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BYLAWS AND RESOLUTIONS - Scope of enabling statute

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 @ 5:54 AM  

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Appeal by a landlord from a decision finding that the City’s bylaw regulating evictions by landlords renovating or repairing rental properties was intra vires the City. The bylaw required a renovating or repairing landlord either to enter into a new tenancy agreement with the tenant in respect of a comparable unit in the same building on the same, or better, terms or make other arrangements for the tenant’s temporary accommodation and return at the same rent when the work was complete. The appellant argued the Legislature intended to create an exhaustive scheme to govern rent control and evictions in the Residential Tenancy Act, such that the bylaw was unauthorized by the Community Charter, which required harmonization between provincial and municipal legislation and should be interpreted in a manner that upheld the Legislature’s intent.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. It was reasonable for the City to decide that the Community Charter authorized it to enact the impugned bylaw and thus to regulate renovictions locally. It was reasonable to decide that the provisions of the bylaw permissibly supplemented and did not contravene those of the Residential Tenancy Act. The Community Charter reflected a flexible and forward-looking approach to municipal powers. Residential tenancy legislation was remedial and must be interpreted liberally to ensure the realization of its objects. The City’s decision that it had the authority to enact the bylaw was grounded in and consistent with the text, context and purpose of its enabling statute, the Community Charter. Under the subsidiarity principle, the level of government closest to a subject matter could choose to respond to local needs by introducing complementary legislation in an area of jurisdictional overlap. The City had a long-standing concern with the need to preserve local affordable rental housing and had recently become particularly concerned with a perceived increase in the risk of renovictions. In contrast to the City’s textual, contextual and purposive approach, the appellant’s proposed interpretation of the Community Charter and the Residential Tenancy Act did not comport with the modern principle of statutory interpretation.

1193652 B.C. Ltd. v. New Westminster (City), [2021] B.C.J. No. 918, British Columbia Court of Appeal, D.C. Harris, G. Dickson and P. Abrioux JJ.A., April 30, 2021. Digest No. TLD-June142021006