Joint letter to the Honourable David Eby, Premier of British Columbia, regarding concerns with Bill 12, Public Heath Accountability and Cost Recovery Act.

Dear Premier,

We are writing to you to express our deep concerns with Bill 12 and the potential unintended consequences it will create to the investment climate in Canada and the country’s longstanding reputation as a reliable trading partner.

As business leaders we are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our employees, customers, and the communities we operate in. We understand that this bill is intended to protect the health of British Columbians and minimize the costs to taxpayers by allowing the government to recover health care costs and expenditures.

Your public remarks state that the legislation will allow your government to assess alleged harm caused by social media companies. However, our concern is that the bill will have a much broader application to a far wider range of products and services which are already subject to stringent regulatory requirements under numerous federal and provincial statutes and regulations.

Of equal concern is the authority the bill will provide both the provincial and federal government to pursue cause of action without respect to common law principles or an underlying action to determine causality of harm or risk of harm caused by a product or service.

Lastly, the expanded limitation provision of up to 15 years goes well beyond conventional liability periods, which are typically limited to two years. The potential for retroactive application also violates a core constitutional principle, the rule of law, in that the bill imposes liability on persons for past conduct, which according to the laws of the day, were permissible. This sort of tampering is inherently arbitrary and undermines business certainty and the fair ordering of the economy. It is also unfair insofar as it inflicts costs on persons in ways that could not have been anticipated or prevented.

Our view is that this bill sends the wrong message and suggests that investing in Canada comes with a high degree of risk and liability. Importantly, our reputation as a reliable trading nation is at risk, while your vision to create the most stringent liability regime in the country will potentially compromise the relationship with our principal trading partner, the United States.

We urge you to take the time to properly review and consider the unintended consequences associated with this bill. Moving hastily will inevitably create investor uncertainty and will force companies to reconsider their business activity in BC and more broadly, Canada. The net effect will harm employment opportunities in critical sectors such as technology, food and beverage, health and pharmaceutical, manufacturing, natural resources, and energy.

As business leaders we stand ready to work with you and would be pleased to convene our members at your earliest convenience.


Goldy Hyder
President and CEO
Business Council of Canada

Honourable Perrin Beatty
President and CEO
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Dennis Darby
President and CEO
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

Dan Kelly
President, CEO and Chair
Canadian Federation of Independent Business

cc. Honourable Niki Sharma, Attorney General
Honourable Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation
Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
Honourable François-Phillippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry