1992 Legislative Session: 1st Session, 35th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.
HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:
1 In this Act "commissioner" means the Commissioner on Resources and Environment appointed under section 2.
2 (1) The Commissioner on Resources and Environment shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and is a public officer reporting to the Executive Council.
(2) An appointment under subsection (1) is for a term of 5 years and reappointments may be made.
3 (1) The commissioner shall advise the Executive Council in an independent manner on land use and related resource and environmental issues in British Columbia and on the need for legislation, policies and practices respecting these issues.
(2) If the commissioner considers that the public interest will be best served by making a report to the public on a land use and related resource or environmental issue in British Columbia or on the need for legislation, a policy or a practice respecting such an issue, the commissioner shall make this report to the public in the manner the commissioner considers most appropriate.
4 (1) The commissioner shall develop for public and government consideration a British Columbia wide strategy for land use and related resource and environmental management.
(2) The commissioner shall facilitate the development and implementation, and shall monitor the operation, of
(a) regional planning processes to define the uses to which areas of British Columbia may be put,
(b) community based participatory processes to consider land use and related resource and environmental management issues, and
(c) a dispute resolution system for land use and related resource and environmental issues in British Columbia.
(3) The commissioner shall work to ensure effective and integrated management of the resources and environment of British Columbia by
(a) facilitating the coordination of initiatives within the government, and
(b) encouraging the participation of Aboriginal peoples in all processes affecting Aboriginal peoples that relate to the commissioner's mandate and by maintaining strong links with negotiations on Aboriginal treaties.
(4) The work of the commissioner and the participation of Aboriginal peoples under this Act shall be without prejudice to their Aboriginal rights and to treaty negotiations.
(5) In carrying out the mandate under this section, the commissioner shall give due consideration to
(a) economic, environmental and societal interests,
(b) local, Provincial and federal governmental responsibilities, and
(c) the interests of Aboriginal peoples.
5 If the commissioner believes that a person or group will be significantly and directly affected by a recommendation or report that the commissioner is considering making, the commissioner shall inform that person or group and give that person or group an opportunity to make representations to the commissioner on the issues before the recommendation or report is completed.
6 (1) The commissioner may conduct hearings for the purposes of this Act and determine the procedures to be followed for the purposes of these hearings.
(2) No person is entitled to a hearing by the commissioner under this Act except as provided by this Act.
(3) For the purposes of this section the commissioner has the powers, protection and privileges given under sections 12, 15 and 16 of the Inquiry Act to a commissioner appointed under Part 2 of that Act and the commissioner may receive or accept, under oath or otherwise, evidence whether or not it would be admissible in a court of law.
(4) At a hearing before the commissioner a person has the same privileges respecting the giving of information, the answering of questions or the production of documents or things as that person would have in a proceeding in a court.
(5) Evidence given by a person in a hearing before the commissioner is inadmissible, insofar as the laws of the Province apply, against that person at a later date in any court or proceeding of a judicial nature except in a prosecution of an offence under this Act or in an application for judicial review.
7 (1) The commissioner or a person appointed, engaged or retained under section 10 shall not, insofar as the laws of the Province apply, give, or be compelled to give, evidence in a court or in proceedings of a judicial nature concerning knowledge gained in the exercise of a power or duty under this Act.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an offence under section 13.
8 (1) No action for damages lies or may be brought against the commissioner or any person appointed, engaged or retained under section 10 because of anything done or omitted in good faith
(a) in the performance or intended performance of any duty under this Act, or
(b) in the exercise or intended exercise of any power under this Act.
(2) Subsection (1) does not absolve the government from vicarious liability for an act or omission for which it would be vicariously liable if this section were not in force.
9 (1) Subject to section 2 and this section, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may establish the remuneration and other terms and conditions of employment of the commissioner.
(2) The Pension (Public Service) Act applies to the commissioner as an employee.
(3) The commissioner is declared to have the status of a deputy minister.
10 (1) A deputy commissioner and other employees necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the commissioner may be appointed under the Public Service Act.
(2) The commissioner may engage or retain specialists or consultants that the commissioner considers necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the office and may determine their remuneration, and the Public Service Act does not apply to the retention, engagement or remuneration of these specialists or consultants.
11 (1) The commissioner may delegate any of the commissioner's powers or duties, except the power to delegate a power or duty under this section or to make a recommendation or report under this Act, to any person or class of persons appointed, engaged or retained under section 10.
(2) A person appointed, engaged or retained under section 10 has only those powers of the commissioner that are specified in the delegation under subsection (1) and the commissioner continues to have all the powers and duties that are delegated to others under this section.
(3) A delegation under subsection (1) shall be in writing and is subject to the terms and conditions the commissioner specifies in the delegation.
(4) A delegation under subsection (1) does not cease by reason only that the commissioner who made the delegation ceases to hold office.
(5) A person acting under a power or duty delegated under subsection (1) shall, if so requested, show a copy of the written authority under which the delegation was made.
12 Each year the commissioner shall give to the Speaker a report to the Legislative Assembly concerning the commissioner's activities under this Act since the last report was made under this section, and the Speaker shall lay the report before the Legislative Assembly as soon as practicable.
13 (1) A person commits an offence if the person
(a) impedes the exercise of a power or the performance of a duty under this Act, or
(b) refuses or fails to comply with an order or summons under section 6 (3).
(2) If a corporation commits an offence under subsection (1), an employee, officer, director or agent of the corporation who authorizes, permits or acquiesces in the offence commits the same offence whether or not the corporation is convicted of the offence.
14 This Act comes into force by regulation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
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Copyright © 1992: Queen's Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada