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CARRIERS - Regulation - Tariffs, rates and service charges

Monday, July 31, 2017 @ 3:24 PM  

Petition by container truck transport companies for judicial review of the validity of the Container Transport Act and Regulations, and interpretations thereof by the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner. In 2014, container truck drivers withdrew services from various Vancouver area ports due to an industry-wide dispute. The Province passed the Container Transport Act and Regulation in response, creating the Office of the Commissioner and establishing initial rates and fuel surcharges payable to drivers. The Regulation authorized payment to drivers on a retroactive basis to cover the period after drivers returned to work, but before the Regulation came into force. The petitioners sought judicial review on the basis that the Act did not authorize the retroactive effect of ss. 19, 22 and 23 of the Regulation. They further submitted the Commissioner's interpretation of s. 1.1 of the Regulation was patently unreasonable.

HELD: Petition dismissed. The Act was created within the context of a long-standing dispute about fair compensation for container truck drivers who serviced the Lower Mainland's marine ports. Its core purpose was to create a comprehensive provincial regulatory regime to establish such compensation and enforce it through the licensing of container truck companies. Sections 19 and 22 of the Regulation required payment of rates and surcharges as if they had been in effect from April 2014 onward. The wording of s. 22(2) of the Act, when read in conjunction with ss. 19 and 22 of the Regulation, had sufficient clarity to demonstrate a legislative intention of retroactivity supporting the impugned sections of the Regulation through creation of an exception to the otherwise prospective application of s. 22 of the Act. In the absence of an actual decision by the Commissioner regarding off-dock trips under the Regulation, judicial review of the Commissioner's interpretation was premature.

Aheer Transportation Ltd. v. Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commissioner, [2017] B.C.J. No. 1287, British Columbia Supreme Court, T.A. Schultes J., June 30, 2017. TLD-July312017002