British Columbia’s tribunal sector

Tribunals perform adjudicative or regulatory functions in the public justice system. They are established by statute and are essential to the governance of the province. They administer rules for everyday things like employment, housing, health and industry. A tribunal may be referred to as a “board” or “commission.”

Administrative justice tribunals offer accessible decision making and dispute resolution outside of court. Members must hold themselves to the highest standards and ensure procedural fairness. Courts can review most decisions made by tribunals to ensure they acted fairly and according to the law.

Find out more about how tribunals work and their role in B.C.'s justice system.

Who are the tribunals?

The following tribunals comprise British Columbia’s tribunal sector:

 

Agricultural Land Commission

The Provincial Agricultural Land Commission is an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia. The Agricultural Land Commission is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Agriculture.

 

BC Farm Industry Review Board

The BC Farm Industry Review Board supervises British Columbia’s agriculture marketing boards and commissions, and hears appeals of marketing board decisions, under the Natural Products Marketing (BC) Act. It hears appeals of certain BC SPCA animal seizure and cost decisions under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. It also hears farm nuisance complaints and conducts studies under the Farm Practices Protection (Right to Farm) Act. The BC Farm Industry Review Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal accepts, screens, mediates and adjudicates complaints under the Human Rights Code. It provides parties the opportunity to resolve complaints through mediation. The tribunal hears complaints that are not resolved through mediation. The tribunal is accountable to the legislature through the Attorney General. It is independent of government on all matters related to adjudication of complaints. Orders of the tribunal are enforceable in the British Columbia Supreme Court. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

British Columbia Review Board

The British Columbia Review Board is constituted under the Criminal Code of Canada.  It conducts hearings to review and assess the mental condition and level of threat to the public posed by persons who have been found by a court to be unfit to stand trial or not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder, for the purpose of determining whether they should be absolutely or conditionally discharged, or detained in a designated place of custody. The British Columbia Review Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

British Columbia Utilities Commission

The British Columbia Utilities Commission operates under the Utilities Commission Act. It regulates energy utilities to ensure customers receive safe, reliable and non-discriminatory services at fair rates. It also works to ensure shareholders have a reasonable opportunity to earn a fair return on their investments. The British Columbia Utilities Commission is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Building Code Appeal Board

Under the Building Act, the Building Code Appeal Board resolves disputes about whether a matter conforms to the British Columbia Building Code. The code establishes minimum standards for residential and commercial building construction. The Building Code Appeal Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

The British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal provides online, facilitation and adjudication services under the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act. It provides parties an opportunity to resolve complaints through:

  • Online self-help information and tools
  • Facilitation
  • Adjudication

The tribunal is accountable to the legislature through the Attorney General. It is independent of government on all matters related to adjudication of complaints. Orders of the tribunal are enforceable in British Columbia’s Provincial Court and Supreme Court. The Civil Resolution Tribunal is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Community Care and Assisted Living Appeal Board

The Community Care and Assisted Living Appeal Board was created under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act. It decides on appeals of licensing, registration and certification decisions about community care facilities, assisted living residences, and early childhood educators. The Community Care and Assisted Living Appeal Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Disciplinary and Professional Conduct Board

The Disciplinary and Professional Conduct Board is established under the Teachers Act to hear complaints and reports of misconduct made against teachers. The Disciplinary and Professional Conduct Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Education.

 

Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal

The Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal hears appeals of Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction decisions under the Employment and Assistance Act and the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act. It also hears appeals of Ministry of Children and Family Development decisions under the Child Care Subsidy Act. The Employment and Assistance Appeal Tribunal is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.

 

Employment Standards Tribunal

The Employment Standards Tribunal was created under the Employment Standards Act. It conducts appeals of determinations issued by the Director of Employment Standards. The tribunal may also reconsider any order or decision it makes. The Employment Standards Tribunal is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

The Environmental Appeal Board resolves disputes about decisions made by government on environmental issues. They include:

  • Water licences
  • Contaminated site remediation orders
  • Pesticide permits
  • Cancelled hunting licences

The board helps protect the environment by providing a process for the public and industry to appeal certain government decisions. The Environmental Appeal Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

The Financial Services Tribunal hears appeals from individuals and institutions who want to contest enforcement decisions made by the:

  • Insurance Council of British Columbia
  • Superintendent of Real Estate
  • Superintendent of Pensions
  • Registrar of Mortgage Brokers
  • Superintendent of Financial Institutions

It provides an appeal process for people who believe they have been wrongly limited or denied the ability to work in one of the regulated occupations. The Financial Services Tribunal is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

The tribunal has jurisdiction to hear appeals under the:

  • Financial Institutions Act
  • Credit Union Incorporation Act
  • Mortgage Brokers Act
  • Real Estate Services Act
  • Pension Benefits Standards Act
  • Real Estate Development Marketing Act
 

Forest Appeals Commission

The Forest Appeals Commission resolves disputes about decisions made by government on forests and the environment under the Forest Practices Code of British Columbia Act and continued under the Forest and Range Practices Act. The Forest Appeals Commission is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Forest Practices Board

The Forest Practices Board is the independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices in British Columbia, reporting its findings directly to the public. It audits industry and government, investigates public complaints, appeals certain government decisions and makes recommendations for improvements to the Forest & Range Practices Act and the Wildfire Act. The Forest Practices Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

 

Health Care Practitioners' Special Committee for Audit Hearings

The Health Care Practitioners Special Committee for Audit Hearings receives recommendations from individual special committees for each body of health care practitioners. It determines whether recovery should be pursued. The Health Care Practitioners Special Committee for Audit Hearings is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Health.

 

Health Professions Review Board

The Health Professions Review Board was created under the Health Professions Act. It provides an independent review of certain decisions made by the self-governing colleges of designated health professions about the registration of their members and the timeliness and disposition of complaints made against their registrants. The Health Professions Review Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Hospital Appeal Board

The Hospital Appeal Board was created under the Hospital Act. It provides medical practitioners with a process to appeal decisions made by hospital boards of management that affect hospital privileges. The Hospital Appeal Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Industry Training Appeal Board

The Industry Training Appeal Board hears appeals under the Industry Training Authority Act. It provides a process for appealing Industry Training Authority decisions about trainees and industry training credentials. The Industry Training Appeal Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

The Labour Relations Board mediates and adjudicates employment and labour relations matters related to unionized workplaces. The Labour Relations Code establishes the board and governs all aspects of collective bargaining amongst the provincially regulated employers and employees. This includes the:

  • Acquisition of collective bargaining rights
  • Process of collective bargaining
  • Settlement and regulation of disputes in both the public and private sectors
  • Regulation of the representation of persons by their bargaining agents

The Labour Relations Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Mental Health Review Board

The Mental Health Review Board was created under the Mental Health Act. The board decides if people certified or detained at B.C. mental health facilities should continue to be so. It bases its decisions on criteria in the act. The board works to ensure patients have access to an objective and timely process to review their detention. The Mental Health Review Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

The Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal hears appeals of Oil and Gas Commission decisions. Decisions include certain orders, declarations, findings of contravention and administrative penalties. They also include permitting decisions about oil and gas activity, such as:

  • Geophysical exploration
  • The construction or operation of a pipeline
  • Road construction
  • The production, gathering, processing, storage or disposal of petroleum, natural gas or both

The Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Property Assessment Appeal Board

The Property Assessment Appeal Board was established under the Assessment Act. It’s the second level of appeal after the Property Assessment Review Panels. The most common issues in appeals are the property’s market value, fairness compared to assessments of similar properties, property classification and exemptions from taxation. The Property Assessment Appeal Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Property Assessment Review Panels

A Property Assessment Review Panel is established under the Assessment Act as the first level of appeal for property assessments in British Columbia. A panel decision may be appealed to the Property Assessment Appeal Board. Property Assessment Review Panels are administratively accountable to the Ministry of Finance.

 

Safety Standards Appeal Board

The Safety Standards Appeal Board was created under the Safety Standards Act. It hears appeals of decisions made under the act by provincial safety officers and managers. It also hears appeals of decisions made by the Registrar of BC Housing - Licensing and Consumer Services under the Homeowner Protection Act. The Safety Standards Appeal Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Surface Rights Board

The Surface Rights Board was established under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act. It has jurisdiction to resolve disputes between landowners and companies that must access private land to explore for, develop, or produce Crown-owned subsurface resources such as oil, gas, coal, minerals and geothermal. The Surface Rights Board is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Attorney General.

 

Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal

The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal is the final level of appeal in the workers' compensation system. Under the Workers Compensation Act, it can hear appeals from most Review Division decisions. The Review Division provides the first level review for most WorkSafeBC decisions. The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal is administratively accountable to the Ministry of Labour.