2001 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 36th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11, 2001
Volume 22, Number 25
[ Page 17777 ]
The House met at 2:08 p.m.
G. Clark: It's my pleasure today to introduce two distinguished gentlemen on the floor of the chamber. The Hon. Pita Lus is a Member of Parliament for Papua New Guinea and currently the Minister of Housing in that government. Sir Pita was first elected in 1964 as a 24-year-old and has held office continuously for some 38 years. Sir Pita was instrumental in fighting for and attaining independence for Papua New Guinea from Australia in 1975. He currently stands as the longest-serving parliamentarian in the British Commonwealth.
Hon. Speaker, he is here today leading a delegation of six that's looking into the prospects of B.C. companies assisting the people of Papua New Guinea in their housing needs, and he's joined on the floor of the House by Judah Akesim, Member of Parliament for Papua New Guinea since 1989. I'd ask members to welcome them.
In addition, I had the privilege, along with the member for Fort Langley-Aldergrove, to have lunch with our two distinguished visitors on the floor here and their delegation that's in the gallery. I'd like to introduce them now: Philip Aki, minister's first secretary; Benedict Mick, managing director, National Housing Corporation; Raphael Nagual, deputy managing director, National Housing Corporation; Kila Wari, a consultant; Harold Clifford, who's the president of Shelter Industries, a very successful British Columbia company in the member for Fort Langley-Aldergrove's constituency, and who hopes to be doing business with Papua New Guinea; Rod Yetman, an accountant; and Hari Sharma, another accountant.
I'd like all members to make this delegation welcome.
R. Coleman: On behalf of the official opposition, I would also like to welcome Sir Pita Lus and his delegation to the House today, and of course, the president of Shelter Industries, Harold Clifford. Harold tells me that Shelter Industries has come to an agreement to supply some modular housing to Papua New Guinea -- a great company in my riding and jobs in British Columbia. It's a great relationship between the countries, and they look forward to building much more affordable housing in that country in the future.
Hon. D. Zirnhelt: Visitors in the gallery are 28 students from Western Washington University studying Canadian-American studies. Would you please make them welcome.
Hon. G. Janssen: [The member spoke Dutch.] Visiting Victoria and the House today is the consul general of the Netherlands, Aart Jan Marie Verdegaal. Would the House please make him welcome.
Hon. E. Gillespie: Visiting the House today are 23 grade 11 students from Highland Secondary in Comox, accompanied by their teacher Mr. Wayne Demerse and a number of parents. Hon. Speaker, if you'll indulge me just for a moment. These students are experiencing a little elbow room at their school, as they've moved into their new addition. For the first year in many years Highland Secondary is a grades 10, 11 and 12 school only, because the grade 9s have moved into two new middle schools in Comox. Would the House please join me in welcoming these grade 11 students from Highland Secondary.
G. Mann Brewin: Today in the gallery we have, from the Centre for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University, 26 students taking a senior course in Canadian politics. Leading them is their professor, Don Alper. One of their students, a fellow named Brent Dixon, has in fact been an intern with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries here in British Columbia. So now, if I may, we know that one American at least knows what we're talking about on the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Will the House please join me in making them all welcome.
Hon. C. Evans: Griffin Chinneck, who's ten and a half months old, is sitting way up there and is the son of the Health ministry's communications director. He's visiting today escorted by his mom Shelley and his dad Peter.
Hon. H. Giesbrecht: It gives me great pleasure to introduce the Hon. Steve Ashton, Minister of Transportation and Government Services for the province of Manitoba. He's in town to attend the Western Transportation Advisory Council's conference. Would the House please make him welcome.
Hon. G. Wilson: It's my great privilege to welcome four people to the House today: Annie Aculiak, Pierre Aculiak, Peter Diebel and Kathleen Henry. Annie has traveled here today, along with her husband and friends, to present Premier Dosanjh with a piece of her artwork as an expression of thanks to the Premier and Minister Farnworth for the extra funding, for disability, to status recipients who have a serious illness. As many know, Annie is a very well known Sechelt artist who has recently made a presentation to Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. Would the House please make them welcome.
V. Anderson: It brings me great pleasure to welcome to our House today the deputy governor of Jiangxi province in China, Huisang Xu, who is also involved in health and education, along with Jixing Xy, who is also involved in education. They are visiting here with Adam Tang as a consultant, and they'll be visiting with some of the Langley schools to talk about cooperation and sharing ideas between the programs we have here and those they are trying to do in China. Could the House make them welcome.
R. Thorpe: It gives me great pleasure today to introduce some visitors from Ventura, California: Maya and Jeremy Osterstrand. Could the House please make them welcome.
Hon. C. Evans: I have a sad piece of news today. George Gillies, the CEO of the Nelson health council and maybe the kindest person I've met in the course of doing this work and a person well known to the opposition too, was killed in an automobile accident last night. I just wonder if the whole House could send the community and his family our condolences.
The Speaker: Yes, we'll see to that, minister.
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SKYTRAIN EXPANSION PROJECT COSTS
M. de Jong: I've got a copy of the February update on the SkyTrain construction schedule, and I see that the completion date has now been pushed back five months, from August to December 2002.
I think the minister knows that on a project of this magnitude, time really is money. I wonder if he might tell this House and, more importantly, British Columbians just how much this delay in finishing the SkyTrain expansion project is going to cost taxpayers.
Hon. M. Farnworth: The opening for SkyTrain has been made public now for quite some time. It will be later this year, well past the date that the member has just raised with the House. And in fact, the costs for the SkyTrain project are currently anticipated to be on budget.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Matsqui has a supplemental question.
M. de Jong: In November the government received its project management report from Gannett Fleming and that report says that each additional month beyond the current completion date would add approximately $6 million in accumulated interest during construction costs. The report from February says that date is now five months behind.
Since it's five months behind, that would add at least $30 million to the cost of the project. Will the minister responsible confirm that estimate, based on the NDP government's own documentation?
Hon. M. Farnworth: One of the interesting things I think the opposition needs to realize is that when you have reports done and you have the project monitored in the way we are monitoring it and in the way it's being monitored by an outside independent agency on a quarterly basis, you're in a position to take measures to ensure that if there are unanticipated costs going to occur, you can mitigate those costs. You make decisions to ensure that they don't happen.
The real question is: what would that side of the House do if they were on this side of the House? Would they continue with SkyTrain? Would they extend it to Coquitlam Centre? Those are the questions that Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Coquitlam have been asking, and they don't get any answers from that side of the House when they're asked.
G. Plant: There are still a few more questions that we'd like to ask.
As of the end of December the SkyTrain expansion project had just over $44 million left in its contingency fund. But according to the February quarterly review prepared by the Gannett Fleming firm, all but $200,000 of that $44 million is already expected to be allocated. That means that with 40 percent of the project left to complete, there's only $200,000 left for non-forecasted items.
Will the minister responsible tell us how on earth he expects anyone to believe that there won't be cost overruns for the project when they've already maxed out on the contingency fund, and they're barely halfway finished?
Hon. M. Farnworth: I guess it's appropriate for that member, being from Richmond, to ask that question, because clearly he doesn't go to that part of the lower mainland. If he did, he'd see that it's nearly built. He'd know that most of the costs in the budget have already been committed, that it's there in concrete and cement. It's there going all the way into Vancouver. It's there going to Lougheed Mall. The costs have been allocated.
He'd also know that the reason why -- and I'll repeat the answer for him again -- is that we have quarterly updates that are posted on the Internet. If he doesn't know how to use it, it's www.skytrain.com, and he can find them there. He'll know that the project is being built. It's being built to Lougheed Mall, and it's going to go to Coquitlam Centre.
Hon. M. Farnworth: The hon. member says yeah, right. Does that mean that if she's sitting over here, she won't be building it? Are you going to commit to building it over here? Come clean, hon. member. Commit today. Are you going to send SkyTrain to Coquitlam Centre or not?
The Speaker: The hon. member for Richmond-Steveston has a supplemental question.
G. Plant: Actually, the web site that I was visiting lately is www.electionsbc-latefiling.com.
Mr. Speaker, we have been reading the quarterly reports. The report for February says that mitigation measures to offset expected costs will be necessary to maintain budget on the SkyTrain project. Now, I'm not going to ask how many chairs they're going to remove from the cars, because it appears that the so-called mitigation measures include cutting a deal with the Ministry of Finance on interest expenses and speeding up the capitalization of assets.
This looks more like accounting sleight of hand. The fact is that's not going to reduce costs; it's just going to shift them around. So will the minister tell us: where exactly is he planning to hide all of the real cost overruns that are occurring on the SkyTrain expansion project?
Hon. M. Farnworth: If the hon. member wants to talk about ww
The Speaker: Order.
The Speaker: Order, members.
Hon. M. Farnworth: Sometimes it's not your enemies, hon. Speaker, it's your friends.
Hon. Speaker, this project is being monitored by an outside independent auditing agency, which reviews the financial statements. They're posted quarterly on the web. They meet with all standard accounting practices and procedures. As well, there is a board made up of experts in the field who the
[ Page 17779 ]
project reports to on a monthly basis. As well, the auditor general is kept abreast of all the developments around the particular project -- the SkyTrain project. This project has more scrutiny than any other project done in the history of British Columbia. As well, the RTP project is reviewing the options that are available to it at every step of the way. That's why the Gannett Fleming report has been done. If we need to make changes or if we need to do things, we're able to do that. All that is being done.
The real question, as I said once before, is that this side of the House is
Hon. M. Farnworth: Late filing? He's sitting right next to you, hon. member.
The Speaker: Thank you, minister. Wrap up, please.
Hon. M. Farnworth: Hon. Speaker, the question is: are they going to build SkyTrain out to Coquitlam Centre or not? Because we are.
D. Symons: I might just remind the minister that in 1995 this government promised to build an LRT out to Coquitlam and immediately forgot about it right after the '96 election. They're now making promises to do that in the next election, so how can we believe you?
But the Gannett Fleming report reviewed costs up to December 31 of last year. Two months later, in February of this year, SAR Transit took the government to court over an $80 million claim for cost overruns due to government-caused delays. In the event these claims are successful, in whole or in part, will the minister confirm that there's no contingency fund left to pay for these cost overruns?
Hon. M. Farnworth: You know, I find it interesting that it's the members from Richmond asking questions around SkyTrain, as opposed to the member for Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain, because clearly the members don't realize that SkyTrain is already built to Coquitlam. It's called the Braid Street Station; that's in Coquitlam. We said we'd start it, and we did. We kept our promise. So maybe go check on a map or talk to the member for Port Moody-Burnaby Mountain.
The second point I'd like to make, hon. Speaker, is around the issue of SAR Transit. I find it really interesting that the member thinks to stand up and just take the company's point of view when he knows full well that there has been a report done by a consulting firm agreed to by both SAR and the province. It was done according to the timetable of SAR and looked at information provided by RTP 2000 Ltd. and by SAR. It said that if the province was 100 percent right, the cost would be about $18 million that should be paid in claims, but if the province was 100 percent right and SAR was wrong, then it would be $3 million.
SAR came forward a few weeks later and said: "No, we want $35 million." Then they came forward and said: "We want $80 million." We stand by the report that was done. That's why the matter is before the courts -- because we're concerned about protecting the taxpayers' interests, which clearly that member is not.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Richmond Centre has a supplemental question.
D. Symons: I just might remind the minister that that report was done by one of the firms that also gave the questionable reports on whether we should go for SkyTrain, or not, or light rail. We take that report for what it's worth. The courts will decide that.
We recently saw that the NDP didn't sign a contract before the Nanaimo fast ferry fuelling facility was built; they signed that contract after it was built. Now we see the NDP's not signing an agreement in the operations and maintenance contract for the new SkyTrain line, even though they've been building the line for two years. Hasn't the minister learned anything from the fast ferries fiasco? The question is: will the minister tell us why we should believe SkyTrain won't be grossly over budget when they haven't even signed the contract to operate the new line yet?
Hon. M. Farnworth: The most important statement that member just made was that he wants light rail. That's what we're hearing from that side of the House. You will not commit to building SkyTrain to Coquitlam Centre. Come clean and tell the constituents, the people of the tri-cities area, that you, hon. member, will commit to sending SkyTrain to Coquitlam Centre. We want to know. We have started building it and will build it.
Now, in direct response to that hon. member's particular question around operators and maintenance, we have been attempting to negotiate an agreement with TransLink. Unfortunately, they don't wish to negotiate that agreement. They have made it clear to us: "Because you wouldn't give us the tax increase, the levy" -- which, by the way, do you support or not support? -- "we will not negotiate an operations and maintenance agreement." That is why we have asked the auditor general to go in and review TransLink -- to look at where they're spending their money, why they are giving their executives high-priced pay increases, why they are cutting services to the poor, to lower-income individuals, to single parents and students -- and to come back with recommendations as to how an operations and maintenance agreement can be put in place.
SCHOOL DISTRICT FUNDING
C. Clark: On to more commitments that the government doesn't intend to keep, and maybe on to more questions that the government doesn't intend to answer -- well, let's try it anyway. The School Act requires that this government give its budgets to school boards by February 1 of the fiscal year. And guess what. They missed the deadline. So they extended it by two months. And guess what. They missed the deadline again. And so now they're in contravention of the law. The minister says, when she's asked by school boards: "Oh, don't worry about it. The budget's in the mail." Yeah, right. And the dog ate your briefing notes -- right?
My question for the minister is this: why does the government even bother making statutory rules about deadlines when it has absolutely no intention of keeping them?
Hon. J. MacPhail: Well, let me begin by saying that I hope the red light doesn't go on, so the hon. member can ask another question.
Actually, the letter to the school boards telling them the allocation for funds went out on March 30. So the school
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boards are well aware. And later this week there will be another letter going out, detailing the increases that school boards will receive.
It will be the tenth year in a row that each and every school district in this province gets more money for education. It will be the tenth year in a row that our government will continue to build a school once every 19 days. It will continue the funding for the fourth year to reduce class sizes so that our youngest kids have the best possible success. It will be the ninth year in a row that we make a commitment to teach our children in languages other than the English language. It will be the fourth year in a row that we make a commitment to put 700 more teachers in classrooms in this province. And it will be about the sixth year that we make a commitment to fund education for aboriginal children in this province, who deserve the best possible chance.
What I fear is that if there is a year when this government is not in charge, there will be a dramatic tax cut and a cut in education funding.
The Speaker: The bell ends question period.
Reports from Committees
R. Thorpe: Pursuant to the committee's terms of reference, I have the honour to present the twelfth report of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts for the fourth session of the thirty-sixth parliament, entitled "Governance and Risk Management of the Fast Ferry Project."
I move the report be taken as read and received.
R. Thorpe: I ask leave of the House to suspend the rules to permit the moving of a motion to adopt the report.
Leave not granted.
The Speaker: Order, members. The hon. member for Victoria-Hillside.
S. Orcherton: Thank you, hon. Speaker.
The Speaker: Will the member for Vancouver-Quilchena come to order, please. The member for Victoria-Hillside has the floor.
S. Orcherton: I rise to present a petition. I have a petition from 197 constituents in my community residing in the Burnside-Gorge area, calling on the Canada-British Columbia infrastructure program to fund the new construction of a Burnside-Gorge community centre.
Hon. S. Hammell: I have the honour to present the '99-2000 report on multiculturalism.
Orders of the Day
Hon. G. Janssen: I call Bill 66, the Easter egg recovery act. [Laughter.] It's Easter-time, hon. Speaker. Let's rejoice.
I call Bill 20, the Drinking Water Protection Act.
DRINKING WATER PROTECTION ACT
The House in committee on Bill 20; D. Streifel in the chair.
The Chair: I call the committee to order.
On section 1.
Hon. I. Waddell: Just to start out with a couple of words of explanation, there are three principal components of Bill 20. First is the Drinking Water Protection Act itself, which provides the statutory framework for the protection of drinking water throughout British Columbia. It's intended that both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks would have responsibility relating to the administration of the new act. You remember I said in my second reading speech that there would be one office with the two ministries joined like -- I think I used the words -- "Siamese twins." In committee, both I and my colleague the Minister of Health will be responding to questions on this component as appropriate. So that would be on the Drinking Water Protection Act.
Second, related amendments to the Health Act, which are in the bill, establish modernized inspection and enforcement powers that will provide better protection in relation to health hazards generally, including health hazards relating to drinking water. My colleague the Minister of Health will be responding to that part of the bill.
In the third part of the bill are related amendments to the already existing Water Act of British Columbia that provide protection for all groundwater sources in British Columbia, including but not limited to sources used for drinking water. So I look forward to responding, as Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks, to questions on this component of the bill.
I thought it might make it a bit easier for the opposition if I broke it down this way. I think we're ready to proceed with about the first 29 sections to which the Health minister will respond.
G. Farrell-Collins: This is a bill of about 105 sections, 73 pages. It's a very complicated piece of legislation. It's a piece of legislation that has been worked on and has been called for by this House for many years. It is the opinion, as we said in second reading, of members of the opposition that this is the kind of bill, with its complexity, that should have a chance to be exposed to the public. This is a bill that under normal circumstances would be introduced during a session and would have, generally, weeks if not several months for the public to view, to look at and to make comment upon. Generally in a bill of this size there are numerous amendments that
[ Page 17781 ]
come forward from the government at the time when the bill is called for committee stage.
This government has made it clear that they intend to ram this piece of legislation through the House as quickly as they possibly can, Mr. Chairman. We support the principle of the legislation that's before us. We believe that the public has a right to be part of the evaluation of the legislation as it appears, despite the fact that some of them were involved in the preparation of this legislation.
Therefore let me say this: we're prepared to pass this bill in its entirety immediately. I want to give assurance to the House and the people of the province of British Columbia that if, after an election, there's a change in government, this bill will be allowed to sit and collect advice and input from the people of the province -- as well as amendments that may be required in the first session of the Legislature, to improve upon the bill to make it work. I do not believe that the appropriate way is to try and put this bill through before the public have had a chance to look at it.
With that, the opposition is prepared to pass sections 1 through 105.
Hon. I. Waddell: I could say to the hon. member that there has, of course, been public consultation throughout the province. People have been consulted, and the bill has been carefully drafted on that feedback. This has been going on for a number of years. In the public consultations, the public said very clearly that they want a water protection act. We're not proposing to ram it through; we're prepared to take the necessary time to go through it clause by clause. I'm a little unclear about what the member said. Did the member say that he proposes to agree to let all the clauses go through, and then if he forms the government, they'll repeal the bill? Is that what the hon. member said?
G. Farrell-Collins: Let me be clear for the minister. What I have said is that the opposition supports the principle of this legislation. I believe the legislation deserves and the public deserves the right to look at the legislation to see whether or not it reflects the consultation process that they were involved in. Two or three or four days is not sufficient time for that to happen.
The government is intent on pushing this legislation through. The opposition is not about to be part of that. As a result, what we're prepared to do and what we will do is allow this bill to pass through all stages immediately. The minister can move it; they can put it into law if they wish. But if there's an election and a change in government, what we will do if we're elected is put this bill out there, let people have a chance to look at it and not implement the bill until we've had a chance to hear from the people of the province of British Columbia and determine whether or not amendments are required, keeping within the principle of the bill.
Hon. I. Waddell: The hon. member is a little clearer. He says he won't
implement the bill if he forms the government. This gives me some concern,
because I think we really need to not have Walkerton in British Columbia. But
The Chair: Order, order. Order, hon. members.
Hon. I. Waddell: The hon. member said -- he can correct me if I got
the wrong interpretation -- that he would not implement the bill if he formed
the government but that he would
G. Farrell-Collins: My comments in Hansard stand. And with that, I'd like to call the question.
The Chair: We have the member for West Vancouver-Capilano on section 1.
J. Dalton: I appreciate the remarks and the position the official
opposition has taken, but I do have a few questions on two of the sections at
least that I would like to get on the record. I can't be a party to what the
Opposition House Leader has suggested, and I would like to in particular, just
for the minister's information
Hon. I. Waddell: You know, we bring in a water bill that the province
needs, and the opposition doesn't even want to consider it. I think this is
gross neglect as an opposition role. The public wants a water bill. Here is a
water bill. Here's a chance to examine
The Chair: Order, hon. members.
Hon. I. Waddell: Don't assume you're going to win the next election, you know. You ain't gonna win, when the public sees what you're doing with the real issues. We're prepared to go clause by clause, and the hon. member there needs to ask a question. He is a member of this House, even though they kicked him out of their party. He's a member of this House, and he's entitled to ask those questions, because he's reflecting the public here. The public wants a good water bill. We'll go clause by clause, and if there are any questions, we've got all the officials here. We've got two ministers. We'll answer, because we're serious on this side of the House about a water bill and clean water for British Columbia. We know they don't care about the environment.
G. Farrell-Collins: It's the first time I've seen a minister lose his top over the passage of his own piece of legislation.
Mr. Chairman, if the member for West Vancouver-Capilano has questions on sections 2 and 7, I believe it was, that's fine. He has the right, as every member does, to ask those questions. The opposition is prepared, as I said, to move the minister's bill through, and by the end of the day he'll have a water bill.
Section 1 approved.
On section 2.
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J. Dalton: I guess while we're making editorial comment -- although I don't think it's appropriate -- obviously everyone on this side, with perhaps the exception of my colleague to my left, is very anxious for an election. It is very soon, but I do want to get a few points clarified before we get to that point.
Section 2 deals with relationship with other acts and other authorities, I presume. The minister in his second reading remarks talked about accountability and who would be responsible. He's also indicated today that he and the Health minister will partner this act, although only one minister is on the title of it.
I'll put my first question in the context of a very significant project in my
riding, the ozonation plant at the Capilano reservoir -- a total of $90 million
just for that plant alone. It's been planned for many years, and I think they're
finally getting around, as I speak -- not to make reference to any other
politicians to speak that way
Given his remarks about accountability and the overview of who will have authority under this act, my question to the minister would be: if that ozonation plant was being planned today but not in the process of starting construction, would this act take precedence over the GVWD or any other authority?
Hon. C. Evans: I understand that things are somewhat different today, but I just wanted to introduce the people I am with. That's customary if we're actually going to be here for a while. Janet Erasmus, Andy Hazelwood and Kersteen Johnston are people who helped to put this bill together.
To the hon. member's question, the bill was built on the understanding that there are projects all over the province and in the hon. member's constituency. Also, probably half the other people in this room have projects underway. The intent was to make a smooth transition and not to abrogate the authority of any of the water districts that are presently under construction. I think section 2 ought to give the member comfort that his project, as well as everybody else's, will carry on.
There has been some concern, even in the hon. member's remarks, about how two ministers or two ministries could work together. Buried in your question, hon. member, is the assumption that there is a whole other level of government -- the municipal level -- involved in every single project getting built and that's why we worked with UBCM in building the legislation. Presumably, in that consultation process, had there been any contradiction between the project you're talking about -- or anybody else's project -- and the legislation, that would have been worked out along the way.
J. Dalton: Well, let's just explore this a little further. Let's take, for example, the proposed Seymour ozonation plant, which is in the next-door riding. That is not yet underway. There is also, I believe, one proposed for Coquitlam water reservoir. Would those pending projects be caught? That is, would the provincial government have some say as to the authenticity of those projects, or would those be exclusive to the GVWD?
Hon. C. Evans: The answer is similar. Projects that are planned and not in process will also continue as per the status quo, with the only change being that there will now be a drinking water officer answering to the medical health officer. Presumably the relationship between that individual and the GVRD will be one of working together. The hon. member probably knows that there will be regulations that go along with the act that will lay out what will be tested for. In the case of the GVRD, because it's a very large district they may already be testing for the majority of those chemicals.
J. Dalton: I would say that in the case of the GVRD, although from time to time I've been known to quarrel with them, I do think they've probably at least got their act together, so to speak, and follow fairly stringent health and other regulations. I just spotted an item in the Victoria News today where the capital region water officer felt comfortable with what they were doing. He was happy to see the new act, although he hadn't had time to read it. I don't know how happy he will be once he sees all the regulations.
The GVRD is one level of government that I have explored. Let's take another example. West Vancouver has a reservoir within its boundaries which it has jurisdiction over. Would any change -- any reconstruction, expansion, etc. -- of that reservoir be caught by this act, or would West Vancouver be entitled to go on its own and do as it pleases?
Hon. C. Evans: The answer is pretty much exactly the same, but I want to try to straighten out the hon. member's language. He used the word "caught" as if this legislation would somehow trap his project and limit its ability to go ahead. I want the hon. member to turn it around 180 degrees and see the creation of a drinking water officer and bringing together a seamless relationship between the municipal, regional and provincial governments as a good thing. So rather than the pejorative term "caught," how about if we substitute the more positive term "enhanced"? There will be a drinking water officer. That person will work with the municipality or with the regional government on whatever projects are in the hon. member's constituency.
J. Dalton: My point would be that the province is the senior government to either the GVRD or West Vancouver municipality and, in fact, in either case could pull the rug on either of them today, if it so wished.
Let me ask another question about senior governments: would there be any interplay between DFO and this act? I have another example going back to the Cleveland Dam and the Capilano reservoir. There is a fish hatchery just below the dam, and the water supply comes from the Capilano reservoir. They've just put in a new pipeline to ensure that water supply is safe. Would DFO have any say over either what this act entertains or what the GVWD in fact is doing at the Capilano reservoir?
Hon. C. Evans: I'm pleased to report that if DFO were putting something in the water that shouldn't go there, we'd deal with them just the same as anybody else who might be affecting the water in a deleterious manner.
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J. Dalton: I'm not going to flog a dead horse any further. I didn't expect I'd really be getting any answers out of either minister. In fact, I am a bit disappointed that the Health minister is on his feet trying to answer these. I would have thought the Environment minister would be the one who would at least stand up and support his second reading comments, or what have you.
I will make one other remark here, and then perhaps when we get to section 7, I will pursue that as well. I don't have any confidence that this act, as I read it, is really going to be very helpful in the case of the GVRD. In fact, I can very well see the day where Victoria may use this statute to come along and say: "Well, by the way, we've now taken senior responsibility for water, and we're not happy with what the GVWD is doing." Then I can predict the day when there's going to be a gunfight as well. It came close to a gunfight, anyway.
There were a lot of very serious questions raised about the quality of water going to the Capilano fish hatchery. DFO certainly had some major concerns about that. That is, in part, why this new pipeline has been put in. A lot of construction work is about to start in the Capilano reservoir, which supplies 40 percent of the GVRD. And you've got three levels of government now entering the scene because of this new bill.
It also reminds me of the mess that's going on in Horseshoe Bay right now,
where Larsen Creek, part of the construction mess out there
Those would be my remarks and questions on section 2.
Hon. I. Waddell: I'd like to respond to the hon. member. I know he has real concerns about these creeks and the area and knows it very well. Just on a couple of things. One, DFO, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, of course, are always there. They have that power over fisheries, and they play a part in this system. This doesn't particularly give us any more power over them, because they have their own constitutional powers. We'd have to amend the constitution to do that. But we've been working with them, and I think the bill gives us a chance to work with them a little more clearly.
If the hon. member noticed it in the papers the other day, the federal government, through one of the Liberal Senators, Jerry Grafstein, was talking about actually doing some water legislation, not just bulk water but other water protection legislation. I hope they'll look at this, because this is the leading one in the country now, and see how it works. We'll work with them.
I can say in answer to the member's question on the GVRD that we're not adding another layer. As the hon. member said correctly, it's already there. We're trying to make it work with them. When the Premier and I made the announcement that we were going to do the hearings and the bill, we did it at the big GVRD substation, if you like, in Burnaby, which is so impressive in terms of their water quality and analysis. I wish we had that all across the province. The GVRD is not our problem. The Walkerton problem would happen, if anywhere, in the little systems around the province. That's what we try to address in the bill.
There could be an assessment, however, of the GVRD, because there's room for assessments in all 18 health regions through a water officer; in which case we would assess the GVRD. The hon. member would have a chance -- maybe as a member or perhaps as a citizen -- to address that when it comes up.
Sections 2 to 6 inclusive approved.
On section 7.
J. Dalton: Section 7, of course, is getting a little more specific, as opposed to the generic references in section 2. But section 7 does deal with construction permits and regulations that may be passed pursuant to this section which would have a bearing on construction permits. Again, that's become a very hot issue in North Vancouver in the vicinity of the Cleveland Dam.
One thing that unfortunately has taken place is that the GVRD feels that it's in no way accountable to or responsible to observe district bylaws. We've even had to drag them kicking and screaming to agree to some safety issues dealing with extra truck traffic on Capilano Road, let alone the actual projects themselves. However, that's not my point.
Section 7 pertains to construction permits and, therefore, the requisite documentation that one would need to build an ozonation plant, fix the east abutment leak in the Cleveland Dam or any other project. Would this act have a direct say on, say, the GVWD's application for a construction permit? Or would it simply be used as a guideline that the GVWD could use in its request for a permit?
Hon. C. Evans: If I understand the hon. member's question correctly, he's asking why we are asking for approvals for construction. We already do, and that will carry on in the act into the future. If he wants to ask a more specific question or explain to me what specific information he's looking for, I'll give him a better answer.
J. Dalton: I will take up that request.
Let's surmise. This isn't actually surmising, because this ozonation plant is about to be started. Can either minister answer what the permitting process is?
As far as the GVWD applying, what legislative authority does the GVWD have to act under to request permission to build an ozonation plant, putting aside the fact that the district of North Vancouver has been discarded in the exercise? Does that have to go through either the Ministry of Environment or Ministry of Health, or does it go strictly through the GVRD, heaven forbid? Or is there any other authority? The DFO, for example, certainly had some say in some examination of what the pending projects were, but they didn't shut them down, although I invited them to do so. Would Victoria have the authority to say to the GVWD: "We don't like your permit request, and you must add A, B and C to it"?
Hon. C. Evans: It's a two-part question. The first part was: what authority does the region apply under? They apply under safe drinking water regulation. The second part of the hon. member's question implied, again, sort of a pejorative idea, like: does the province get to mess with them? Well, it would seem to me that the province is setting some regulations. The drinking water officer will review the plans of the
[ Page 17784 ]
local authority to see if they meet the needs of those regulations. The objective, of course, is not to add cost or tell the region what to do but to come up with a water system that meets the regulatory regime.
J. Dalton: I've just one final point. Later on in this act we'll be amending parts of the Fish Protection Act. Obviously there isn't a direct correlation between what fish drink and live in and what you and I might drink and, I guess, don't live in. But there is a correlation, because the Fish Protection Act, of course, deals with water. Guess what: it's the very same water, in the case of the Capilano River, that both fish and many people in the GVRD are consuming.
What impact, if any, will this statute, whether it be this section or any other -- I just want to get this question in, and perhaps the Minister of Environment is more appropriate -- have on the Fish Protection Act, particularly in the current January 19 regulation dealing with streamside protection?
Hon. I. Waddell: I would like to answer the hon. member's question. But before I do, I'd like to introduce Margaret Eckenfelder, with me on my left, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister of environment and lands and who has done yeoman's action in getting this bill to this stage, as has Rodger Hunter, who's behind me here, the executive director of environment and resource management. Dawn Leroy, also behind me, is the legislative counsel, and she has helped draft part of this. I thank them. They're very good public servants, and I thank them for what they're doing.
To answer the hon. member's question, with reference to the Fish Protection Act, the answer is no. We're basically bringing parts into this act, and it involves renumbering, but there are no substantial changes.
As to the streamside protections, which I'm very proud of, just to explain to the committee, streamside protection was a regulation that in fact said a setback from 15 to 30 metres on the edge of streams, especially in the lower mainland of British Columbia, where we could let the nutrients come in, and they could go into the stream. We could have fish once again back in the streams, and we could save our salmon streams for the kids forever. I think that was a great, great move on the government's agenda.
The shorter answer to the hon. member is no, it's not going to affect streamside protection. On the fisheries part, it doesn't bring any substantial amendments to that act. It simply brings some of it in and does some renumbering. And it does change the water management area to bring it into the drinking water protection area.
J. Dalton: Just one more. I know we're begging the indulgence of the Chair and the committee, because obviously the Fish Protection Act isn't directly what we're dealing with here. But it is caught later by this act.
I have written to the minister, just on this question of fish protection, pertaining to the east abutment leak project in the dam, the Capilano reservoir. He hasn't responded, but I'm wondering whether the Fish Protection Act is not being violated, because this corridor of 15 to 45 metres is clearly being violated by directly working in the Capilano reservoir, and it's the water that my family consumes every day.
Hon. I. Waddell: I'm not sure whether I've made a reply to that, but when I go back to my office later today, I'll make sure that there's some reply to the hon. member.
Sections 7 to 105 inclusive approved.
Hon. I. Waddell: I move the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The Chair: Carried.
Hon. I. Waddell: Division.
The Chair: Clarification: minister, is it on division or is it a division vote?
Hon. I. Waddell: Division.
M. de Jong: Point of order, Mr. Chair. What is the motion before the committee?
The Chair: The motion before the committee at this stage is to rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The Chair: Order, hon. members. You can't make a point of order in a division. We're in the middle of a division.
Motion approved unanimously on a division. [See Votes and Proceedings.]
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
Bill 20, Drinking Water Protection Act, reported complete without amendment.
The Speaker: When shall the bill be read a third time?
Hon. I. Waddell: Now.
The Speaker: The question is third reading.
Motion approved unanimously on a division. [See Votes and Proceedings.]
Bill 20, Drinking Water Protection Act, read a third time and passed.
Hon. G. Janssen: I call committee stage on Bill 24.
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
The House in committee on Bill 24; J. Sawicki in the chair.
Sections 1 to 8 inclusive approved.
On section 9.
R. Coleman: I just have a couple of quick questions on this section. First of all, under subsection (a)(1), how many
[ Page 17785 ]
licensed builders versus owner-builders are there presently in British Columbia? How many units have been built by licensed builders and how many by owner-builders as prescribed under this act?
Hon. M. Farnworth: There are approximately 2,000 licensed builders, and there is not a firm figure on the number of owner-builders.
R. Coleman: I didn't hear the second part of the answer; I'm sorry.
Hon. M. Farnworth: If I understood the member's question, it's how many owner-builders there are, and we don't have a firm number on that.
R. Coleman: It actually goes to this discussion, so the minister might want to get those numbers. He'll find that, unfortunately, in British Columbia there are almost as many homes being built by owner-builders as there are by licensed builders. That goes to a discussion relative to our discussions here on strata managers, because if the first section of this home protection office isn't working for licensing and delivery of the service, I have concerns about the licensing and delivery of the second service that this office may be proposing to go for. So I would suggest the minister take a look at that, and we'll put that on the record.
I know there's a definition of strata manager in the beginning of the act. We're saying that a person shouldn't provide strata management for a strata corporation unless the person is licensed as a strata manager under the act. I'd like a more detailed description, other than the definition, of what the minister and the office actually view strata managers as being, and their responsibilities.
Hon. M. Farnworth: The ultimate definition of that will be decided by regulation. The exact nature of the regulation will be decided with consultation with the industry in determining exactly what duties and responsibilities these strata managers should have.
R. Coleman: Would that mean that no regulations have actually started to be drafted to define any of this?
Hon. M. Farnworth: Not yet, because the act has yet to be passed. Once the act has passed, then we'll start the consultation, which is something that is quite common to do with legislation when there are regulations to be implemented. We will be meeting with the people in the industry and drafting the regulations on that basis.
R. Coleman: I'm glad we're going to have the consultation, because I think it requires some pretty broad consultation as to how you would implement this and which organization would do the education. I will probably be dealing with that further on in the bill as well. But certainly I have some concerns about how we would actually structure that.
There's a designation being allowed here, under this act: "A strata manager who is authorized by a strata manager licence issued under this Part may use a designation 'Licensed Strata Manager.' " I know that it makes reference to the registrar, and I'm assuming that's the registrar that is presently with the homeowner protection office. I'd like to know, first of all, the position, qualifications and line responsibilities of the registrar within the home protection office relative to the licensing designations.
Hon. M. Farnworth: The responsibilities will be similar to the
residential building licensing process and will in fact offer
R. Coleman: The line responsibility is there. Now, who is going to designate the level of errors, omissions and bonding that these licensed strata managers would have? Where would you plan to place that bonding as far as having its control -- whether it's going out to the private sector, whether you're anticipating in your regulations that you're going to be holding that bonding? Who is going to deal with the errors and omissions insurance relative to the performance of these particular individuals -- the sort of thing that is going to be regulatory relative to their operation?
Hon. M. Farnworth: Right now the act gives the regulatory authority in these particular areas -- bonding, errors and omissions insurance, for example. However, the exact nature of the regulations to be implemented will also be determined through the consultation with the different elements of the industry.
R. Coleman: This consultation is going to be rather extensive, I
guess. We have an act before us, and I just
Hon. M. Farnworth: I think there are a number of things that have happened since we first discussed this three years ago. One, we had the Barrett commission, which came forward with its recommendations. Two, there has been considerable interest in this particular topic from the consumer associations and the condominium owners associations over the last number of years.
We've received considerable input from them that the HPO was where they had the greatest comfort level in terms of their confidence in the ability of licensing to work. I think the option they preferred was through the homeowner protection office.
R. Coleman: My understanding is that that's only partially true. Wasn't it actually looked at, that there would have to be some beefing-up of the structure of the Real Estate Council, some other people from the public involved in it and some changes to the Real Estate Act to strengthen their errors, omissions and disciplinary factors in order to do that, and that never went forward for further discussion? So in actual fact, we didn't go far enough down the line to see if the actual consumer protection could have been dealt with at that time.
Hon. M. Farnworth: One of the issues, I think it's fair to say, is that there are a number of areas where the Real Estate Act needs considerable updating. It would also be fair to say
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that this area, as it applies to strata management and in terms of consumer
I guess there's been some discussion about updating the Real Estate Act as a whole, and that may at some point in time take place. I think it's also fair to say that at the end of the day, the people who are most impacted by this piece of legislation are the consumers, the ones who ultimately pay for it. Their preferred route for strata management licensing was through the HPO, and that was the decision that was taken.
R. Coleman: Just to back that up, could the minister tell me how many people were actually consulted and spoken to about their method of preference relative to this implementation? How many strata corporations, how many members in those strata corporations, were actually consulted relative to this? How in-depth was this survey of the 18,000 strata corporations in B.C.?
Hon. M. Farnworth: We received 126 responses -- 54 from residents, 15 from strata councils, 23 from property managers, 17 from strata managements and 11 from different organizations. Of the individual groups that I mentioned, 51 were in favour of licensing, three were opposed. Strata councils -- 13 were for licensing, two were opposed. Property managers -- 23 out of 23 were for licensing. Strata managers -- 16 were for licensing, one was opposed. And in the different organizations, ten out of the 11 were for licensing.
R. Coleman: I don't think the debate here is about how many people wanted licensing. The question was: out of the 18,000 strata people, how many people did you actually survey, and how many said they prefer it at HPO versus some other location? I mean, strata licensing isn't in a debate here. Both sides have basically agreed that we know that's necessary. The question is: who was surveyed? How did you come to the response that the majority of people wanted it at HPO versus another model? Or did you actually place other models out there for discussion when they gave you feedback?
Hon. M. Farnworth: We issued a discussion paper. There were press releases about that; it was posted on the web. We received, as I said, 126 responses. The organizations that responded represent strata managers and property managers, who clearly manage considerable numbers of buildings, as well as associations that represent the owners who live in condominiums, for example.
In terms of the response of the Real Estate Council model versus the homeowner protection office model, I've got a breakdown here that I can give you, or I can read that into the record. I'll do that. In terms of residents, of the responses received, 42 favoured the HPO model as opposed to four for the Real Estate Council model. For strata councils, nine favoured HPO, and six favoured the Real Estate Council. Of the property managers, 21 favoured the Real Estate Council, and two favoured the homeowner protection office. Out of strata managers, three favoured the Real Estate Council, and 13 favoured the homeowner protection office. Out of organizations, nine were in favour of the Real Estate Council, and two favoured the homeowner protection office. The total was 70 for the HPO, 45 for the REC.
R. Coleman: Well, with 18,000 strata corporations, or somewhere thereabouts, in the province of B.C., obviously we need broader-based consultation and education to even have them give us the input, when we have that few responses, on where we would go with this. I think both sides of the House would agree that that would be the way to go.
What we have, then, is a small sampling that has led us towards the HPO, which is where we're headed right now. What ramping-up to the structure of the HPO will be required in order to handle the licensing of enough strata managers in the province to handle the 18,000 strata corporations? How many do they anticipate having to license in the province of B.C.? That would be the first question.
The second question is
My question is on the ramping-up. How many people do you think you're going to require to ramp that up? How many people do you think you actually have to license to manage that many stratas? If that was work that was done in advance of making the decision, how would you structure this? And how many offices do you think you'd require -- that sort of thing? You had to do some research on that when you were trying to make this decision on this legislation.
Hon. M. Farnworth: One of the benefits
In terms of the licensing and duplication, we have the ability, in terms of setting the regulations, to take into account the different types of licences that people already have and to avoid duplication on that basis. That's where the consultation period, again, will allow us to ensure that we can design the regulations to take into account work and licensing that's already taken place. It's our expectation that we will be able to do that. You may be able to do it by looking through different categories of strata managers, depending upon the qualifications and credentials that they already have.
So we think there is enough time during the consultation period to get it up and running, and based on the experience that the homeowner protection office has had to date, they're looking at a cost of around $500,000.
R. Coleman: Actually, the minister just leads me into another question, which always makes it easy for me.
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The minister referred to the period of implementation. Do you have a period of time for that implementation? Does the $500,000 cost to ramp it up include a provision for education, measurement, testing and examination? If it does, where are you going to do your education and that? If you're going to have the cost, you must anticipate it.
And I guess the biggest question is: is the $500,000 ramp-up cost, education, licensing and administration being set up on basically a cost recovery basis by the homeowner protection office? Given that, what would each of the 2,000 people pay in an annual licensing fee to the homeowner protection office?
Hon. M. Farnworth: We expect the amount of time that's required to do this will in part be determined very early on in the consultation process as we get, I think, a very definitive idea of the number and the nature of the qualifications that are out there and of the type of education that has to be done. That's one of the things that we'll be working around with the industry. We have said that the requirements, once regulations come into force, will be phased in so that people have the ability to make sure that they're able to get the licensing, and if they need to upgrade their skills, they can do that. We recognize that people have been in the business for a while, and we want to ensure that they can continue -- just that they have the necessary skills and education requirements. Those will be phased in.
In terms of the money to the HPO, it will be loaned to the homeowner protection office by the province and then recovered on a cost recovery basis. I have said and we have said that we're looking at probably somewhere around $700 or less a year. And that will be per corporation. We can look at what's already in place. In other licensing schemes it is somewhere between $500 or $550 and $700 on an annual basis. The figure has to be defended at Treasury Board each year, so it will take place on that basis.
R. Coleman: Did I hear the minister correctly that there was something the corporations were going to pay in addition to the licensing fee? Did I misinterpret that?
Hon. M. Farnworth: The property management corporations are the ones that pay the licensing fee.
R. Coleman: That's a $700 bill for licensing, and then there will be about $400 annually for errors and omissions. Because it will be new for errors and omissions, I'm sure the risk factor will be substantially higher. I would expect that premium would be a lot higher than the $400 that's actually the number that is usually dealt with by people in the real estate market today. So we're looking at a fair cost.
The other thing is that with 18,000 strata corporations in B.C., I would have
a concern that your estimate of 2,000 actual strata managers being required,
given the number that we know in the industry
That leads me back to one other concern in this section: the definition of what would best be described as a self-managed strata. In this act, it's very clear that a self-managed strata definition does not apply to an owner of a strata lot who, without remuneration or with nominal remuneration, performs strata management services only with respect to strata corporations. That's getting us back to the old discussion of owner-builder versus licensed builder. You have a door you just opened. I would like somebody to define for me what nominal remuneration is versus no remuneration versus having to have a licence to manage a strata.
Hon. M. Farnworth: It's intended to accomplish a number of things. One
is that property managers who own a unit cannot get around the
R. Coleman: I would suggest, in discussion of this section and my concerns, that there are enough holes to drive a truck through in this legislation as to what's going to come out at the other end. I don't know if there's any point in flogging this any further, except to say that the consultation process and those regulations are going to have to be very detailed and very public so that people will have the opportunity to see what this is actually going to cost and how it's actually going to be run -- what the consumer protection will actually be, how we'll structure the errors and omissions, how we'll structure the bonding, and how we'll structure that licensing and education, which is a huge concern for me.
I can't see us just going out tomorrow and saying, "Well, you've been in strata management for ten years," and all of a sudden we're going to call somebody a licensed strata manager, without education and some qualifications. So I think this section in this act, more than any other section in the act, clearly defines for me the difficulties that we face ahead of us in actually dealing with this as far as public consultation. I know the minister has referred to public consultation, and I can tell you that if this side of the House happens to be dealing with this act after an election, there will be extensive public consultation so that we can do this right the first time and get it done right the first time. Having said that, I think we can move on from this section.
Sections 9 to 11 inclusive approved.
On section 12.
R. Coleman: Just a quick question on this one. This one obviously deals with the freezing of funds in relation to strata managers, which takes us back to that discussion he and I had the other day relative to what a lot of us see as one of the worst ones, which was the one in the Okanagan where a number of funds went missing from a company that was doing strata management.
The freezing of these funds -- and I may get the regulation answer again --
and how they would be moved in time frame
[ Page 17788 ]
what time frame will you move in order to get those funds back into the hands of a strata corporation that literally could have bills to pay or contracts to meet or responsibilities relative to heat, cutting the grass, and that sort of thing? Those funds are held by them. And also there's the protection of the building reserves relative to that corporation and how they should be held. Or have you anticipated that, in actual fact, those funds would always be held by the strata corporation and that the strata managers only have recommendations on dispensation?
Hon. M. Farnworth: Yes, part of it is a regulation answer, and that's
something that will be developed. But the other key part of it is that the
registrar does have the ability in the act
R. Coleman: Is there a time frame for the registrar to act within, or is that going to be regulation?
Hon. M. Farnworth: In fact, the registrar can take action as soon as they become aware of it, so they have the ability to take action very, very quickly.
Sections 12 and 13 approved.
On section 14.
R. Coleman: In the section here that deals with acting honestly and in good faith and exercising care and diligence, has there been discussion? Or is there a plan in place to put some kind of an agency agreement in place that would be standardized to deal with that section? This is somewhat innocuous in its language, as far as that it will act in good faith with a view to the best interests of the strata corporation, etc. On the real estate side there are limited dual agents in there -- dual agency agreements between clients in order to outline the duties between the licensee and the corporation. I'm wondering where you're at with that particular discussion.
Hon. M. Farnworth: This particular section already has application to the Strata Property Act and has basically now been expanded to cover strata managers. It's intended to be upfront in terms of dealing with a conflict-of-interest disclosure or a perceived conflict of interest. It's basically taking the strata as it applies to the Strata Property Act and expanding it.
R. Coleman: In respect to the minister, I understand the Strata Property Act, and we've obviously dealt with debates of that act in this Legislature before. But this is a change, because we're now licensing somebody, and agency agreements are not uncommon in this marketplace relative to people that are in licensed agreements. I think we can leave that there. I guess we're going to be back into public consultation, which is going to come up with that agency agreement so that we can operate properly within that.
I have two other questions relative to this. This is the section that also deals with the insurance or bond required. I would doubt very much that the discussion of this legislation took place without somebody just having some discussion about what level of bonding and liability protection was going to be anticipated, whether it be regulation or afterwards, because this is a section that obviously has some impact on costs. Could you tell me whether the homeowner protection office and the drafters of this legislation came up with the level of bonding that they would be requiring and the annual cost of that bonding anticipated per licensed strata manager and what carriers, frankly, they would anticipate actually carrying that bonding or insurance?
Just so I can explain, when we moved into the housing side, the concern was that we come up with a new insurance program, and then we have difficulty finding people to actually carry the insurance. So in anticipation of this legislation I'm sure there was some consultation with somebody about who would carry it.
Hon. M. Farnworth: The process will be similar in that regard to
builders' licensing, residential building licensing, when the exact amount and
the nature of the bonding that is required will be determined through
consultation and development of the regulations. One of the things we found in
that process was that once there was a requirement for bonding, once there was a
requirement in place for licensing, where previously there had been a single
carrier, that expanded to at least five firms that would carry the insurance.
For example, in terms of stratas that currently have bonding and licensing, one
that I can give the member as an example carries $3 million in errors and
omissions and $20,000 in bonding. Again, it will be done through consultation.
It will be done in a process that is similar to residential building and
licensing in terms of the carriers. Once the requirement is there, then you will
R. Coleman: Just to clarify for the minister, there's a big difference between the licensed strata manager carrying bonding or insurance versus the strata corporation choosing to carry bonding or insurance.
This leads me into the last question relative to this section, and that is section 18.5 of section 14, where we have the self-managed strata. As you've gone through this, there is one difference between licensing a builder and licensing a strata manager, in that even self-managed stratas manage trust funds and moneys for their client base, whether they're self-managed or not and whether or not a person happens to be an owner within that strata. The question I have for the minister is: as you built this legislation, what did you take into consideration about the protection of the self-managed strata funds relative to requirements for insurance or bonding?
Hon. M. Farnworth: As we discussed earlier, the act itself is not intended to deal with self-managed stratas. However, the exception is that if you are a resident and an owner in a self-managed strata and yet you are also a property manager and you are volunteering to do this in that strata, you may be exempt from the licensing requirements because you are in an exempt strata. You are not exempt from the conflict-of-interest portion, because you are, in fact, a licensed property manager.
[ Page 17789 ]
R. Coleman: If you've figured out that description, you did better than I did. I think that basically what this comes down to is that we have to look at how this act and our consultation process blends back to the Strata Property Act, as far as protection of self-managed stratas and how we're going to protect self-managed stratas for fund management in the future. I think we could probably do that by looking at it through the consultation process. So I think we can move on from this section.
[D. Streifel in the chair.]
Section 14 approved.
On section 15.
R. Coleman: We're just about there.
There are two things in this section that I just want to touch base on. One is the first paragraph, which describes the conditions for licensing strata managers in different categories of strata managers. I'd like somebody to describe for me what you are defining as different categories of strata managers.
Hon. M. Farnworth: The potential for categories can be based on a number of things -- in part, as was discussed earlier, around qualifications. Some people will have a real estate licence; some people will have a property management licence and then want to upgrade it. So you can do it on that basis. As well, there's the issue around mixed-use strata, where there is commercial and non-commercial together. The point I'm making is that there are different licences that people may or may not already have, so the idea is to be able to take that into account.
R. Coleman: This is the last comment I have on this section of this bill, but I do think it's necessary to make the comment.
One is a different category, which leads me into the whole discussion of the definition of education and qualifications for people who do this, which is basically added in a number of paragraphs here, as far as what we're trying to define here -- things like financial management, form and content of reports. We're obviously going to be looking at things like rules of order, running the strata management organizations and what have you.
I guess the only thing I can conclude is that there's still a lot of work to do. That consultation process will be very critical to actually coming up with a proper set of licensing for strata managements -- what vehicle we actually use and how we're going to do the errors and omissions and bonding for that, to make that work, and to make all of this come together. So I look forward to that process being very open and very worthwhile so that we can come to a final conclusion on the licensing of strata managers.
Sections 15 to 22 inclusive approved.
Hon. M. Farnworth: I move that the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
Bill 24, Homeowner Protection Amendment Act, 2001, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I call committee stage on Bill 17.
HUMAN RIGHTS CODE
AMENDMENT ACT, 2001
The House in committee on Bill 17; D. Streifel in the chair.
G. Plant: During the course of second reading debate, I think there was a spirited exchange of views on the issues of principle that divide us. As it happened, there was also some discussion of some of the detailed questions that arise upon close examination of the provisions of the bill.
I want to say that in the course of his closing remarks, the Attorney General actually responded to a number of those concerns, with the result that a reading of the complete second reading debate, if you will, will reveal not just a consideration of the context of this legislation -- the issues of principle at stake -- but also some consideration of the detailed provisions of the bill. For my part, I remain unpersuaded. But that's not an unusual outcome of a committee stage debate, even when it happens sentence by sentence, clause by clause.
I just did not want the moment to pass without expressing, I suppose, my appreciation for the fact that in his closing remarks, the Attorney General did deal with some of the issues of detail that might otherwise conventionally be included in a committee stage debate.
Sections 1 to 3 inclusive approved.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I move the committee rise and report the bill complete without amendment.
The House resumed; the Speaker in the chair.
The Speaker: When shall the bill be read a third time, Attorney General?
The Speaker: The question is third reading.
Motion approved on division.
Bill 17, Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2001, reported complete without amendment, read a third time and passed.
Hon. G. Bowbrick: I call throne speech debate.
[ Page 17790 ]
Throne Speech Debate
The Speaker: Seeing no speakers, I'll call the motion on the throne speech. Members, the question is on the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne.
Motion approved on the following division:
|YEAS -- 37|
|NAYS -- 33|
The Speaker: I'm advised that His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor is in the precincts, so perhaps we could just keep our seats for a few minutes.
Members, His Honour will be about five minutes, so perhaps we'll take a five-minute recess, if you like.
The House recessed from 4:28 p.m. to 4:36 p.m.
[The Speaker in the chair.]
The Speaker: His Honour will be entering the chamber at any moment.
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor entered the chamber and took his place in the chair.
Environment and Sustainability Statutes Amendment Act, 2001
Emergency Contraceptive Access Act
Protection of Public Participation Act
Sex Offender Registry Act
Electronic Transactions Act
Muskwa-Kechika Management Area Amendment Act, 2001
Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2001
Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2001
Video Games Act
Drinking Water Protection Act
Abortion Services Statutes Amendment Act, 2001
Provincial Court Amendment Act, 2001
Health Authorities Amendment Act, 2001
Homeowner Protection Amendment Act, 2001
Medical Practitioners Amendment Act, 2001
In Her Majesty's name, His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor doth assent to these acts.
Hon. G. Gardom (Lieutenant-Governor): Hon. members, it's been a pleasure and a privilege. Salve.
His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor retired from the chamber.
[The Speaker in the chair.]
Hon. G. Janssen: I move that the House at its rising do stand adjourned until it appears to the satisfaction of the Speaker, after consultation with the government, that the public interest requires that the House shall meet or until the Speaker may be advised by the government that it is desired to prorogue the fifth session of the thirty-sixth parliament of the province of British Columbia. The Speaker may give notice that he is so satisfied or has been so advised, and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice and, as the case may be, may transact its business as if it has been duly adjourned to that time and date. Moreover, in the event of the Speaker being unable to act owing to illness or other cause, the Deputy Speaker shall act in his stead for the purpose of this order.
Hon. G. Janssen: It's been a pleasure. It is an Easter weekend. I hope everybody enjoys themselves and has a pleasant and safe time away from this place. We hope to see as many of them back as soon as possible.
I now move the House adjourn.
Hon. G. Janssen moved adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 4:41 p.m.
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