Government introduced the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2023, to the legislative assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023.
If passed, the amendments will affect the following provincial statutes:
Statute Revision Act – Validation and Confirmation Provision
This confirmation provision validates changes that have been made by regulation. Under section 12 of the Statute Revision Act, minor errors in legislation can be corrected by regulation, but any such corrections must be confirmed by the legislature before the last day of the next session after the regulation is made. This provision gives continuing effect to an administrative amendment to the Child, Family and Community Service Act made by B.C. Regulation 103/2022.
Hospital Act and Medicare Protection Act
Amendments to the Hospital Act and Medicare Protection Act recognize the British Columbia Medical Association’s name change in 2020 to the Association of Doctors of BC. The organization is specifically referenced in the acts, which need to be updated to reflect the correct name. The amendments are administrative.
Protected Areas of British Columbia Act
The amendment to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act will remove 14 hectares of land from Thorsen Creek Conservancy to correct an error in the boundary description that was made when the conservancy was established in 2008. Located outside of Bella Coola, the area included in error is the location of industrial activities and infrastructure that existed prior to the conservancy being designated. These activities are inappropriate in a conservancy.
Park Act and Ecological Reserve Act
Amendments to the Ecological Reserve Act and Park Act will give BC Parks the ability to determine administrative penalties (fines) as part of a range of tools to address those who violate regulations in ecological reserves and parks. This will help fulfill BC Parks’ mandate to protect parks and ecological reserves, along with human health and safety, while removing less serious cases from an overburdened court system.
Special Accounts Appropriation and Control Act
Amendments to the Special Accounts Appropriation and Control Act will direct revenue from those administrative penalties enabled by changes to the Park Act and Ecological Reserve Act to the Park Enhancement Fund. This funding will go toward ensuring offenders pay for the costs of their offences, including the costs needed to detect and prove violations, and to remedy environmental damage to Crown resources caused by the non-compliance.
Local Government Act
The proposed amendment will require municipalities to serve notice to a property owner or mortgage holder of their intent to sell the property to recover unpaid taxes at the municipal tax sale auction. The notice must be delivered by mail or other means at least 60 days before the date of the tax sale auction. The notice will serve as a warning to a property owner in advance of the event that their property will be offered at the auction unless the debts are paid.
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
Amendments to Section 3 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act will restore coverage for the independent officers of the legislature and the auditor general for local government. Coverage was inadvertently removed during drafting of changes to the act in 2021. The amendments will be retroactive to Nov. 25, 2021, the date the changes came into force.
Insurance Corporation Act
The change to the Insurance Corporation Act is housekeeping in nature and corrects the name of another statute referenced in the act.