Issue No. 13 May 7, 2012

British Columbia Chamber of Commerce

In This Issue

  • BC Government Introduces Changes to Economic Development Projects on Federal Reserve Land
  • Province Amends Impaired Driving Law
  • Staff Changes

The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada. This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in BC.

BC Government Introduces Changes to Economic Development Projects on Federal Reserve Land

Last week the BC government introduced Bill 43, the FNCIDA Implementation Act, that will allow provincial laws and regulations to apply to major projects on federal First Nations Reserve Land.

The legislation allows BC to enter into agreements with the Government of Canada and First Nations to administer provincial laws on reserve lands for specific projects. Currently, two projects have been brought forward:

  • The proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility on a Haisla Nation reserve near Kitimat.
  • A proposed commercial and residential development on Squamish Nation reserve lands in the Lower Mainland.

Federally, the First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act (FNCIDA), which came into force in 2006, intended to close significant gaps in regulation on reserves and help facilitate economic development projects.

Without FNCIDA, any First Nation can proceed with developments on-reserve, without being subject to the same provincial regulations that apply to off-reserve developments. Bill 43, coupled with existing federal legislation, aims to fill regulatory gaps and apply provincial legislation to specified reserves, while attempting to provide greater certainty for investment capital and government regulation.

Province Amends Impaired Driving Law

The Province is introducing changes to the review process for immediate roadside prohibitions (IRPs) to address a BC Supreme Court ruling concerning the constitutionality of part of the existing IRP law. The proposed changes are designed to address the court’s concerns about providing drivers who fail a roadside breath-test a way to meaningfully challenge the results. Changes include:

  • Making it mandatory for police to advise drivers of their right to challenge the first test result by completing a second test.
  • Requiring police to advise drivers that the lower of the two readings will prevail.

Other amendments are designed to improve administrative fairness and provide drivers with the opportunity for a more rigorous review through the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.
Last November, the Supreme Court found the current legislation infringes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court granted government’s request that the declaration of unconstitutionality be suspended until June 30, 2012, to allow time to amend the law.

Staff Changes

  • Chad Pederson, Executive Director of the BC Liberal Party, has resigned effective the end of May to take a position with a nonprofit organization.
  • Jennifer Benoit, the BC Liberal Party’s Director of Communications, has resigned from her position with the Party.
  • Jim Rutkowski, a senior aide to Brian Topp in the recent federal NDP leadership, has joined the Victoria office of Hill + Knowlton Strategies.


This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change. Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.