Policy – Release Of Information For Use In Legal Proceedings

As a regulator, it is imperative that Technical Safety BC, also known as British Columbia Safety Authority, not be perceived to support one side over the other in private legal disputes. Please take note of the following policy, which is in place to assure Technical Safety BC’s impartiality:

  1. Often the relevant information is contained within Technical Safety BC documents and it is not necessary to divert Technical Safety BC personnel from their core work of promoting public safety. Obtaining documents under a freedom of information request will generally provide the required information, while minimizing involvement of technical personnel.

    Accordingly, Technical Safety BC personnel will not provide additional information as set out in item 8 below until a Freedom of Information request has been received and processed. Information on how to make an information request appears on Request Information.
     
  2. Technical Safety BC personnel will not provide expert evidence, i.e. evidence based on their opinion or expertise, as opposed to evidence of their involvement in a particular case. Expert evidence is provided by private experts hired by parties to the legal proceeding.
     
  3. In all cases where testimony from a Technical Safety BC employee is sought, a subpoena or summons will be required. Technical Safety BC employees will not testify in legal proceedings without such an instrument, as this could be perceived as Technical Safety BC voluntarily supporting one party to the proceeding.
     
  4. Where practicable, service of legal documents will be facilitated by the Technical Safety BC's legal department to avoid undue cost and inconvenience to the summoning party.
     
  5. Documents or other physical evidence will only be released pursuant to a valid court order (or equivalent), Freedom of Information request or as required in the summons. Procedural rules in court or other forums often require that the evidence be provided on the day of testimony only, so it is incumbent on parties to take the necessary steps should documents be required in advance.
     
  6. Technical Safety BC charges fees as follows:
     
    1. For Freedom of Information requests, such charges as are in effect from time to time and posted on Technical Safety BC's website as set out above; and
       
    2. For witness preparation, at the prevailing hourly rate of the Technical Safety BC employee or in the case of an employee without an hourly rate, at a rate to be imposed by the Technical Safety BC.
       
  7. Any party requesting or requiring evidence or information from Technical Safety BC is deemed to undertake to promptly pay the Technical Safety BC's fees and necessary expenses.
     
  8. Technical Safety BC employees will only speak with parties or their lawyers to prepare for testimony within 72 hours of the scheduled time for the hearing to begin. This policy is intended to:
     
    1. Encourage parties to seek required information well in advance of the hearing rather than risk learning that Technical Safety BC’s evidence will not help their case at the last minute;
       
    2. Minimize use of Technical Safety BC employee preparation time for testimony that is ultimately not required; and
       
    3. Balance Technical Safety BC’s impartiality with the desire to present evidence in a way that is professional and respectful of legal processes.
       
  9. However, where time permits and subject to the applicable witness preparation fees Technical Safety BC employees may provide written responses to questions at any time after a freedom of information request has been processed. In this event, the receiving party remains solely responsible for disclosing this information to other parties in the proceeding if required.
     
  10. In the majority of cases where Technical Safety BC has no legal interest in the proceedings, Technical Safety BC will consent to disclosure orders from the court or tribunal provided that all other parties to the proceeding have consented, or otherwise take no position on the application. You may confirm the consent of all parties by providing either:
     
    1. A statement in writing from a lawyer to that effect; or
       
    2. The consent form bearing all parties’ signatures.
       
  11. Exceptions from this policy will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, and will not be granted if there is a potential to undermine Technical Safety BC’s impartiality or place unreasonable demands on Technical Safety BC resources. Parties that require evidence from Technical Safety BC are responsible for taking all necessary steps well in advance.
     
  12. Finally, please consider carefully whether a Technical Safety BC employee’s evidence is necessary in respect of this matter. In some cases evidence from Technical Safety BC employees can be dealt with by admissions of fact or reference to documents without the necessity of having a Technical Safety BC employee give evidence. Because Technical Safety BC employees’ time is best spent working towards the safety of technical systems it is requested that parties to legal disputes make every effort to minimize the extent to which Technical Safety BC participation is required.

Please address all correspondence regarding release of information for use in legal proceedings directly to Technical Safety BC’s Legal Department except:

  • Freedom of information requests which should be submitted per the link in item 1 above, and
  • Subpoenas or orders which impose an obligation on a Technical Safety BC employee personally rather than on Technical Safety BC itself. As noted above however parties are encouraged to first provide these documents to the Legal Department who may be able to expedite service and other practicalities.

Contact information for the Legal Department is as follows, email preferred:

TECHNICAL SAFETY BC

600 – 2889 East 12th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V5M 4T5
email: Legal@technicalsafetybc.ca

POL-3060 Rev: 02