Can the Court of Appeal Suspend a Trial Order Setting Aside a Local Government Bylaw?

The question of whether the British Columbia Court of Appeal has the jurisdiction and authority to suspend an order by the B.C. Supreme Court setting aside or quashing local government bylaws pending an appeal has not been expressly answered by the Court of Appeal until just recently. (more…)

Not for Sale: Banning Commercial Signs

During every Federal Election, my father is not satisfied with having just an ordinary lawn sign in his front yard. He erects those 4×8 foot signs you see on highways on his front lawn. I’d like to stop that unsightly aesthetic and not just because Dad’s political preferences differ from my own. (more…)

Local Government’s Duty to Consult with First Nations

In its 2003 judgment in Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests), the Supreme Court of Canada held that the when the provincial and federal Crown contemplate conduct that may adversely affect aboriginal right or title, they have a duty to consult with first nations. This duty is apart from any statutory requirement, and arises when they have knowledge, real or constructive, of the potential existence of the aboriginal right or title. (more…)

Free Camping in Parks

We’ve had a pretty cold winter so I’m going to hope that our summer will be dry and hot. That’s good because I love to camp… legally that is. For many local governments, a dry hot summer may lead to an increase in unlawful camping. This will require an expansion of municipal services.

In B.C. more people may seek to camp in public parks, given the City of Victoria v. Adams decision (see our October 2008 Client Bulletin). Indeed, with this global economic downturn, the City of Sacramento, California installed portapotties along its riverbank for a tent city comprised of about 150 homeless people. (more…)

Court of Appeal Upholds LGA s.943 Ruling (Sort of!)

In the Summer 2008 issue, we reported on the B.C. Supreme Court Ruling in 694385 B.C. Ltd. v. Capital Regional District regarding the interpretation of s. 943 of the Local Government Act. In that case the court disagreed with the petitioner’s attempt to argue that the one-year grace period created by s. 943 applied to any bylaw under part 26 of the Local Government Act rather than limiting the application of the section to only those bylaws that would be applicable to the subdivision. We also advised you that the petitioner was appealing that decision to the Court of Appeal. (more…)

The Far Reach of Freedom of Information to Local Government Subsidiaries

Local governments that have created corporations to operate their activities have an interest in the outcome of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia (Order F09-08) – Corporation of the Village of Burns Lake, April 30, 2009, where two applicants made requests for information under the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) to the Village of Burns Lake (the Village) and to two other entities – the Burns Lake Community Forest Ltd. (BCLF) and ComFor Management Services Ltd. (ComFor). The information requested related to several entities connected with the Burns Lake Community Forest in northern British Columbia. (more…)

You Should be A-Waltzing with TILMA Today

The Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (“TILMA”), an agreement between the governments of British Columbia and Alberta came into effect on April 1, 2009 for the MASH sector (municipalities, academic institutions, schools and hospitals) in British Columbia. (more…)

No Defamation Remedy for Local Government

The law of defamation has recently changed for local government in British Columbia.

In 1975, the British Columbia Court of Appeal in the City of Prince George v. British Columbia Television Systems Ltd. held that local government could bring an action for defamation. The Court held that since every incorporated municipality has all the rights and liabilities of a corporation and because a corporation had a right of action in defamation that a municipal corporation had the same right. In response to concerns about protecting freedom of speech, the Court of Appeal stated: (more…)

On the Waterfront – Two Recent Cases Examine the Authority to Regulate the Marine Environment

The British Columbia courts have recently released two important decisions relating to the constitutional authority of governments to regulate the marine environment. In one of them, Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee v. B&B Ganges Marina Ltd., 2008 BCCA 544 (“B&B Ganges”), the Court of Appeal examined a local government’s authority to regulate a floating structure under its zoning bylaw. In the other, Morton v. British Columbia (Minister of Agriculture and Lands), 2009 BCSC 136 (“Morton”), the B.C. Supreme Court examined the province’s authority to regulate fish farming through its aquaculture regulations. In each case, the court was faced with the question of whether the challenged regulations intruded into an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction, a finding that would render those regulations invalid. (more…)

The Summer of Discontent: The 2009 Major Industry Tax Revolt

In the midst of the global recession, which has severely affected the British Columbia economy generally and the economies of resource communities in particular, several communities across British Columbia are facing an unprecedented tax revolt by major industry.

In Campbell River, North Cowichan, Port Alberni and Powell River proceedings have been commenced in British Columbia Supreme Court by Catalyst Paper Corporation seeking to set aside the Tax Rates Bylaw in each of those communities, and, pending the decision by the Court, Catalyst has only paid a portion of its municipal taxes. (more…)