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Community Charter

[SBC 2003] CHAPTER 26

Part 9 — Governmental Relations

Division 1 — Provincial-Municipal Relations

Required consultations

276  (1) The minister responsible must consult with representatives of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities before the Provincial government

(a) reduces the amount of revenue transfers under the Local Government Grants Act,

(b) proposes the amendment or repeal of this Act, the Local Government Act, the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act or the Local Government Grants Act, or

(c) proposes the enactment, amendment or repeal of

(i)   a regulation under

(A)  section 199 [property tax rates], or

(B)  section 286 (1) (b) [mandatory binding arbitration],

(ii)   a regulation under the Local Government Grants Act, or

(iii)   another enactment prescribed by regulation as being subject to the requirements of this section.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the minister responsible must

(a) provide the representatives with sufficient information respecting the proposed change, and

(b) allow the representatives sufficient time before the proposed legislation is introduced in the Legislative Assembly, the regulation is made or the estimates are tabled in the Legislative Assembly, as applicable,

for the representatives to consider the proposed change and provide their comments to that minister.

(3) The minister responsible must consider any comments provided by the representatives under this section and, if requested by them, must respond to those comments.

(4) The minister responsible may require an individual to make an oath or affirmation of confidentiality before the individual may participate in consultations under this section.

(5) The minister responsible may enter into a memorandum of understanding or other arrangement with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities establishing alternatives to the obligations that would otherwise be applicable under this section.

Consultation agreements

277  (1) The minister responsible may enter into a memorandum of understanding or other arrangement with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities respecting consultations on

(a) Provincial and municipal enactments, policies and programs,

(b) interprovincial, national or international issues or agreements, or

(c) any other matter that affects local governments or the Province.

(2) The minister responsible and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities must

(a) if requested by the other party, engage in negotiations respecting an arrangement under this section, and

(b) use all reasonable efforts to reach agreement in negotiating an arrangement under this section.

(3) Without limiting the issues that may be dealt with by an arrangement under this section, such an arrangement may include provisions respecting one or more of the following:

(a) who is to be consulted;

(b) when and how the consultation is to take place;

(c) information that is to be provided for the purposes of consultation;

(d) how responses are to be provided and dealt with;

(e) confidentiality.

Enforcement of obligations

278  The only persons who may enforce an obligation under section 276[required consultations] or 277 [consultation agreements] are

(a) the Provincial government, and

(b) the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.

No forced amalgamations

279  If a new municipality would include 2 or more existing municipalities, letters patent incorporating the new municipality may not be issued unless

(a) a vote has been taken in accordance with section 8 of the Local Government Act separately in each of the existing municipalities, and

(b) for each of those municipalities, more than 50% of the votes counted as valid favour the proposed incorporation.

Division 2 — Provincial Regulations

Regulations providing exemptions from approval requirements

280  (1) In this section:

"approval requirement" means a provision in or under this or any other Act that has the effect of requiring approval or consent of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, a minister, the inspector or another official before a municipal bylaw or other action is adopted, is taken or is effective;

"responsible authority" means

(a) in relation to approval or consent of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the Lieutenant Governor in Council,

(b) in relation to approval or consent of a minister, that minister,

(c) in relation to approval or consent of the inspector, the minister responsible for this Act, and

(d) in relation to approval or consent of another official, the minister responsible for the provision establishing the approval requirement.

(2) Despite this or any other Act, the responsible authority may, by regulation, provide exemptions from an approval requirement.

(3) A regulation under this section may provide that an exemption is or may be made subject to the terms and conditions specified by the minister responsible or by a person designated by name or title in the regulation.

Regulations providing additional powers and exceptions

281  (1) Despite this or any other Act, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, do one or more of the following in relation to a specified municipality or a described class of municipalities:

(a) provide a power, including a power to regulate, prohibit and impose requirements;

(b) provide an exception to or a modification of a requirement or condition established by an enactment;

(c) establish any terms and conditions the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers appropriate regarding a power, modification or exception under this section;

(d) authorize a minister to establish any terms and conditions the minister considers appropriate regarding a power, modification or exception under this section.

(2) As restrictions, a regulation made under this section may not do any of the following:

(a) override an absolute prohibition contained in an enactment;

(b) confer an authority to impose a new tax;

(c) confer an authority to grant a new tax exemption;

(d) eliminate a requirement for obtaining the assent of the electors, unless that requirement is modified by replacing it with a requirement for obtaining the approval of the electors by alternative approval process.

General regulation authority

282  (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) prescribing a body as a public authority or a local authority for the purposes of one or more provisions of this Act or the Local Government Act;

(b) without affecting any assignment under sections 9 to 11 of the Constitution Act, designating a minister as the minister responsible in relation to a matter for the purposes of section 9[spheres of concurrent authority], 276 [required consultations] or 277 [consultation agreements];

(c) in relation to section 93[application of open meeting rules to other bodies] or 145 [application of procedure rules to other bodies], or both,

(i)   prescribing a body or class of body for the purposes of the section,

(ii)   excluding a specified body from the application of the section, or

(iii)   modifying any of the provisions of the section in relation to a specified body;

(d) establishing requirements respecting the form and content of elector response forms for the purposes of section 86[alternative approval process];

(e) providing exceptions to provisions of Division 6[Conflict of Interest] of Part 4[Public Participation and Council Accountability];

(f) defining words and expressions used in Parts 6[Financial Management] and 7 [Municipal Revenue];

(g) prescribing matters for the purposes of section 286[mandatory binding arbitration];

(h) respecting any other matter for which regulations are contemplated by this Act.

Variation authority

283  In addition to any other variation authority that is specifically provided, a regulation that may be made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council or a minister under any provision of this Act may

(a) establish different classes of bylaws, municipalities, persons, property, circumstances and other matters,

(b) make different provisions, including exceptions, for different classes of bylaws, municipalities, persons, property, circumstances and other matters, and

(c) make different provisions, including exceptions, for different bylaws, different municipalities, different parts of municipalities and different circumstances and other matters.

Division 3 — Dispute Resolution

Request for assistance in relation to intergovernmental dispute

284  (1) If a dispute arises between a municipality and

(a) another local government, or

(b) the Provincial government or a Provincial government corporation,

and the parties cannot resolve the dispute, one or more of the parties may apply to a dispute resolution officer for help in resolving the dispute.

(2) If an application is made under subsection (1), the dispute resolution officer

(a) must review the matter,

(b) may attempt to help the parties to resolve the dispute by any process the officer considers appropriate, including by using or referring the matter to mediation or another non-binding resolution process, and

(c) may assist the parties in determining how costs of the process are to be apportioned.

(3) This Division applies to the City of Vancouver.

Voluntary binding arbitration

285  If the parties to a dispute agree, a dispute resolution officer must direct the dispute to resolution by binding arbitration under section 287[final proposal arbitration] or 288 [full arbitration].

Mandatory binding arbitration

286  (1) This section applies to disputes between local governments respecting

(a) an intermunicipal boundary highway, an intermunicipal transecting highway, an intermunicipal bridge or an intermunicipal watercourse, or

(b) a prescribed matter.

(2) If a party to the dispute applies to a dispute resolution officer then, subject to subsection (3), the officer must direct the dispute to binding arbitration under section 287[final proposal arbitration] or 288 [full arbitration].

(3) Before directing a dispute to binding arbitration under this section, the dispute resolution officer may direct the dispute to mediation or another non-binding resolution process.

(4) The choice of arbitration process under this section is to be determined by agreement between the parties but, if the dispute resolution officer considers that the parties will not be able to reach agreement, the officer may direct which process is to be used.

(5) If more than one local government is involved in a matter that has been directed to binding arbitration under this section, the arbitrator may direct that the matter is to be settled for all local governments in the same arbitration.

(6) If a local government does not adopt the bylaws required under section 290[implementation of arbitrator's decision] in relation to an arbitration under this section, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the minister, implement the terms and conditions of the arbitrator's decision.

(7) An order under subsection (6) is deemed to be a bylaw of the local government.

Final proposal arbitration

287  The following apply to a dispute referred to in section 285 or 286 that is to be resolved by final proposal arbitration:

(a) the dispute is to be resolved by a single arbitrator;

(b) the arbitrator is to be selected, from the list prepared under section 289 (1)[arbitrator list], by agreement among the parties to the dispute or, if the dispute resolution officer considers that these parties will not be able to reach agreement, by the officer;

(c) subject to any applicable regulations, the arbitrator must conduct the proceedings on the basis of a review of written documents and written submissions only, and must determine each disputed issue by selecting one of the final written proposals for resolving that issue submitted by one of the participating parties;

(d) the matter in dispute will be as settled by the arbitrator after incorporation of the final proposals selected by the arbitrator under paragraph (c);

(e) no written reasons are to be provided by the arbitrator.

Full arbitration

288  The following apply to a dispute referred to in section 285 or 286 that is to be resolved by full arbitration:

(a) the dispute is to be resolved by a single arbitrator, who is to be selected in accordance with section 287 (b)[final proposal arbitration];

(b) subject to any applicable regulations, the arbitrator may conduct the proceedings at the times and in the manner he or she determines;

(c) the matter will be as settled by the arbitrator, who is not restricted in his or her decision to submissions made by the parties on the disputed issues;

(d) the arbitrator must give written reasons for the decision.

General provisions regarding arbitration process

289  (1) The minister must, after consultation with representatives of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, prepare a list of persons who may be arbitrators under this Division.

(2) If a dispute between local governments is referred to arbitration under this Division, subject to a direction by the arbitrator or to an agreement between the parties,

(a) the fees and reasonable and necessary expenses of the arbitrator, and

(b) the administrative costs of the process, other than the costs incurred by the parties participating in the process,

are to be shared proportionately between the parties participating in the process on the basis of the converted value of land and improvements in their jurisdiction.

(3) The time limit for bringing any judicial review of a decision of an arbitrator under this Division is the end of the period for agreement under section 290 (1).

Implementation of arbitrator's decision

290  (1) During the 60 days after a matter is settled under section 287[final proposal arbitration] or 288 [full arbitration], the parties may agree on a settlement that differs from the decision of the arbitrator.

(2) At the end of the period referred to in subsection (1), unless agreement is reached as referred to in that subsection, the decision of the arbitrator becomes binding on the parties.

(3) If the decision becomes binding under subsection (2), the parties to the arbitration must adopt the bylaws and take the other actions required to implement the terms and conditions of the arbitrator's decision within 90 days after it becomes binding under that subsection.

(4) Despite any other provision of this Act or any other Act, approval of the electors or assent of the electors is not required for a bylaw referred to in subsection (3).

(5) A dispute resolution officer may extend the time period under subsection (1) before or after it has expired.

Regulations respecting arbitrations

291  The minister may make regulations respecting arbitrations under this Division and, without limiting this, may make regulations respecting one or more of the following:

(a) matters that an arbitrator must or may consider;

(b) the authority of an arbitrator to resolve the terms and conditions for a dispute;

(c) the authority of an arbitrator to require the cooperation of the parties to the arbitration and their officials and representatives in relation to the arbitration.

Commencement

292  This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Contents  |  Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4  |  Part 5  |  Part 6  |  Part 7  |  Part 8  |  Part 9  |  Schedule