2001 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 36th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
TUESDAY, APRIL 10, 2001
Volume 22, Number 24
[ Page 17757 ]
The House met at 2:09 p.m.
G. Mann Brewin: I have the great honour today to introduce some folks from my constituency office who I've been very blessed to work with in the last number of years. I know there are some who weren't able to join us for lunch today, but there are five or six of them up there who were. I'd like the House to welcome them: Sharoo Modha, Jo Lawley, Cameron Russell, Stephanie Bamforth, Amanda Bonella and Jody Yurkowsky. Would the House please make them welcome.
B. McKinnon: I am pleased to introduce to the House today two people who work with me off and on and who are over from the mainland today: Marilyn Collins and Dave Hawkins. Please make them welcome.
I. Chong: I am very pleased today to ask the House to welcome a good friend, Mr. Tony Abbott, who is the director of the B.C. Lodging and Campgrounds Association, and his wife Naomi. They are down here attending some board meetings. I'd ask the House to please make them very welcome as they enjoy question period.
K. Krueger: I have the pleasure to introduce two constituents this afternoon: Mr. Greg Scriver and Mr. Glen Stuart from Kamloops. Would the House please make them welcome.
M. de Jong: A group of grades 7, 8 and 9 students from Pacific Christian School are visiting the building today with their teacher Mr. Toews and a group of adults. I hope the House will make them welcome.
Hon. C. Evans: Three friends are in the gallery today: Jacki St. Dennis, Danielle Kelliher and Teresa Coburn. On the days when I look intelligent and well organized, it's to their credit. Any other days, whenever that's not true, it's because they had the day off.
ICBC BUDGET PROJECTIONS
G. Farrell-Collins: My question is for the minister responsible for the budget. Earlier last month, after more than doubling ICBC's most optimistic income forecast, the Minister of Finance, the day before the budget was introduced, wrote a letter to ICBC demanding that they come up with a new plan to meet his inflated budget targets by March 31. Last week when we asked the minister to table the plan, he had no plan. So I'm asking the minister again: can he tell us what plan he has received from ICBC that gives him the confidence he needs to keep that figure in his budget for this year?
Hon. J. MacPhail: The board of directors of ICBC met. They have put forward a number of proposals that I will now be taking to Treasury Board. The proposals go from a range of safety initiatives and changing initiatives around speed enforcement. Certainly some of the initiatives involve further penalizing drivers who are bad drivers. There is a full range of options that will be proceeding, and I'm absolutely confident that they'll be meeting their target.
The Speaker: The hon. Opposition House Leader has a supplemental question.
G. Farrell-Collins: We'll get into the options in a minute. But first of all, I want to ask my question to the Minister of Finance. We've received an internal ICBC e-mail that sheds some light on why, despite the assurances of the minister responsible for ICBC, there is no plan to date, and as well, why it was not available by March 31. The e-mail from Thom Thompson says: "By April 12 all areas of the corporation will submit revised budgets for this year as well as their action plans to meet budget reductions." Can the Minister of Finance admit that now -- two weeks, three weeks, almost four weeks later -- ICBC is still scrambling, trying to cut programs and cut employees in order to meet his inflated budget target?
Hon. P. Ramsey: Last year ICBC made over $350 million. If they achieve their target of $75 million this year, it will be their lowest result in the last five years.
Hon. Speaker, occasionally, I will admit to this House, I have gotten budget projections wrong. You know, last year I predicted we'd have a deficit of $1.3 billion. It turned out we had a surplus of $1.3 billion. I thought the economy would only grow 2.2 percent last year. It actually grew 3.4 percent. I thought Crown corporations would lose $179 million. In fact, they made $680 million. There may be some errors in the forecast this year. I do predict that the Crown corporations will actually exceed the targets they were given in this budget.
The Speaker: The hon. Opposition House Leader has a supplemental question.
G. Farrell-Collins: Because I heard from the minister responsible for
Hon. J. MacPhail: Of course, what the Liberal opposition is referring to is a communication between the president and the thousands of employees, good employees, who work at ICBC. Even though every single one of these employees is threatened by the Liberal plan for ICBC, I guess some of them still feel like they should lobby the Liberals to protect the corporation.
Here's what the memo is about: an efficiently run, productive corporation, which has turned a surplus, I think, for the last three years. They've frozen their rates for six years.
[ Page 17758 ]
They've actually returned money to the policyholders. They run the best safer-roads campaign in all of Canada. Injuries are down. People's lives are being saved. That's what ICBC is doing.
On top of that, the president is also communicating with his employees, saying: "You know what? We can do better internally. Every single day we should become more efficient in our administrative costs to deliver for the policyholder." My goodness, that's what this memo is about: good, efficient operations from a publicly owned corporation that actually delivers results. Isn't that awful?
M. de Jong: It would be really great if it were at all consistent with what the minister told this House last week. We last raised this issue on Monday of last week, and on that day the minister responsible for ICBC told us that the $75 million revenue target would be met through "a wide range of safety initiatives." In fact, that was right after the Finance minister said that ICBC was proposing additional road safety initiatives. That's interesting, because within an hour of both those ministers making that statement in this House, that communiqué went from Mr. Thompson, and it says: "We do not have any new safety programs on the horizon." So my question to the minister responsible for ICBC is: why did she stand up last Monday and tell this House one thing at virtually the same time on the same day that the president of ICBC was telling his staff exactly the opposite?
Hon. J. MacPhail: As usual, the Liberal opposition tells, at most, half-truths. Let me actually read to you what the memo says. I guess they thought that because it went to thousands of employees, somehow they would be the only ones who would have it. Let me tell you what a well-run company says to its employees: "As well, we do not have any new safety programs on the horizon, which will result in significant short-term reductions in claims costs and therefore cannot count on continued reductions in claims costs." What this says is that we need more safety initiatives, Road Sense initiatives. That's exactly what our government is doing.
In 1996 we brought in a six-point program -- the safer-roads program. It has had huge returns. Those programs are now reaching maturity. Instead of standing still, instead of saying, "Oh, you know what? Why don't we privatize ICBC and make sure that our roads are less safe?" ICBC is actually saying: "The programs have matured. We need more." That's exactly what our government's doing, and we'll continue to do so.
The Speaker: The member for Matsqui has a supplemental question.
M. de Jong: The minister might have read further to the next
paragraph, because that e-mail says that ICBC
Hon. J. MacPhail: Dismay! A Crown corporation has a business plan, and they're objecting. Oh no! A Crown corporation is successful, and they're upset.
Let me remind the Legislature that this was the Liberal opposition that in
1996, five years ago, said the rate freeze would never be sustainable. That's
what that Liberal opposition said. Let me see. Was the rate freeze sustainable?
Yes, it was. You know what? I'll tell you something. We will travel across the
So the success is there. They're putting them into maintenance. That's
exactly what the corporation should be doing, building on the successes
The Speaker: Members. Could the minister wrap up this question, please?
Hon. J. MacPhail: The problem, actually, is that the Liberals have absolutely no ability to understand that you complete your successes and then you move on to improve with new road safety programs, like barriers on the highways, roundabouts, safer cycling. Those are the new programs. Here we have a group of successful programs that will be maintained, and then we have new programs -- but only if this side of the House gets re-elected. If that side of the House forms government, all safety programs are gone.
B. McKinnon: We have been told that E-Comm is an emergency communications network with voice and dispatch services, ostensibly under the control of the province. We now discover that E-Comm is a private corporation with public shareholders tasked with criminal tracking and police record retrieval services. Investigation into the shareholders reveals they include participating municipalities and the RCMP. My question is to the Attorney General. By what legislated authority was it decided to outsource criminal tracking and police record data services to E-Comm, the private corporation with an on-line command control and communications centre at 3301 East Pender Street in Vancouver?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I'll take the question on notice.
The Speaker: The member has a different question?
B. McKinnon: Yes, hon. Speaker. Given that E-Comm and its prime contractor, MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, are both shareholder-owned corporations, have criminal-records checks been done on their bankers, owners, lenders, operators and customers? What is E-Comm's mandate, and under what guidelines do they operate? How can we be sure that innocent citizens are not criminalized? Who is accountable?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I have no doubt that all rules and procedures will be followed correctly. I indicated earlier that I'll take the question on notice, and I'll be happy to answer the member's question when I have all those details for her.
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AUXILIARY POLICE PROGRAM
B. Penner: Victoria and the lower mainland got a wakeup call when we went through that 6.8-magnitude earthquake last February. But according to the provincial emergency program's 1999 earthquake response plan, one of the vital first lines of defence in times of crisis is members of the RCMP auxiliary police program. Will the Premier, who, along with the NDP, led the attack on the auxiliary program in 1997, admit that our emergency response preparedness has been hurt by a massive loss of auxiliary police throughout British Columbia?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: No, I would not agree with the member's statement that there was an attack on the RCMP auxiliary constables, and I would disagree with the premise of his question that somehow earthquake preparedness has been compromised in any way.
The Speaker: The member has a supplemental question.
B. Penner: Here are some numbers that even the NDP can't fudge. Back in 1997, before the Premier launched his attack on the auxiliary police, there were 1,100 auxiliary police officers throughout British Columbia. According to documents just received by the B.C. Liberal opposition, by December 2000 that number had dropped to just 417. We've lost two-thirds of our auxiliary police in three years. That's another example of the NDP's success, I suppose.
Can the Premier explain how emergency response preparedness in B.C. has been helped by alienating our volunteers to the point where they've quit the program altogether?
The Speaker: Order, member.
Hon. U. Dosanjh: If there is one body in British Columbia that's more concerned, perhaps, than all of us about emergency preparedness in British Columbia, that's the police force. I want the opposition to know, and I want to remind them, that it was the police force in British Columbia that requested the Attorney General to do a review. The recommendations of that review were adopted, and all of the police forces, the Vancouver police and the RCMP agreed with the recommendations of the review.
The Speaker: The bell ends question period.
Hon. J. Smallwood: I have the honour to present the annual report for the Workers Compensation Board.
Orders of the Day
Hon. G. Janssen: I call report on Bill M202.
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
S. Orcherton: I take it we're passing third reading of Bill M202. I
just wanted to make some very brief comments. Firstly, I wanted to thank the
The Speaker: Make the motion first.
S. Orcherton: I move third reading of Bill M202, Medical Practitioners Amendment Act, 2001.
Bill M202, Medical Practitioners Amendment Act, 2001, read a third time and passed.
Hon. G. Janssen: I call continued second reading on Bill 17.
HUMAN RIGHTS CODE
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
(second reading continued)
Hon. J. Smallwood: I'm pleased to rise in support of the amendment to the Human Rights Code. What I'd like to do is frame my comments in this way: I'd like to speak briefly about the history of the journey women have undertaken, both in this province and much further afield, to get us to this point in history, and I'd like to frame that on the comments from the member for Richmond-Steveston, who says that this is a goofball idea. It's pretty clear that dinosaurs way back in 1915 were raising the same kind of concerns, and I would be surprised if they were not using the same language. While it has been a long journey, there have been some improvements. But it's very clear that there has to be the political will to bring about the real changes that women need to be able to stand as equals in our society.
Back in 1915 Helena Gutteridge convinced the Vancouver Labour Council that they should include in their constitution a reference to equal pay for work of equal value. Helena continued to work and in 1919 brought women in labour together with women's groups. That culminated in the very first minimum wage act in British Columbia. In 1917 Caucasians and British subjects -- women -- got the vote. In 1945 aboriginal and Japanese Canadians, including women, were allowed for the first time to vote in the provincial election. In 1947 Chinese Canadians -- women, South Asians -- got the vote.
I raise those mileposts in this province's history to put in context the influence that women have fought for and achieved and how they've been able to use their ability in gaining the vote to begin to influence governments -- provincial, national and international. The International Labour Organization in 1951 had a convention on pay equity, one that Canada signed. In 1977 Canada enshrined the principle in our Human Rights Code. It's striking to think that it was 1977. For many of us that have watched this particular issue, it has taken a long, long time for people that are covered by the Canadian Human Rights Code to be able to begin to see some satisfaction. But I'll speak more directly about that later on.
The law in Quebec in 1977, in Ontario in 1987, Manitoba in 1985, New
Brunswick in 1989, P.E.I. in 1988, Nova Scotia in 1989 and the Yukon in 1987
The member for Richmond-Steveston also said that pay equity doesn't work. He quoted studies out of Ontario to that
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effect and has referenced his concern about the schemes that are in place in other jurisdictions. Well, I'd like him to say that to the people that have actually had pay equity adjustments affecting their paycheques. In Ontario, as an example, there was a settlement where library workers received $31 million in pay adjustments going back to 1990. These adjustments ranged from $2.17 an hour to $4.90. When this member says that pay equity doesn't work, tell those women who now can support themselves and provide for their children with some dignity.
We don't have to go to Ontario to know that it works. Here in British Columbia we as a government decided to lead by example. In the last ten years we have put in place pay equity provisions in all of the contracts in the direct public service and about three-quarters in the extended public service. There's still some work to be done.
What that has meant for women working for government is quite striking. Take one example: the biweekly wage for clerk-steno 5 workers increased by $400. College instructors also received significant increases; food services workers received increases of $221 a month; day care supervisors received increases of $345 a month when pay equity was implemented in the year 2000. For community social service workers, the BCGEU was able to bargain with their employer -- with the commitment and leadership of this government -- for significant increases in salaries in the community social service sector of up to $4,600 per year.
When we're talking about the lowest-paid workers in government, that is the kind of leadership that I'm proud of. This government did not put its head in the sand. This government acted and provided leadership, and this legislation brings that leadership to the forefront.
Through this legislation not only are we requiring that benchmark for the whole province -- equal work for equal value -- to be recognized as a fundamental human right, but we're also going the next step by enhancing the resources of the Women's Equality ministry so that we can provide the kind of support that is necessary so that people don't have to reinvent the wheel.
Across Canada and here in British Columbia we've learned a lot. We've learned a lot because of the leadership that women have provided in these jurisdictions. We can bring what we've learned to the table so that employers across British Columbia can learn from those experiences. They don't have to reinvent the wheel. We can get on with the task that has been waiting far, far too long.
It's pretty clear to me that the Liberal opposition needs more convincing. What we've seen in this House -- when we have dealt as a government with the most progressive, the most pro-women agenda that we have seen in this House for some time -- is a complete denial and a complete lack of recognition that it will take a comprehensive approach to be able to address the realities that women face in British Columbia.
When we brought in the day care legislation that provides for quality, accessible day care for women and children, for families in this province, what we heard from the other side was a denial that there was a need. We heard the other side talk about their experiences with nannies -- a recognition that they are so out of touch with the average woman in this province and a total lack of understanding that there is a need for that comprehensive approach.
Day care is one piece; pay equity is one piece; choice is one piece, because women must have the ability and the right to control their own reproductive destiny. All of those initiatives that have been brought in with this budget and this throne speech, as I said, are only a recognition of the reality that women face.
The statistics are pretty clear. Here in British Columbia -- and it's reflected in other jurisdictions as well -- 52 percent of single-parent families are headed by women and live below the StatsCan low-income cutoff.
Following separation or divorce, Canadian women face a 23 percent loss in income where men lose only 10 percent. That family income statistic is striking, but it's even more striking when you realize that only 35 percent of women that are separated or divorced receive support payments from their former spouses. When we talk about poverty amongst women and the children that they support, those figures only tell half the story. It's pretty clear, when you look at the reality, that 36 percent of women working full time make less than $25,000 a year.
Those low-income statistics for women that are trying to make ends meet talk about what's happening today. But when women are able to make only a fraction of the wage that men earn, what that means is a guaranteed life of poverty as they get older. For the women in B.C. that are over 65, their average income is approximately $10,000 per year less than the average that men make. So when we talk about 73 cents on the dollar for women in the workplace, it's clear that women that are retired, that are over the age of 65, are making less than two-thirds of the income that men are. And that has everything to do with the fact that women, when they are in the workplace, make less money and that their obligations to families and to their communities weigh heavily on them personally.
When we were touring the province and talking to women, at almost every meeting we went into there was a woman that would say: "I thought we had made progress. I thought that things had changed. Well, I've now retired, and I'm poor." For all of that work, for everything that those women have done to contribute to this province, to contribute to their families, they are now paying a very steep personal price. That has to change.
The initiatives that we are bringing in through this comprehensive approach,
through this particular piece of legislation, recognize the reality that women
face and make a commitment not only to the women of today, to the young women
that are entering the workplace, the young women that are in universities and
colleges and have a future of paying back student loans at 73 cents on the
Let me deal with another couple of issues. In our commitment to our direct employees and the extended public service, what we learned was that pay equity in and of itself would close the gap only a certain percentage and that we also had to
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deal with low-wage redress. In the direct public service as an employer, it's pretty easy to do that if you have the political commitment. What you do is identify the lowest-paid workers. You recognize and honour the work that they do for the people of British Columbia, and you pay them appropriately. And we've done that over time by increasing the lowest-paid workers.
What are the tools we can bring to bear when it comes to the private sector and the role of government? It's pretty clear that the lever there, the initiatives that government can engage in low-wage redress, is through minimum wage. So our government again has shown leadership, again has recognized, as way back in 1917, the first minimum-wage legislation that was ever brought forward in British Columbia. We recognized the importance of low-wage redress, in particular for women, and we have moved our minimum wage so that we are now not only one of the highest cost-of-living provinces but the highest minimum-wage jurisdiction as well. I am very proud of that.
We made a commitment to raise the minimum wage to $7.60 in November of last year. We went further. We served notice that in the following year, we would increase the minimum wage in November 2001 to $8 an hour. It's the right thing to do. It's the right thing for women who are disproportionately living on minimum wage. For all of the workers that are over the age of 25, a full 74 percent are women. That's not an entry-level wage. Those are people that have been in the workplace, that have skills and resources to bring to their employers, and a full 74 percent of those are women, many of whom are supporting children.
What did the opposition do? Well, it's been consistent. It's been consistent with comments with respect to day care, with respect to pay equity, where the member for Richmond-Steveston indicated that the ideas were goofy and needed more study. What did they say about minimum wage? Well, they're going to take a look at it. They're not going to make a commitment to raise it to $8 an hour. Hon. Speaker, they objected when we raised it to $7.60.
Shame on them. On every single initiative this government has brought in on behalf of women and children, they've either spoken against it, said they needed to study it some more or were fundamentally patronizing and insulting to the women that need it most.
We've had some experience with governments like that in British Columbia, and they were turfed out. The people of this province wanted the recognition of the work that they did -- the majority of them not the elite, not the privileged, not those that could afford to have nannies looking after their children. But they wanted a government that understood their reality, that stood beside them and brought in the kinds of progressive changes that are reflected in the work of this particular budget and the work of the past ten years.
I want to sum up by making a few short comments. The dinosaur from Richmond-Steveston says that pay equity is goofy, and he wants to study it. We saw the Canadian amendment to the Human Rights Code brought in in 1977. People have been trying to use that amendment -- not only through the Human Rights Code, but through the courts -- for a long, long time. Back in October of '99 there was a settlement. It took 15 years for governments to finally recognize that the members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada had a claim. And the federal government was in a situation of having to pay those women, to recognize the work that they have provided and are providing for the citizens of Canada, and having to pay them retroactively from the date of the claim.
It's not a matter of if; it's simply a matter of when. Women are not going to give up. We've been fighting too long. We will continue to fight. This is a very significant step here in British Columbia, and I am optimistic that we will continue to see progress, but not if that opposition is elected, not if they become government after the next election.
Let me speak to the issue of the economy and business. As we were speaking to
women throughout this province, many of those women were small business owners
themselves. I made a point of speaking to business about the issue of pay
equity. If you asked them whether they supported legislated pay equity, there
was not a one that would say: "Yeah. Bring in the legislation." But
what they would say to you if you then questioned, first, their commitment to
ensuring that women's work was recognized
So I followed that by saying: "Do you have any trust that voluntary initiatives will close the gap and meet the commitment that you have just expressed?" There was not a one that said that they believed a voluntary initiative would do that. They went on then to tell me that even though they were personally committed to recognizing and to closing the gap for women, they couldn't do that with a voluntary program, because their competitor next door would not do the right thing and they would be constantly undercut by their competitor paying women less and prospering on the backs of those workers.
So at the end of the day, they themselves said that they recognized that the time for talking was over, that we'd waited too long, that there was not only a direct benefit to their employees in recognizing their worth and their value to their businesses but a direct benefit in communities all over this province. If workers are paid decent wages, they shop and support their families in those same communities, which provides for their ongoing prosperity.
I'm going to leave it at that. My final comment is simply to quote one member in the earlier debate. I'm sorry that I actually can't attribute the quote, but I wrote it down at the time when I was listening to other speakers. It was a male speaker in the House, and the man said that men wouldn't have stood for it. That really rings in my ears.
We have made real progress as women, but the length of time -- and we need to think of this, all of us in this House -- that it has taken to recognize this basic and fundamental human right has been because of dinosaurs that have blocked it and studied it and called it a goofball idea. The length of time that it has taken for women to be recognized as equals, to be able to stand as equals and support themselves and their children, has been because of dinosaurs that have said that it was a goofball idea. It's time now; it is past time. We need to pass this legislation, and we need to welcome women as equals in British Columbia.
D. Lovick: Mr. Speaker, I know that a number of my colleagues have spoken to this measure before us and, it seems to me, have done a superb job. Indeed, I would suggest to anybody who remains unconvinced of the need for pay
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equity legislation that they ought to review the transcripts of the debate in this chamber. I think my colleague the Minister of Labour and a number of others, notably the women who have spoken, have presented an incredibly powerful and convincing case.
As a man, I feel honour bound, if you will, to stand up and say just a little about this, because I'm one of those who has embraced this issue in my small way for about 20 years. I first became aware of the issue of pay equity as an academic when I was teaching a Canadian studies course at Malaspina University College. One of the things we did was talk about social justice issues as a theme. That's where we looked at issues like aboriginal matters and so forth.
One of the broader issues that came before us, of course, was the whole question of equality and the treatment that women were afforded and accorded in our society. Part of that discussion involved, inevitably, a consideration of the issue of pay equity. At that point I first became aware of people like Jean Erington and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, who produced position papers -- and I'm talking now about 20 years ago, Mr. Speaker -- that were absolutely superb in terms of providing detailed, concrete evidence of why we had to do something about pay equity. As I say, those materials were wonderfully articulate and wonderfully helpful. And after going through that discussion, albeit in an academic setting, I came to the clear conclusion that we, the dominant culture -- "the boys," if you like -- were indeed guilty. We had turned a blind eye, or otherwise, to the problem that was standing there staring us in the face.
And the problem, let me just remind everybody, is pretty simple. The problem, essentially, is that women, for work of essentially the same value, even today -- although, to be sure, we have made some progress -- earn roughly 73 cents on the dollar. What that means, of course, is that we have that phenomenon in Canadian society of the poverty of older women, which I suspect makes us all embarrassed.
The one quintile that hasn't changed one bit in Canadian society is older women and the incidence of poverty. It's a problem that we simply haven't begun to solve in this country. And the reason for that -- one of the most predominant and obvious reasons -- is that if women don't earn the same amount of money, then when they retire, they don't have the same kinds of pension entitlements. So if we truly believe in equality, clearly this is a kind of measure.
The second point I wanted to make about that, though, is just this. We have heard for generations: "Don't worry; you're getting there." Now, it used to be that women earned 40 percent, and then it crept up to 60 percent. And of course, the argument is that if you do a mathematical extrapolation and projection, probably by the year 2098 women will be earning 100 percent of what men do. But my gosh, how can anybody expect women, fairly, to accept that proposition?
The conclusion, it seems very clear to me, is that this is a time when we need legislation. You can't leave it to the market forces, because the market forces, quite frankly, have not done anything much so far. And if they do, it's so painfully slow that we will see Lord knows how many other generations of older women living in poverty. Therefore it seems clear to me that we have no choice but to say that it's up to the state, that it's up to government, in fact, to make that happen.
Mr. Speaker, I'm 57 years old.
D. Lovick: I know, you're all surprised. When I was considerably younger, growing up in a time of abundant opportunity, it was interesting, because all of us going to university could go and work in the bush or at fishing or in construction or things like that and make a bundle and pay, effectively, for our university education. Women? Guess what. Very few could. Very few could, because there simply were not the opportunities there for them.
The only exception worth noting was in the unionized sector, because the IWA and the PPWC and the CPU and various other trade unions long ago made a point of saying that workers who worked in their industry, whether they were men or women, would get the same wage. That was the result of bargaining. That was the result of workers working to protect and enhance their own lives and their own security.
Unless a young woman happened to get lucky -- and there weren't many who were lucky -- and get a job in a mill, the odds of their making as much as their male counterparts were just about nil. Boys, unfortunately, took that for granted. We assumed -- because I was working, say, setting chokers for MacMillan Bloedel or my buddy was working as a grader operator on a highway project or somebody else was pounding nails in construction -- that we worked harder, and therefore we deserved more money. Nonsense. The jobs that the women did in all likelihood were less challenging, less interesting and certainly a lot lower paid. Clearly, then, we have to do something. This measure, I think, is on the right track.
My patience, I'm afraid, is stretched to the limit when I hear my friends opposite say, and I think I can almost quote what the critic said: "We believe in the principle of the legislation, and we also believe in the practice of the legislation, but not this bill." Sound familiar? It's exactly what they said about Nisga'a after 111 years of negotiating: "Oh yeah, we believe in settling aboriginal land claims. We believe in all that stuff, but not this treaty." And I'm struggling with that, because it seems to me that this has been the product of huge study, huge labour, huge deliberation, and we have a bill that they believe in theory but, alas, not in practice.
I would just put this question for everybody who is paying any attention to this debate. Think about this: what if it were a category other than women, and we had the same problem? What if we could say, as we used to be able to say in this province: "If you're Chinese, or aboriginal, or Indo-Canadian, therefore we can pay you 73 cents, and white guys get paid $1"? Would any of us stand for that? We would be outraged. We would say there is absolutely no way that you can do that. But, alas, what we have in this instance is the fact that, apparently, it's okay with women. Now, how can anybody justify that? I certainly can't. I don't believe that anybody who is in any way honest about the issue and thinks about its complexity could possibly justify doing that.
The only explanation I can see is that some are apparently afraid that this is bad for business. But do you know what? That's exactly the argument we used to use in the mines on Vancouver Island when we used to pay Chinese workers 50 percent less than the white guys. We said that business couldn't afford to pay everybody the same rate as the white guys. But we got over that; we outgrew that. We said that's outrageous. We said it's not acceptable. Indeed, in this coun-
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try, let alone this province, we said some years ago, thanks to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual preference, religion, creed or culture was not allowed. Nevertheless, we continue to have this anomaly of women being paid 73 percent of what men earn for work of equal value.
I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the time has come for us in this province to send a very clear statement that this situation is absolutely intolerable. It's not acceptable. I'm very proud of my colleagues on this side of the House for standing absolutely in solidarity, all of us onside together, saying that we don't accept that proposition. I'm especially grateful to my female colleagues for doing such a superb job of making sure that everybody understood the very compelling, specific and personal reasons for changing this as well.
If we believe in doing something about poverty in this country, and if we really care about child poverty and about older women living in poverty, let me suggest that probably the best and most effective single thing we could do is to pass pay equity legislation so that women will not be put into a position where they can't take care of their children or, when they retire, can't take care of themselves.
This legislation is long overdue. I'm very pleased this government is introducing it. I'm very, very pleased to have my opportunity to offer my support.
J. Reid: I seek leave to make an introduction.
J. Reid: I would like to welcome the grades 4 and 5 students from French Creek Elementary School. They are here with us today to learn about making laws. They are here with their teacher, Ms. Lucas, and some parents who are accompanying them. I ask the House to make them welcome.
E. Walsh: I rise with great pride supporting Bill 17. I want to just talk a little bit about what equal pay for work of equal value really means. But also at this time I want to share a letter in a column by a sister of mine from CUPE B.C.
What Colleen Jordan writes is:
"My first 'real' job was as a dispatcher for appliance repairmen. I dispatched household appliances and TVs. My workmate dispatched commercial air conditioners. I got $6 an hour; he got $9 an hour. That was my first experience of pay inequity. That was in the sixties, and there were no laws or unions, at least for the office workers, that could help. So I decided I'd better get an education if I wanted to make a decent living.
"My next real job was with the Burnaby school board, in a job that required college-level training. But even there, I soon found out that my job paid the same $3 an hour less than a labourer's position. But at least now I had a union, so we started on a path to try to achieve pay equity. By the end of this year, my old job at the school board will finally be fully funded at almost $2 per hour more than a labourer position.
"It was therefore with rather mixed emotions that I heard the Attorney General introduce the legislation that will finally include 'equal pay for work of equal value' as part of the Human Rights Code. I was happy that after 25 years, our issue would be recognized in law and that thousands of women will have the opportunity to redress wage discrimination in their workplace. I was sad to think that this legislation is not as extensive as we hoped and will leave some CUPE members without redress and take a long time to achieve for others.
"I was angry to read the next day that the Liberals' position, according to their spokesperson" -- and that would be the member for Richmond-Steveston -- "is that 'If we need to suspend this, to amend this or to repeal this, we will.'
"We have made a great leap forward, but it looks like the battle is far from over."
That is going to be in the CUPE B.C. newsletter this month.
I want to talk about what equal pay for work of equal value actually means for women. It means that men also are going to be included in this. It means that women that are doing the work of equal value should be paid equally. What a novel idea: that they should be paid equally for work of equal value.
What this means is addressing and correcting wage discriminations. Many of these discriminations actually have been ingrained over the years. At one time it was recognized that women stayed at home and looked after the children, and men went out to work. So they were paid a higher wage. Fortunately, that has changed through the years. But what hasn't changed is that discrimination. Unfortunately, that discrimination, that perception, has almost always affected women in the workplace.
As was previously stated by many of my colleagues, the concept of equal pay for equal value definitely isn't new. This has been coming for a long, long time. It's been an old battle. It's really unfortunate that as we enter into the new millennium, we continue to fight this really old battle.
What this legislation is about and what it does is require an employer to compare the value of work of one employee, which may traditionally and probably be the female job, to the value of the work that would traditionally and probably be the job of a male employee. Now, if in fact this were to be the case -- if the value to the organization is equal or comparable -- then the female job is to be paid at least the same amount as the male job. What is wrong with that? I can't understand where the concern would be to pay people equal value for the jobs they do. This may very well mean raising the wages of the female to that of the male. And as I said a little bit earlier, it also affects men, so it could be vice versa.
In 1970 at the CLC convention in Edmonton, Tommy Douglas said: "Certainly it is of mutual benefit to all of us to strive for the all-round well-being of our workforce and of our society as a whole." And then he goes on to say: "In the broadest sense the advancement of the human family -- women, men and children -- is what our concern for human rights is all about. Equality, social justice and dignity for all are the underpinnings of this concern."
Equality, social justice and dignity -- these concepts aren't too difficult to understand, nor are they difficult to grasp. Unfortunately, I cannot understand why the opposition Liberals would have such difficulty in grasping these concepts for women who are being paid less than their counterparts. Is it too difficult to grasp that pay inequities, as my colleague previously spoke about, do lead to poverty amongst families and women and that this affects their children; that pay inequities continue to build the barriers that would otherwise allow women to advance, that would allow women to move forward into more of the male-dominated jobs? And is it too difficult to grasp the importance of paying a value that reflects the real value of the work that's done primarily by women?
[ Page 17764 ]
And women today, as we've heard many times in previous submissions -- 73 cents for every dollar earned is what a woman makes compared to the man.
J. Pullinger: Up to 62 cents ten years ago.
E. Walsh: Yeah, 62 cents ten years ago, 73 cents now.
The difference in female wages compared to male earnings is unbelievable. What this means is that families have $27 less in every $100 earned to spend on groceries, on housing, on child care, on food, whatever it is that you're looking for -- $27 less for every $100. Now, just because you get paid less doesn't mean that your groceries cost less and your houses cost less and your clothing costs less. In fact, you're paying exactly the same but with less money. Over a lifetime, for the 27 cents on the dollar that women will lose, the amount of money an average 25-year-old working woman will lose over her lifetime is $523,000 in lost wages. That is due to the unequal pay during her working life -- over half a million dollars for a woman compared to a man's working wage.
What this also means is that in the long run, women are going to be paid less in pensions. They will be paid less in every area in which they choose to go. A huge percentage of women today in fact provide for more than half of their family income. And when women get equal pay for work of equal value, the family income rises. And guess what. When the family income rises, the quality of life also increases. And you know what? The whole family benefits -- not just any one person, but the whole family.
In fact, just talking about men and this legislation, did you know that men
who work in a predominantly female job will actually lose? Now, if this isn't a
little bit of incentive to get moving on this
These figures are taken out of "Equal Pay for Working Families." It's national and state data on the pay gap and its costs. And over a lifetime, for women not receiving equal pay for equal value, as I said, it really does mean poverty. It means that they will be much poorer.
We've talked so much about the wage gap. So I thought, let's talk about what "wage gap" is here. For many people -- as I said a little bit earlier, and they agreed -- it was an agreement with employers that men should get paid a little bit more because they were seen to be supporting families. Like I said, it's changed. Now more women are supporting their families, and in fact, they're doing it on their own today. So married women and particularly single women, if they have children, are more likely to be employed at home. Single women, with or without children, deserve a fair wage for work of fair value -- of value to a wage that reflects what they're doing.
Pay equity is really good for the economy. When women are paid their true value, they have more resources to provide for themselves, their families and their communities. Employers benefit from a positive and productive work environment.
[D. Streifel in the chair.]
Now, this legislation may mean the difference between poverty and making a decent living. And isn't that what we all want? Isn't that what every one of us in this House wants: to make a decent living to provide for our families? Haven't we heard from the opposition Liberals over and over again that tax cuts are going to put more money into people's pockets -- reckless or however they're going to be? What about paying people for doing their jobs? What about paying people value for the work that they do? That puts real money into people's pockets -- not just in the highest 3 or 4 percentage of wage earners in this province or country, but in the pockets of those people that need it to raise their families, in the pockets of those people that spend it in their local economies. That's where it has to go; that's where it has to be addressed.
Those people in the top 3 or 4 percent high-wage income brackets don't need
to have those reckless or dramatic -- or whatever you want to call them -- tax
cuts. The people that live on the lower end of the scale, those people that are
working every day to try to make ends meet, those people that are not getting
paid for the value of the work they are doing -- they're the ones who need to be
assured that they are in fact going to receive a benefit. The one thing I did
want to mention when they talked about these tax cuts
While we're talking about money going into people's pockets and those tax
cuts, let's talk about minimum wage. They voted against minimum wage. They said
that they want to eliminate fair wage, scrap Child Care B.C., bring in flexible
labour legislation and amend the Labour Code. These do not benefit
In the Vancouver Sun on March 8, the Liberal member for Richmond-Steveston
said that this plan, the pay equity plan, was irresponsible -- dangerously
irresponsible. Is it dangerously irresponsible to pay women -- the gender which
makes up 52 percent of this province, amongst the lowest-income earners of the
They sit on this picket fence and say: "Oh, we support it; we support
the merits of it." But you know, this is sitting on a fence. Do you know
what happens to people who sit on picket fences? They begin to hurt after
awhile. You're going to have to get off sooner or later. That same member says
that his party
As I've said, they talk about us bringing this forward within 13 days. It hasn't been 13 days; it's been many, many, years. In fact, it's been more years than the opposition Liberals
[ Page 17765 ]would ever agree on or even acknowledge. They don't feel that this is a matter of importance for the people -- the women -- of British Columbia.
When I quote where he was talking about earning the support
Well, I've got news for that member and also for their other caucus members.
Poverty, families, decent wages, value -- actually putting more money into the
pockets of women
It is the right thing to do. All these other arguments that the opposition
may have about "oh, it's only been 13 days
What is so difficult about paying someone for doing equal work of equal value? What's so hard to understand? What's really interesting is that Mark Milke, who's a director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, states in fact: "Those who argue gender wage gaps exist because of hidden discrimination ignore personal choices made by millions of people over decades and the tendency of women and men to make very different lifestyle choices." Choices to live in poverty? Choices for a reduced pension? Choices for a different lifestyle? Give me a break.
People don't choose to live in poverty. People don't necessarily always
choose what their lifestyle is going to be. People will make those choices given
the opportunity to do so. Women want to have access to good-paying jobs. They
want to have access to child care, and they want to have safe housing for their
children. They want to give their children better nutrition. They want to have
better pensions. They want everything the same as everybody else does. But
unfortunately, they still get paid 73 cents on the dollar -- 27 cents an hour
less than their male counterparts. And many of these women are the main provider
for the families, or they do bring in those other
E. Walsh: But they do. Well, even if they're not, they still only make 73 cents on the dollar.
I've heard the opposition call it mischief-making, but this legislation isn't about mischief-making. I repeat again: this legislation definitely isn't a goofball idea. It's not dangerously irresponsible. This legislation is needed, and as I said, it is a good idea. It's about addressing the inequities. It's about addressing that shamefully entrenched vision in a society that we've lived with for so many years -- that is, finally getting paid for work of equal value. In fact, I wonder how many people across the way would work for 73 cents on the dollar while their counterparts made a dollar on the dollar for doing exactly the same work.
I want to end by saying that over the years, I have worked very hard with many of my brothers and sisters in the labour movement. I've attended many conventions, and I've talked to many of them out there throughout the years about the need for pay equity and also about being paid for work of equal value. I have to commend each and every one of them. They're too numerous for me to mention or even to name today, but I will commend every one of them for the dedication that they have shown. The dedication that they have worked towards and moved towards in order to see this legislation come forward is commendable. I know that the amount of time and effort -- no, I can only imagine the time and effort -- they have put into it has been phenomenal.
I would say to the opposition Liberals: vote in favour of this legislation. End the discrimination against women. It has been going on for a long, long time, and it is about time we do this. As I said, it's the right thing. It's also about time the Liberal opposition members come out of that dinosaur era and actually support this very fundamental right for working women in the province today.
Deputy Speaker: Seeing no further speakers, I recognize the hon. Attorney General to close debate on Bill 17.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: A few speakers ago the member for Nanaimo was up and said that he was 57 and referred to the jobs that were available when he was younger -- jobs available to men predominantly versus those for women. Certainly I reflect upon this from a generational prospective. I'm 35, and the experience of my generation is quite different in terms of having those well-paid jobs available, particularly in the younger years.
But I think it's important, in terms of the context within which this debate takes place, to recognize where we have moved forward. I was reading an article last week that indicated that the UBC law school now has 56 percent women, which I think is an important accomplishment. Certainly when I was going to law school from 1989 to 1992, I think it was about 50-50 at that time. The difficulty is that too often in the context of the pay equity debate, those who oppose pay equity point to those accomplishments as evidence of the fact that we don't need to do anything around pay equity now. The truth is that we've done a great deal, especially in this province, to make access to higher education readily available regardless of your income or your gender, of course. That has meant that we have more women going into the professions, and that's an important accomplishment. But it doesn't take away from the fact that inequities still exist within our society. There are still women-dominated jobs where they are paid less than men in jobs of equal value.
I want to take a few moments now to respond to some of the points that have been raised in this debate. First, in this whole debate both within this House and outside, there's been
[ Page 17766 ]
a great deal of criticism around process. The argument is that there hasn't been enough consultation, that the process is flawed and that we're not ready to go ahead with this.
Well, with all due respect to those making those arguments, I think it's fair to say -- this isn't always the case, but I think it's the case in this case and in many other cases where process arguments are used -- that process arguments really are the last refuge of those who don't want to argue against something on a substantive basis but who do oppose it. So instead of coming out and saying that they're opposed to the principle or the substance of what's being argued for, they say the process has been flawed. This hasn't just happened in the context of pay equity discussions or debates; it happens on every level, in every community, in every possible forum. People who are opposed to something but don't want to say that they're really opposed to it seek refuge in the consultation or lack of consultation or process arguments.
I believe that's what's happening here. The process arguments are the last refuge of those who truly oppose doing something now about pay equity. I think what they should do is come out and say they're opposed to doing it now -- period. That would be an honest thing to do.
I'll move on now to talk about some of the substantive arguments that have been raised in opposition to this bill. The first is that this bill will do nothing to help women, that it will not result in pay equity. To quote the opposition critic: "In the final analysis, this bill will do nothing to help women who work for low wages in single-sex jobs -- women who work as domestics or piece workers in the garment industry. Bill 17 won't help them. In short, the goal of pay equity will not be met by Bill 17." He goes on to refer to the Bell Canada decision at the federal level, where Bell Canada, in order to avoid the pay equity complaint, simply went and contracted out those services to avoid the pay equity statute.
Well, the difficulty with the argument is this: there's no question that if the member is saying that this bill will not result in complete pay equity, I would concede the point. I would dispute the argument that this will do nothing. I don't believe that to be the case at all. There will clearly be women who will benefit from this being the law of the province.
The difficulty with the basic argument that this won't do anything or it won't do enough or it won't eliminate pay inequity, and therefore we shouldn't do it -- that's one of the reasons not to do this -- is this: we could use that argument to argue against all kinds of changes to the law and steps forward we've made over the years to say: "Well, we're not going to accomplish this in a perfect way. We're not going to eliminate discrimination; therefore we shouldn't try."
I want to read something: "Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability." That is subsection (1) of section 15 of our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
I have no doubt that when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was being debated in this country back around 1980, there was debate about doing a Charter of Rights at all. Certainly the argument could have been made at that time: "Well, if we enact section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we're not going to eliminate discrimination." Of course that argument can be made. Discrimination still exists today, but that doesn't mean we don't try. It didn't mean you don't, in that case, pass that section of the charter. It doesn't mean that in this case, we don't pass the pay equity law just because it's not going to eliminate that form of discrimination. It will result, incrementally, in steps in the right direction. That's what this bill will do.
Now, the point was also made that this bill could undermine the process of collective bargaining in British Columbia. I think the member referred to it being undermined because collective agreements would be attacked by complainants who would be entitled to invoke the whole of the human rights investigation process to raise issues that could have been resolved at the bargaining table.
Well, it is the law of British Columbia today that you can't have collective agreements that violate the Human Rights Code. So I guess the answer is yes, this amendment could have an impact on collective bargaining and on collective agreements. But I think the response is also to say that we already have that in this province. The law is that the Human Rights Code can't be violated by collective bargaining and, ultimately, collective agreements.
There was also a criticism raised that the focus of this amendment is not exclusively on women. I think what it comes down to is that the amendments are gender neutral. That is quite deliberate. That is certainly not an argument not to proceed with this amendment, but it does recognize that while there is the reality for the vast majority of cases, women are the ones who are discriminated against in this forum and will have the right to bring a complaint on that basis.
There may be men who work in occupations which are traditionally considered women's work, who may have an argument. I think it's unlikely, but if there are some cases out there of men who can say that they're being discriminated against in this way, they'll be able to avail themselves of this statute as well. So that's quite deliberate, to ensure that the provision is in fact gender neutral in its language.
There was also some concern raised about no guidance being offered with regard to what constitutes discrimination. "It's not defined well enough," was the criticism. No, the code doesn't define discrimination. The concept of discrimination, I would argue, however, is clearly established and understood in jurisprudence. Certainly the concept of discrimination under the code is already well established. But I think it's also important to note that the proposed amendment makes it very clear that the concepts of skill, effort, working conditions, knowledge and responsibility will be used to aid in determining work of equal value. And by implication, at least, it's very clear that differences in pay which are not related to sex are not discriminatory and therefore would not be captured by this legislation.
Finally, there was a concern raised about the 1 percent cap we've had some discussion about during second reading and whether it is in fact a cap or whether it can be exceeded over the objection of the employer. It is the case that it is theoretically possible that the 1 percent cap could be exceeded in a few instances. One is where a voluntary plan is entered into by the employer, and a voluntary plan is defined in these amendments. So that's one instance.
It's also possible, as I think the critic raised the possibility, if there are multiple complaints. But the critic also went on to
[ Page 17767 ]
say that there's nothing in this bill that says the complaints can be merged or amalgamated, and that's not the case. In fact, multiple complaints can be one of the reasons why the tribunal would move to order a companywide plan. The tribunal has to take into account the interests of the employer, and it would be one reason why the tribunal could order a companywide plan.
[The Speaker in the chair.]
I'm sure we will get into some of these in more detail when we get into committee debate, but those were just a few of the brief remarks I wanted to make in closing second reading. I think when we get back, ultimately, to the point of principle here, it is the time to move forward with these amendments. I think arguments around process are founded in a fundamental objection to legislating at all. I think, as well, that these amendments will not create a perfect world in which pay inequity ceases to exist. Again, those are not arguments that we should accept as being the foundation for rejecting legislative action on this important issue.
With that, hon. Speaker, I move second reading now.
Second reading of Bill 17 approved on the following division:
|YEAS -- 38|
|NAYS -- 32|
|van Dongen||Barisoff||J. Wilson|
Bill 17, Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2001, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration at the next sitting of the House after today.
Hon. G. Janssen: I call second reading of Bill 24.
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
Hon. M. Farnworth: I move that Bill 24, the Homeowner Protection Amendment Act, 2001, be read a second time.
Hon. M. Farnworth: It's great to hear such enthusiasm from the other side of the House. For a brief explanation to the many thousands of people who I know are glued to their television sets watching our proceedings, I'll briefly describe the bill and what is taking place.
The amendments to the Homeowner Protection Act will provide for the licensing and regulation of strata property managers in British Columbia. There are approximately 18,000 strata corporations in B.C. They administer hundreds of thousands of units in strata title buildings such as condominiums and townhouses; a few are even single-family dwellings. The companies and individuals who manage these buildings professionally do an excellent job, on the whole, of protecting people's investments. However, the area lacks regulatory safeguards for the millions of dollars that are being handled by strata management companies.
Moreover, there are no standards of qualification for the managers who carry out their day-to-day work in this area. Regrettably, there have been situations and incidents where a few managers have abused the trust of strata homeowners. One of the more high profile cases was the story of the failure of a property management company in the Okanagan in 1999. The strata corporations and the strata property owners in this situation were out of luck, as the money in the account was removed and they found it unavailable to them. The legislation will go a long way in preventing similar situations from happening again.
Licensed strata property managers collect strata fees from property owners and manage the funds of strata corporations. They are responsible for large sums of money. Those who manage rental properties are already required to be licensed and regulated by the Real Estate Council of B.C. In 1998 the Barrett commission listened to a number of submissions from homeowners on this subject. The commissioner recommended that strata property managers be licensed and regulated through the homeowner protection office.
Last October the Ministry of Social Development and Economic Security and the Ministry of Finance and Corporate Relations jointly issued a White Paper on strata manager licensing. Through the month-long consultation more than 120 written responses were received from homeowners, groups of homeowners, the property management industry and others. There was very strong support for the principle of regulating strata managers, and while some advocated for regulation through the Real Estate Council, there was considerable support for regulating through the homeowner protection office, in particular from homeowners and strata councils as well as some property managers.
The idea of strata manager licensing through the homeowner protection office has won strong support from the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. The amendments to the Homeowner Protection Act in this bill are
[ Page 17768 ]
intended to provide safeguards to owners of strata properties and are part of our commitment to increase consumer protection for B.C. homeowners.
This legislation will require disclosure of potential conflicts of interest between strata managers and the owners, contractors, developers, real estate agents and others with whom they deal. Under this legislation the HPO will develop regulations in consultation with homeowners, managers and others to settle on standards for audit and reporting, protection of assets and educational requirements. Then these regulations will be phased in, giving strata managers a reasonable amount of transition time. Strata corporations that manage themselves and solely commercial strata corporations will not be covered under this legislation.
To sum up, this legislation is designed to help consumers while minimizing red tape for reputable strata managers. It is about peace of mind for strata homeowners and the renewal of confidence in the B.C. housing industry. This will build upon our earlier efforts to restore confidence of homeowners and those who want to become homeowners in our province's housing stock.
Hon. Speaker, I am pleased to introduce second reading for this bill.
R. Coleman: We on this side of the House also support the licensing of strata managers in British Columbia, but there's going to be a number of issues I'm going to want to discuss in my remarks today and also in committee relative to this debate on this particular issue.
It's important that we look at the licensing of strata managers because of a number of things that have affected this industry over the last number of years. As the minister mentioned a minute ago, in this province you require a real estate licence in order to collect rents but require no real estate licence, or any licence, to collect strata fees and manage them on behalf of a strata corporation. But this legislation has to go a little further. It also has to be discussed relative to how we would implement it and how we would measure its performance.
The real reasons we need to license strata managers is so we can put them into a model where we can reduce the risk to the strata property, reduce the risk to the strata council and, at the same time, increase their education and their ability to actually manage strata properties in British Columbia. That's covered in two particular areas, one being financial and the other one being in the area of advice.
First of all, I want to talk about the financial just for a second. If you take a strata property of 100 or 150 units, every single month the people who live in that strata corporation send a cheque to the strata council. That money is banked and goes into a variety of uses. A proportion of it is set aside so there is a capital reserve to do expensive repairs to the building in the long term. On the other side of it you can have anything from a landscaping contract to heating that could be in the common areas of the building -- hot water tanks, that sort of thing -- underground parking, cleaning and all the maintenance of the structure of the building. Those funds are often, by advice of a strata manager, disbursed in certain ways. They're disbursed because that is what the financial side of the operation is.
The difficulty we've had in this particular field is the number of people that really don't understand the long-term impacts of things like replacement reserves and good maintenance schedules so that things like gutters and drains are cleaned so we don't get backup of water and egress of water -- or ingress of water relative to some older properties -- and also long-term maintenance and how we're going to deal with giving advice to the strata council.
On the advice side of the equation, strata corporations are basically like any other organization of people in our community. They're usually volunteers from within the building. They often have limited knowledge of things as simple as rules of order and parliamentary procedure, how they're going to deal with a motion relative to changes in their operation. They get advice from the strata manager in this regard as well.
Then of course, in British Columbia today we also have the issue of the leaky-condo situation. We have people out there in strata management positions that are being asked to give advice on repairing or not repairing, on the engineering reports or on what consultant to hire relative to making a decision in the leaky-condo issue. All of this is a great deal of responsibility to be on somebody that is not licensed, bonded or required to have any errors and omission insurance.
On the training side, these people need training. It's not something that you can just pass a piece of legislation on; you need the infrastructure to back it up to make it work. That infrastructure would then be the understanding of the bylaws, it would be the maintenance of the buildings, and it would be the measurements of how the performance of the funds being collected by the strata council can best be spent and what the long-term needs of that particular building are.
That brings us to a number of things: trust funds, replacement reserves, the ability to give advice, tendering for contracts to actually maintain the building -- anything from something as simple as a landscape contract to a major repair. And if they don't know how to structure those tendering contracts or how to even go out and get the proper bids and they're in a management position, they're going to be letting down that volunteer group of people we call the strata council. And that group are the people who ultimately have the responsibility to the members that are paying dues every month.
There's also a weakness in the area of audit provisions relative to strata management, which is a huge concern, given the example that the minister gave, in the Okanagan Valley, where a substantial amount of funds disappeared. They disappeared simply because there was no structure in and around that like we have somewhere in the Real Estate Act relative to agents and how their trust funds have been managed and how they could be audited under the act for these type of funds. By not having that we put, in this case, 18,000 homeowners at risk by not having something in structure and performance.
There are some concerns I have relative to the act, because on the self-managed side of strata it's not clear how or what will be defined as a self-managed strata and, if it's a self-managed strata, what licensing would be required. It's not clear whether a caretaker that lives on site that's paid for by a strata council is going to be called a strata manager. I'm sure we'll deal with those issues in committee.
You know, the huge concern for me with this legislation is on the education, which is how the education will take place,
[ Page 17769 ]
where it will take place, when it will take place, and the timing, standards and measurements for licensing so that they actually have to pass something to qualify to be a strata manager, similar to what it would be if they were going to become a real estate agent in British Columbia.
The other concern I have is how to implement it. Those questions will be dealt with in committee, because we can't deal with them in a second reading debate. I think those are discussions that go back to submissions to the White Paper by people like the B.C. Real Estate Association, which we will canvass in committee -- those concerns and that sort of situation.
I have a concern about duplication. We may actually have people in the real estate market who are trained and licensed real estate agents under the guise of the Real Estate Council -- already carrying errors and omission insurance, already having to have worked for bonded agents, already having audit provisions relative to the collection of rents -- who will now have a duplicate licensing provision in another body of government relative to that. And then there's the requirement or the need to have some educational body to back up that licensing, which may be a function that could be performed by the 40-year-old B.C. Real Estate Association. I'm sure we'll discuss that in committee and those details, as well, with the minister.
My concern about this, more so, is a long-term strategy. We need a long-term strategy for housing in British Columbia that includes all these factors in one place so that we can actually streamline it and make it work for the consumer who lives in the home -- that is, to make sure that we have the licensing in place, the bonding in place, the errors and omission in place and the training in place so that these people can actually perform their jobs and do it in a proper way.
We will work toward improvement of this act; we will work toward improvement of the licence system. We will deal with public consultation and education delivery and work with the community for a long-term solution, particularly in this area.
The challenge is that we deal with the licensing, education and delivery of qualified, licensed strata managers in British Columbia without a bunch of duplication and red tape to make it so it doesn't work for the consumer. I believe we can come to those solutions. I believe some of those solutions were presented to us in different submissions for the White Paper, which we will discuss -- not just from the BCREA but from other organizations. And we will deal with those, because I think it's important that we understand these particular bodies and their offices have something to contribute to the long-term success of licensing of strata managers.
My biggest concern is that we do it right, because if we do it right, we will start to bring back the consumer confidence in the maintenance and management of our stratas in British Columbia, and strata will once again become a viable and likeable source of home-ownership in B.C. And while we're doing that and we're working towards that long-term solution, we will find long-term solutions to the other problems that face this industry today.
It's my pleasure to support this move towards licensing of strata property managers in British Columbia. It is my pleasure to look forward to the committee debate on this bill, where we'll discuss some of the options that may be available to British Columbians on this -- and also to make it clear that this is not a "today" solution. This will take some time. We will work with the right agencies, we'll come up with the right solutions, and we'll come up with the right formulas to properly license, train and educate strata property managers in the future for British Columbians.
Hon. J. Doyle: I'm pleased to get up and support Bill 24 in second reading. This bill, the Homeowner Protection Amendment Act, 2001, is very, very important legislation. We've all heard of the horror stories over the last years and the problems there have been without good legislation to deal with the problems. The legislation safeguards strata property management through the homeowner protection office. This was introduced by the minister a couple of days ago. "We are following the recommendation of the Barrett commission to build consumer confidence and ensure that strata property managers have the skills and knowledge their jobs require," says the minister. "This amendment will enable government to license and regulate strata property managers."
This change to the Homeowner Protection Act has been introduced following a White Paper and a month-long consultation process on strata property management regulations that took place last fall. Currently managers of rental properties are required to be licensed but managers of strata properties are not. There are about 18,000 strata corporations in British Columbia overseeing hundreds of thousands of strata units. Most are apartment-style condominiums, but many strata properties are semi-detached townhouse-type homes, and some are detached houses.
Problems with the present legislation. The Barrett inquiry into the quality of condominium construction found that strata corporations may be put at risk by hiring managers who are unregulated. Individual managers handle many, many thousands of dollars in strata fees, reserve funds, repair contracts, etc., and there are currently no prescribed standards for competence or conduct that managers have to meet or any system of monitoring their activities.
Some examples. Strata managers may be free to keep some or all of the interest earned on a strata corporation's funds or to mingle those funds with those of other corporations they may be managing. A strata manager may be in conflict of interest if he or she is also a rental property manager or a real estate salesperson for some of the units in the same building they are managing.
New costs may include licensing fees, which will be set up by regulations and may be close to those for residential builders; year-end accounting costs, depending on the strata corporation; insurance or bonding costs; about $2,000 for a yearly trust account audit when required; and up to $1,500 in one-time education costs for managers who do not have the necessary qualifications.
Costs that condominium owners will have to pay. Strata managers may pass on the new costs that will be imposed by licensing. These include the costs of the licence, insurance or bonding, required course work and audit costs. Costs will vary according to individual circumstances and will be spread out over the many units that most strata managers manage. Strata corporations that choose to manage their own affairs will not be affected by this legislation.
Benefits to condominium managers through these fees. Owners of strata corporations will gain the assurance that the
[ Page 17770 ]
managers they hire meet standards of competence and conduct, that potential conflict of interest will be disclosed and that the corporation's funds will be properly managed and accounted for.
The homeowner protection office will investigate and take appropriate action on any possible violations of the Homeowner Protection Act and regulations. Strata managers will also be required to provide a form of security, such as insurance or bonding, for the benefit of the strata owners.
In short, they will get better, more professional management services with improved recourse and consumer protection. Strata owners have asked for this legislation. Many strata corporations are large, independent entities. Strata corporations will still be free to choose their own managers or to choose to manage them themselves. This measure will simply ensure that strata managers meet minimum requirements and standards, remain accountable and have financial safeguards to protect strata owners.
Overall, we are confident that the effect of licensing will be positive. Our consultation showed widespread support for licensing within the industry and among homeowners. It helps everyone if all strata managers are well trained, responsible and aware of the standards that are expected. Licensing creates a level playing field for those in the industry and protects strata owners. Strata managers could lose some of their business if the strata corporations decide to assume their own management functions. However, the extra cost is not high on a per-unit basis. We expect that more condominium owners will consider the benefit of increased consumer protection and more professional services to be worth it.
Cost to the taxpayers. Ongoing administration and enforcement costs will be totally recovered from licence fees. Some startup costs may be funded or financed through borrowing by the homeowner protection office from the provincial government.
"Why shouldn't the industry be self-regulated," some might say, "like Ontario?" In British Columbia there is a well-established industry organization of strata managers, and there has been no initiative to create the voluntary standards. It would take a long time for such an organization to get established and to gain the trust of condominium owners and strata managers, especially given some of the negative perceptions and distrust that seem to currently exist. The Association of Condominium Managers of Ontario is supportive of our licensing initiative and favours mandatory licensing in their province.
Some would say: "Why shouldn't the Real Estate Council of B.C. be the regulatory body?" The Barrett commission, two condominium owners associations, a provincial advisory council to the HPO and a majority of those who responded to the White Paper all recommended that the responsibility for regulation be assigned to the HPO rather than the Real Estate Council. The HPO has established a strong reputation with the homeowner and the building industry, and it has a great deal of expertise in matters of concern to condo owners and strata corporations. The Real Estate Council is predominantly made up of members involved in their own real estate sales.
The HPO also administers a licensing regime for residential builders and building envelope renovators. HPO staff members have an extensive knowledge of strata management issues through their own mandates, providing assistance to leaky-condo owners and strata corporations and research and education for the building industry and consumers. The HPO has gained the trust of a large number of condominium owners and does not have any perceived conflicts of interest with respect to regulating strata managers.
Many owners of condominiums came forward to the Barrett commission to state their concerns about the strata managers, so the commission called for licensing of strata managers through the HPO. The confidence of consumers in condos has been severely shaken by the leaky-condo problem, and the licensing of strata managers will reinforce earlier government measures to restore that very much needed confidence.
After the regulation is passed, hon. Speaker, the HPO will consult with strata property managers, homeowners, people in the insurance industry and other concerned parties to develop workable regulations that protect consumers and minimize red tape. Strata managers will also be given reasonable transition time to comply with the new regulations. Self-managed strata corporations and purely commercial strata corporations are not affected by this legislation.
I am very, very pleased to speak on Bill 24 in second reading, and at this time I'll take my seat.
The Speaker: Seeing no further speakers, I recognize the minister to close debate.
Hon. M. Farnworth: I listened to the comments of my colleagues and the critic opposite, and I look forward to the debate on this important issue and to answering further questions in committee stage.
With that, I move second reading of Bill 24.
Bill 24, Homeowner Protection Amendment Act, 2001, read a second time and referred to a Committee of the Whole House for consideration at the next sitting of the House after today.
Hon. J. MacPhail: I call Committee of the Whole to debate Bill 23.
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
The House in committee on Bill 23; D. Streifel in the chair.
Section 1 approved.
On section 2.
C. Hansen: I was debating whether to raise this point under section 3 or section 2, and I guess my questions here actually relate to both of these sections.
In section 3 of this bill we are amending section 19.5 of the Health Authorities Act. The current wording in the legislation, prior to this amendment being brought in, gives the Minister of Labour the power to direct the Labour Relations Board to consider the continued appropriateness of the bargaining units referred to in section 19.4 -- those bargaining units being
[ Page 17771 ]
the five bargaining units that were originally set out. So what this legislation is doing is going from five bargaining units to four by the combination of those two. Yet in the act, as it's currently worded, there is the ability of the Minister of Labour to direct the Labour Relations Board to consider the continued appropriateness of that structure of five bargaining units.
I'm wondering if the minister can explain to us why it was chosen to take a legislative and essentially political route to address that restructuring, rather than allowing the more non-political consideration of the Labour Relations Board in determining what is an appropriate bargaining unit in this sector.
Hon. C. Evans: The earlier wording intended that the Labour Relations Board would have transitional powers. I think it was probably always assumed that the legislative route would eventually amend the bill.
C. Hansen: In the legislation, certainly the power was there for the Minister of Labour to direct the Labour Relations Board to consider the continued appropriateness of these five bargaining units.
I'm wondering if the minister could tell us why that route was not pursued, why the Labour Relations Board wasn't asked to look at this particular issue in a way that would be giving opportunity for all of the various parties and some of the different health care providers that are small employers, for example, and small unions that are going to be affected by this change. Certainly that consideration by the Labour Relations Board would have given them a forum in which to make their views heard before a decision was made to combine these two bargaining units.
Hon. C. Evans: As I said, the section that the member refers to was to give the Minister of Labour the power in that transition period. I think it was always assumed that the more democratic and appropriate venue for making any substantive change is the Legislature, and that's what's happening.
C. Hansen: I think we may be talking about different sections here. I know there are sections in here about transition, which we will come to later on -- the transitional powers on the implementation of these changes. But the section I'm referring to is specifically section 19.5, the existing wording of the Health Authorities Act. I'll read it. It's under the title of "Review of Appropriate Bargaining Units," and it says: "The Minister of Labour may on application or on his or her own motion, and after the investigation considered necessary or advisable, direct the labour relations board to consider the continued appropriateness of the bargaining units referred to in section 19.4." That's not a transitional section; I think the transitional ones are different sections.
This is an ongoing power that the Minister of Labour has had since the Health Authorities Act was first introduced in 1995. Yet the government has never chosen to go that route for this consideration of the amalgamation of the two bargaining units. I'm wondering if the minister could explain why.
Hon. C. Evans: For the third time, staff are suggesting that the hon. member does not find section 19.5(1) to be transitional. In his defence, the word "transition" isn't in there. But the intent of the section when it was created was that it would work for the few years, essentially, as we got to this point. The hon. member is asking why the government felt that it was appropriate to use legislation to make this change. The answer to that is that this is substantive change, not sort of tinkering or asking for a ruling. This is substantive change, and legislative amendment here is the appropriate venue.
C. Hansen: I won't belabour the point, but I would just say that this is a change that affects a lot of health care providers around the province, yet there's never been any kind of formalized process to allow them to have their say in terms of whether or not this particular move is desirable. I think that goes not just for the employer side but also for the smaller unions that are affected by this change. I see that there was a provision there, and my question was just with regard to why it wasn't used. I don't have a specific question, but I would just like to say that I think it would have been desirable for some kind of formalized process to have allowed this change to be considered by those who are going to be directly impacted by it.
Hon. C. Evans: Well, I accept the hon. member's criticism.
Section 2 approved.
On section 3.
C. Hansen: This is the amendment to section 19.5 that I was referring
to earlier, but the change that is being brought in here, in essence, provides
Instead, the amendment that he's bringing before us today eliminates the
reference to the Minister of Labour and just says: "The labour relations
board may consider the continued appropriateness of any bargaining unit in the
Maybe the minister could explain. If this is transitional or was transitional for when the legislation was first brought in, then why are we amending it today?
Hon. C. Evans: Elsewhere, in other industries and the like, labour relations have the board. The Ministry of Labour had that power for a temporary period of time. Now, essentially, with this amendment, we're just returning the labour relations situation to the norm in the other areas of the province's business.
Section 3 approved.
On section 4.
C. Hansen: I have a concern with regard to the way this section is now going to be set up. What we're doing is amend-
[ Page 17772 ]
ing subsection (2)(b) to insert "in relation to the bargaining units
referred to in section 19.4(1)(a) to (c)." The problem I've got with this
is that in the wording of the Health Authorities Act this subsection (2) reads:
"On a date determined by the labour relations board, but no later than 6
months after the effective date
My concern with this, the way it is now going to be worded, is that we have already passed the six months after the effective date of this section. In fact, this was proclaimed, I believe, in August of 1997 or '98. I've got that somewhere here. Certainly it was several years ago that this section was brought into effect. My reading of it says that this entire section becomes inoperative six months after the effective date, yet now we're amending it. I'm wondering if the minister can explain how this particular section remains in effect when the wording of it seems to indicate otherwise.
Hon. C. Evans: I think I understand the hon. member's question, but our advice from legislative counsel is that the appropriate way is to amend the statute rather than using some other method.
C. Hansen: Well, not being a lawyer, I'll have to defer to that sage advice that the minister's getting.
But what this amendment does, assuming this section is in effect, is essentially exempt the bargaining unit that is being created out of this, the health services and support bargaining unit. It says that this pertains only to the bargaining units in (a) to (e), which are your nurses, your paramedics and your residents. But this section does not apply to (d), which is in fact the health services and support bargaining unit. I'm wondering if the minister can explain why.
Hon. C. Evans: The date that subsection (5.1) will come into force will be six months after the date in which the subsection comes into force. The hon. member's question is: how come this next section deals with three of the bargaining units? At that time, this bargaining unit will be brought into the same regulatory regime.
C. Hansen: I might need some enlightenment from the minister or from those assisting him. When it talks about the effective date in section 2, "effective date" is defined in the Health Authorities Act as "the date this part comes into force." It's not this subsection but this part -- part 3, is it? -- that came into force several years ago. So we're already past the six-month date. I'm wondering if the minister can explain how he squares that with the comments he just made.
Hon. C. Evans: Forgive me if my answer has complicated the question. It's an esoteric kind of line of questioning which requires a little bit of legal analysis. I think that the hon. member is missing the fact that in subsection (5.1), where it says, "but no later than 6 months after the date on which this subsection comes into force," the exact wording applies to this subsection. So it's not a section of the previous bill or something like that; it's this subsection that we are adding.
C. Hansen: The other thing that this has the effect of doing
The amendment that's being brought in today has the effect of specifically exempting the health services and support bargaining unit from that. I'm wondering if the minister could explain why this new, big 60,000-member bargaining unit is being exempted from the requirements of these articles of association.
Hon. C. Evans: I would refer the hon. member, once again, if I understand his question, to subsection (5.2), where it says: "subsections (3), (4) and (5) apply to the association referred to in subsection (5.1)." Section 3 includes all of the requirements, and I don't understand how come the hon. member believes that someone is being exempted. If he wants to rephrase his question and explain where he perceives the exemption, perhaps I could be assisted to understand his question.
C. Hansen: Well, if you go back up to section 2(b), which is being amended, it currently refers to a new association of bargaining agents that must be formed in accordance with this section -- right? So it's referring to those new associations of bargaining agents that must be formed, and now we amend it. In relation to bargaining units referred to in section 19.4(1), (a) to (c) are only three of the bargaining units. We've got the paramedics, the residents and the nurses -- the three bargaining units. Because of the amendment to 2(b) that we were referring to earlier, new associations of bargaining units are only those three, given the amendment that the minister is bringing in.
Now we come down to section 3, and he says that the trade unions in each
Hon. C. Evans: The facilities and community sectors are not being exempted. They are being carved out of the previous reference that the hon. member is correct in alluding to. They are brought down into subsections (5.1) and (5.2). We did not wish to affect the original three, which is precisely why we carved out those two and moved them down here. But the hon. member's suggestion that this exempts the community sector and the facilities sector from the other provisions of the bill is not correct.
C. Hansen: I guess I fail to see how the minister can say that, because that's exactly the amendment that we're bringing in here. It's talking only about the trade unions in each association referred to in subsection (2)(b). That's the amendment that he's making. Well, those associations referred to in (2)(b) only include those three bargaining units. They don't include the fourth bargaining unit, which is what will become known as the health services and support unit.
[ Page 17773 ]
Hon. C. Evans: I don't know how to say it simpler. I understand the hon. member's confusion and my inability to make it simpler. But I would refer the hon. member to subsections (5.1) and (5.2). These are tied to earlier sections of the bill. And by virtue of the fact that these two apply to the community and the facilities subsector, ergo so do they remain in the rest of the legislation. He has precisely the opposite interpretation of the language -- boy, for which I really forgive him, because it's arcane and difficult to understand.
But rather than removing facilities and communities from the rest of the bill, what's essentially happening is that they are being removed, brought down here to (5.1) and (5.2) and explained. And then the provisions of these sections tie that all back into the rest of the bill. The reason that was done was to leave the other three bargaining units exempt from having to be captured by all of this legislation.
Sections 4 to 8 inclusive approved.
Hon. C. Evans: I move we rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
Bill 23, Health Authorities Amendment Act, 2001, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
Hon. J. MacPhail: I call committee on Bill 13.
ELECTRONIC TRANSACTIONS ACT
The House in committee on Bill 13; D. Streifel in the chair.
On section 1.
G. Plant: This bill was first introduced as an exposure bill last summer. I want to take this opportunity to thank the minister's staff and the members of the Information, Science and Technology Agency for the time they spent with me then and over the course of the intervening months, answering my questions and explaining this piece of legislation. I want to do everything within my power this afternoon to ensure that it becomes law sooner rather than later.
Sections 1 to 22 inclusive approved.
Hon. C. McGregor: I move that we rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
Bill 13, Electronic Transactions Act, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move that it be resolved that the order for third reading on Bill 11, intituled Sex Offender Registry Act, be set aside and the bill recommitted in respect of sections 1, 5.1, 7, 8, 10, 18 and 21.
The Speaker: That's by leave.
Hon. J. MacPhail: Mr. Speaker, I call Committee of the Whole to debate Bill 11.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY ACT
The House in committee on Bill 11; D. Streifel in the chair.
On section 1.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the amendment standing in my name on the orders of the day for section 1.
G. Plant: I'd just like to take the opportunity to say that with respect to this amendment and a number of other amendments that are coming, it seems to me -- with respect, and I'm quite prepared to say this -- that these amendments do improve the bill. I'm glad that on this occasion there was an opportunity to take a day or two to see if there were ways in which the bill could be improved. And while I think there are still some issues and questions that will need to be dealt with as people work towards the implementation of the sex offender registry, these particular amendments are a helpful step in the right direction, and again, I want to try to ensure they become law sooner rather than later.
(a) in the proposed definition of "personal information" by deleting paragraph (s) and substituting the following:
(s) prescribed information that is likely to assist
(i) in confirming the identity of the offender, or
(ii) in locating the offender for the purpose of maintaining the registry up to date; ,
(b) in paragraph (a) of the proposed definition of "sex offence" by deleting subparagraph (xi) and substituting the following:
(xi) section 173 (2) [indecent acts]; , and
(c) in the proposed definition of "sex offence" by adding the following paragraph:
(e.1) an offence under section 173 (1) [indecent acts], 177 [trespassing at night], or 279 [kidnapping/forcible confinement] of the Criminal Code but only in relation to a person whose personal information is entered into the registry in respect of that offence under section 5.1, .]
Section 1 as amended approved.
On section 5.1.
[ Page 17774 ]
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the amendments standing in my name on the orders of the day for section 5.1.
[SECTION 5.1, by adding the following section:
Specified sex offences
5.1 (1) Subject to subsection (2), the registrar must enter into the registry the personal information about a person convicted of or found to be not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder for an offence under section 173 (1), 177, or 279 of the Criminal Code.
(2) The registrar must not enter the personal information about a person referred to in subsection (1) into the registry if, after reviewing information respecting the circumstances of the commission of the offence, the registrar decides
(a) in the case of an offence under section 173 (1) of the Criminal Code, that the act that forms the basis of the offence
(i) was a non-sexual indecent act, or
(ii) was a consensual sexual act, or
(b) in the case of an offence under section 177 or 279 of the Criminal Code, that the offence was not committed for a sexual purpose or with a sexual motive.
(3) If the registrar decides that subsection (2) does not apply with respect to a person and enters the personal information about that person into the registry, the registrar must include with the notice to the offender under section 9, notice of the right of the offender to request a reconsideration of the registrar's decision under this subsection.
(4) An offender whose personal information has been entered into the registry under subsection (1), may request, in accordance with the regulations, the registrar to reconsider the decision made under subsection (3).
(5) The offender may include with the request under subsection (4) any written submissions or other documents the offender wishes the registrar to consider.
(6) The registrar
(a) must reconsider the decision under subsection (3) if requested to do so in accordance with subsection (4),
(b) may confirm that decision, or reverse that decision and remove the person's personal information from the registry, and
(c) must advise the person of the decision under paragraph (b) in accordance with the regulations.]
Section 5.1 as amended approved.
On section 7.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the amendment standing in my name on the orders of the day for section 7.
(a) by deleting the proposed subsection (4) and substituting the following:
(4) Despite section 12, for the purposes of the registry, the registrar may demand from any public body, corporation, or individual named in the personal information recorded in the registry about an offender, any personal information about the offender that is in the possession or control of that public body, corporation or individual. , and
(b) in the proposed subsection (6) by deleting "a person or public body that receives a demand" and substituting "a public body, corporation or individual that receives a demand".]
Section 7 as amended approved.
On section 8.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the amendment standing in my name on the orders of the day for section 8.
[SECTION 8, by deleting the proposed subsection (2) and substituting the following:
(2) Despite any other enactment but subject to subsection (3), if satisfied in accordance with subsection (1), the court may order any public body, corporation, or individual named in the personal information recorded in the registry about an offender, to provide to the registrar in the time and manner the court specifies, any information that
(a) is in any record in the possession or control of that public body, corporation or individual, and
(b) discloses personal information about the offender.
(2.1) For the purpose of an application under subsection (1), a certificate purporting to have been issued by the registrar certifying the names of the individuals named in the personal information recorded in the registry about an offender is admissible without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed the document, and is proof of the certified facts unless there is evidence to the contrary.]
Section 8 as amended approved.
On section 10.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the amendment standing in my name on the orders of the day for section 10.
[SECTION 10, by adding the following subsections:
(2.1) An information-sharing agreement or arrangement entered into under this section must include the prescribed terms and conditions, and provisions that have the following effects:
(a) that any use made by a party to the agreement or arrangement of the personal information collected under the agreement or arrangement will be for the purpose for which it was obtained or compiled by British Columbia or for a use consistent with that purpose as defined under section 34 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
(b) that any disclosure of the personal information collected from British Columbia by a party to the agreement or arrangement will be in substantial compliance with section 12 of this Act.
(2.2) An information-sharing agreement or arrangement entered into under this section may not agree to share personal information
(a) about an offender referred to in paragraph (d) of the definition of "offender" in section 1, or
[ Page 17775 ](b) referred to in paragraph (l) or (m) of the definition of "personal information" in that section.]
Section 10 as amended approved.
On section 18.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the amendment standing in the hands of the Clerk for section 18.
[SECTION 18, by deleting the proposed subsection (2) and substituting the following:
(2) A person who contravenes section 7 (6) or 12 (1) or who fails to comply with an order under section 8 (2) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $2 000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than 6 months, or to both.]
Section 18 as amended approved.
On section 21.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the amendment standing in my name on orders of the day for section 21.
[SECTION 21, in the proposed subsection (2) by adding the following paragraph:
(b.1) prescribing practices and procedures for a reconsideration under section 5.1;
(b.2) prescribing terms and conditions that must be included in an information-sharing agreement or arrangement under section 10; .]
Section 21 as amended approved.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move this committee rise and report the bill complete with amendments.
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
Bill 11, Sex Offender Registry Act, reported complete with amendments.
The Speaker: When will the bill be read as reported?
Hon. G. Bowbrick: With leave, now.
Bill 11, Sex Offender Registry Act, read a third time and passed.
Hon. G. Janssen: A fine day's work that we completed today. I move the House do now adjourn.
Hon. G. Janssen moved adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 4:56 p.m.
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