LGMA Presentations You Do Not Want to Miss – Thursday, June 18

The Local Government Management Association annual conference is scheduled for June 16 – 19 in Prince George. Colin Stewart will be presenting a legal update on matters of interest to municipalities and regional districts.  Susan Beach will be presenting on how to accommodate disabilities in the workforce and reduce liability for human rights complaints.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Bill 29 Expands Tax Exemptions for Independent Schools

The BC Legislature has given first reading to Bill 29 – 2015, the Property Taxation (Exemptions) Statutes Amendment Act, 2015 (“Bill 29”). If it becomes law, Bill 29 will repeal and replace the language of subsection 220(1)(l) of the Community Charter, and subsection 15(1)(o) of the Taxation (Rural Area) Act. In its current form, the language of those sections only provides tax exemption for the building comprising an independent school, and the land on which the building sits. Under the proposed language, the tax exemption will extend to surrounding land and improvements used for school purposes, including playing fields, playgrounds and athletic facilities, storage, maintenance and administrative facilities, dormitories, parking lots, walkways, and roads.

City of Edmonton Fails to Curb Uber

The recent case of City of Edmonton v. Uber Canada Inc., 2015 ABQB 214 is the latest decision examining whether or not Uber Canada is operating a taxi brokerage business in contravention of local bylaws.

In this case, the City of Edmonton argued that Uber was operating in the City without a valid business licence or taxi broker licence. The City was seeking a statutory injunction against Uber to cease their operations. Uber Canada was not issued any tickets; however, three drivers in the City had been issued a total of six tickets for violating bylaws. (more…)

Opening Prayers at Municipal Council Meetings Violates Freedom of Religion

The Supreme Court of Canada recently made national headlines with its decision in the case of Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City) 2015 SCC 16. The decision affirms the requirement for state neutrality in matters of religious belief. As a result, it seems there is no place for prayers or other forms of religious observance within the council chambers of local governments in Canada. (more…)

Upcoming PBLI Presentation

On May 20, Colin Stewart will be lecturing in Vancouver for the Pacific Business and Law Institute on Local Governments and Health and Criminal Regulation.

Court Approves TLC Restructuring

Financially troubled land conservation organization TLC The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (“TLC”) recently took a significant step forward in its restructuring efforts under the provisions of the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (the “CCAA”). With the overwhelming support of its creditors, both secured and unsecured, TLC brought forward for approval of the British Columbia Supreme Court a plan of compromise and arrangement (the “Plan”) at a hearing on April 2, 2015. The Court approved the Plan, with reasons for judgment to follow. The Court’s reasons were released on April 27, 2015, and they provide an occasion to recap the proceedings, and to assess the potential implications as TLC moves forward with implementing the Plan. The reasons of the Court are reported at TLC The Land Conservancy of British Columbia (Re), 2015 B.C.S.C. 656. (more…)

Bill 24 Modernizes Societies Legislation

Bill 24-2015, the Societies Act, has been given First Reading in the Legislature. This Bill repeals the current Society Act, enacted in 1977, replacing it with something akin to a scaled back and simplified version of the BC Business Corporations Act. Local governments may interact with incorporated societies in a number of ways, including as providers of funding or facilities, or as stakeholders with representatives appointed to society boards of directors. As such, local governments should be aware of some of the impending changes to the legislation governing societies.

The Province’s 2014 White Paper gives some insight into the motivation behind the changes in the proposed Societies Act: (more…)

Upcoming Presentation – Privacy Issues in Pandemic Planning

On Thursday, April 30, 2015 Susan Beach will be speaking about Privacy Issues in Pandemic Planning at a joint meeting of the Health Law Section and Freedom of Information & Privacy Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch, to be held in Vancouver at the law offices of Harper Grey LLP.

Case Law Update – Bradshaw v. Victoria (City)

In an October 2013 post, we reported on the Supreme Court of British Columbia decision in Bradshaw v. Victoria (City). In reasons for judgment released January 7, 2015, the Court of Appeal dismissed Mr. Bradshaw’s appeal and for the most part approved the reasons of the chambers judge. For the facts of the case, please refer to our earlier post.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Court of Appeal found that the City’s consultation respecting the proposed Official Community Plan was reasonable. While the OCP’s development permit requirements were expanded late in the consultation process, and while there was less opportunity for consultation about the amended provisions than in relation to the OCP as a whole, the Court of Appeal concluded that this was part and parcel of the consultation process, since it is to be expected that proposed legislation will change as a result of the consultation process. (more…)

Bill 27 – A New Liquor Control and Licensing Act

The ongoing changes to British Columbia’s liquor laws are continuing with the introduction in the Legislature of Bill 27 – the “Liquor Control and Licensing Act” – which if passed will replace the current statute of the same name. (more…)