Vavilov in Action: New Test and Framework for Standard of Review applied in Local Government Context

As addressed in a previous post, in December 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65 [Vavilov] which introduced a new test for the determination of the applicable standard of review of administrative decisions and revised the framework for conducting reasonableness review. (more…)

Always Doesn’t Mean Forever: Reasonableness Reigns Supreme in Vavilov

Twenty years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada declared in the case of Nanaimo (City) v. Rascal Trucking Ltd.1, that the question of whether a local government was acting within the scope of its authority should be determined on the standard of correctness. Subsequently, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that such a question “will always be reviewed on a standard of correctness”.2

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Societies and the Civil Resolution Tribunal

On July 15, 2019, sections of Bill 22, Civil Resolution Tribunal Amendment Act, British Columbia, 2018, c.17 came into force and amended the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act, SBC 2012, c.25 (the “CRTA“) and the Societies Act, SBC 2015, c.18 (the “Societies Act“). The amendments provide the Civil Resolution Tribunal (the “CRT“) with jurisdiction to resolve disputes over certain claims under the Societies Act.

Societies should be aware of these amendments because members may apply to the CRT in order to challenge a society’s interpretation or application of the Societies Act as well as certain actions, threatened actions or decisions of a society. Also, citizens may apply to the CRT in order to challenge a society’s decision or interpretation of provisions respecting access to records or financial statements.

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Plastic Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw Quashed

In 2018, the City of Victoria successfully defended a petition brought by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association to quash the City of Victoria’s Checkout Bag Regulation Bylaw which prohibited businesses from providing customers with single-use plastic checkout bags. The Supreme Court determined that the Bylaw was a regulation of business and even though it may have incidental effects on the protection of the environment, that did not affect the validity of the Bylaw.

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Local Government Officials and the Duty of Care: The BC Court of Appeal Reverses the BC Supreme Court Decision in Wu v. Vancouver (City)

Introduction

By its  January 21, 2019 decision in Wu. V. Vancouver (City), 2019 BCCA 23, the BC Court of Appeal has overturned the 2017 decision of the BC Supreme Court in the case of Wu v. Vancouver (City), 2017 BCSC 2072 and has made important findings as it relates to the limits of legal duties owed by public bodies such as local governments, and the liability to which they may be exposed. (more…)

The Latest Chapter in the Development of “Occupation” Law

In two recent decisions, Saanich (District) v Brett, 2018 BCSC 1648 (“Saanich”) and Nanaimo (City) v Courtoreille, 2018 BCSC 1629 (“Nanaimo”), the BC Supreme Court considered local government applications to the Court for pre-trial injunctions to terminate unauthorized homeless encampments.  Generally, these cases represent examples of the Court undertaking a balancing of the homeless population’s need for shelter and against the nature of these encampments within the context of the duties and authority of public authorities to reasonably manage lands falling within their jurisdiction.  (more…)

Property Maintenance Bylaw Upheld as Valid

The Village of Chase recently defeated a challenge to the validity of its Property Maintenance Bylaw by local business owners in Chase Discount Auto Sales Ltd. v Waugh, 2018 BCSC 2014. Mr. Justice Grauer of the B.C. Supreme Court dismissed the judicial review petition of the business owners and helpfully summarized the relationship between the bylaw powers and remedial action requirement authority of local governments provided by the Community Charter, SBC 2003, c. 26.  (more…)

Right or Reasonable: Judicial Review of the Decisions of Bylaw Adjudicators

In Romegioli v. Langley (Township) 2018 BCSC 1867, the B.C. Supreme Court recently had opportunity to judicially review the decision of a bylaw adjudicator upholding over 500 bylaw infraction notices (with associated fees and costs of approximately $270,000) that had been issued to the petitioner, Mr. Romegioli, relating to the operation of a cannabis dispensary. The dispensary caught the attention of Langley for breaches of multiple bylaws relating to operations, renovations and signage.

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BC Courts Deferential to Local Government Decisions Granting or Denying DVPs

In 1139652 B.C. Ltd. v Whistler (Resort Municipality), 2018 BCSC 1806, the B.C. Supreme Court recently reviewed a decision of the resort municipality of Whistler denying a property owner’s application for a Development Variance Permit (DVP). The Court upheld the decision, finding that it was reasonable.

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The Building Inspector’s Toolkit: The Geotechnical Covenant

In Compagna v. Nanaimo (City), 2018 BCCA 396, the British Columbia Court of Appeal has confirmed an earlier B.C. Supreme Court decision that recognized a building inspector’s discretion to request additional geotechnical reports following subdivision approval, at the building permit stage, as being consistent with the intent of section 56 of the Community Charter. Section 56 is a mechanism that local government building inspectors can use to require a geotechnical engineering report when a building or structure is proposed on hazardous lands, for example land at risk of landslide or flooding. The purpose of requiring such a report is to determine the suitability of the lands for the proposed building or structure and to obtain professional  recommendations for conditions necessary to ensure the safe use of the land.

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