New Conflict of Interest Exception

The Province has responded to the calls from the UBCM, our office, and others, and enacted a new regulation under the Community Charter that creates an exception to the conflict of interest rule established in Schlenker v Torgrimson, 2013 BCCA 9. In that case, the Court of Appeal held that an elected member of a local government will be in a pecuniary conflict of interest when he or she votes on a matter that involves funding a not-for-profit society of which the member is a director, including societies that were established for the purpose of advancing intergovernmental cooperation or purposes. The new exception deems that these council members do not have a pecuniary interest in relation to their role as the local government’s representative on the society or corporation, and for participating in discussions and voting to:

• Provide public funds to or on behalf of the society or corporation;

• Provide an advantage, benefit, grant or other type of assistance to the society or corporation;

• Acquire or dispose an interest in real or personal property that affects the society or corporation; and

• Related agreements.

This exception authorizes the council or board member to attend, participate and vote at a council or board meeting when these decisions are being made. A copy of the new regulation can be found here.

Rosie Jacobs