Entries by Del Elgersma

Power of Attorney Deadline Extended

Thanks to a recent announcement by the Attorney General, British Columbians will have another year to make enduring Powers of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint another person, called an “attorney”, to manage your legal and financial affairs. (“Attorney” in this case does not mean a lawyer […]

Homeowners Ordered to Remove Suite

A B.C. couple that excavated their crawl space and converted it into a secondary suite, in violation of a municipal bylaw, was recently ordered to restore their home to its original condition. In 1994 the couple built a two-storey house with a crawl space on a lot they owned in Burnaby. The lot was zoned […]

New Condo Legislation In Force

A new act has replaced the Condominium Act as the primary legislation covering the development and governance of condominiums in B.C. The Strata Property Act, along with its amendments, regulations and forms, came into force on July 1, 2000. The new Act applies to all condominiums, both new and existing. The responsibilities of the owner […]

Adult Guardianship Law Overhauled

Adult guardianship legislation that was pending for years came into force on February 28, 2000. The legislation gives adults more power to determine their future and provides more support and protection for those who are vulnerable to abuse or no longer capable of making their own decisions. Four acts make up the adult guardianship legislation. […]


A B.C. Supreme Court judge recently ruled that the developer of a strata-titled development had an obligation not to put its interests ahead of the interests of future owners. The developer had agreed to give the first purchaser in the development an exclusive 99-year lease of a rooftop patio owned by the strata corporation. Since […]

Living Wills

Thanks to the adult guardianship legislation that became law on February 28, 2000, “living wills” are now legally valid in BC. A living will is a written statement that expresses your wishes regarding medical treatment and personal care in case you are unable to express your wishes at the relevant time. Living wills are also […]

Wills Variation Act Violates Charter

In January the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that B.C.’s Wills Variation Act violates the Charter of Rights.  The Act permits a testator’s wife, husband or child to apply to the court to vary the will (a testator is someone who makes a will). If the court agrees that the will does not adequately provide for the testator’s […]

Competition, Customers and Confidential Information

Employee mobility is at an all time high. As employees look for better opportunities they are moving between jobs and employers more than ever. Many employers are concerned about losing customers and confidential information when employees leave. It is now common for employers to require new employees to sign non-competition agreements (also called restrictive covenants) […]

Employment Contracts – Are They Worth It?

With increasing payroll taxes and new human rights and employment standards regulations, it’s not easy being an employer these days. Making matters worse, whenever there is a dismissal, there is a risk that the former employee will sue. Recent court awards indicate that employers can be liable for substantial damages. In one recent BC case, […]

Legal Non-Conformity

Under the Municipal Act (since renamed the Local Government Act), municipalities may pass zoning bylaws to regulate the use and density of land and the use and location of buildings. Often the existing use of land or buildings will not conform to the requirements of these new zoning bylaws. Section 911 of the Municipal Act (formerly section 970) […]