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This Act is current to July 26, 2017
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Judicial Compensation Act

[SBC 2003] CHAPTER 59

Assented to October 23, 2003

Contents
1Definitions
Part 1 — Judicial Compensation Commission
2Judicial Compensation Commission
3Repealed
4Commission members
5Report and recommendations
6Reports before the Legislative Assembly
7Implementation clarifications
7.1Appropriation
Part 2 — Salary and Benefits
8Salary of judges
9Remuneration of judicial justices
10Expenses reimbursed
11Vacation leave
12Leave of absence
13Sickness or disability benefit plan
14Temporary assignment judges or temporary judges
15Application of Public Service Pension Plan to judicial justices
Part 3 — Judges' Pensions
16Definitions and interpretation
17Application of Public Service Pension Plan to judges
18Contributions to pension fund
19Deferred pension benefit
20Eligibility for unreduced retirement benefit
21Calculation of unreduced retirement benefits
22Eligibility for and calculation of reduced retirement benefits
23Pension plan options at retirement
24Recognition of service
25Senior judges
26Repealed
27Transitional — annual vacation
28Transitional — application of Public Service Pension Plan to judicial justices
29–33Spent

Definitions

1  (1) In this Act:

"commission" means the Judicial Compensation Commission formed under section 2;

"fiscal year", except in Part 3, means the period beginning on April 1 in one year and ending on March 31 in the next year;

"lawyer" means a member or former member of the Law Society of British Columbia;

"Public Service Pension Plan" means the Public Service Pension Plan continued under the Public Service Pension Plan Joint Trust Agreement;

"Public Service Pension Plan Joint Trust Agreement" means the agreement established under section 18 of Schedule C of the Public Sector Pension Plans Act.

(2) The definitions in the Provincial Court Act, except where a contrary definition is set out in this Act, apply to this Act.

Part 1 — Judicial Compensation Commission

Judicial Compensation Commission

2  (1) On or before March 1, 2016 and on or before March 1 in every 3rd year after that, 5 individuals must be appointed, in accordance with subsection (2), to form the Judicial Compensation Commission.

(2) The individuals forming the Judicial Compensation Commission must be appointed as follows:

(a) the minister must appoint 2 individuals;

(b) the chief judge, after consulting with the Provincial Court Judges' Association of British Columbia and the Judicial Justices Association of British Columbia, must appoint 2 individuals;

(c) the individuals appointed under paragraphs (a) and (b) must appoint one other individual to the commission to chair that commission.

Repealed

3  [Repealed 2015-6-21.]

Commission members

4  (1) If there is a vacancy on the commission, an individual must be appointed in the same manner as the individual who vacated the position was appointed, and the appointment is subject to the exclusions specified under subsections (3) and (3.1).

(2) An individual appointed to the commission may be reappointed to a subsequent commission.

(3) The following may not be appointed to the commission:

(a) a judge or judicial justice;

(b) a retired judge or retired judicial justice;

(c) a person employed in the public service or by a Crown corporation;

(d) a member or former member of the judicial council continued under section 21 of the Provincial Court Act.

(3.1) At least one of the individuals appointed under section 2 (2) (a) and (b) must be someone who is not a lawyer.

(4) The members of the commission must be reimbursed for travelling expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred in the discharge of their duties, and, in addition, may be paid remuneration specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Report and recommendations

5  (1) Not later than October 1 following its formation, the commission must, in a preliminary report to the minister and chief judge,

(a) report on all matters respecting the remuneration, allowances and benefits of judges and judicial justices, and

(b) make recommendations with respect to those matters for each of the next 3 fiscal years.

(2) Within 14 days of receiving the preliminary report, the minister or chief judge may apply to the commission for a clarification of a matter in the report or in respect of a matter the commission did not address in the report.

(3) If an application is made under subsection (2), the commission must make a final report to the minister not later than October 30 following its formation.

(4) If an application is not made under subsection (2), the preliminary report is the final report.

(5) In preparing a report, the commission must be guided by the need to provide reasonable compensation for judges and judicial justices in British Columbia over the 3 fiscal years that are the subject of the report, taking into account all of the following:

(a) the need to maintain a strong court by attracting highly qualified applicants;

(b) changes, if any, to the jurisdiction of judges or judicial justices;

(c) compensation provided in respect of similar judicial positions in Canada, having regard to the differences between those jurisdictions and British Columbia;

(d) changes in the compensation of others paid by provincial public funds in British Columbia;

(e) the generally accepted current and expected economic conditions in British Columbia;

(f) the current and expected financial position of the government over the 3 fiscal years that are the subject of the report.

(5.1) The report of the commission must demonstrate that the commission has considered all of the factors set out in subsection (5).

(5.2) The commission may consider factors it considers relevant that are not set out in subsection (5), but if it relies on another factor, the report of the commission must explain the relevance of the factor.

(6) Before preparing a report, the commission may

(a) write and receive submissions,

(b) hold hearings in the manner the commission may decide, and

(c) with the approval of the minister, engage and retain consultants the commission considers necessary.

Reports before the Legislative Assembly

6  (1) The minister must lay the final report of the commission before the Legislative Assembly, and must advise the Legislative Assembly about the effect of subsection (3),

(a) within 7 sitting days of the Legislative Assembly after the date on which the minister receives the report, and

(b) if the Legislative Assembly is prorogued or dissolved within 16 sitting days after the date on which the report is laid before the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Assembly has not passed a resolution under subsection (2), within 7 sitting days after the opening of the next session.

(c) [Repealed 2012-6-6.]

(2) The Legislative Assembly may, by a resolution passed within 16 sitting days after the date on which a report is laid before the Legislative Assembly under subsection (1),

(a) reject one or more of the recommendations made in the report, and

(b) set the remuneration, allowances or benefits that are to be substituted for the remuneration, allowances or benefits proposed by the rejected recommendations.

(3) If a recommendation is not rejected by the Legislative Assembly within the time limited by subsection (2), the judges or judicial justices are entitled to receive the remuneration, allowances and benefits proposed by that recommendation beginning on April 1 of the year following the year referred to in, or applicable under, section 2 (1).

(4) If the Legislative Assembly does resolve to reject a recommendation under subsection (2) (a), the judges or judicial justices are, in respect of that recommendation, entitled to receive the remuneration, allowances and benefits set by the resolution under subsection (2) (b) beginning on April 1 of the year following the year referred to in, or applicable under, section 2 (1).

(5) If the 16 sitting days specified in subsection (2) end after April 1 of the year for which the recommendations in the report, subject to subsection (2), were to apply, the recommendation applicable under subsection (3) or the resolution applicable under subsection (4) is retroactive to the extent necessary to give effect to the recommendation or resolution on April 1 of that year.

(6) If a resolution referred to in subsection (2) or a recommendation referred to in subsection (3) conflicts with a provision of this Act, the resolution or recommendation prevails over that provision to the extent of the conflict.

(7) A resolution referred to in subsection (2) or a recommendation referred to in subsection (3) may set different salaries for different responsibilities.

Implementation clarifications

7  On the application of both the minister and chief judge, the commission may provide clarification or directions with respect to the implementation of a recommendation.

Appropriation

7.1  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the government may pay out of the consolidated revenue fund the reasonable costs, incurred by the Provincial Court Judges' Association of British Columbia and the Judicial Justices Association of British Columbia, of participating in the commission.

(2) The maximum amount that may be paid under subsection (1), which maximum amount applies separately to the Provincial Court Judges' Association of British Columbia and the Judicial Justices Association of British Columbia, is as follows:

(a) the first $30 000 in costs;

(b) 2/3 of the costs over $30 000 but under $150 000.

(3) Despite subsections (1) and (2), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by regulation, set higher amounts for the purposes of subsection (2).

Part 2 — Salary and Benefits

Salary of judges

8  (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (2.1), a judge must be paid, out of the consolidated revenue fund, a salary

(a) recommended by a report laid before the Legislative Assembly under section 6 (1), or

(b) if a resolution is passed by the Legislative Assembly under section 6 (2), set by the resolution.

(2) A senior judge's salary in any year

(a) must not exceed 40% of the salary of a full time judge, and

(b) must not exceed the difference between the salary to which a full time judge is entitled for that year and the senior judge's pension for that year.

(2.1) The limits imposed under subsection (2) on a senior judge's salary may be exceeded, by an amount no greater than 20% of the maximum permitted under that subsection, if

(a) the chief judge authorizes the senior judge to sit in excess of that senior judge's scheduled sittings for the year, and

(b) the extra sittings are necessary, in the chief judge's opinion, to meet urgent and unforeseen needs of the court, including needs arising from the illness or injury of another judge.

(3) For the purpose of calculating a senior judge's salary under this section, the chief judge may require the judge to give written notice of

(a) the normal form of the judge's pension calculated before any election of pension options and before any pension division or deduction from the pension, and

(b) any adjustments or changes to the pension the judge receives.

Remuneration of judicial justices

9  (1) A full time judicial justice must be paid, out of the consolidated revenue fund, a salary

(a) recommended by a report laid before the Legislative Assembly under section 6 (1), or

(b) if a resolution is passed by the Legislative Assembly under section 6 (2), set by the resolution.

(2) A part time judicial justice must be paid, out of the consolidated revenue fund, a per diem rate

(a) recommended by a report laid before the Legislative Assembly under section 6 (1), or

(b) if a resolution is passed by the Legislative Assembly under section 6 (2), set by the resolution.

Expenses reimbursed

10  A judge or judicial justice must be reimbursed for reasonable travelling and out of pocket expenses incurred by the judge or judicial justice in discharging his or her duties.

Vacation leave

11  The chief judge is responsible for scheduling the annual vacation of judges and full time judicial justices.

Leave of absence

12  (1) The chief judge may in special circumstances grant a judge or full time judicial justice leave of absence from duties for more than the maximum annual vacation to which the judge or full time judicial justice is entitled, at a salary, if any, that the chief judge determines.

(2) If the chief judge believes that a judge or full time judicial justice who has not been granted a leave of absence under subsection (1) has been absent for more than the maximum annual vacation to which the judge or full time judicial justice is entitled, the chief judge must report the absence to the minister.

Sickness or disability benefit plan

13  A judge or full time judicial justice who is entitled to receive benefits under a sickness or disability benefit plan for, or applicable to, judges or full time judicial justices is not entitled to his or her salary except as provided in the plan.

Temporary assignment judges or temporary judges

14  (1) Subject to subsection (2) but despite any other provision of this Act, a judge serving under section 7 of the Provincial Court Act or appointed under section 8 of the Provincial Court Act is not entitled to payment by the government of remuneration, expenses, vacation benefits, pension benefits, sickness or disability benefits or any other kind of payment merely because of services rendered or costs incurred as a result of the service or appointment.

(2) If the minister authorizes payment of an amount to the judge appointed under section 8 of the Provincial Court Act or to the province from which the judge comes, or to both, as some or all of the remuneration or expenses of the judge, the payment may be made.

Application of Public Service Pension Plan to judicial justices

15  The Public Service Pension Plan applies to a full time judicial justice on the full time judicial justice delivering to the Public Service Pension Board of Trustees notice of that full time judicial justice's election to have the plan apply to that full time judicial justice.

Part 3 — Judges' Pensions

Definitions and interpretation

16  (1) In this Part:

"active member" means, except in section 24, a judge who, on or after January 1, 2001, is making, or is deemed to be making, contributions to the pension fund in respect of service as a judge, and includes a judge who is

(a) on a leave of absence approved by the chief judge,

(b) receiving a group disability plan benefit, or

(c) no longer required by this Act or the pension plan rules to contribute to the pension fund,

but does not include a judge who has ceased to hold office or who is receiving a pension benefit;

"actuary" means an actuary retained by the board in accordance with the Public Service Pension Plan Joint Trust Agreement;

"board" has the same meaning as "public service board" in section 1 (1) of the Public Sector Pension Plans Act;

"judicial service" means pensionable service for which contributions to the pension fund have been made, or are deemed to have been made, in respect of service as a judge;

"latest retirement age" means the age at which a judge ceases to hold office under section 17 (3) of the Provincial Court Act

"pension fund" means the Public Service Pension Fund continued under the Public Service Pension Plan Joint Trust Agreement;

"pension plan rules" mean the rules of the Public Service Pension Plan.

(2) The definitions in the pension plan rules, except where a contrary definition is set out in this Part, apply to this Part.

Application of Public Service Pension Plan to judges

17  (1) Subject to this Part, the Public Service Pension Plan continues to apply to every judge.

(2) The pension plan rules are subject to this Part, and apply with the necessary changes and so far as they are applicable.

(3) If there is a conflict or inconsistency between this Part and the pension plan rules, this Part prevails.

(4) A decision of the plan administrative agent respecting the application of this Part and the pension plan rules may, by written notice, be appealed to the board in accordance with the practice and procedure for appeals to the board.

Contributions to pension fund

18  (1) The board

(a) must, based on the recommendations of an actuary, determine the total amount of the contributions required to fund the pension benefits provided under this Act, and

(b) may change the amount determined under paragraph (a) if the board receives a recommendation by an actuary that a change in the amount is required to fund the pension benefits provided under this Act.

(1.1) The total amount of the contributions required to fund the pension benefits provided under this Act, as determined under subsection (1), must be paid as follows:

(a) the active members must contribute 24% of that amount;

(b) the government must contribute 76% of that amount.

(1.2) Instead of the contributions required by the pension plan rules,

(a) the government must deduct 8.38%, or, if subsection (6) applies, the percentage determined under subsection (6) (a) (i), from each payment of salary made to an active member and pay that amount to the pension fund, as a contribution from the member, and

(b) each time the government deducts and pays an active member's contributions in accordance with paragraph (a), the government must pay to the pension fund, as a contribution from the government, 26.55%, or, if subsection (6) applies, the percentage determined under subsection (6) (a) (ii), of the active member's salary.

(2) An active member who stopped contributing before January 1, 2001 after reaching 35 years of pensionable service, determined in accordance with the Provincial Court Act and the pension plan rules as they both read on December 31, 2000, may, effective January 1, 2001, at the active member's option, resume making contributions in accordance with subsection (1.2) (a) or (6) (a) (i), as applicable.

(3) If an active member referred to in subsection (2) resumes making contributions in accordance with subsection (1.2) (a) or (6) (a) (i), the government must resume making contributions in accordance with subsection (1.2) (b) or (6) (a) (ii), as applicable.

(4) Member contributions and government contributions under this section must stop on the earlier of

(a) the member reaching latest retirement age, and

(b) the member accruing the maximum pension referred to in section 21 (6), in which case the member is deemed to continue as an active member until the member ceases employment.

(5) Member contributions and government contributions under this section must be allocated to the pension fund accounts as determined by the board.

(6) If the board changes the total amount of the contributions required to fund the pension benefits provided under this Act under subsection (1) (b), the board must,

(a) based on a recommendation by an actuary,

(i) determine the percentage amount the government must, under subsection (1.2) (a), deduct from each payment of salary made to an active member and pay to the pension fund, and

(ii) determine the percentage amount the government must, under subsection (1.2) (b), contribute to the pension fund, and

(b) ensure the percentage amounts determined under paragraph (a) (i) and (ii) are consistent with subsection (1.1).

Deferred pension benefit

19  (1) A member who

(a) was an active member,

(b) has completed 2 or more years of contributory service,

(c) ceases to hold office and terminates employment on or after January 1, 2001, and

(d) elects to receive a deferred pension

will receive a pension in accordance with this Act, on meeting the eligibility requirements of section 20 (1) or 22 (1).

(2) For greater certainty, an inactive member who

(a) ceased to hold office before January 1, 2001,

(b) was eligible to receive a deferred pension under the pension plan rules, and

(c) applies to receive the deferred pension

is entitled to receive that pension in accordance with the Provincial Court Act or this Act, as the applicable Act read on the date the inactive member ceased to hold office, and the pension plan rules, as they read on the date the inactive member terminated employment.

Eligibility for unreduced retirement benefit

20  (1) An active member, or a member referred to in section 19 (1), who, on or after January 1, 2001, ceases employment is, on application, entitled to an unreduced pension calculated under this Act if

(a) the member meets the criteria for an unreduced pension as specified in the pension plan rules, or

(b) the member has reached age 55 and has completed at least 5 years of contributory service.

(2) The payment of pension benefits must not be delayed beyond latest retirement age.

Calculation of unreduced retirement benefits

21  (1) For the purpose of calculating the amount of the pension to which a member referred to in section 20 (1) is entitled, the highest average salary is, subject to subsection (2), the average of 1/12 of the annual salary that the member received, or is deemed to have received, in each fiscal year

(a) during the 3 years of service in which the member received, or is deemed to have received, his or her highest salary before the date on which the member begins receiving a pension, or

(b) during the member's actual period of pensionable service, if the member's period of pensionable service is less than 3 years.

(2) A partial year may be combined as required with a portion of the salary of the lowest of the 3 years in order to calculate a highest annual salary for the combined year if

(a) a member does not cease employment at the end of a fiscal year, and

(b) if the annualized salary for that partial year is equal to or higher than the annual salaries received, or deemed to have been received, in each of the 3 full years of highest annual salary as determined under subsection (1),

and the combined year can be used in place of the lowest of the 3 years, but in no case can the total of the 2 portions exceed one year of salary.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) apply to both judicial service and any other pensionable service that preceded the judicial service.

(4) Instead of the pension provided by the pension plan rules, a member referred to in section 20 (1) is entitled to receive an unreduced pension, payable in accordance with section 23, that is the sum of all of the following:

(a) 3% of the member's highest average salary multiplied by the number of years of judicial service accrued on and after January 1, 2001;

(b) 2.35% of the lesser of

(i) the member's highest average salary, and

(ii) 1/12 of the year's maximum pensionable earnings for the calendar year immediately before the calendar year of the effective date of the pension

multiplied by the number of years of judicial service accrued on and after January 1, 1966 and before January 1, 2001;

(c) 3% of the excess of the member's highest average salary over the amount determined under paragraph (b) (ii), multiplied by the number of years of judicial service accrued on and after January 1, 1966 and before January 1, 2001;

(d) an amount, payable until the earlier of the member reaching age 65 and the death of the member, that is 0.65% of the lesser of

(i) the member's highest average salary, and

(ii) 1/12 of the year's maximum pensionable earnings for the calendar year immediately before the calendar year of the effective date of the pension

multiplied by the number of years of judicial service accrued on and after January 1, 1966 and before January 1, 2001;

(e) 1.35% of the lesser of

(i) the member's highest average salary, and

(ii) 1/12 of the year's maximum pensionable earnings for the calendar year immediately before the calendar year of the effective date of the pension

multiplied by the number of years of pensionable service accrued on and after January 1, 1966 that are not judicial service;

(f) 2% of the excess of the member's highest average salary over the amount determined under paragraph (e) (ii), multiplied by the number of years of pensionable service accrued on and after January 1, 1966 that are not judicial service;

(g) an amount, payable until the earlier of the member reaching age 65 and the death of the member, that is 0.65% of the lesser of

(i) the member's highest average salary, and

(ii) 1/12 of the year's maximum pensionable earnings for the calendar year immediately before the calendar year of the effective date of the pension

multiplied by the number of years of pensionable service accrued on and after January 1, 1966 that are not judicial service;

(h) 2% of the member's highest average salary multiplied by the number of years of pensionable service accrued before January 1, 1966 that are not judicial service.

(5) Despite subsection (4), in the case of an active member who, on or after January 1, 2001 but before March 1, 2002, ceases employment, the percentage in

(a) subsection (4) (b) is deemed to be 2.3%,

(b) subsection (4) (d) is deemed to be 0.7%,

(c) subsection (4) (e) is deemed to be 1.3%, and

(d) subsection (4) (g) is deemed to be 0.7%.

(6) The pension determined under this section must not exceed 70% of the member's highest average salary.

Eligibility for and calculation of reduced retirement benefits

22  (1) An active member, or a member referred to in section 19 (1), who, on or after January 1, 2001, ceases employment is, on application, entitled to a reduced pension if the member meets the criteria for a reduced pension as specified in the pension plan rules.

(2) A member entitled to a reduced pension under subsection (1) is entitled to receive a pension calculated in accordance with section 21 but reduced by 5% as follows:

(a) if the member has 2 or more years of contributory service, for each year of age by which the member's age is less than age 60, and the percentage must be prorated by fractions of years;

(b) if the member has reached age 60 while an active member and has less than 2 years of contributory service, for each year of age by which the member's age is less than age 65, and the percentage must be prorated by fractions of years.

Pension plan options at retirement

23  (1) Instead of the pension options provided by the pension plan rules, a pension

(a) to which a member is entitled under section 20 (1) or 22 (1), and

(b) that is calculated under section 21 or 22 (2)

must be paid in accordance with this section.

(2) If the member does not have a spouse at the time the payment of the pension begins, the pension to which the member is entitled is a single life guaranteed, payable for the longer of

(a) the life of the member, and

(b) a term of 10 years.

(3) Despite subsection (2), a member who is entitled to a pension payable in accordance with subsection (2) may elect to be paid his or her pension as a single life guaranteed, payable for the longer of

(a) the life of the member, and

(b) a term of 15 years,

but the amount of the pension must be adjusted to the actuarial equivalent of the pension otherwise payable in accordance with subsection (2).

(4) Subject to subsections (5) to (7), if the member has a spouse at the time the payment of the pension begins, the pension to which the member is entitled is a joint life and last survivor, payable for

(a) the life of the member, and

(b) the life of the surviving spouse,

but the pension payable to the surviving spouse is reduced, on the death of the member, to 60% of the pension to which the member was entitled.

(5) If the spouse waives, in writing by completion of a form specified by the plan administrative agent, the entitlement that the pension be paid on the joint life and last survivor basis as provided under subsection (4), or there is filed with the plan administrative agent a written agreement or court order made under Part 5 or 6 of the Family Law Act with the same effect, the pension to which the member is entitled is payable in accordance with subsection (2).

(6) If the spouse

(a) was the spouse of the member at the time the member ceased to hold office, and

(b) is more than 10 years younger than the member,

the amount of the pension payable in accordance with subsection (4) must be adjusted to the actuarial equivalent of the pension otherwise payable if the spouse were 10 years younger than the member.

(7) If the spouse was not the spouse of the member on the date the member ceased to hold office, the amount of the pension payable on the joint life and last survivor basis as provided under subsection (4) must be adjusted to the actuarial equivalent of the pension otherwise payable in accordance with subsection (2).

(8) Despite subsection (4), a member may elect to have his or her pension paid as a joint life and last survivor, payable for

(a) the life of the member, and

(b) the life of the surviving spouse, without reduction on the death of the member,

but the amount of the pension must be adjusted to the actuarial equivalent of the pension otherwise payable in accordance with subsection (4).

(9) If payment of a pension payable in accordance with subsection (4) or (8) ceases, the last survivor's personal representative must be paid any amount by which the refund value of the member contributions exceeds the total of the pension payments made.

Recognition of service

24  If an active member applies, after January 1, 2001, to have judicial service recognized in accordance with the provisions of the pension plan rules respecting the purchase of service, reinstatement, arrears and leaves of absence, the references to the employee and employer contribution rates in the pension plan rules must be read as references to the contribution rates specified in this Act when calculating the cost of the purchase.

Senior judges

25  (1) Despite section 18, a senior judge is not entitled to make contributions or have contributions made on his or her behalf to the Public Service Pension Plan in respect of service as a senior judge.

(2) A senior judge is, on the date that the judge's full time service ceases, entitled to receive his or her pension under the Public Service Pension Plan in accordance with this Part and the pension plan rules, and the cessation of full time service is deemed to be a termination of the judge's employment but only for the purposes of those pension plan rules.

(3) Service as a senior judge does not, for any purpose, count as contributory service or pensionable service.

Repealed

26  [Repealed 2008-42-29.]

Transitional — annual vacation

27  The disability benefit plan and annual vacation leave entitlement, existing immediately before October 23, 2003, for judges are continued.

Transitional — application of Public Service Pension Plan to judicial justices

28  The Public Service Pension Plan continues to apply to a judicial justice to whom the Public Service Pension Plan applied immediately before October 23, 2003.

Spent

29–33  [Consequential amendments. Spent. 2003-59-29 to 33.]