Private Wine Cellar Sale policy.
Medicare Protection Act - These proposed amendments will authorize regulations to be made to allow British Columbians who are taking longer-term vacations to remain outside of the province for an additional period of time. Currently, the maximum a MSP beneficiary can stay out of province without losing Medical Services Plan coverage is six months. The changes to the Medicare Protection Act will allow creation of a regulation that could permit an additional 30 days absence on the condition that the time out of the province is used for vacation.
Provincial Symbols and Honours Act - The Provincial Symbols and Honours Act currently lists B.C.'s floral, mineral, tree, bird and mammal emblems for British Columbia that have been deemed by government as a representative symbol for the province. As with other jurisdictions that have official fish symbols, and in keeping with rationale of establishing symbols in general, this act will add the Pacific salmon as the provincial fish emblem to recognize the high ecological, cultural, and economic significance of the Pacific salmon to British Columbians.
Not only are Pacific salmon integral to the culture, well-being and livelihood of B.C.'s First Nations - they are often seen as indicators of overall ecosystem and wildlife health and important to environmental sustainability. Pacific salmon are also a significant economic driver in British Columbia due to commercial and recreational fisheries.
Representative for Children and Youth Act - The proposed amendments would implement all of the recommendations made by the select standing committee on children and youth in its review of the Representative for Children and Youth Act including the following: increased information sharing between the representative's office and public bodies, strengthened reporting requirements, and the provision for appointing an acting representative, when required. These changes would allow government to expand the Representative for Children and Youth's advocacy mandate, by regulation. Priority would be given to developing regulations that allow the representative to continue to advocate on behalf of young adults - 19 to 24 year olds - with developmental disabilities as they transition from youth services into adult services through Community Living BC. This would help to ensure these young adults' needs are met during what can be a difficult transition.
School Act - This amendment will require boards of education to establish a policy promoting the use of board property by licensed child-care providers between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, provided the property is not required for K-12 educational programs, extra-curricular school activities, or early learning programs. This will ensure that all boards promote the use of their property for child-care purposes as much as reasonably possible - without disrupting educational activities - to maximize the availability of affordable child care in schools.
Statute Revision Act validation - Every year, government is made aware of small errors - such as spelling errors - that are in various pieces of legislation and as an interim fix, corrections are made by regulation. The changes reflected in the regulations are being put before the legislature to be finalized.
Vancouver Bible Institute Enabling Act - Repealed in 2010, the Vancouver Bible Institute Enabling Act (1968) governed a private theological post-secondary institution (the Canadian Baptist Seminary). Restoring this act will re-establish the institution's right to grant theological degrees.
Child, Family and Community Service Act
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Clean Energy Act and Liquor Control and Licensing Act
Ministry of Energy Mines and Natural Gas
Forensic Psychiatry Act and Medicare Protection Act
Ministry of Health
Forest Act and Land Act
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Integrated Pest Management Act and Provincial Symbols and Honours Act
Ministry of Environment
Interpretation Act, Statute Revision Act and Representative for Children and Youth Act
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Education
Vancouver Bible Institute Enabling Act
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology