2nd Session, 60th General Assembly
57 Elizabeth II, 2008
The Honourable Stephen McNeil
First Reading: November 21, 2008
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Fair Gasoline Prices Act.
2 The purpose of this Act is to
(a) ensure that retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers are accountable to the public with respect to the pricing of motor vehicle fuel;
(b) ensure reasonable and competitive prices of motor vehicle fuel within the Province; and
(c) protect employees of retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers from retaliation for having disclosed any pricing practices of the retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer that contravene this Act.
3 In this Act,
(a) "consumer" means a person who acquires motor vehicle fuel for the person's own use and not for the purpose of selling, exchanging or otherwise disposing thereof, and does not include a person who purchases motor vehicle fuel for use in a business under a written contract containing bulk purchasing provisions with volume discounts;
(b) "Gasoline Price Watchdog" means the person appointed pursuant to this Act;
(c) "manufacturer" means any person who manufactures, refines or makes motor vehicle fuel or any component of it;
(d) "Minister" means the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations;
(e) "motor vehicle" means any vehicle legally entitled to be driven on public roads, highways and streets and that operates by means of motor vehicle fuel;
(f) "motor vehicle fuel" means a liquid product, whether or not distilled or recovered from petroleum, that by itself or in mixture with other products, by combustion, develops the power required for operating internal combustion engines, and includes gasoline, diesel fuels, propane and ethanol fuels;
(g) "prescribed" means prescribed by the regulations;
(h) "retailer" means a person who keeps for sale or sells motor vehicle fuel to a consumer and includes a person who is also a wholesaler;
(i) "retailer margin" means the difference between the price at which a retailer buys motor vehicle fuel from a wholesaler and the price at which the retailer sells the motor vehicle fuel to a consumer;
(j) "retail outlet" includes every location at which a retailer sells motor vehicle fuel, whether on a permanent or temporary basis;
(k) "wholesaler" means a person who keeps for sale or sells motor vehicle fuel to a retailer, and includes a person who is also a retailer.
4 (1) Subject to Section 13, an office is hereby established to be known as the Gasoline Price Watchdog.
(2) Subject to Section 13, the Governor in Council may appoint a person to hold the office of Gasoline Price Watchdog.
(3) The qualifications, remuneration, term of appointment and replacement of the Gasoline Price Watchdog are as set out in the regulations.
(4) The duties of the Gasoline Price Watchdog are to
(a) monitor and report to the Minister on pricing practices with respect to motor vehicle fuel in the Province;
(b) conduct inquiries under this Act;
(c) receive, consider and determine the validity of complaints made under this Act about contraventions of Section 6; and
(4) The Minister shall order the Gasoline Price Watchdog to conduct an inquiry under subsection (1) if the Minister receives a petition requesting an inquiry into a matter relating to the price of motor vehicle fuel and the petition is signed by at least ten thousand residents of the Province.
(3) Where the Gasoline Price Watchdog, after inquiring into the complaint, is satisfied that an employer has contravened Section 6, the Gasoline Price Watchdog shall make one or more of the following orders:
(c) an order directing the employer to reinstate in employment or hire the employee, with or without compensation, or to compensate, instead of hiring or reinstatement, for loss of earnings or other employment benefits in an amount determined by the Gasoline Price Watchdog.
(4) Where an employer fails to comply with a term of an order made under subsection (3) within fourteen days of the date the order was made, the employee may file a copy of the order with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and the order may be enforced as though it were an order of the court.
(5) The power to enter and inspect a place without a warrant must not be exercised to enter and inspect a part of the place that is used as a dwelling unless reasonable notice has been given to the occupier of the dwelling.
(10) Where an inspector demands that a record or other thing be produced for inspection, the person who has custody of the record or thing shall produce it and, in the case of a record, shall on request provide any assistance that is reasonably necessary to interpret the record or to produce it in a readable form.
(12) A copy of a record that purports to be certified by an inspector as being a true copy of the original is admissible in evidence to the same extent as the original, and has the same evidentiary value.
(13) No person shall hinder, obstruct or interfere with an inspector conducting an inspection, refuse to answer questions on matters relevant to the inspection or provide the inspector with information, on matters relevant to the inspection, that the person knows to be false or misleading.
(2) In addition to any penalty under subsection (1), a court may prohibit a retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer convicted of an offence referred to in subsection (1) from selling motor vehicle fuel for a period of up to three months.
10 (1) A director or officer of a corporation that engages in the sale of motor vehicle fuel has a duty to take reasonable care to prevent the corporation from contravening Section 6 or subsection 8(13).
(2) A director or officer who is subject to a duty under subsection (1) and fails to carry it out is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than seventy-five thousand dollars.
15 Section 6 of Chapter 17 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Revenue Act, as amended by Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1996, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (1A) the following subsections: