The Representative for Children and Youth Act (the Act), in its present form, came into effect in stages, and has undergone several amendments since it was first introduced.
On May 4, 2006, the Act was first introduced into the Legislature as Bill 34, less than one month after Ted Hughes published the BC Children and Youth Review, recommending the creation of the office.
On May 18, 2006, the Act received Royal Assent as the Representative for Children and Youth Act, S.B.C. 2006, c. 29
On November 21, 2006, Cabinet proclaimed into force the sections of the Act allowing for the creation of the Representative: B.C. Reg. 303/2006. These were the only sections of the Act proclaimed into force at this time. This was to give the Representative the opportunity to hire staff and prepare for the exercise of her legal mandate.
On March 30, 2007, two of the three major components of the Representative’s legal mandate were proclaimed into force (advocacy and monitoring), shortly after the Representative’s mandate, as described in the original act, was clarified by amendments contained in the Child and Youth Statutes (Representation Improvement) Amendment Act, 2007, S.B.C. 2007 (see B.C. Reg. 88/2007).
On June 1, 2007, the Representative’s mandate to review and investigate deaths and critical injuries came into force: Proclaimed into force by B.C. Reg. 142/2007.
On June 21, 2007, a minor amendment to the Act consequential on the new Public Inquiry Act, S.B.C. 2007, c. 9 was proclaimed into force by B.C. Reg. 226/2007. This amendment changed the way in which the Act described the Representative’s power to compel evidence in an investigation.
On September 15, 2007, an amendment to the Act consequential on the new Coroners Act, S.B.C. 2007, c. 15 was proclaimed into force by B.C. Reg. 298/2007. This amendment clarified the relationship between a Representative’s critical injury or death investigation and the exercise of the coroner’s mandate.
On May 29, 2008, an amendment to clarify the Representative’s powers to disclose information came into force: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act (No. 2), 2008, S.B.C. 2008, c. 42. This amendment came into force when that Act received Royal Assent on May 29, 2008.
On Oct. 6, 2011 the Representative for Children and Youth provided a presentation, written submission and backgrounder to the Select Standing Committee for Children and Youth about the Act.
On Nov. 15, 2011, the all-party Special Committee to Appoint a Representative for Children and Youth released its report unanimously recommending that the House reappoint Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond for a second term as B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth.
On May 3, 2012, the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth tabled Review of the Representative for Children and Youth Act, produced in accordance with the Standing Committee’s mandate to review the Act within five years of the coming into force of the functions of the Representative. The report made seven recommendations for legislative amendments to improve the Act.
On March 14, 2013, the Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, received Royal Assent. Sections 30-37 of that Act, which came into force on the date of Royal Assent, implemented the Standing Committee’s recommendations for the RCYA, with one amendment, relating to advocacy for young adults (s. 6(1)(a.1)), to come into full effect when a regulation is passed defining the “prescribed services” to which it will apply. That regulation is expected to be passed in the fall of 2013.