British Columbia

2 top executives out at B.C. car sales regulator following allegations by law society

There’s been a shakeup at the executive levels of B.C.’s regulator for car sales, following allegations that one of its top officials has been misrepresenting herself as a lawyer for years.

Loraine Lee is accused of misrepresenting herself as a lawyer in roles at multiple public agencies

Loraine Lee, formerly the chief operating officer and deputy registrar of B.C.'s Vehicle Sales Authority, is accused of repeatedly misrepresenting herself as a lawyer. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

There's been a shakeup at the executive levels of B.C.'s regulator for car sales, following allegations that one of its top officials has been misrepresenting herself as a lawyer for years.

Loraine Lee, who is the subject of a court petition filed by the Law Society of B.C., is no longer employed as the chief operating officer and deputy registrar for the Vehicle Sales Authority (VSA), registrar Ian Christman confirmed in an email this week.

Stephen Simms is also out as VSA president and CEO.

Christman said he couldn't comment on the reasons for either departure for privacy reasons, and he could not confirm whether they are connected to the law society's court action.

VSA staff learned of the leadership changes this week.

The changes come after news of the law society's petition went public. The petition alleges that Lee has not only misrepresented herself in her position at the VSA, but also in her role as a board member for two B.C. tribunals — the Mental Health Review Board and the Passenger Transportation Board.

"By holding herself out variously as a lawyer, counsel and member of the law society, Loraine Lee has misled or attempted to mislead others," the petition reads.

Lee was only ever a member of the bar for about seven months beginning in June of 1987, according to the law society's petition. 

The allegations have not been tested in court.

Loraine Lee left her role with B.C.'s Vehicle Sales Authority in July. (Kirby Brame/snapd Victoria)

In her response to the petition, Lee denies any wrongdoing, claiming the VSA hired her in the full knowledge that she is not a practising lawyer. She says her role with the agency was managerial, not legal.

Lee has been on leave from the VSA since a CBC story about the court case was published last month. 

The VSA oversees the sale of cars and trucks for personal use in B.C., licensing dealerships and salespeople, handling complaints and issuing penalties to dealers who break the law.

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