The members of the 2021 Electoral Boundaries Commission tasked with recommending provincial electoral boundaries before the next election have been appointed.
The Government of B.C. has appointed Justice Nitya Iyer of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, who will chair the three-person panel. The other two appointees are Linda Tynan, professional local government management consultant, and Anton Boegman, British Columbia’s chief electoral officer.
Members of the commission must include a judge or a retired judge of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal, B.C.’s current chief electoral officer and a third member recommended by the Speaker of the House in consultation with the premier and leader of the Opposition.
Amendments to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act were passed by the legislative assembly in June 2021 and improve commission independence, respond to B.C. population growth and restore flexibility to the commission.
The intent of these amendments is to ensure the location of political boundaries between seats is determined not by politicians, but by the independent commission with a legislated mandate to establish effective representation for British Columbians. The commission will be asked to achieve through recommendations, to the extent possible, the fundamental democratic principle that everyone’s vote should be reasonably equal in weight in choosing elected officials.
Other factors that will be considered by the commission under the legislation will be population, geography, means of communication and means of transportation to recognize representation concerns in less-populated regions and help ensure effective representation throughout the province.
The commission will seek community input through a provincewide consultation before developing its recommendations. A preliminary report must be submitted to the Speaker within a year of the commission’s appointment. A final report must be submitted within six months of the release of the preliminary report.
A backgrounder follows.