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This Act is current to November 29, 2017
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Family Law Act

[SBC 2011] CHAPTER 25

Part 11 — Search Officers

Definitions

235  In this Part and the regulations made under section 248 (1) (f) [general regulation-making powers]:

"child care or support issue" means any matter related to, or similar in nature to, guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact with a child, child support or spousal support, including a matter in respect of which Division 8 [International Child Abduction] of Part 4 applies;

"party or potential party" means a party or potential party to an agreement or order in relation to a child care or support issue;

"public body" has the same meaning as in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

"search officer" means a search officer appointed under section 236 [search officers];

"searchable information" means searchable information, including personal information, as described in section 237 [searchable information];

"support order" means any of the following:

(a) an order respecting child support or spousal support;

(b) a support order within the meaning of the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act;

(c) an order of a court or tribunal, made in any jurisdiction, that is similar in nature to an order respecting child support or spousal support.

Search officers

236  For the purposes of this Part, the minister by order may appoint as search officers persons employed under the Public Service Act.

Searchable information

237  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the following information is searchable information:

(a) information necessary to identify or confirm a party's or potential party's identity or address, or both;

(b) information respecting

(i) a party's or potential party's location, address and contact information,

(ii) the name of a party's or potential party's employer, and the party's or potential party's location and address of employment,

(iii) the location of a party's or potential party's assets or source of income, and

(iv) the particulars of a party's or potential party's assets or income;

(c) for the purposes of section 238 (b) [requesting and disclosing searchable information], information respecting a protection order, within the meaning of section 189 [conflict between orders], made against a party or potential party.

(2) The following is not searchable information:

(a) personal correspondence between a party or potential party and a parent, child, spouse or sibling of the party or potential party;

(b) information in the possession or control of

(i) a party's or potential party's solicitor, if the information is subject to solicitor-client privilege,

(ii) a family justice counsellor, or

(iii) a person prescribed for the purposes of section 11 (1) (b) [confidentiality of information];

(c) information that cannot, under section 9 (1) (b) of the Statistics Act, be disclosed.

Requesting and disclosing searchable information

238  Searchable information may be requested or disclosed under this Part only to the extent necessary to do one or more of the following:

(a) provide information for the purposes of

(i) taking an action, or determining whether to take an action, in relation to a child care or support issue,

(ii) recalculating the amount of child support under an agreement or order,

(iii) enforcing rights or duties in relation to a child care or support issue, including under an enactment of any jurisdiction or under an international convention, or

(iv) fulfilling a duty under an international convention;

(b) protect the safety and security of a person who

(i) is a party to an agreement or order in relation to a child care or support issue, or is a child of a party,

(ii) is a search officer, or

(iii) is a person to whom information is being provided under paragraph (a).

Requesting searchable information

239  (1) A search officer may request searchable information from any person.

(2) A person in British Columbia who receives a request for searchable information under subsection (1) and who has possession or control of the information must provide the information in the manner and form requested, and within the time requested.

(3) Subsection (2) applies despite any other enactment or any common law rule of privilege or confidentiality.

Disclosing searchable information

240  (1) A search officer may disclose searchable information to the following persons:

(a) employees, officers and directors of a public body;

(b) a person who is entitled to apply for an order under this Act in relation to a child care or support issue;

(c) a person, a service or an agency to whom the director under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act has delegated a power or duty under section 2 of that Act;

(d) an officer of a court;

(e) an employee of the ministry of the Government of Canada responsible for the administration of the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act (Canada);

(f) a public officer of a jurisdiction outside British Columbia whose duties are related to child care or support issues;

(g) a prescribed person.

(2) If a search officer has reason to believe that the safety or security of a person may be at risk, the search officer may

(a) refuse to disclose searchable information that is relevant to a child care or support issue, or

(b) disclose searchable information on condition that the person to whom it is being disclosed not disclose it further, including to a person on whose behalf the person to whom the information is being disclosed is acting.

Information-sharing agreements

241  (1) The minister may enter into information-sharing agreements to facilitate requests for and disclosures of searchable information as authorized under this Part.

(2) An information-sharing agreement must identify all of the following:

(a) the nature and type of searchable information that may be requested or disclosed under the agreement;

(b) the persons, by name, title or position, who may request or disclose searchable information under the agreement;

(c) any limits or conditions on the use or disclosure of shared searchable information;

(d) the term of the agreement and the circumstances in which the agreement may be renewed, suspended or terminated.

Orders respecting searchable information

242  (1) If satisfied that a person has refused, or not adequately complied with, a request made under section 239 [requesting searchable information] for searchable information,

(a) a court on application by a search officer may order the person to provide to the applicant searchable information that is in the possession or control of that person, and

(b) the person subject to the order must provide the information in the manner and form required, and within the time required.

(2) Subsection (1) applies despite any other enactment or any common law rule of privilege or confidentiality.

(3) Sections 230 [enforcing orders generally] and 231 [extraordinary remedies] do not apply in respect of an order made under subsection (1) of this section.

Restrictions on disclosure of information

243  (1) A search officer must not disclose information obtained under this Part except

(a) as necessary for the purpose for which the information was obtained, or

(b) to protect a person or property if the search officer reasonably believes that there is a risk of imminent and serious harm.

(2) A person who is not a search officer must not disclose information obtained under this Part except

(a) as necessary for the purpose for which the information was obtained, and

(b) in accordance with any conditions imposed under section 240 (2) (b) [disclosing searchable information].

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) of this section apply despite any provision of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, other than section 44 (1) (b), (2), (2.1) and (3) of that Act.

(4) This section does not apply to

(a) personal information, as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, that has been in existence for 100 years or more,

(b) information not described by paragraph (a) that has been in existence for 50 years or more, or

(c) information for research purposes disclosed under section 33.1 (1) (s) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Offences

244  (1) A person commits an offence if the person does any of the following:

(a) contravenes section 239 (2) [requesting searchable information];

(b) without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with an order under section 242 (1) [orders respecting searchable information];

(c) contravenes section 243 (1) or (2) [restrictions on disclosure of information];

(d) knowingly provides false or misleading information to a search officer.

(2) Despite section 232 [Offence Act application] of this Act, section 4 of the Offence Act applies in respect of a conviction for an offence under subsection (1) of this section.

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