544 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 4 JULY 2021
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, VanIAC had its busiest year ever in
2020, with a total of 178 new cases brought to it for administration, up 68
per cent since 2018.
As mentioned, a modernized Arbitration Act passed by the B.C. legislature
came into force last year. It applies to domestic (non-international)
arbitration cases. British Columbia also has an International Commercial
Arbitration Act, substantially revised in 2018, which applies if one of the parties
is based in a jurisdiction outside Canada.
The new Arbitration Act is based on a United Nations arbitration model
adopted by many other jurisdictions. Important changes include strengthened
confidentiality; broad procedural powers to ensure a just, speedy and
economical resolution of disputes; and simpler and faster appeals. Alternatively,
parties can agree to opt out of appeals altogether.
Some people have asked me why BCICAC changed its name to VanIAC.
Along with the board of directors, I consistently received feedback that the
name “Vancouver” is better known internationally than the name of our
province. Things like the 2010 Olympic Games and other events have raised
the global profile of our biggest city, and we decided to recognize that
through a name change.
But it isn’t just our name that has changed. Under the new Arbitration
Act, VanIAC is now a designated authority to quickly appoint arbitrators
when parties cannot agree on a decision maker. It also has jurisdiction to
resolve fee disputes between arbitrators and parties, without needing to
involve a court.
VanIAC has developed updated domestic arbitration rules to supplement
the new Arbitration Act, supporting the orderly resolution of disputes.
These new rules include the option of an expedited process for claims
under $250,000. The goal is to offer access to the benefits of arbitration to a
wider variety of claims.
The new Arbitration Act, along with the updated procedural rules adopted
by VanIAC, make arbitration a more attractive alternative.
At same time, a new website (<www.vaniac.org>) has been launched to
support the changes, which are intended to keep British Columbia at the
vanguard of jurisdictions supporting arbitration.
SOME NEW FACES
At VanIAC’s recent AGM, the board elected a new chair, Joe McArthur,
FCIArb., who practises domestic and international arbitration. He is a partner
at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. We are also pleased to announce a
number of new board directors, including a former Lieutenant Governor of