March 28, 2024

Re: Concerns on Scope of Bill 12

Dear Premier Eby and Attorney General Sharma,

On behalf of the signatory business associations and our collective membership, we are writing to express our shared concerns about the breadth of the recent Bill 12, the Public Health Accountability and Cost Recovery Act (the “Bill”).

The intention to safeguard the physical and mental health and wellbeing of British Columbians is laudable and an objective we support. We are writing today to emphasize that the parameters in Bill 12 must be clear and appropriately delineated so as not to inadvertently expose a wider spectrum of businesses to legal risk. The current draft does not achieve this and has been advanced without sufficient engagement. 

Our concerns arise from the potential ramifications of the Bill’s expansive interpretation, as summarized in several articles from B.C.’s legal community, including analyses from McCarthy Tétrault1, Aird Berlis2, and others. Our members have reacted swiftly to the proposed law as well, raising significant concerns as we scramble to understand the legal implications of such a broadly scoped bill. Given the uncertainty and broad scope, we urge the government to take the time to work with interested parties to ensure appropriate guardrails are in place and that there are no unintended consequences.

Some of the concerns include:

  • If enacted, the law appears to apply to any product, good, service or by-product (product and/or service), which we understand can create liability for almost any business operating in or connected to B.C.
  • Similarly, the Bill appears to apply not only to a product or service that may cause or may contribute to disease, injury, or illness but also to any product/service that contributes to even the risk of disease, injury, or illness without clear criteria for determining these risks or costs.
  • Further, Bill 12 expands the type and scope for costs the government to “other expenditures by the government, made directly or through one or more agents, other intermediate bodies or education authorities, for programs, services, benefits or similar matters associated with disease, injury or illness” creating significant risks to all sectors of the economy.
  • The use of a certificate from a minister of the federal or provincial government as proof of expenditures without conclusive proof of actual risk or harm is alarming and without precedent.  

The potential consequences of these points could be significant. An expanded scope of liability, along with the related expanded legal and insurance costs due to the broad nature of the Bill are significant concerns for B.C. businesses. These costs come amidst economic uncertainty, low growth, and a rapidly rising population. B.C.’s economy is slowing, as demonstrated by a year-over-year decrease in retail sales per January 2024 data. Inevitably, these costs, associated with increased liability and uncertainty, are paid by consumers and businesses.

Specifically, the government’s communications and media reports have focused on “social media companies” and “algorithms” as reasons why this legislation is being introduced. While the signatories to this letter may have different views individually, a thorough discussion and consultation on the rules governing online behaviour and commerce to ensure our laws are up to date for our digital age would seem appropriate. Presumably this would also entail consultation to ensure the desired outcomes would be achieved in any new initiative.

As opposed to a targeted approach, this legislation is written in the broadest possible fashion. The result is that there is a real risk that this legislation could cause some to consider alternatives to investing in B.C., raise costs, or, at worst, relocate existing B.C.-based operations. In our view, it is critical that there be a thorough discussion and airing of views on the broad scope of this law prior to its passage.

As such, we request the government pause the advancement of the Bill and instead work with stakeholders to refine the intent, purpose, and language of the proposed law.

In conclusion, it is important to once again stress that we support the government's stated objectives, which include protecting British Columbians. We look forward to collaborating and finding a path forward.

1 The Much Broader Future of Cost Recovery Litigation in British Columbia
2 B.C. Cost Recovery Legislation Has Significant Implications for Product and Service Providers


Business Associations Business Associations Business Associations

The Honourable Pam Alexis, MLA
Brittny Anderson, MLA
Dan Ashton, MLA
Michele Babchuk, MLA
The Honourable Brenda Bailey, MLA
The Honourable Harry Bains, MLA
Bruce Banman, MLA
The Honourable Lisa Beare, MLA
Garry Begg, MLA
Mike Bernier, MLA
Shirley Bond, MLA
The Honourable Jagrup Brar, MLA
Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA
Susie Chant, MLA
The Honourable Katrina Chen, MLA
The Honourable Raj Chouhan, MLA
The Honourable George Chow, MLA
Doug Clovechok, MLA
The Honourable Katrine Conroy, MLA
The Honourable Dan Coulter, MLA
The Honourable Nathan Cullen, MLA
Dan Davies, MLA
Mike De Jong, MLA
Bob D’Eith, MLA
The Honourable Mitzi Dean, MLA
The Honourable Adrian Dix, MLA
Lorne Doerkson, MLA
Fin Donnelly, MLA
Megan Dykeman, MLA
Mable Elmore, MLA
Kevin Falcon, MLA
The Honourable Mike Farnworth, MLA
The Honourable Rob Fleming, MLA
Sonia Furstenau, MLA
Rick Glumac, MLA
Kelly Greene, MLA
Trevor Halford, MLA
The Honourable George Heyman, MLA
The Honourable Ravi Kahlon, MLA
The Honourable Anne Kang, MLA
Karin Kirkpatrick, MLA
Greg Kyllo, MLA

Michael Lee, MLA
Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA
Norm Letnick, MLA
The Honourable Grace Lore, MLA
The Honourable Bowinn Ma, MLA
The Honourable Sheila Malcolmson, MLA
Andrew Mercier, MLA
Renee Merrifield, MLA
Peter Milobar, MLA
Mike Morris, MLA
Coralee Oakes, MLA
Adam Olsen, MLA
The Honourable Josie Osborne, MLA
Kelli Paddon, MLA
Ian Paton, MLA
The Honourable Lana Popham, MLA
The Honourable Bruce Ralston, MLA
The Honourable Murray Rankin, MLA
Jennifer Rice, MLA
The Honourable Selina Robinson, MLA
Ellis Ross, MLA
Janet Routledge, MLA
Doug Routley, MLA
Roly Russell, MLA
John Rustad, MLA
Harwinder Sandhu, MLA
Tom Shypitka, MLA
The Honourable Nicholas Simons, MLA
Jinny Sims, MLA
Aman Singh, MLA
The Honourable Rachna Singh, MLA
Mike Starchuk, MLA
Ben Stewart, MLA
Todd Stone, MLA
Jordan Sturdy, MLA
Elenore Sturko, MLA
Jackie Tegart, MLA
Adam Walker, MLA
Teresa Wat, MLA
The Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, MLA
Henry Yao, MLA

CC: Derrick Harder, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Attorney General
Shannon Salter, KC, Deputy Minister to the Premier
Barbara Carmichael, KC, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Attorney General


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Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Western Canada's leading business association, engaging our members to inform public policy at all levels of government and empowering them to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through unique programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events platforms in the country, providing a stage for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.

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