Campaign Contributions from Developers with “In-Stream” Development Applications held not to Create a Conflict of Interest.

In Reasons for Judgement issued January 8, 2021 in Allan v Froese, 2021 BCSC 28 [Allan], the BC Supreme Court upheld the long-standing principle that the acceptance of a campaign contribution from a developer to an elected local government official does not establish that the official has a monetary interest in that developer’s matters before council without evidence of “something more”.

Jeff Locke and Andrew Buckley of Stewart McDannold Stuart “vigorously defended” the mayor, two current councilors and one former councilor from the Township of Langley in the Allen matter and successfully argued that the fact that a developer’s development applications were “in-stream” before council at the time the contributions were received does not constitute that “something more”. As Justice Walker concluded at the end of his judgement: (more…)

Season’s Greetings from Stewart McDannold Stuart

From all of the lawyers and support staff at Stewart McDannold Stuart, we wish you all the best for the holiday season, and a happy and prosperous New Year.

In lieu of sending greeting cards this year, we have made a donation support of Victoria’s Sandy Merriman House, which has been providing shelter and support for women in need since 1995.

David Giroday Joins Stewart McDannold Stuart

Stewart McDannold Stuart is pleased to welcome our newest associate, David Giroday. David is a graduate of the University of Windsor law school, and was called to the bar in 2019 after completing his articles with a well known law firm in Vancouver. David will be working with our litigation group providing services to our local government clients.

 

The Limitation Defence in the Public Authorities Context: A Tool for Disposing of Claims Summarily

The civic functions performed by many public authorities put their employees in routine contact with members of the public. As can be expected, their public-facing nature will consequently make these public bodies and their employees the target of some frivolous litigation. The finite time and financial resources available to address these nuisance claims are an unfortunate reality that strains the legal budgets of public authorities and acts as a drain on the use of limited court resources. Addressing and disposing of such claims in a time and cost-sensitive manner is in the best interest of the public authority so that these organizations and their legal counsel can focus their time and resources on more pressing legal matters. (more…)

New COVID-19 Restrictions in British Columbia Affecting Employers

On November 19, 2020, pursuant to the province’s ongoing state of emergency relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government announced new province-wide restrictions by order of the Provincial Health Officer, many of which affect employers, including local governments.

COVID-19 Safety Plans:

Most notably, employers are being asked to review their COVID-19 Safety Plans. We wrote about the requirement for all employers to develop and implement a COVID-19 Safety Plan in a previous blog post. WorkSafeBC has now provided a guide for employers for reviewing and updating their COVID-19 Safety Plans. The restrictions also emphasize that an employer must ensure that a worker attending the employer’s work site has done a daily health check for symptoms of COVID-19. (more…)

Surrey not Responsible for Tree Fallen on a Car Due to Policy Defence

A claim against the City of Surrey recently came before the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal for the relatively modest amount of $5,000, but the decision of the Tribunal is nevertheless illustrative of the power of the policy immunity defence for local governments facing claims of negligence. (more…)

2020 LGMA Corporate Officers Forum

Kathryn Stuart will be attending the LGMA Corporate Officers Forum. On October 8th, she will be presenting a session on Ethics and the Law.

Supreme Court of Canada Greenlights Appeal of Municipal Snow Clearing Case

On August 20, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to hear a future appeal in the matter of Marchi v. City of Nelson.

This case arose from an incident in Nelson, BC in January 2015. The City was experiencing a heavy snowfall and on the early morning of January 5 sent out City crews to plow the main downtown area. The plowing created snowbanks along the curb and onto the sidewalk of the streets.  On January 6, 2015, Ms. Marchi parked her car along Baker Street in downtown Nelson and attempted to make her way to the sidewalk. Seeing no other convenient way of getting to the sidewalk, she attempted to walk over the snowbank left by the City’s work crews, which was approximately 2’ high, 2-3’ wide, and appeared to run the length of the block. As Ms. Marchi attempted to cross the snowbank, her right foot sunk deep into the snow and she suffered a serious injury to her leg. Ms. Marchi sued the City, alleging it was negligent in leaving the snowbanks along the road without spaces for pedestrians to cross from their car onto the sidewalk. (more…)

Won’t you be my neighbour?

The recent decision of Pellegrin v. Wheeldon, 2020 BCPC 143 reads as an “instructable” on neighbourly nuisances.  In Judge Catherine Crockett’s judgment she reviews a lengthy history of behaviour between neighbours that would make Mr. Rogers shudder. Judge Crockett uses this decision as an opportunity to give a lesson on the torts of nuisance and trespass, and the differences and similarities between these causes of actions. As most local governments have the power to regulate or prohibit nuisances by bylaw pursuant to sections 8(3)(h) and 64 of the Community Charter or Division 6 of Part 9 of the Local Government Act,  it is an interesting case to read for the sheer volume of different types of objectionable behaviour that are captured in the decision.

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Employment Standards Act Temporary COVID-19 Layoff Provision Extended

In the context of the novel coronavirus, employers in British Columbia, including local governments, have been increasingly faced with difficult decisions relating to contracts of employment. Employers are contending with the need to balance their obligations towards employees with the practical and financial realities of maintaining operations. In the present circumstances, employers are therefore increasingly resorting to layoffs as a means of attenuating the financial and operational impact of COVID-19. (more…)