Crowns, Agencies, Boards & Commissions
Agencies, boards and commissions are essential to the governance of the province. The functions of these organizations and the services they provide to citizens are broad and varied. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for a number of agencies, boards and commissions that have mandates relating to justice, public safety and regulatory issues.
The British Columbia Law Institute was created in January 1997 to:
- Promote the clarification and simplification of the law and its adaptation to modern social needs
- Promote improvement of the administration of justice and respect for the rule of law
- Promote and carry out scholarly legal research
The chair and members are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Attorney General.
The board conducts hearings to review and assess the mental condition and level of threat to the public posed by mentally disordered accused persons to determine whether they should be absolutely or conditionally discharged, or detained in a designated place of custody.
The British Columbia Utilities Commission operates under and administers the Utilities Commission Act, regulating utilities to ensure customers receive safe, reliable and non-discriminatory energy services at fair rates and that shareholders of those utilities are afforded a reasonable opportunity to earn a fair return on their invested capital.
Civil Resolution Tribunal
The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) is Canada’s first-ever online tribunal that will allow British Columbians to resolve strata and small claims disputes online and out of court. Currently, the CRT is accepting claims for strata disputes, with small claims intake starting in the spring of 2017. The CRT provides legal information, self-help tools, and dispute resolution services to help solve disputes as early as possible.
Environmental Appeal Board
The Environmental Appeal Board is an independent agency which hears appeals from certain decisions made by government officials related to environmental issues. These decisions include water licences, contaminated site remediation orders, pesticide permits and the cancellation of hunting licences, among other things. The Environmental Appeal Board plays a role in ensuring the protection and wise use of the environment by providing a quasi-judicial access point for the public and industry to appeal certain government decisions.
Forest Appeals Commission
The Forest Appeals Commission is an independent tribunal established under the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act and continued under the Forest and Range Practices Act. The Commission hears appeals from certain decisions made by government officials related to forests and
Human Rights Tribunal
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal is responsible for accepting, screening, mediating and adjudicating complaints under the Human Rights Code. The tribunal provides parties the opportunity to resolve complaints through mediation. Complaints that are not resolved through mediation proceed to a hearing before the tribunal. The tribunal is accountable to the legislature through the Attorney General and functions independently of government on all matters related to adjudication of complaints. Orders of the tribunal are enforceable in the British Columbia Supreme Court.
Independent Investigations Office
The Independent Investigation Office was established to conduct criminal investigations regarding police-related incidents involving death or serious harm. The office is under the command and direction of the Chief Civilian Director, a position for which one cannot ever have served as a police officer.
The Legal Services Society (LSS) provides legal aid in British Columbia as set out in the Legal Services Society Act. Services include legal information, advice and representation to people with low incomes. The provincial government provides most of the society's funding, but LSS remains independent of government. The society reports its activities to the provincial government through the Attorney General and determines the range of services it will provide within the framework of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) negotiated with the Attorney General every three years.
Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal
The Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal is an independent quasi-judicial agency that hears appeals from decisions of the Oil and Gas Commission which include certain orders, declarations, findings of contravention, administrative penalties and permitting decisions in relation to an "oil and gas activity" such as geophysical exploration, the construction or operation of a pipeline, road construction, and the production, gathering, processing, storage or disposal of petroleum, natural gas or both.
In British Columbia, independent municipal police departments are overseen by an appointed police board made up of civilian members of the community. The role of the police board is to provide general direction to the department, in accordance with relevant legislation and in response to community needs.
The Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) is appointed under the Public Guardian and Trustee Act, for a six-year term, to protect the legal and financial interests of children and provide assistance to adults who need support for financial and personal decision making. The PGT also administers the estates of deceased and missing persons when there is no one else able to do so.