Province Introduces Bill 43, Housing Supply Act – If You Don’t Build It, They Will Come

The BC government has introduced Bill 43 – 2022, the “Housing Supply Act” to the legislature, with the stated intention of providing “a framework for housing targets to be established for specified municipalities, and for the minister or Lieutenant Governor in Council to take certain actions if housing targets are not met.” The proposed legislation represents a significant incursion by the Province into local land use and planning authority, and provides the authority for the Province to directly override the decisions of municipal councils, including the power to enact a bylaw in the name of a municipality (more…)

CASE COMMENT: REGULATION OF LAND MAY RESULT IN LIABILITY FOR CONSTRUCTIVE TAKING

Annapolis Group Inc. v. Halifax Regional Municipality, 2022 SCC 36

The Supreme Court of Canada has issued a decision coming out of the province of Nova Scotia which broadens the basis upon which a local government may be held liable for “constructive taking” of private lands.

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Public Law Duties ≠ Private Law Duties of Care

Local governments, like other public bodies and officials, are required by legislation to perform specific public duties and responsibilities. If these “public law duties” are not conducted correctly, this may be grounds for finding that the decision or action was improper, and a court may send the matter back for reconsideration. However, it does not necessarily give rise to a claim in negligence. To successfully bring a lawsuit for negligence, the plaintiff must show that the public body or official owed the plaintiff a “private law duty of care”. (more…)

Amendments to Sign Bylaw Leads to Constitutional Challenge and Allegations of Bad Faith

Kaps v City of Surrey, 2022 BCSC 1191 (“Kaps“) is a recent decision of the BC Supreme Court which highlights the importance of ensuring that prohibitions in a sign bylaw are clear and concise in meaning so as to avoid infringing the constitutional protection for  freedom of expression. The Kaps decision also reiterated the evidentiary burden that must be met when a person alleges that a bylaw was enacted for an improper motive or in bad faith. (more…)

Reasons for Reconsideration Refusals: BC Supreme Court Reviews the Sufficiency of Reasons in the Context of a Reconsideration of a Business Licence Refusal

The BC Supreme Court recently added to the volume of caselaw regarding the procedural fairness requirements that are applied in reviewing decisions of municipal governments.

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SMS: Legal Bulletin

SMS was pleased to attend and present at the 2022 LGMA Conference in Penticton. Please see our special edition SMS Newsletter that we prepared for the conference.

Surprise, You’re Ostracized!: The Necessity of Procedural Fairness in the Discipline of Elected Officials

How should a council or board respond when one of its members has engaged in inappropriate or undesirable conduct? What sort of process is required? Controversial social media posts by the mayor, public fallout, and the disciplinary steps council attempted to take in response, are at the heart of the BC Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Michetti v. Pouce Coupe (Village), 2022 BCSC 472 (“Michetti”).

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Time Limit Imposed on “Emergencies” under the Emergency Program Act

In the recent decision of Rosewall v. Sechelt (District of), 2022 BCSC 20, Justice Gomery of the BC Supreme Court has found the Province liable in nuisance arising from circumstances related to the exercise of statutory authority contained in the Emergency Program Act (“EPA“). In his decision, Justice Gomery concluded that the EPA contemplates an emergency as only being “of a temporary nature, as opposed to a usual and enduring state of affairs”. The decision has potential implications for any local governments with states of local emergency that are regularly being extended. (more…)

Reasonableness Review: A Case Study of Anderson v Strathcona Regional District

The BC Supreme Court has released reasons in Anderson v Strathcona Regional District, 2021 BCSC 1800 [Anderson] which provides an excellent example of the Court applying the reasonableness standard of review, as recently re-articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada in Vavilov, to decisions of a local government. (more…)

What the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision in Nelson (City) v Marchi Means for Local Government Policy Development and the Policy Immunity Defence

This month the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its judgment in Nelson (City) v Marchi, 2021 SCC 4. The decision provides greater clarity on how to identify and assess “core policy decisions” of local governments. This is an important decision impacting on the availability of the “policy immunity defence”, of which all local governments in Canada should take notice.

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