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Tariff cases lead the way in 2001
January 23, 2001

The British Columbia Tariff of Costs Regulation is finally starting to produce a useful body of case law. Since the start of the new year only three weeks ago, the Expropriation Compensation Board has released four decisions, three of which involved tariff reviews. This doubles the Board's previous output of tariff reviews. The six cases released to date now include:

Case name Date Cited
C.R. All Trucks v. British Columbia (Minister of Transportation and Highways) 2000-04-11 [2000] EXLAW 309
Yue v. Surrey (City) 2000-08-31 [2000] EXLAW 327
Topping v. British Columbia (Minister of Transportation and Highways) 2000-10-20 [2000] EXLAW 330
Chu v. School District No. 36 (Surrey) 2001-01-09 [2001] EXLAW 300
Topping v. British Columbia (Minister of Transportation and Highways) 2001-01-16 [2001] EXLAW 302
Chan v. Vancouver (City) 2001-01-22 [2001] EXLAW 303

All of these cases involved cost reviews at the interim stage. No final cost review decisions have been released to date.

The C.R. All Trucks case deals with some preliminary issues such as whether the tariff is a valid regulation and the proper procedure for submission of cost claims. However, it does not actually involve a cost review.

The Yue decision is the first cost review under the tariff. It rejects the use of multiple tariff claims even though the land expropriated had two registered owners. The Board made an award under both the legal and appraisal tariff schedules.

The Topping case has produced two separate interim cost review decisions, thus providing the first opportunity to see how the tariff works in cases where previous interim awards have been made. On the first review the Board refused to allow any units for one legal tariff item even though there was evidence that work had been performed within that category. Units for the item were allowed at the second review after further work had been performed. However, no further units were allowed on the second review for another legal tariff item even though considerable additional work had been performed during the second review period.

The Chu decision is by far the longest and most thoroughly considered decision of the six to date. It considers the extent to which the tariff applies to the cost of services rendered prior to enactment of the tariff and determined that invoices are not a requirement for cost recovery.

In the Chan decision, Board Member Greenwood observes that the tariff will often provide owners with a lower level of cost recovery when compared to the actual reasonable cost regime that was previously in place. The Chan decision also provides a formula which may be helpful in determining the proper number of tariff units to award on tariff items having a range of units available.

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