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Province introduces amendmants to four existing act

The Province has introduced a new amendments act, with the intention of clarifying regulations within four existing acts. On Tuesday, March 13, the Province introduced Bill 30, the Energy and Mines Statutes Amendment Act, 2012, which according to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, is designed to streamline and clarify existing regulations in the Oil and Gas Activities Act, the Utilities Commission Act, the Clean Energy Act and the Strata Property Act.

The implemented changes to the Oil and Gas Activities Act will clarify the rules for municipalities and third parties doing work around a pipeline. The amendments were also designed to simplify the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission’s role with National Energy Board regulated pipelines, broaden rules for industry consultation, adjust maintenance requirements for industry roads on private land, as well as provide the commission with the authority to regulate the harvest of timber for oil and gas activities.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, such amendments will increase the efficiency of the commission and improve its ability to oversee responsible oil and gas developments within the province.

Amendments to the Utilities Commission Act will provide the B.C. Utilities Commission the authority to impose administrative penalties for non-compliance with the act, with a maximum fine of $1 million per day.

The new amendment will also provide the BCUC an effective tool to ensure utility companies, natural gas marketers and ICBC comply with the act.  Such changes will bring B.C. in line with other similar commissions within Canada and the U.S.

The Clean Energy Act amendment was designed to redefine self-sufficiency, recommended by a B.C. Hydro review last year, which will eliminate the requirement for B.C. Hydro to acquire an extra 3,000 gigawatt hours per year of insurance by 2020. The Ministry says the change is designed to ensure families within the province continue enjoying some of the lowest electricity rates within North America.

There will also be minor changes made in order to clarify accountability under the Strata Property Act, which will allow government to regulate when new strata corporations will have to prepare their first depreciation report. Such corporations will also be required to prepare audited financial statements and distribute such reports to strata lot owners within four months of the fiscal year end.

Such amendments are also designed to ensure strata corporations report financial information to their members in a timely fashion.

To view a copy of the Bill, click here.