British Columbia does not currently have any special franchise legislation. In late 2014, the Government of B.C. sought submissions from interested stakeholders on the question of whether B.C. should implement franchise disclosure legislation similar in structure to the legislation in force in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (previously discussed here). This development came on the heels of work completed by the British Columbia Law Institute (the “BCLI”), which recommended that B.C. should enact franchise legislation harmonized with other Canadian jurisdictions. For summaries of the BCLI’s Consultation Paper on a Franchise Act for British Columbia (2013) and Report on a Franchise Act for British Columbia (2014), click here and here.
The Government of B.C. has not yet tabled a bill with its proposed franchise legislation since consultations closed in 2014. However, last week, a member of the opposition introduced a members’ bill entitled “Bill M219 – Franchise Act, 2015” (“Bill M219”) for first reading. Bill M219 is based on the draft legislation included in the BCLI’s report from 2014 that, among other things, allows claims arising from franchise agreements to be litigated in B.C. courts, and creates a statutory cause of action for misrepresentations arising from mandatory disclosure documents.
It remains unclear whether Bill M219 will proceed to second reading, or if the Government will introduce its own bill. With the Legislature only sitting four more days until its summer break, interested parties may have to wait until the Legislature resumes sitting in October for further developments on this front.