BC Assessment’s Board of Directors (Board) is appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council and are stewards of corporation, with a general duty to guide BC Assessment’s strategic direction and oversee Management in the conduct of the business of the corporation. In carrying out these duties, the Board plays a role in policy making, guidance of the strategic planning process, and performance monitoring. BC Assessment’s Board adheres to a
Charter of Expectations of Directors and
Terms of Reference for the Board of Directors.
The Board is committed to leading governance practices and operates in a manner consistent with the Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office (CABRO) Best Practice Guidelines. If you have any questions regarding governance at BC Assessment, please contact
Lindy Bremner, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary.
Sylvia Bishop - Lower Mainland
(December 4, 2018 - May 31, 2021)
Sylvia Bishop has extensive local government experience, having served two terms as a Delta City Councillor. During this time, she sat as Chair and Vice Chair of many Advisory Committees including Community Planning & Development, Recreation & Culture, and Seniors, as well as a member of the Finance Committee.
As Council liaison to REACH The Youth and Child Development Centre, Sylvia helped raise funds for a $5 million capital campaign. As a former Assistant Director of the BC Teachers Federation, her communications skills were instrumental in liaising with all education stakeholders, including parents, school trustees and superintendents.
Sylvia holds a Bachelor of Education from the University of British Columbia and a Masters of Education from Simon Fraser University.
Kathleen (Ruth) Wittenberg - Vancouver Island
(December 9, 2019 - February 15, 2024)
Ms. Wittenberg is currently President of the BC Association of Institutes + Universities, which represents public post-secondary institutions that offer a range of post-secondary education, from trades and technical training to masters degrees in specialty areas. She has extensive experience in advising on strategies and approaches to working with government, including in the areas of policy and legislation and in board governance. Ms. Wittenberg served as President for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria from 2013 to 2018, overseeing a voluntary board and representing the Gallery at public and membership events. Ms. Wittenberg is a member of the Law Society of BC Tribunal. The Tribunal hears matters of lawyer misconduct and admission to the profession.
Prior to her current position, Ms. Wittenberg was employed by the British Columbia Public Service, holding positions with the Ministry of Advanced Education & Labour Market Development (Assistant Deputy Minister, Post Secondary Education Division), Ministry of Education (Assistant Deputy Minister, Management Services Division), Ministry of Human Resources (Assistant Deputy Minister, Financial & Administrative Services), Ministry of Finance (Chief Information Officer), Ministry of Transportation (Manager, Financial Systems & Policy), and Treasury Board (Analyst).
Ms. Wittenberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria (1979).
Jill Davidson - Lower Mainland
(July 12, 2018 - February 15, 2022)
Jill Davidson is a seasoned professional Community Planner with a varied background in both municipal and resource planning. She is now retired from the City of Vancouver where she led teams that provided innovative directions for the City in homelessness, low-income housing and financing growth. Jill was instrumental in the City's acquisition and development of properties for over a dozen low-income housing buildings. For the 2010 Winter Olympics, Jill, in partnership with the provincial and federal governments and community members, led efforts to adapt the first ever Inner City Inclusive Commitments. This helped in the City's successful bid to host the Games and ensured the Games were beneficial for downtown communities. Earlier in her career, Jill worked at BC Hydro, in positions that identified and mitigated community impacts from electrical generation projects throughout the province.
Jill has previously worked as Vice-Chair and Board Member of BC Lottery Corporation. She has also been President of the Planning Institute of British Columbia where under her leadership the Institute played an increasing role in provincial policy matters on land use, heritage, transportation and agriculture.
Susan Gimse - Lower Mainland
(December 1, 2017 - February 15, 2023)
Susan Gimse has extensive Local Government experience (1993-2014), serving as Chair of the Squamish Lillooet Regional District for twelve years, and Vice-Chair for six. In addition, she served on Council for the Township of Pemberton (2009 -2011), was a Director on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (2006-2014), and was on the Executive of the Union of BC Municipalities (1999-2009), including time as President. She has been an active member of numerous other Boards and Committees, and in 2019, she completed the Institute of Corporate Directors – Directors Education Program (ICD.D).
Susan is Chair of her local community Fire Board. She and her husband Geoff own and operate a 130-acre farm in the Pemberton area. With the help of their two daughters and four grandchildren, they raise cattle, hogs, and chickens, plus tend a large garden and apple orchard. Susan is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to Canadian cities and communities.
James (Jim) Gustafson - Kootenays
(April 22, 2021- February 15, 2023)
Jim Gustafson has an extensive career in BC local government, including in the role of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). He has considerable experience with senior management initiatives involving strategic planning, policy development, and program evaluations.
He has comprehensive knowledge in the areas of financial planning and budget preparations, having managed annual budgets of $60 million. He has had oversight of large organizations, with 400 employees and over 1,000 volunteers. He also has labour relations experience, having managed and negotiated with union and non-union workforces.
He has been involved in partnerships to advance initiatives throughout the Kootenays, including creating an independent business entity for the Castlegar airport, establishing plans for carbon reduction, redesigning transit services, modernizing landfill sites and expanding recycling opportunities in the region.
Active in his community, he is a Member of the Board of the Castlegar and District Hospital Foundation.
Jim holds a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma of Public Sector Management from the University of Victoria.
Nicole Halbauer - Northern BC
(February 21, 2018 - February, 15 2022)
Nicole Halbauer belongs to the Ganhada (Raven) clan of Kitsumkalum, a Tsimshian community near Terrace B.C. Her traditional name is X'sataam Hana'ax, meaning Victorious Lady. She has over twenty years of experience in Indigenous health, advocacy, negotiation, program planning and system change.
Ms. Halbauer is currently a community engagement coordinator for the First Nations Health Authority. Previously, she was a general manager for Kalum Kabs Ltd., a student researcher for Kitsumkalum Social History, and an Aboriginal health collaborative coordinator for the Northern Health Authority. Active in her community, Ms. Halbauer currently serves as Chair of the Board of governors for Coast Mountain College and as a chair person for the Kitsumkalum Economic Development Board.
She previously served as a trustee for the Coast Mountain School District. Ms. Halbauer holds her Associate Degree specializing in Criminology from North West Community College and her Master of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia.
David Highfield - Lower Mainland
(February 21, 2018 - February 15, 2022)
David Highfield has enjoyed more than a 40 year career focused on property assessment. Throughout that career he has gained broad experience in assessment, property valuation, organizational behaviour and governance, both in Canada and abroad. He is presently engaged presenting training in ad valorem taxation across Canada.
Active within his community, Mr. Highfield was a guest lecturer on organizational behaviour for the British Columbia Institute of Technology and a past president of the Appraisal Institute of Canada. He has held leadership roles in both private sector and public sector unions and served ten years as the Chair of the Valuers Global Forum in Washington, DC. Mr. Highfield is a Fellow and Accredited Appraiser Canadian Institute (AACI) at the Appraisal Institute of Canada.
Karen Hoffmann - Lower Mainland
(December 9, 2019 – February 15, 2024)
Karen Hoffmann is a seasoned Senior Executive with a broad background spanning business unit operations, strategy development, head office services and governance. Karen served in numerous Executive positions at Canada's largest credit union, supporting a member-elected board and serving as acting Chief Executive Officer during a period of change. She has Executive leadership experience in the areas of strategy, investments, operations, risk management, human resources, compliance, legal, audit and insurance.
Ms. Hoffmann's extensive work on and with Boards provides a deep base of experience as a Director. She has served on six boards in the non-profit, private, and professional governing sectors, with five years' experience as Chair of the Governance Committee for the YWCA Metro Vancouver.
Ms. Hoffmann holds Bachelor of Science from the University of British Columbia, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa, and holds the Institute of Corporate Directors Designation (ICD.D) from Rotman's School of Business.
Donald (Don) Henry Krusel - Vancouver Island
(July 12, 2018 - February 15, 2023)
Mr. Krusel is a seasoned executive who has provided management advisory and consultancy services to the trade and transportation industry. As President and Chief Executive Officer of the Prince Rupert Port Authority, he shepherded B.C.'s northern port through a transformative change that saw it become one of the leading trade corridor gateways for international container traffic and the fastest growing port in North America. Prior to that, he was the Chief Financial Officer of the Port Authority. Mr. Krusel is currently a Director of Ocean Networks Canada, and is a past Director of the Western Transportation Advisory Council, the British Columbia Trade Development Corporation, Green Marine Management Corporation, and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities; he was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Business Council of BC. Mr. Krusel holds an MBA from the Ivey School of Management at the University of Western Ontario and is a Chartered Professional Accountant and member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Richard Rainey - Lower Mainland
(December 1, 2017 - February 15, 2023)
Richard is a partner and business lawyer with Drysdale Bacon McStravick LLP. Richard is a graduate of Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia and was called to the British Columbia bar in 1992. Richard practised business law in Vancouver with Douglas, Symes & Brissenden and later with Heenan Blaikie. Richard is a governor and past chair of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody.
Richard has also served on the boards of the Coquitlam Heritage Society, the Coquitlam Foundation, and the Coquitlam Adanacs Senior A lacrosse club and as co-chair of the Coquitlam Terry Fox Run. Richard is a former member of the Simon Fraser University Senate, the Board of Governors of the Children's Foundation of British Columbia, and the Board of Governors of the Meadowridge School Society. Richard previously served on the Advisory Planning Commission to the City of Burnaby.
Amarjeet S Rattan - Lower Mainland
(December 11, 2018 - February 15, 2023)
Amarjeet S Rattan has an extensive career in the public and private sectors. His areas of experience include intergovernmental relations, international trade development, TV/film production, corporate communications and media/issues management.
In the public sector, he recently retired from the City of Richmond where he held a number of positions, including Director of the Intergovernmental Relations & Protocol Unit, Chief Licence Inspector and Business Liaison Manager. His roles with the Government of Canada include a diplomatic posting as Consul & Trade Commissioner in Mumbai, India and as Senior Advisor to the Minister of Natural Resources Canada. He has also held adjudication, public relations and business development related positions within the BC Trade & Investment Office and other BC Government departments.
In the private sector, Amarjeet developed, produced and directed a wide range of television and film projects in partnership with Telefilm Canada, CBC and the National Film Board. He also managed corporate communications projects for private sector, government and Indigenous clients.
Amarjeet holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Political Science) from the University of British Columbia and also completed the Directed Studies in Film Production program at Simon Fraser University.
Kevin Stewart - Thompson/Okanagan
(July 31, 2018 - February 15, 2022)
Mr. Stewart has extensive experience bridging the gap between technology and business and is currently the Program Manager for Business Technology at BCLC. Prior to that, he worked for 17 years at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, most recently as Manager of Enterprise Systems. Mr. Stewart has over 20 years of experience in both public and private organizations enabling and enhancing business processes through the use of technology. His career experience includes transportation, high tech, mining, K-12 and Higher Education. He is a PMI certified Project Management Professional and has coached technology teams to win both local and national awards for innovation. Active within his community, Mr. Stewart previously served as the Vice President of the Salmon River Recreation Organization and as a Trustee on the Board of Two Rivers Art Gallery. He is a lifelong learner, most recently earning his Master's Degree in Business Administration from the University of Northern British Columbia. Mr. Stewart also holds his Masters Certificate in Project Management from the University of Northern British Columbia.
Sylvia Bishop was appointed Board Chair on December 4, 2018 pursuant to section 11(4) of the Assessment Authority Act, by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Board Chair provides leadership in managing the Board’s affairs, including ensuring that the Board is organized properly, functions effectively, and meets its statutory and fiduciary obligations and responsibilities. See BC Assessment’s
Board Chair Position Description.
Jason Grant was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective October 2, 2017. The CEO is the most senior executive position within the organization, reporting to the Board of Directors and provides strategic leadership for BC Assessment. The position is responsible for the overall management of BC Assessment’s operations, products and services, and for organizational compliance with Provincial Legislation. This position is the primary point of contact for senior provincial and local government officials, assessment organizations, and stakeholders. See BC Assessment’s
Terms of Reference - President & CEO.
The Corporate Secretary is an employee of the corporation who reports operationally to the Board Chair, is accountable to the Board of Directors and reports administratively to the CEO. The Corporate Secretary is responsible for providing strategic and operational support to the Board, working with the Board Chair to establish and administer BC Assessment’s governance framework. See BC Assessment’s
Terms of Reference for Corporate Secretary.
The Board has responsibility to ensure that BC Assessment meets its mandate and the performance expectations of Government. See the 2020-2021 Mandate Letter. The Board monitors and reports on BC Assessment’s performance under its
Service Plans. The Board is responsible for the corporation’s governance practices and for ensuring that those practices meet the needs of Government, the corporation, and the public. The Board ensures that governance practices, committee operations, and Board education and training programs are consistent with BC Assessment’s mandate and legislation. The Board Chair, in consultation with the CEO, is the principal interface between the Board and the Responsible Minister, ensuring the Minister is alert to significant issues which may affect BC Assessment or government and that the Board is alert to its obligations to government.
BC Assessment has four standing Board Committees, to assist it in fulfilling its role. Members of each the Committee are appointed by the Board Chair. The Chair of each Committee is appointed by the Board on recommendation of the Board Chair, following consultation with the CEO.
Audit and Risk Management
The Audit and Risk Management Committee is responsible for ensuring BC Assessment expends public funds in accordance with carefully considered plans that support the organization’s mandate, have been accurately accounted for, and are reported in a timely and transparent way. See the
Terms of Reference for Audit and Risk Management Committee, which describes the financial expertise requirements for Committee members. The Board has delegated to the Audit and Risk Management Committee full responsibility for establishing and overseeing the Internal Audit function that supports BC Assessment in the achievement of its strategic direction. The role and responsibilities of the Internal Audit staff are set out in the
Terms of Reference for Internal Audit.
The Governance Committee is responsible for ensuring that BC Assessment and its Board develop and implement an effective approach to corporate governance, to enable the business and affairs of the organization to be carried out, directed, and managed with the objective of ensuring compliance with governance practices, sound ethical principles, and government direction. See the
Terms of Reference for Governance Committee.
Human Resources and Compensation
The Human Resource and Compensation Committee is responsible for assisting the Board in ensuring that BC Assessment’s long term ‘People Strategy’ includes the appropriate human resource strategies, practices and business requirements. The Committee makes recommendations to the Board on all aspects of the employment of the CEO, including the
CEO Evaluation Process, Performance Development Plan and compensation. See
Terms of Reference for Human Resources and Compensation Committee.
Information Technology Transformation
The Information Technology Transformation Oversight Committee assists the Board discharging its responsibility to ensure that material investments in BC Assessment’s technology enabled transformation projects and programs align with organizational strategy, achieve intended business outcomes, and are effectively managed in a way that mitigates risk. See
Terms of Reference for IT Transformation Oversight Committee.
The Board may establish other Committees by resolution. Currently, there is one Advisory Committee:
2021 Committee Structure and Composition for information regarding the current Committee members.
Composition and Succession
The Governance Committee recommends to the Board the ideal skills, qualifications, experience, and background required of the Board as a whole based on the strategic opportunities and challenges of BC Assessment and the Board’s leadership requirements to develop a Board Competency Matrix. Annually the Governance Committee updates and reviews the Board Competency Matrix and through the Board Chair, consults with the CEO and provides the Crown Agencies and Board Resourcing Office (CABRO) the competencies required. Through the Board Chair, the Governance Committee works proactively with the Responsible Minister to ensure an appropriate succession plan for the Board.
Orientation and Professional Development
Special orientation sessions are held for new Board members. The sessions include an overview of BC Assessment’s governance framework and each of its divisions. Upon appointment, directors also receive a copy of BC Assessment’s Governance Manual that provides guidance on board governance issues, as well as other important information such as the
Service Plan and the Government mandate letter.
The Governance Committee monitors emerging best practices, trends, and strategic direction and will support and encourage Board professional development opportunities that are consistent with corporate direction and gaps identified in the Board evaluation process. The Governance Committee develops a Board education plan to meet the education and training needs of the Board as a whole. Board members are also encouraged to pursue appropriate individual educational opportunities, to support their development.
Board, Committee and Director Assessment
The Board is responsible for implementing an appropriate annual process for assessing the effectiveness of the Board, its committees, and the contribution of individual Directors. The objective of the evaluation process is to contribute to a process of continuous improvement in the Board’s execution of its responsibilities. The Governance Committee annually reviews the skills, experience, background, and diversity of the Board, taking into account the strategic direction of BC Assessment. Recommendations resulting from that review regarding Board Composition and Succession Planning will be discussed with the full Board and the CEO and communicated to Government through the Board Chair.
The Director Lifecycle.
Details regarding the number of Board and Committee meetings held and attended by each Director during the past fiscal year are reported annually. See
2019 Board Attendance Roster. The
Terms of Reference for the Board of Directors provide that the Board may move a meeting in-camera at any time. Board and Committees meet regularly without Management. The Audit and Risk Management Committee meet with the Director, Internal Audit, Planning and Risk and external auditors in-camera.
Fees and Expenses
BC Assessment remunerates its Directors in accordance with
Treasury Board Directive 2/20.
Meeting fees and retainers are paid to directors on a quarterly basis.
Directors are reimbursed for travel and accommodation costs incurred to attend Board and Committee meetings. Expenses are paid upon receipt of a completed expense claim form with supporting receipts.
Details regarding the fees and expenses paid to Directors is reported annually. See
2019 Board Appointees Remuneration Disclosure.
Standards of Conduct
To establish and maintain the public's trust and confidence in BC Assessment, employees, Board members and contractors must uphold the highest standards of conduct in the course of their work for BC Assessment. The Board has adopted a
Standards of Conduct Policy and Procedures (Policy) that outlines the expected standards of behaviour for BC Assessment employees, board members and contractors. The Policy also outlines supporting processes and specific steps and measures for implementing the requirements outlined in this Policy. The Board has overall responsibility for the Policy. The Policy includes details regarding who can assist with interpretation of the Policy, disclosure of conflicts of interest and exemptions or waivers from the requirements of the Policy. For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2020, no waivers or exemptions were granted.