B.C. court strikes down city's wireless 911 levy as unauthorized tax | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. court strikes down city's wireless 911 levy as unauthorized tax

NANAIMO, B.C. - A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that a City of Nanaimo bylaw that requires telecommunications operators to charge 911 fees is illegal because the fee is actually a tax.

The city introduced a bylaw in 2010 requiring wireless providers to either sign agreements to collect a 911 levy from their customers or pay a $30 fee for every local 911 call placed on their networks.

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, Telus, Rogers and Bell Mobility challenged the bylaw, arguing the $30 fee amounts to an unauthorized tax.

Judge William Ehrcke noted that under provincial legislation, city's are permitted to charge user fees but are not allowed to impose taxes.

Ehrcke says the $30 fee has all the characteristics of a tax both because it's mandatory and the amount of the fee isn't related to the actual cost of providing 911 service.

The city has issued a news release saying it's disappointed in the ruling and is reviewing the decision, which could also affect similar bylaws in the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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