EU20 Managing Involuntary Displacement

Involuntary displacement associated with BC Hydro operations has been rare in recent history. The creation of a reservoir or transmission projects could result in displacement. The later would likely be avoided by designing to minimize any potential involuntary displacement impacts. BC Hydro's land acquisition practices are based on the principle of negotiating with impacted property owners to reach an amicable settlement.

The vast majority of all negotiations with impacted property owners are settled without BC Hydro exercising its rights to expropriate or involving involuntary displacement of property owners. Compensation associated with involuntary displacement is guided by the Expropriation Act (most notably S.38). The Expropriation Act identifies the process and basis for compensation to which a property owner is entitled. In negotiations with impacted owners, BC Hydro would provide compensation based upon the Expropriation Act as a starting point for negotiations. In the event a dispute continues, the impacted owners may be offered an opportunity to engage in non-binding third party mediation to resolve differences. If an agreement on compensation cannot be reached, an agreement will be offered as provided for under the Expropriation Act. This agreement will allow the property owner to have the award of compensation adjudicated by the Supreme Court of B.C.

In instances where an amicable agreement cannot be reached, BC Hydro may be compelled to exercise its rights to secure land interests for public projects through the powers of expropriation. This power is exercised only when all other avenues are exhausted (referenced under S.6 of the Expropriation Act). An expropriation must be approved by the provincial cabinet minster responsible for BC Hydro and compensation may be determined by the Supreme Court of B.C.

Certain rights legislated in the Expropriation Act are designed to balance the individual rights as a property owner with the Province's need for essential services such as the provision of electricity. The Expropriation Act safeguards owners’ rights and provides for fair compensation. As well, the property owner is entitled to certain costs including an allowance for reasonable legal and other professional service fees.

In fiscal 2011, there were no involuntary displacements and no involuntary displacements are anticipated by BC Hydro for fiscal 2012.