2004 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 37th Parliament

The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.


BILL M 206 -- 2004



Part 1 -- Interpretation and Application of Act
1  Definitions
2  The Government of British Columbia is bound
Part 2 -- Public Trust and Accountability
3  Government to control shares
4  Rights of local governments, municipalities, and citizens
5  Right of action
6  Common Law rules
7  Remedies
Part 3 -- Power to Make Regulations and Commencement
8  Power to make regulations
9  Commencement



WHEREAS communities, local governments and citizens in British Columbia have been subject to (i) substantial across the board provincial budget cuts, (ii) the sale and incremental privatization of public assets, and (iii) ideologically driven public policies that favour private corporations at the expense of local economies and community well-being; and

WHEREAS in British Columbia the transportation system, public utilities, health care system, public education system, designated land trusts, and other assets were created by the Government of British Columbia for the public good; and

THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:

Part 1 -- Interpretation and Application of Act


1 In this Act:

"Crown agency" means a Crown corporation or a board, commission, association or other body, whether incorporated or unincorporated, all the members of which, or all the members of the board of management or board of directors of which:

(a) are appointed by an Act or by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; or

(b) if not appointed are, in the discharge of their duties, public officers or servants of the Crown, or, for the proper discharge of their duties are directly or indirectly responsible to the Crown;

"Crown corporation" means

(a) a corporation of which all the directors or members of the governing body are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council,

(b) a corporation that is accountable directly or through a minister to the Legislature for the conduct of its affairs, or

(c) a corporation that is designated as a Crown corporation in the regulations or is of a class designated in the regulations,

(d) any corporation that is listed in Schedule A;

"fixed public assets" means any publicly owned physical goods, including but not limited to, dams, transmission lines, power plants, roads, waterways, buildings and infrastructure;

"full public disclosure" means providing the public with any and all information available to government subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

"local government" has the same meaning as in the Local Government Act;

"municipality" has the same meaning as in the Local Government Act;

"person" means a citizen of Canada residing in the Province of British Columbia;

"privatization" means the sale, outsourcing or turning over the management of a Crown corporation or Crown agency, in part or in full, to the private sector;

"provincial government" means the Government of British Columbia;

"public assets" mean all fixed and variable public assets held in the public trust;

"public trust" means the fiduciary responsibility of government to act in the best interest of citizens in managing public assets and public resources;

"services provided by the public sector" refers to any services administered by government with respect to utilities, health care, education, income assistance, auto insurance, and transportation;

"variable public assets" means any cash assets held by the Government of British Columbia for the public trust, services provided by the public sector, information technology systems and government databases.

The Government of British Columbia is bound

2 This Act binds the Government of British Columbia.

Part 2 -- Public Trust and Accountability:
Shares, Rights, Responsibilities, and Remedies

Government of British Columbia to control shares and assets

3 (1) The shares of all Crown corporations listed in Schedule A

(a) must be registered in the name of the Minister of Finance;

(b) must be held by the minister responsible on behalf of the government; and

(c) must not be sold, traded, donated, or otherwise disposed of.

(2) Whether or not a Crown corporation has shares under subsection (1), the provincial government must not sell, trade, donate or otherwise dispose of fixed and variable assets of any Crown corporation listed in Schedule A.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), the provincial government shall allow Crown corporations to replace redundant, useless or worn out assets. No public asset will be disposed of in order to allow replacement of a similar asset by the private sector.

Rights of local governments, municipalities, and citizens

4 Local governments and municipalities together with citizens of British Columbia, both present and future generations, have the right to:

(a) realize the benefits of fixed and variable public assets, including those held by Crown corporations and Crown agencies;

(b) full public disclosure and unfettered public access to information regarding the financial and legal status of Crown corporations and Crown agencies held in the public trust;

(c) be consulted about any planned changes to Crown corporations and Crown agencies.

Right of action

5 Any person may commence a civil action in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on his or her own behalf against any person, or body of the Government of British Columbia, which is alleged to be responsible for an action or the failure to act which violates the public trust, including rights outlined in section 4.

Common Law rules

6 (1) No person is prohibited from commencing an action under section 5 by reason only that he or she is unable to show:

(a) any greater or different right, harm or interest than any other person; or

(b) any pecuniary or proprietary right or interest in the subject matter of the proceeding.

(2) No action under section 5 shall be dismissed on the grounds that:

(a) the public trust is not irrevocable or is uncertain;

(b) the beneficiary cannot be identified; or

(c) an authority has the power to authorize an act that may impair a right set out in section 4.


7 (1) In respect of an action under section 5, the Supreme Court may:

(a) grant an interim, interlocutory or permanent injunction;

(b) grant a declaration;

(c) award damages;

(d) award costs; and

(e) grant such other remedy that the Supreme Court considers just.

(2) In addition to, or instead of, any order or award made under subsection 1, the Supreme Court may:

(a) order the defendant to establish and maintain a monitoring and reporting system in respect of any of its activities;

(b) order the defendant to take preventative measures specified by the Supreme Court;

(c) order that an agreement, licence or permit issued to a third party by the defendant be suspended, and order that a third party's right to obtain or hold an agreement, licence, or permit with the defendant be revoked;

(d) order that the Crown Agencies Secretariat conduct a review of the impacts of a decision, designation, service plans, objectives, target or practice of any Crown corporation or Crown agency;

(e) order the defendant to provide financial assurance for the performance of a specified action;

(f) order the defendant to present proof of compliance with the order of the Supreme Court; and

(g) make any other order that the Supreme Court considers just.

(3) Where the Supreme Court makes an order under subsections (1) or (2) it may direct the Minister responsible for Crown corporations and Crown agencies to monitor compliance with the order, or assign an impartial third party to monitor government compliance.

Part 3 -- Power to Make Regulations and Commencement

Power to make regulations

8 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations as follows:

(a) for the safety, good order and convenience of the public in the operation, use and control of any property or assets held by a Crown corporation or Crown agency;

(b) limiting and prohibiting access by any unauthorized person to property occupied and controlled by a Crown corporation or Crown agency.


9 This Act comes into force upon Proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Schedule A

British Columbia Buildings Corporation

British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority

British Columbia Liquor Distribution Branch

British Columbia Lottery Corporation

British Columbia Rail Inc.

British Columbia Transmission Corporation

Columbia Basin Trust

Columbia Power Corporation

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

Provincial Capital Commission

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