THE ADVOCATE 567
VOL. 80 PART 4 JULY 2022
GE NERAL’S PAGE
By the Honourable David Eby, Q.C.*
We are in what appears to be the sixth wave of the pandemic, and despite
the challenges COVID-19 continues to present to many people, life is getting
closer to what we all remember from the before times. One of the major
differences from life pre-COVID has been the willingness among many
members of the bench, bar and the interested public to accelerate the work
we agreed to under the 2019 Court Digital Transformation Strategy.
I have discussed much of our shared work in this column, and as of May
9, 2022 an additional element of this work for our Provincial Court, and
another related to access to justice for those involuntarily detained under
the Mental Health Act, have passed third reading in the legislature and will
receive royal assent (Her Majesty willing) in the near future.
BILL 17 – ONLINE OFFENCE ACT DISPUTES
Following the occasionally trying but ultimately successful first transition
to digital processes that was necessitated by the pandemic, Bill 17, also
known by its more popular name, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act,
2022, amends the Offence Act to remove legislative barriers to the effective
use of technology in violation ticket dispute proceedings.
This bill amends the Offence Act in three key ways: allowing those who
receive violation tickets to dispute them online; allowing the court greater
flexibility to set remote hearings where appropriate; and creating a framework
for development and testing of new pre-hearing ticket dispute resolution
options through time-limited pilot projects.
Approximately 80,000 violation ticket disputes are filed annually, but only
about thirty per cent of disputes actually proceed to a hearing. In many
* The Honourable David Eby, Q.C., is British Columbia’s Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.