Highlights of the April 13-15 Executive Meeting

UBCM Executive members gathered in Victoria on April 13-15 for the spring quarterly meeting. In addition to regular Committee and Executive meetings, extensive provincial government outreach was undertaken on the following UBCM priorities: infrastructure investment, DNA analysis services costs and arbitrated settlements.

Over the two and half days, Executive members met with 14 Cabinet Ministers and 18 MLAs over 25 meetings to highlight this year’s advocacy priorities.

Highlights of the April 15th Executive meeting include:

  • Received reports on the provincial Throne Speech and budget as well as the federal budget.
  • Received a report on the FCM Travel Fund and requested that a report be brought back to the July meeting on options for financially supporting small communities participating at the FCM board table and informing members about the Fund and its purpose.
  • Discussed a report that outlined the terms for Directors on UBCM’s Executive in comparison to other provincial /territorial associations; requested a follow up report that would outline impacts of two year terms on the nine elected positions (other than Table Officers) and highlight required bylaw / policy changes if amendments to terms were to proceed.
  • Received an update on UBCM’s activities in FCM’s international programs including mission work in Peru and Colombia as well as a workshop in Ottawa with FCM’s various international partners and their program support.
  • Received a report on provincial policy and legislation including the new Fire Safety Act, Expense limits amendment legislation and Environmental Management Amendment Act.
  • Received an update on the Supreme Court of Canada case: Windsor v. Canadian Transit Company where UBCM’s application for intervenor status has been turned down, but FCM’s application has been approved.
  • Received two reports from Presidents Committee advising of discussions with Minister Fassbender on compensation and proposed agreement related to addressing compensation issues.
  • Received staff report on activities since the last meeting as well as a report on UBCM sponsored or support spring conferences including: Electoral Area Directors Forum; LGLA Forum; Chairs/CAO Forum and the Member Benefits Conference.
  • Received a report outlining a work plan to address civil liability matters.
  • Received a report on the Presidents activities and actions since this last meeting.
  • Received a report on the Auditor General for Local Government and based on the policy direction of the membership, declined to participate in the development of an engagement metric and audit topic selection.
  • Received a status and action report on a variety of policy areas that continue to be monitored by UBCM including: implementation of new Off Road Vehicle Act; Natural Resource Roads Act project; problem vessels; BC Ferries; assessment appeals on special use properties; 9-1-1 Call Answer Levy; DNA costs; National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and girls; farm assessment; The Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act; Care Home Sprinkler Safety; Municipal and Regional District Tax; Agri-tourism in the ALR; Emergency Program Act review; federal additions to reserve; federal Comprehensive Land Claims Policy; assessment of medical marijuana grow operations; mental health and policing.
  • Received the financial report for the period ending February 29, 2016
  • Received a report confirming additional members to the BC Municipal Companion Document Working Group – RCMP Contract and the appointment of Vicki Kuhl as UBCM’s appointment to the Land Title Survey Authority.
  • Received reports on the status of Local Government Program Services (funding programs) and a status report on the federal Gas Tax Program.
  • Received correspondence from Minister Bond on the status of Syrian Refugee settlement plans; federal Minister Sohi on infrastructure investments; the Ombudsperson on their bylaw enforcement report; and Alberta Urban Municipal Association President on Energy East Pipeline.
  • Received a delegation from the Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development where the following matters were discussed: affordable housing, federal budget and related infrastructure investments and compensation.

Highlights of the April 14th Committee meetings include:

Presidents

The Committee received reports on member services and group benefits; financial statements; staffing and plans for the 2016 Community Excellence Awards. A preliminary report on the results of the 2016 Member Satisfaction survey was received and staff will be bringing forward recommendations for acting on member feedback regarding youth engagement and other UBCM activities.  The Committee proposed developing an investment strategy for UBCM following a delegation from investment policy advisors.

Final direction on the 2016 advocacy plan was considered as well as compensation and the FCM process of handling UBCM resolutions.  The Committee also recommended that the 2015 resolution B90 – Change in Position Title of the Electoral Area Director be referred back to the sponsor recognizing that there was a lack of consensus on this issue from directors at the Electoral Area Forum, and due to the fact that the sponsor has proposed a new resolution for 2016.

Community Economic Development Committee

As part of its provincial outreach efforts, the Committee met with three Cabinet ministers to discuss common policy areas: Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Hon. Shirley Bond; Minister of Technology and Citizens Services, Hon. Amrik Virk and Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Hon. Steve Thomson.

Committee members discussed next steps in regard to its forestry survey report: Forest Policy Decision-Making: The Case for Greater Community Consultation and Engagement including outreach to forest industry associations about the findings and potential Convention session on forestry matters.  Reports were received on the rural dividend; forest enhancement program and other forest stewardship initiatives. Discussed furthering the arts and culture mandate for the Committee, learning more about the streamlining initiative for natural resource permitting and received preliminary results from a joint survey on local economic development practices conducted by UBCM, Economic Development Association of BC and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training.  A follow up meeting with Ministry staff will be held to determine how best to support the economic development needs of local governments.

Community Safety

The Community Safety Committee met with Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto, and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris. Conversation topics with Minister Yamamoto included the Emergency Program Act Review, Emergency Social Services Program funding, and the Fire Services Act. In meeting with Minister Morris, Committee members discussed the Five Year Review of the RCMP Contract, the Province’s proposed 911 call answer levy on cellular devices, electronic ticketing, and DNA analysis services costs.

Members discussed the potential provincially led call answer levy on cellular devices, and considered referred Resolution B122, Payday Loan Regulations. Reports were received regarding policing activities; the Five Year Review of the RCMP contract; DNA analysis services costs in BC; federal Bill C-7, which provides the RCMP the right to collective bargaining; the Province’s recent resolution of a municipal budget dispute; the Emergency Program Act; liquor policy developments; the provincial Access to Justice Committee; and Syrian refugee resettlement.

Healthy Communities Committee

The Healthy Communities Committee met with Honourable Terry Lake, Minister of Health, to discuss the shortage of physicians in BC, mental health, and the change in duties and responsibilities for health care practitioners.

Committee members also discussed a proposal to sign a Memorandum of Agreement on a National Seniors Health Care Strategy; a request for an advocacy contribution from the BC Healthy Living Alliance; and an invitation to attend the Ministry of Health’s upcoming Rural and Remote Health Forum.

Information was received on the Emergency Medical Assistants Education Fund, the Healthy Families BC Communities Initiative, Physician’s Assistants, and the Gatekeeper Training program through the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Environment Committee

The Committee met with Honourable Mary Polak, Minister of Environment to discuss the provincial land-based spill response framework, the timelines behind the rollout of the climate leadership plan, and the status of the packaging and printed paper program.

Information was also received on BC’s Spill Preparedness and Response Regime, Transport Canada’s consultations on Spill Preparedness, Tsunami Debris Funding, Urban and Rural Deer, Climate Action, and the Water Sustainability Act and Regulations.

First Nations

The First Nations Relations Committee met with Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR), John Rustad, to discuss current UBCM and MARR priorities. These included: the 2016 Provincial Community to Community Forum; PHSA ICS training; the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; the BC Treaty Process and Non-Treaty Agreements; the Reconciliation Dialogue Workshop Initiative; and UBCM First Nations Relations Survey results.

The Committee also met with Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Suzanne Anton. Discussion focused on local and provincial engagement on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. UBCM Advocacy priorities were also discussed with both Ministers.

The Committee also discussed ongoing reconciliation activities, the 2016 Provincial Community to Community Forum, the 2016 First Nations Relations Survey, and a potential 2016 UBCM Convention pre-conference session topic.

Convention

The Committee provided an update on Convention programming details, presented the 2016 budget and registration fees, and gave an overview of speaker gift and Partners’ Program selections. It was also noted that banquet entertainment will be provided by The Timebenders.

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