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BILL NO. 35

                                              Government Bill

                 
                                                               
              3rd Session, 56th General Assembly
                         Nova Scotia
                   44 Elizabeth II, 1995-96

                 
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                       An Act to Enable
                   Information to be Filed
                  Electronically by Business




                          CHAPTER 3
                       ACTS OF 1995-96




                 
                                                               
                                                               
               The Honourable J. William Gillis
                     Minister of Justice


                 
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
                                                               
          AS ASSENTED TO BY THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
                       JANUARY 11, 1996






                 
                                                               
                           Halifax
          Printed by Queen's Printer for Nova Scotia
                               
                               
                               
                               
                               
                        An Act to Enable
                    Information to be Filed
                   Electronically by Business



         Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:


         1  This Act may be cited as the Business Electronic Filing
Act.


         2  The purpose of this Act is to

            (a) enable information and forms to be filed
         electronically by business;

            (b) establish a system of business identifiers;

            (c) establish a unified database to provide access to
         information required to be maintained under designated
         enactments;

            (d) permit a person, other than an officer or employee
         of the Crown, to perform any function or service under a
         designated enactment;

            (e) simplify Government regulatory requirements,
         eliminate duplication in procedures and improve
         Government organizational arrangements; and

            (f) enhance the ability of Government to co-operate
         with other governments or levels of government for greater
         efficiency and to eliminate unnecessary duplication.


         3  In this Act,

            (a) "business" means

                (i) a person authorized or entitled to carry on a
            trade, occupation, profession, service or venture with
            a view to profit, including a partnership and a limited
            partnership, and

                (ii)    a society, non-profit corporation or Crown
            corporation,

         and, where the context requires, includes a person
         establishing a business pursuant to a designated
         enactment;

            (b) "Crown" means Her Majesty in right of the
         Province;

            (c) "designated enactment" means an enactment
         designated pursuant to this Act;

            (d) "file" means to file, to register, to submit, to
         deposit, to make an application or to otherwise make
         available;

            (e) "Minister" means the member of the Executive
         Council assigned responsibility for the supervision and
         management of this Act and the regulations;

            (e) "officer", in relation to the Crown, includes a
         member of the Executive Council and a servant or
         employee of the Crown;

            (g) "prescribed" means, except where the context
         otherwise requires, prescribed pursuant to this Act.


         4  The Governor in Council may designate any enactment
for the purpose of this Act.


         5  (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations

                (a) authorizing or requiring information that
            businesses are required to file under this Act or a
            designated enactment, to be filed and maintained in an
            electronic or other prescribed format;

                (b) authorizing or requiring information that
            businesses are required to file under this Act or a
            designated enactment, to be filed by direct electronic
            transmission to an electronic database;

                (c) authorizing or requiring forms that businesses
            are required to file under this Act or a designated
            enactment, to be signed by electronic signature or by
            signature copied or reproduced in a prescribed
            manner;

                (d) authorizing or requiring forms that businesses
            are required to file under this Act or a designated
            enactment, to be filed without signatures;

                (e) prescribing fees for filing information or forms
            that businesses are required to file under this Act;

                (f) prescribing fees for filing information or forms
            that businesses are required to file under a designated
            enactment or changing the filing fees prescribed under
            a designated enactment;

                (g) prescribing the electronic format or formats
            that may be used when information is filed pursuant to
            this Act or a designated enactment;

                (h) governing the time of filing assigned when the
            information is filed in electronic format or by direct
            electronic transmission;

                (i) designating places where information may be
            filed in accordance with this Act and areas in respect
            of which information may be filed;

                (j) governing the filing of information that is
            presented in a prescribed electronic format;

                (k) governing the filing of information by direct
            electronic transmission;

                (l) prescribing the effect of the payment of fees or
            charges electronically where payment is required to
            accompany a filing;

                (m) unifying procedures for businesses to file
            information under designated enactments;

                (n) unifying financial and statistical reporting
            requirements and procedures for businesses under
            designated enactments;

                (o) prescribing common dates or time periods for
            businesses to file information or to pay fees, taxes or
            other charges under designated enactments;

                (p) prescribing methods by which businesses may
            pay fees, taxes or other charges under designated
            enactments;

                (q) prescribing methods for allocating payments
            made under designated enactments;

                (r) requiring renewal of licences or filings
            pursuant to designated enactments from time to time,
            with or without conditions.

            (2) Where information is filed by direct electronic
transmission, the time or date of filing is the time or date
assigned in the prescribed manner.

            (3) A form filed in an electronic form has the same
effect for all purposes as if the form were in writing.

            (4) A form filed pursuant to clause (1)(d) has the same
effect for all purposes as if the form were signed by the party or
parties that would have been required to sign the form, but for
a regulation made pursuant to that clause.

            (5) A regulation made pursuant to a designated
enactment may apply to some or all of the information or
documents that may be filed under the designated enactment.

            (6) Information filed electronically pursuant to this Act
is deemed to be filed for the purpose of the designated
enactment.

            (7) A regulation made pursuant to subsection (1) may
prescribe all the requirements that are necessary in the
circumstances to achieve the objective of the regulation,
including adjusting the amount of fees that businesses are
required to pay under designated enactments.

            (8) Nothing in this Section affects a provision in a
designated enactment with respect to the maintenance of
separate funds or the priority of entitlements to funds under the
designated enactment.


         6  (1) The Governor in Council may, for the purpose of
this Act, approve forms that have the same effect as forms
prescribed or approved by the Governor in Council under
designated enactments.

            (2) The Minister may approve forms that have the same
effect as forms prescribed or approved by a member of the
Executive Council, board or agency under a designated
enactment.

            (3) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (2), the
Minister may combine forms prescribed or approved under
either of those subsections into a single form and may adapt the
form as is necessary in the circumstances for the purpose of a
designated enactment.

            (4) The Governor in Council may make regulations
providing for the use of forms that are prescribed or approved
pursuant to this Section.


         7  (1) Information that businesses are required to file or
are authorized to access under a designated enactment may be
filed or accessed, as the case may be, by a person who is
authorized to do so by the Minister or by a person who is a
member of a class of persons that is authorized to do so.

            (2) The Minister may attach conditions to an
authorization given pursuant to subsection (1).


         8  A bank, trust or loan company, credit union or other
financial institution prescribed by the regulations or a person
referred to in subsection 9(4), that receives a payment of fees,
taxes, interest, penalties or other charges under this Act or a
designated enactment on behalf of a member of the Executive
Council by the debit card, credit card or pre-authorized charge
of the institution or person or by such other method of payment
acceptable to the Minister of Finance, may deduct from the
payment the amount of compensation that the Minister of
Finance and the institution or person agree may be deducted.


         9  (1) The Governor in Council may establish an
organization in any department or an agency or a corporation
to provide any service under this Act or a designated enactment
and provide for all matters necessary to fund, staff and operate
the organization, agency or corporation.

            (2) Where the Governor in Council has made a
regulation pursuant to Section 5 unifying procedures for
businesses to apply for licences and permits under designated
enactments, the Governor in Council may establish a business
registration access service to receive the applications and to
issue the licences and permits.

            (3) The Governor in Council may enter into
agreements with a municipality, province or government to

                (a) provide a service under this Act or a
            designated enactment in co-operation with that
            municipality, province or government, either directly
            or through another person;

                (b) operate a business regulation service on
            behalf of that municipality, province or government for
            the purpose of this Act.

            (4) The Minister may appoint an officer of the Crown
or enter into an agreement with any other person to perform
any function or service under a designated enactment for the
purpose of this Act.

            (5) A person who, pursuant to subsection (4), is
appointed or required by an agreement to perform a function
or service has the power to perform the function or service
mentioned in the appointment or the agreement, as the case
may be.

            (6) A person who, pursuant to an agreement referred
to in subsection (4), is required to perform a function or service
is deemed not to be an officer of the Crown for the purpose of
the function or service.


         10 (1) The Governor in Council may establish a system of
business identifiers and provide for the manner in which
businesses identifiers are assigned to a business or a class of
businesses.

            (2) The Governor in Council may make regulations
providing for the use that businesses are required to make of
the system of business identifiers.

            (3) The Minister may enter into agreements providing
for the integration of a system of business identifiers
established pursuant to this Section with any system of business
identification established by a municipality, province or
government.


         11 (1) The Governor in Council may establish a unified
database for information required to be maintained under
designated enactments and provide for the creation of,
maintenance of, access to and use of the database.

            (2) The Governor in Council may enter into
agreements with a municipality, province of Canada or
government to adopt common forms, reporting and filing
processes with that municipality, province or government or to
share databases with the municipality, province or government.

            (3) The Minister is responsible for the supervision of
a database established pursuant to this Section.

            (4) Where the Minister receives information pursuant
to this Act or a designated enactment, the Minister may disclose
the information to

                (a) a member of the Executive Council for the
            purpose of the administration of a designated
            enactment, including the updating of a record or
            database;

                (b) a municipality, province of Canada or
            government in accordance with an agreement between
            the municipality, province or government and the
            Crown; or

                (c) a person,

                    (i) whom the Minister has authorized to
                access the information in the prescribed manner,
                or

                    (ii)     with whom the Minister has entered into
                an agreement regarding the use of the information.


         12 The Governor in Council may prescribe standards that
persons are required to comply with for the purpose of this Act
in the definition, collection, transmission and presentation of
information under this Act or in the provision of services under
a designated enactment, or adopt such standards by reference,
including reference to standards as amended from time to time.


         13 (1) Information filed pursuant to this Act or a
designated enactment may be in such electronic format as may
be prescribed by regulations made pursuant to a designated
enactment.

            (2) Information may be filed in an electronic format if
it is recorded on a system of electronic data storage that, in the
opinion of the person who is responsible for the maintenance
of the information filed, is capable of being read by the
computer or other equipment used in the information filing
system.

            (3) Where a designated enactment provides that a
certified copy of a document filed pursuant to that enactment be
made available and the information is filed in an electronic
format, a document that is a certified copy of the information
filed may be provided.

            (4) A document that is a certified copy of information
filed in an electronic format has the same evidentiary value and
may be used in like manner as a certified copy of a document
made available under a designated enactment.


         14 (1) Subject to subsection (5) and the regulations made
pursuant to this Act, a person is entitled to compensation from
the Crown for any monetary loss that the person suffers that is
directly attributable to an error or omission of an officer of the
Crown who performs a duty or provides a service under this Act
or a designated enactment for the purpose of this Act.

            (2) No action or other proceedings for damages shall
be instituted against the Crown for any monetary loss that a
person suffers as a result of

                (a) an error or omission of a person who is not an
            officer of the Crown and who performs a duty or
            provides a service under this Act or a designated
            enactment for the purpose of this Act; or

                (b) any inaccuracy or incompleteness in a record
            maintained under this Act or a designated enactment
            for the purpose of this Act.

            (3) No action or other proceeding for damages shall
be instituted against an officer of the Crown for an act done in
good faith in the execution or intended execution of a duty or
service under this Act or a designated enactment for the
purpose of this Act or for an alleged neglect or default in the
execution in good faith of the duty or service.

            (4) Notwithstanding the Proceedings Against the
Crown Act, subsection (3) does not relieve the Crown of
liability in respect of a tort committed by an officer of the
Crown to which it would otherwise be subject.

            (5) Subsections (1) to (4) do not apply to a claim for
compensation that relates to the administration of a designated
enactment if the designated enactment contains provisions on
the right to compensation and the amount of compensation that
is payable to a person who suffers a monetary loss.

            (6) The Governor in Council may make regulations

                (a) attaching conditions to the right to receive
            compensation pursuant to this Section, including
            specifying cases in which no compensation is payable;

                (b) establishing a compensation fund for the
            purpose of subsection (1) or a designated enactment;

                (c) governing the right to receive compensation
            out of the fund and the amount of compensation
            payable out of the fund for a claim or a class of claims;

                (d) governing procedures for making claims
            against the fund;

                (e) providing for the appointment of persons to
            hear claims against the fund and governing the
            conditions for hearings.

            (7) Where a compensation fund is established pursuant
to this Section, a claim for compensation under this Act or a
designated enactment shall be made to the fund.

            (8) No action or other proceeding for damages shall
be instituted against the Crown with respect to any matter in
relation to which a claim against a compensation fund
established pursuant to this Section may be filed.

            (9) Notwithstanding clause (2)(a) or any provision in
a designated enactment, the Minister may enter into agreements
with a municipality, province of Canada or government to pay
compensation where records are maintained or duties are
performed in cooperation with that municipality, province or
government.

            (10)    Where the Minister is required to pay
compensation pursuant to an agreement referred to in
subsection (9) and the regulations made pursuant to this
Section have established a compensation fund, the payment may
be made from the compensation fund.


         15 Where there is a conflict between this Act or the
regulations made pursuant to this Act and a designated
enactment or regulations made pursuant to a designated
enactment, this Act or regulations made pursuant to this Act
prevail.


         16 The Governor in Council may make regulations

            (a) prescribing anything that is required to be
         prescribed pursuant to this Act;

            (b) defining any word or expression used but not
         defined in this Act;

            (c) respecting any matter deemed necessary or
         advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of
         this Act.


         17 The exercise by the Governor in Council of the
authority contained in Section 4, subsection 5(1), 6(4) or 10(2),
Section 12, subsection 14(6) or Section 16 is regulations within
the meaning of the Regulations Act.