The Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, SBC 2011, c. 22 will be brought into force on July 23, 2012. The Ministry of Justice has posted an explanation of the act online, “Overview of the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act” which explains that the Act is intended to deter metal theft. The Act regulates items substantially made of non-ferrous metal such as aluminum, copper, including brass and bronze, lead, magnesium, nickel, and zinc. Further items or classes of items prescribed in the regulations are:
- metal traffic control lights, signals and signs;
- street lighting poles, wiring and fixtures;
- sewer grates and manhole covers;
- metal guardrails and handrails;
- metal grave markers, funeral vases, memorial plaques and monuments;
- new scrap metal from a construction site or a manufacturing process.
The meaning of “regulated metals” does not include used metal cans or containers for food, beverages or paint, metal domestic or household products normally recycled to avoid waste, or items or classes of items excluded by regulation.
The Act requires metal dealers and recyclers who purchase regulated metal to register with the Province, record information about the seller and a description of the regulated metal, and provide a summary report of the purchase to police on the same day of the sale. Metal dealers and recyclers of regulated metal will be required to register with the province no later than January 23, 2013. Cash transactions are limited to $50 when purchasing regulated metal, and any greater amount must be paid by cheque. As well, a person will be unable to sell regulated metal unless they provide their driver’s licence or BC Identification Card to the dealer or recycler and explain the origin of the metal.
Metal dealers and recyclers who have commercial accounts to regularly purchase regulated metal from a business will not have to record information for these purchases. However, they must establish an account with each commercial entity for the purpose of purchasing regulated metal on an ongoing basis, keep a current list of all these commercial entities, and create and maintain a record of specified information for each commercial entity including its full name and business address, Excise Tax Act (Canada) registration number, and dates, total value and descriptions of each transaction. Metal dealers and recyclers cannot have commercial accounts with mobile metal dealers or recyclers.
Mobile metal dealers and recyclers who conduct their businesses from a motor vehicle and do not have a physical business location are not required to register under the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act and are not required to collect information when purchasing or collecting regulated metal. However, mobile metal dealers and recyclers are required to sell their regulated metal to a registered metal dealer or recycler. Registered metal dealer or recycler must record all required information and must provide a report to the police.
If a metal dealer or recycler or any of its employees has reasonable grounds to believe that regulated metal in the possession of the metal dealer or recycler is stolen property, the metal dealer or recycler or the employee, as applicable, must immediately inform the local police authority of the fact. Police may obtain a court order to access the information the dealer or recycler collected about the purchase if the dealer’s or recycler’s report matches a description of reported stolen property.
The Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act also provides inspectors with powers to enter and inspect the premises of a metal dealer or recycler, inspect, audit or examine any record, goods or other thing in the premises, demand that a document or any other thing be produced for inspection, and remove a record or any other thing for review and copying or that may be required as evidence from the premises. Inspectors may also question a person. However, inspectors may not enter dwelling places except with the consent of the occupant or a warrant. It is an offence to obstruct, impede or refuse to admit an inspector who is exercising powers or performing duties under the Act or a warrant issued under, or for the purposes of enforcing, the Act.
The Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act makes it an offence to sell or purchase regulated metal except as provided for in the Act. Generally, offences also include the failure of a metal dealer or recycler to:
- assign a customer code to each transaction;
- record required transaction information;
- provide a report to police for each transaction within the prescribed period of time;
- keep transaction records;
- carry on business as a metal dealer or recycler without registering under the Act.
It is also an offence to provide false or misleading information when providing information required or authorized by the Act, when applying for registration under this Act, or when requested, ordered or directed by the registrar or an inspector to provide information, unless that person exercised due diligence and could not have known that information was false or misleading. Employees, officers, directors or agents of a business entity who authorized, permitted or acquiesced in the commission of offence by the entity also commit an offence whether or not the business entity is prosecuted for the offence.
On conviction for an offence, individuals are liable to a fine of not more than $10 000 or imprisonment for not longer than 6 months, or both, whereas business entities convicted of an offence are liable to a fine of not more than $100 000.
Administrative penalties may be imposed up to 2 years after a contravention of the Act, in the amount of not more than $5 000 for individuals, and not more than $50,000 for business entities. A person against whom a penalty is imposed is entitled to request a reconsideration of the penalty. If the administrative penalty is not paid within 30 days of a notice, it constitutes a debt and may be filed in court and collected upon as a judgment.
The Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act also takes precedence over municipal bylaws governing the sale of regulated metal, meaning some bylaws may no longer be applicable. The BC Ministry of Justice recommends that dealers and recyclers check with their local municipalities to confirm if provisions of the bylaws are still applicable.
To read the text of the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act, go to: http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th4th/3rd_read/gov13-3.htm
For further information, see the Ministry of Justice, Metal Recycling: Rules and Requirements, available at: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/metalrecycling