The Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2021, was introduced in the legislative assembly on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.
If passed by the legislature, the amendments will affect the following provincial statutes:
Adoption Act (AA)
Amendments to the AA will authorize information-sharing under the act and provide the legal authority for directors to share adoption information with the Government of Canada that would support adult adoptees seeking status under the Indian Act. The changes will establish this authority to support First Nation adoptees in obtaining their status so they can gain access to federal health, dental and other benefits.
Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act
Government continues to work to protect financially vulnerable people from predatory lending practices. Amendments to the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act will update provisions pertaining to high-cost credit products, such as high-interest loans and lines of credit. The changes will clarify borrower cancellation rights around holidays and update transitional provisions.
These amendments will enable the enactment of 2019 legislation to regulate high-cost credit products. Once enacted, the new regulatory framework will establish licensing requirements for high-cost credit providers, strengthen consumer protections for borrowers and improve affordability for the most financially vulnerable people in B.C.
Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA)
Amendments to the CFCSA will align the act with the information-sharing requirements of the federal statute, an act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families (the federal act) and allow for the expanded use of virtual technology under the CFCSA.
Aligning the CFCSA with the federal act will ensure there is clear authority to enter into co-ordination agreements and information-sharing agreements, and for CFCSA directors to provide information obtained under the CFCSA to the Government of Canada and to Indigenous communities. The expanded use of virtual technology is currently authorized under the CFCSA in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes will ensure these technologies can continue to be aligned with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will help improve options for service delivery.
Civil Resolution Tribunal Act (CRTA)
Amendments to the CRTA will improve provisions relating to judicial review of Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) decisions. The CRT is Canada’s first online dispute resolution tribunal. It can resolve strata property (condominium) disputes, small claims disputes, motor-vehicle accident disputes and disputes about societies and co-operative associations.
The amendments will clarify the legislated standard of review applied by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in applications to review decisions of the CRT. These amendments will improve access to justice for parties involved in judicial review of CRT decisions and will promote consistency in British Columbia’s administrative justice system.
Amendments to the Offence Act will provide the legislative clarity needed to ensure that violation tickets issued by Treaty First Nations under their own laws may be disputed in Provincial Court under the summary conviction proceedings of the act.
The Offence Act establishes the framework on how municipal, provincial and federal contravention tickets can be disputed and enforced in British Columbia. The Maa-nulth First Nations, Tla’amin Nation and Tsawwassen First Nation have the right to make their own laws, create offences and enforce those laws through the Provincial Court of British Columbia. However, it is currently not clear in the Offence Act that people who are served with violation tickets by Treaty First Nations can dispute them in Provincial Court under the act. Due to this lack of clarity, Treaty First Nations have not been issuing violation tickets.
The proposed amendments to the Offence Act will strengthen Treaty First Nations’ rights to self-determination and demonstrate the Province’s commitment to lasting and meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The Ministry of Attorney General has worked in partnership with Treaty First Nations to develop these amendments.
Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA)
Amendments to the OGAA will provide the Oil and Gas Commission with enabling powers to exempt oil and gas development permit holders from requirements of the Dormancy and Shutdown Regulation (DSR) in circumstances that merit it and to impose conditions on the exemptions. The DSR requires permit holders to clean up oil and gas well sites within prescribed time periods. The exemption power will support the timely restoration of well sites by providing flexibility to address technical issues, minimize unnecessary surface disturbance and improve efficiency.
Passenger Transportation Act
An amendment to the Passenger Transportation Act will move the appointment date of a special committee reviewing passenger-directed transportation from on or before Jan. 1, 2022, to on or before July 1, 2023. The special committee’s review will assess the effects of taxi modernization and the introduction of ride hailing. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the passenger-directed transportation industry has not been operating in a normal state. Moving the appointment date will allow the committee to assess the industry when it is operating in a more typical state.
Representative for Children and Youth Act (RCYA)
Amendments to the RCYA will enable a greater number of vulnerable young adults to benefit from the representative for children and youth’s advocacy assistance. New criteria will be set where the age requirement will be expanded by three years to 26 to align with other government services and programs for vulnerable young adults, such as the Agreements with Young Adults and tuition-waiver programs.
As well, other eligibility criteria will be broadened and simplified to allow more young adults to access the representative’s advocacy. The defined term “young adults” will be replaced with “included adults” to recognize the eligibility criteria other than age.
The proposed amendments will also clarify a definition issue in the statute. The RCYA is the enabling statute of the representative for children and youth, an independent officer of the legislature that sets out the appointment, functions and powers of the office.
Safety Standards Act
An amendment to the Safety Standards Act will enable the development of regulations for the safety oversight of trampoline parks and other similar amusement devices. This will allow the Province to work with industry to help ensure amusement devices, including trampoline parks, are safe for British Columbians of all ages.
The regulation will be introduced through a phased transition to mitigate compliance costs for industry and allow time to adapt to new requirements.
Treaty First Nation Taxation Act
An amendment to the Treaty First Nation Taxation Act will establish a regulation-making power to provide or enable time-limited property tax exemptions for eligible Treaty members or constituents for property on eligible Treaty lands of a taxing Treaty First Nation.
This regulation-making power was identified as necessary by the Province and taxing Treaty First Nations as a short-term measure to support continued work on property tax systems on Treaty lands. In the absence of other measures, a change in a Treaty member’s taxation status resulting from the expiry of a Treaty’s transitional tax exemption has the potential to create adverse consequences for the administration and enforcement of a taxing Treaty First Nation’s property taxation system. This amendment establishes a mechanism for taxing Treaty First Nations to temporarily maintain the property taxation status quo on their Treaty lands while broader Treaty property tax work is underway. Exemptions under the proposed regulation-making power will only be established on the request of a taxing Treaty First Nation.
This amendment is the result of collaboration and consultation between the Ministry of Finance and the Treaty First Nations.