Proposed changes cut red tape by eliminating unnecessary sworn statements

VICTORIA – Attorney General Suzanne Anton introduced Bill No. 5 today, the Miscellaneous Statutes (Signed Statements) Amendment Act. The proposed changes cut red tape by replacing the need for sworn statementswith a simple, signed statement where appropriate.

“These amendments are a welcome measure for British Columbians. Signed statements, instead of sworn statements, will ensure legal standards are met, while reducing red tape and keeping more money in the pockets of British Columbian families and businesses – something we can all
appreciate,” says Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice .

If passed, the amendmentswould reduce cost, delay and inconvenience for British Columbians bysimplifying the law and making it easier to comply with legal requirements. This reduction in red tape would allow individuals to attest to the factsand details they provide in an application or similar document – by way of asigned rather than a sworn statement – reducing the requirement for theservices of a legal professional or commissioner of oaths, in some cases.

For many British Columbians, efficiencies would be gained in dealing withnon-court-related matters. For example, an application to enroll a child ina francophone school, to receive certain forms of income assistance, or tofinalize financial reporting in various applications, could be attested to by the applicant simply using their signature. It would be an offence tomake a false statement.

“British Columbians deserve easy access to justice services. These amendments make it simpler for people to complete their legal business, saving them time and frustration. Moving from sworn statements to signed statements is just one more way the B.C. government is reducing red tape for British Columbians,” says Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business, Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for Liquor Distribution Branch


The changes would amend 23 statutes from across government. Among the actsimpacted by the amendment are the School Act, the Credit Union Incorporation Act, the Weed Control Act, the Elections Act and the Hospital Insurance Act

Province toughens up drinking and driving laws

New regulations are in place to clarify and toughen the consequences of drinking and drug affected driving in British Columbia, strengthening the Province’s resolve to have the safest roads in North America by 2020.

Under the new program, drivers with certain serious prohibitions for drinking and drug affected driving are now required to participate in mandatory remedial programs designed to prevent this high risk and irresponsible behaviour from reoccurring.

Driving while affected by drugs or alcohol is a significant public health and safety concern of this government. In 2014, drinking and driving contributed to the death of 61 people on our roads – that’s 61 completely preventable deaths due to poor choices.

Once a mandatory referral is made, drivers will be required to participate in the Responsible Driver Program (RDP), which focuses on education and counselling, and/or the Ignition Interlock Program (IIP), for which a device is installed in the vehicle to prevent drivers from driving if they have consumed alcohol.

“These measures will help both deter and prevent unsafe drivers from getting back on our roads. There will no longer be financial or hardship considerations to exempt high-risk drivers from these remedial programs says Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris. “Let me be clear. If you are caught drinking and driving and therefore putting your life and the lives of others at risk, it will cost you. Driving while affected by alcohol or drugs is reckless and selfish behaviour for which this province has no tolerance.”

“These are firm but fair measures that address repetitive driving behaviours at the administrative level.

“Drivers who choose to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face serious remedial program consequences that are recognized as efficient and successful in many jurisdictions in Canada and around the world, says Acting superintendent of Motor Vehicles, Robert O’Neill

“It is extremely easy to avoid these consequences and every driver is able to do so by choosing to act responsibly when behind the wheel.”

Quick Facts:

  • The new regulations apply to drivers caught driving while affected by drugs or alcohol who accumulate between 6-16 remedial program points within five years.
  • Since the 2010 implementation of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program, there has been an estimated 260 lives saved and a 52% reduction in alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths.
  • Drivers who receive a 90 Day IRP or accumulate points through repeat alcohol and drug related driving events will be required to participate in remedial programs.
  • Research shows a 90% reduction in repeat drinking and driving while the Ignition Interlock Program (IIP) device is installed.
  • IRP’s administrative sanctions have seen a reduction of 6,000 Criminal Code Impaired Driving court cases per year since 2010.

Cherries Jubilee! B.C. celebrates record year for cherry exports

British Columbia’s cherry exports  business has had a remarkable increase in 2015, says minister of  Agriculture.

“Today, I am pleased to report in 2015, B.C. cherry exports have increased dramatically from the previous year to 13,600 metric tonnes (56% increase) to a value of $91.7 million (70% increase), says British Columbia’s Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick, in his statement regarding 2015 export statistics.

“The data also includes a significant rise in sour cherry exports from $2.7 million in 2014 to $11.2 million in 2015,says  Minister Norm Letnick.  “Focusing on high-value B.C. products like late-season cherries is key to growing the B.C. government’s agrifood sector to a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020.

“In 2014, I was honoured to lead the B.C. delegation with B.C. cherry industry representatives on a federal trade mission to China that led to full, unimpeded access for fresh cherries into China. As a direct result of our efforts, the export value of fresh, sweet cherries to China has more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, rising from $9.9 million to $24 million.

“We are going to build on this momentum. Thanks to the close working relationship with our provincial cherry industry, we look forward to exploring new opportunities with Pacific Rim countries that recently signed the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“British Columbians have always known about this tasty, sweet fruit from the Okanagan. The secret is out. Together we want to share B.C. cherries with the world.”

A direct flight to improvements for B.C.’s airports

Ready for takeoff! New funding will help small and regional airports make critical upgrades and improvements to their infrastructure. Public airport operators, local governments & operating authorities can apply for infrastructure funding by April 8th.
The Province is providing $8 million in funding this year to support infrastructure improvements at B.C. airports, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone announced today.
The funding comes from the B.C. Air Access Program, announced last year as part of the Province’s 10-year transportation plan, B.C. on the Move. The ministry committed $24 million over three years and last year announced $6 million, which funded a dozen projects at ten regional and municipal airports throughout the province.
“Applications are now being accepted for this exciting program,” said Stone. “Airports play a pivotal role in a community’s economic development by providing safe and reliable transportation for residents, tourists, for medical transport, and for keeping cargo flowing. This new funding will help small and regional airports make critical upgrades and improvements to their infrastructure.”
Through the program, the ministry shares costs with public airports on projects such as lighting and navigational systems, terminal building expansion or upgrades, and runway improvements. These types of projects allow airports to improve safety, accommodate larger aircraft, support more frequent flights and enable the continued growth of local and provincial economies. The program also encourages funding partnerships with the federal government, local and regional governments and agencies, and the private sector.
The deadline for applications for this year’s funding is April 8, 2016. Applications will be accepted from public airport operators, including local governments and other operating authorities.

Premier Clark announces upcoming changes to the public service

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark today announced upcoming changes to key
positions in the BC Public Service:

After 27 years of serving the Province, John Dyble, deputy minister to
the Premier, cabinet secretary and head of the public service, will
retire effective March 24, 2016.

Dyble’s public service career started in Smithers in 1980, as an
engineering student on a survey crew. Nine years later, after working as
a consulting engineer in the developing world, Dyble formally joined the
BC Public Service. Establishing himself as a leader on major B.C.
infrastructure projects, Dyble rose to become deputy minister of
transportation and infrastructure. He was deputy minister of health,
responsible for developing and delivering government’s health innovation
agenda, when appointed deputy minister to Premier Clark in 2011.

During his five year tenure as lead deputy, Dyble helped manage and
deliver key government priorities such as successive balanced budgets,
the BC Jobs Plan, Crown corporation reviews and long-term labour
agreements. As head of the public service, Dyble has worked to build a
strong corporate executive and maintain the BC Public Service as one of
Canada’s top employers.

“John’s work, over a remarkable career, has literally spanned and helped
to build our province,” said Premier Clark. “I thank John for what he has
accomplished for British Columbia, and I am honoured to have had him as
my partner in the public service for the past five years. He leaves the
BC Public Service in excellent hands.”

Kim Henderson, currently deputy minister of finance and secretary to
treasury board, will become deputy minister to the Premier, cabinet
secretary and head of the public service effective March 25, 2016.

Henderson joined the BC Public Service in 1996. Before her appointment to
the Ministry of Finance, Henderson was deputy minister of corporate
initiatives (Office of the Premier) where she provided leadership on
numerous cross-ministry files and served as the public service lead for
the government’s Core Review initiative. Previously, Henderson served as
deputy minister of labour and deputy minister of citizens’ services and
open government (now the Ministry of Technology and Citizen Services)
leading the development of B.C.’s open government strategy which won the
IPAC/Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Award. Henderson holds a master’s
degree in public administration from the University of Victoria.

Athana Mentzelopoulos, currently deputy minister of jobs, tourism, and
skills training and ministry responsible for labour (JTST), will become
deputy minister of finance and secretary to treasury board effective
March 25, 2016.

Mentzelopoulos first joined the BC Public Service in 2004, serving as
deputy minister responsible for intergovernmental relations, public
affairs and board resourcing and development (BRDO) until 2009. After
serving as director general of consumer product safety for the government
of Canada, she rejoined the BC Public Service in 2011 as deputy minister
of strategic priorities (Office of the Premier), followed by deputy
minister for government communications and public engagement (including
responsibility for intergovernmental relations and BRDO).

Mentzelopoulos was appointed deputy minister of JTST in 2014, responsible
for developing government’s economic development policy. She holds a
master of arts degree from the University of Victoria.