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Local Government Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323

Part 7 — Legal Proceedings

Division 1 — Proceedings by Regional Districts

Enforcement by civil proceedings

281  Division 4 [Enforcement by Civil Proceedings] of Part 8 of the Community Charter applies to regional districts.

Repealed

282  [Repealed 2003-52-232.]

Recovery of utility rates by legal remedy of distress

283  (1) In addition to other remedies in this Act for the collection and recovery of gas, electrical energy or water rates authorized by this Act, the payment of those rates may be enforced by distress and sale of the goods and chattels of the person owing the rates wherever those chattels are found in the regional district.

(2) The costs chargeable in relation to distress under this section are those payable under the Rent Distress Act, unless another scale is provided under this Act.

Scale of costs on distress

284  A board may, by bylaw, regulate and alter the scale of costs payable in cases of distress under this Act.

Division 2 — Proceedings against Municipality

Limitation period for actions against municipality

285  All actions against a municipality for the unlawful doing of anything that

(a) is purported to have been done by the municipality under the powers conferred by an Act, and

(b) might have been lawfully done by the municipality if acting in the manner established by law,

must be commenced within 6 months after the cause of action first arose, or within a further period designated by the council in a particular case, but not afterwards.

Immunity unless notice given to municipality after damage

286  (1) A municipality is in no case liable for damages unless notice in writing, setting out the time, place and manner in which the damage has been sustained, is delivered to the municipality within 2 months from the date on which the damage was sustained.

(2) In case of the death of a person injured, the failure to give notice required by this section is not a bar to the maintenance of the action.

(3) Failure to give the notice or its insufficiency is not a bar to the maintenance of an action if the court before whom it is tried, or, in case of appeal, the Court of Appeal, believes

(a) there was reasonable excuse, and

(b) the defendant has not been prejudiced in its defence by the failure or insufficiency.

Immunity for individual municipal public officers

287  (1) In this section, "municipal public officer" means any of the following:

(a) a member of a council;

(b) a director of a regional board;

(c) a trustee of an improvement district;

(d) a member of a commission established under section 176 (1) (g) [corporate powers] of this Act or section 143 [municipal commissions] of the Community Charter;

(d.1) a member of a library board under the Library Act;

(e) a commissioner for a local community commission under section 838;

(f) a member of any greater board or of any board that provides similar services and is incorporated by letters patent;

(g) a member of an advisory planning commission under section 898;

(h) a member of a board of variance under section 899;

(i) a member of the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Board or an officer or employee of that board;

(j) a member of the Okanagan Basin Water Board;

(k) a trustee of a body of the Islands Trust under the Islands Trust Act;

(l) an officer or employee of a municipality, regional district, improvement district, library board under the Library Act, a greater board referred to in paragraph (f), the trust council under the Islands Trust Act or the Okanagan Basin Water Board;

(m) an election official and a regional voting officer under section 167;

(n) a volunteer firefighter or a special constable;

(o) a volunteer who participates in the delivery of services by a municipality, regional district or a body referred to in paragraphs (c) to (k) under the supervision of an officer or employee of the municipality, regional district or any of those bodies;

(p) a member of a board of trustees established or appointed by a municipality under section 37 of the Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act;

(q) a member of a municipal committee, of a board committee, or of a committee under section 740.1 [appointment of select and standing committees] who is not also a member of the council, board or board of trustees, as applicable.

(2) No action for damages lies or may be instituted against a municipal public officer or former municipal public officer

(a) for anything said or done or omitted to be said or done by that person in the performance or intended performance of the person's duty or the exercise of the person's power, or

(b) for any alleged neglect or default in the performance or intended performance of that person's duty or exercise of that person's power.

(3) Subsection (2) does not provide a defence if

(a) the municipal public officer has, in relation to the conduct that is the subject matter of the action, been guilty of dishonesty, gross negligence or malicious or wilful misconduct, or

(b) the cause of action is libel or slander.

(4) Subsection (2) does not absolve any of the corporations or bodies referred to in subsection (1) (a) to (k) from vicarious liability arising out of a tort committed by any of the individuals referred to in subsection (1) for which the corporation or body would have been liable had this section not been in force.

Defence for financial officer

287.1  It is a good defence to any action brought against the local government financial officer for unlawful expenditure of local government funds if it is proved that the individual gave a written and signed warning to the council or board that, in his or her opinion, the expenditure would be unlawful.

Indemnification against proceedings

287.2  (1) In this section:

"indemnification" means the payment of amounts required or incurred

(a) to defend an action or prosecution brought against a person in connection with the exercise or intended exercise of the person's powers or the performance or intended performance of the person's duties or functions,

(b) to satisfy a judgment, award or penalty imposed in an action or prosecution referred to in paragraph (a), or

(c) in relation to an inquiry under the Public Inquiry Act, or to another proceeding, that involves the administration of the municipality or the conduct of municipal business;

"municipal official" means

(a) a current or former council member,

(b) a current or former municipal officer or employee, or

(c) a person who is or was a person referred to in section 287 (1) [immunity for individual municipal public officers], but only in relation to the exercise of powers or the performance of duties or functions for or on behalf of a municipality.

(2) A council may, do the following:

(a) by bylaw, provide for the indemnification of municipal officials in accordance with the bylaw;

(b) by resolution in a specific case, indemnify a municipal official.

(3) As a limit on indemnification under subsection (2), a council must not pay a fine that is imposed as a result of a municipal official's conviction for an offence that is not a strict or absolute liability offence.

(4) Sections 100 [disclosure of conflict] and 101 [restrictions on participation if in conflict] of the Community Charter do not apply to a council member who could be, or would be, indemnified under a bylaw or resolution under subsection (2).

(5) Subject to subsection (6), a council may not seek indemnity against a municipal official in respect of any conduct of the person that results in a claim for damages against the municipality.

(6) The restriction under subsection (5) does not apply if the court makes a finding in the action that the person has been guilty of dishonesty, gross negligence or malicious or willful misconduct.

(7) This section applies to a greater board, the trust council under the Islands Trust Act, the Okanagan-Kootenay Sterile Insect Release Board or a library board under the Library Act in relation to any person referred to in section 287 (1) [immunity for individual municipal public officers], but only in relation to the exercise of powers or the performance of duties or functions for or on behalf of that corporation.

Immunity against certain nuisance actions

288  A municipality, council, regional district, board or improvement district, or a greater board, is not liable in any action based on nuisance or on the rule in the Rylands v. Fletcher case if the damages arise, directly or indirectly, out of the breakdown or malfunction of

(a) a sewer system,

(b) a water or drainage facility or system, or

(c) a dike or a road.

Immunity in relation to failure to enforce building bylaws

289  A municipality or a member of its council, a regional district or a member of its board, or an officer or employee of a municipality or regional district, is not liable for any damages or other loss, including economic loss, sustained by any person, or to the property of any person, as a result of neglect or failure, for any reason, to enforce, by the institution of a civil proceeding or a prosecution,

(a) a regulation under section 692 (1),

(b) a bylaw under Part 21,

(c) a bylaw under section 8 (3) (l) [fundamental powers — buildings and other structures] of the Community Charter, or

(d) a bylaw under Division 8 [Building Regulation] of Part 3 of the Community Charter.

Limitation on municipal liability regarding building plan approval

290  (1) If a municipality issues a building permit for a development that does not comply with the Provincial building code or another applicable enactment respecting safety, the municipality must not be held liable, directly or vicariously, for any damage, loss or expense caused or contributed to by an error, omission or other neglect in relation to its approval of the plans submitted with the application for the building permit if

(a) a person representing himself or herself as a professional engineer or architect registered as such under Provincial legislation certified, as or on behalf of the applicant for the permit, that the plans or the aspects of the plans to which the non-compliance relates complied with the then current building code or other applicable enactment to which the non-compliance relates, and

(b) the municipality, in issuing the building permit, indicated in writing to the applicant for the permit that it relied on the certification referred to in paragraph (a).

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if a municipality knew that the person making the certification referred to in that subsection was not, at the time of certification, registered as a professional engineer or architect under Provincial legislation.

(3) If a municipality makes an indication in accordance with subsection (1) (b), the municipality must reduce the fee for the building permit to reflect the costs of the work that would otherwise be done by a building inspector to determine whether the plans or the aspects of the plans that were certified to comply do in fact comply with the Provincial building code and other applicable enactments respecting safety.

Proceedings against municipality in relation to actions of others

291  (1) This section applies to a proceeding brought against a municipality to recover damages sustained by reason of an obstruction, excavation, cellar or opening in or adjoining a street, lane, square, public highway or bridge placed, made, left or maintained by a person other than an employee or agent of the municipality.

(2) The municipality has a remedy over against the person referred to in subsection (1), and may enforce payment accordingly of any damages and costs that the plaintiff may recover against the municipality.

(3) The municipality is only entitled to the remedy over if

(a) the person referred to in subsection (1) is made a party to the proceeding, and

(b) it is established as against that person that the damages were sustained because of an obstruction, excavation, cellar or opening placed, made, left or maintained by the person added as a defendant or third party.

(4) The person referred to in subsection (1) may defend the proceeding against the plaintiff's claim and that of the municipality.

(5) The court may order costs to be paid by or to any party or on any claim set up as in other cases.

Repealed

292  [Repealed 1997-25-71.]

Division 3 — Enforcement of Orders against Municipality

Writ of execution against municipality

293  (1) A writ of execution against a municipality may be endorsed with a direction to the sheriff to levy its amount by rate, and the proceedings on it are to be as provided in this Division.

(2) A writ of execution against a municipality must not be issued without leave of the Supreme Court, which may

(a) permit its issue at a time and on conditions the court considers proper, or

(b) refuse to permit it to be issued or suspend action under it on terms and conditions the court thinks proper or expedient, having regard to the reputed insolvency of the municipality and the security afforded to the person entitled to the judgment by the registration of the judgment.

(3) On being satisfied by affidavit by a competent person on behalf of the municipality that the municipality intends to appeal with due diligence from the judgment, the court may refuse to permit a writ of execution for costs to be issued unless security is given to the satisfaction of the court by the person to whom the costs are payable for their repayment to the municipality in the event the judgment is reversed or varied on appeal.

Copy of writ to be left with municipal officer

294  The sheriff must deliver to the municipal corporate officer, or leave at the office or dwelling house of that officer,

(a) a copy of the writ of execution and endorsement, and

(b) a statement in writing of the sheriff's fees, and of the amount required to satisfy the execution, including in the amount the interest calculated to a day as near as is convenient to the date of the delivery.

Tax to be imposed if amount not paid

295  (1) If the amount, with interest on it from the day mentioned in the statement under section 294, is not paid to the sheriff within one month after service under that section, the sheriff must

(a) examine the assessment rolls of the municipality, and

(b) establish a rate sufficient to cover the amount due on the execution, with an addition to it that the sheriff believes sufficient to cover the interest and the sheriff's own fees.

(2) A rate under subsection (1) must be established in the same manner as a rate under section 197 (1) (a) [municipal property value taxes] of the Community Charter.

(3) After establishing the rate, the sheriff must

(a) issue a direction to the collector of the municipality,

(b) attach to the direction either the roll of the rate or particulars of it, and

(c) after

(i)   stating the writ,

(ii)   stating that the municipality had neglected to satisfy it, and

(iii)   referring to the roll or the particulars,

direct the collector to levy the rate promptly.

Payment of amount levied

296  (1) If at the time of levying a rate under a direction of the sheriff the tax demand notices for that year have not been issued, the collector must add a column on the notices, headed "Execution Rate in A.B. v. the Corporation", and must insert in it the amount required to be levied under the direction.

(2) If subsection (1) does not apply, the collector must proceed to issue separate tax demand notices for the execution rate.

(3) The collector must with all due diligence return to the sheriff the direction with the amount levied.

(4) After satisfying the execution and all fees on it, the sheriff must pay any surplus within 10 days after receiving it to the municipal financial officer, for the general purposes of the municipality.

Officers of municipality as officers of court

297  (1) For all purposes connected with carrying into effect, or permitting or assisting the sheriff to carry into effect, the provisions of this Act for executions, the municipal corporate officer, the municipal financial officer and the collector are deemed to be officers of the court in which the writ was issued.

(2) As officers of the court, the officials referred to in subsection (1) are amenable to the court, and may be proceeded against by attachment, or otherwise, to compel them to perform their duties.

Certain municipal property exempt from seizure

298  The corporate seal, tools, machinery, equipment and records, office furniture, fixtures and fittings of a municipality are exempt from forced seizure or sale by any process of law.

Division 4 — Miscellaneous

Repealed

299  [Repealed 2003-52-243.]

Self insurance by local authorities

300  (1) In this section, "local authority" means a municipality, a regional district or an improvement district.

(2) A local authority may, with one or more other local authorities,

(a) enter into a scheme of self insurance protection under section 187 of the Financial Institutions Act or under the Insurance (Captive Company) Act, or

(b) with the consent of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, enter into a joint scheme of self insurance protection.

(3) For a regional district, a scheme under subsection (2) may have a single deductible for any number of services.

Repealed

301  [Repealed 2003-52-245.]

Nisga'a Final Agreement

301.1  (1) In this section, "Nisga'a Final Agreement" has the same meaning as in the Nisga'a Final Agreement Act.

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing the modifications considered necessary or advisable for applying this Part for the purposes of paragraphs 133, 135 and 138 of the Nisga'a Government Chapter of the Nisga'a Final Agreement.

(3) The authority to make regulations in subsection (2) applies to provisions of the Community Charter enacted in substitution for or replacement of provisions of this Part.

Repealed

301.11  [Repealed 2003-52-247.]

How Part applies to treaty first nations

301.2  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing modifications considered necessary or advisable for applying this Part for the purposes of a final agreement that provides the treaty first nation or its government with some or all of the same protections, immunities, limitations in respect of liability, remedies over and rights provided to a municipality and its council and public officers under this Part.

Contents  |  1  |  1.1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  5.1  |  5.2  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  10.1  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  |  15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |  19  |  20  |  21  |  22  |  23  |  24  |  25  |  26  |  27  |  28  |  29  |  30