Executive Meeting Highlights

UBCM’s spring Executive meeting was held in Victoria on April 15-17.  Executive members undertook extensive provincial government outreach while holding seven committee meetings and a full board meeting. 

Over the two and half day Executive meeting, Executive members met with 29 Cabinet Ministers and MLAs to highlight this year’s three advocacy priorities. 

Highlights of the April 17th Executive meeting include:

  • received a report highlighting the details of the provincial Throne Speech and Budget of specific interest to local governments.
  • approved external appointments to:
    • BC Fire Chiefs Association – Councillor Marg Spina, Kamloops (alternate)
    • Contaminated Sites Approved Professional Board – Patrick Johnstone, Richmond
    • RCMP Local Government Contract Management Committee (<5,000 population) Mayor Gerry Thiessen, Vanderhoof
    • Multi-Materials BC Advisory Committee – Mayor Paul Ives, Comox
  • received a report on the provincial responses to UBCM’s 2014 Convention resolutions
  • approved legal funding assistance in the appeal by District of North Saanich to the BC Supreme Court ruling on the assessment of NAV Canada control towers.  
  • received a report and delegation on joint and several liability and discussed next steps on how best to proceed to advance the interests of local governments.
  • received correspondence from Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development confirming the Province’s $50,000 funding commitment to the 2015-2016 Regional Community to Community Forum program in support of local government – First Nations relationship building.
  • received an update on the work of the all party Special Committee on Local Elections Expense Limits and received a copy of UBCM’s Expense Limits presentation that was made to the Committee on April 15th.
  • received a report on the Auditor General for Local Government and directed that UBCM indicate to the Province its desire to be consulted and engaged in the AGLG review.  UBCM will also advise that adequate time is required to ensure that we are able to consult with those members that experienced an audit and can share their perspectives as part of the review process.  Noting that the AGLG review is separate from the release of the outstanding audits, UBCM is encouraging the Province to move forward with the completion and release of the remaining local government audits as UBCM proceeds to undertake its outreach to members. 
  • agreed to work with the Province on a study of compensation.  The Executive also selected the concept of an Infrastructure Development and Community Building Bank as proposed in the Strong Fiscal Futures report for consideration as a topic of joint study with the Province. 
  • received a report on provincial legislation introduced this session of interest to local governments. UBCM members will likely be interested in Bill 3 – Building Act, which authorizes the Minister to enact building codes and limits local governments’ jurisdiction; Bill 14-Tobacco Control Amendment Act which expands the scope to include vapour products; Bill 15-Motor Vehicle Licensing Act; Bill 22-Special Wine Store License Auction Act; Bill 23-Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act regarding reclassifying municipalities; Bill 25 – Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations Statutes Amendment Act; and Bill 27- Liquor Control and Licensing Act which allows creation of new broader class of special event permits.
  • received a staff report on recent activities, updates for the Local Government Program Services and the Gas Tax Fund.
  • received a status and action report on a variety of policy areas that continue to be monitored by UBCM including; introduction of new Off Road Vehicle Act; Natural Resource Roads Act project; Problem Vessels; Community/Rail Proximity Initiative; National Municipal Rail Safety working group; Assessment Appeals on Special Use Properties; Aggregate Resource Management; Farm Assessment Report; The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act; Bill 18: Water Sustainability Act; Care Home Sprinkler Safety; Farm Assessment – Medical Marijuana Grow Operations; Federal Additions to Reserve Policy; Federal Comprehensive Land Claims Policy.
  • received the financial report for the period ending February 28, 2015.
  • directed that UBCM meet with representatives of the National Energy Board in response to a invitation from NEB officials as part of their National Engagement Initiative to better understand the diverse regional and national perspectives on energy issues.
  • received a delegation from the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, the Honourable Coralee Oakes and staff, at which the following were discussed: New Building Canada Fund; Elections Expense Limits; Auditor General for Local Government and Compensation.

Highlights of the April 16th Committee meetings:

Presidents

The Presidents Committee met with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Honourable Todd Stone to discuss the New Building Canada Fund.  On behalf of UBCM members, the Committee was seeking access to, and eligibility for local government projects under the $1.1 billion allocated to British Columbia.  Latest updates with respect to BC Ferries were discussed including the announced preliminary price cap, and the Minister outlined other actions taken by BC Ferries to reduce costs and increase efficiencies. 

The Committee received reports on member services and group benefits; Excellence Awards; amended Executive Policies; discussed UBCM’s information technology needs, confirmed 2016 and 2018 Convention dates for September 26-30, 2016 (Victoria) and September 10-14, 2018 (Whistler).

Convention

The Convention Committee provided direction on the 2015 Convention budget and registration fees, announced that Dr. Roberta Bondar was selected as the keynote speaker, Todd Butler will provide banquet entertainment, and catering plans and Partners’ Program were confirmed.  He also noted that the convention theme for 2015 is “Excellence in Action”.   

Environment Committee

The Environment Committee received a delegation from Minister Polak to discuss the Climate Action 2.0 initiative, the land based spills preparedness and response plan, and the packaging and printed paper program.   

Committee members also received updates on urban deer management and the riparian area regulations.  As well, correspondence was received from Minister Polak on Land Based Spills.

Community Economic Development

The Community Economic Development Committee met with Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Honourable Steve Thomson and discussed: implementation of the Off Road Vehicle Act; Annual Allowable Cut; Rural Advisory Council; Aquaculture working groups, and urban deer as well as UBCM priorities related to New Building Canada Fund, Mental Health and Policing and Land Based Spills Preparedness.

Members also discussed the recent announcement by the Ferries Commissioner of a preliminary price cap of 1.9% for the upcoming performance term (2016-2020) and received a report on the work of the Provincial Trails Advisory Body.

Healthy Communities

The Healthy Communities Committee received three delegations.  The first delegation was held with the Provincial Office for Early Years to discuss early years planning and the role of local governments.  

A second delegation was received from the Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health where the following issues were discussed: recruitment and retention of physicians and other health care professionals in BC; international medical graduates; the need for generalist practitioners across the province; ambulance service and the new Community Paramedicine program; surgical wait times; the Ministry’s discussion paper on Rural Health; and Mental Health and Policing.  In follow-up the Committee will be providing feedback on the Ministry of Health’s Rural Health Policy Paper; and review and provide input into the Ministry’s directional papers to the Health Authorities.

A third delegation was received from Honourable Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development and MLA Jackie Tegart to review the Community Poverty Reduction Strategy and the March Forum.

Community Safety

The Community Safety Committee met with three delegations.  The first meeting was with Andrew Klukas, Executive Director, Western Convenience Store Association and Lindsay Doyle, Summa Strategies Canada. The Committee was provided a briefing on the problem of contraband cigarettes that local convenience stores are facing, particularly in British Columbia.  The rate of illegal tobacco use in British Columbia is 17%, which represents a loss of over $20 million dollars in taxes to the Province. The distribution network for contraband cigarettes is highly sophisticated and is used by gangs to distribute a number of other illegal activities.

The second meeting was with Randy Wilson, Board Chair, BC Private Liquor Store Association. He highlighted his Association’s concerns over a decision by the Province to allow the sale of BC wine in local grocery stores.  Specifically he noted increased youth access to liquor, lack of provincial policy on the management of liquor sales in grocery stores and the potential impact on this policy change to the local wine industry if the policy is challenged under the NAFTA trade agreement.

The third meeting was held with Clayton Pecknold, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Justice and Sandra Sajko, Executive Director, Ministry of Justice.  Mr. Pecknold advised that the Ministry of Justice wanted to re-engage with UBCM on the 911 cell phone levy.  He indicated that the Province had developed a discussion paper on the future of 911 communications across the Province and was looking for local government input.  A meeting of key stakeholders was planned for June 1, 2015 to discuss the challenges and strategic vision for emergency communications service delivery involving 911.  

The Committee also discussed the new Liquor Control and Licensing Act (Bill 27) and reviewed “The Earthquake Preparedness Report” released by the Province.  In addition, the Committee looked at the strategic plan developed by the British Columbia Justice and Public Safety Council, discussed ongoing costs related to the RCMP contract, and considered the development of a report on the future funding/financing of policing that the Province is undertaking as part of the BC Policing Plan.

First Nations Relations Committee

The First Nations Relations Committee (FNRC) received a delegation from the Capital Regional District that included Director Marianne Alto; Manager of Aboriginal Initiatives, Sue Hallatt; and Analyst, Erich-Nahser Ringer. The delegation provided an update on the CRD’s newly established First Nations Task Force. Also received were updates on the LGPS Grant Programs, recent developments related to the BC Treaty Commission and treaty negotiation process, federal legislation impacting local governments, the UBCM/FNS Protocol Agreement, and cultural competency training for local governments. The Committee also discussed potential topics for the upcoming Provincial C2C Forum tentatively scheduled for 2016.

The FNRC also received a delegation from the Honourable John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. Discussion items included: the Community to Community Forum program, reconciliation activities, federal policies of mutual interest, treaty negotiation funding, the New Building Canada Fund, mental health and policing costs, and land based spill preparedness and response.

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