Minister Morris Responds to UBCM Regarding DNA Costs

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris has written to UBCM regarding the issue of DNA costs. Since first receiving invoices in November 2015, local governments have shown concern regarding the provincial decision to transfer DNA analysis services costs to municipalities with populations greater than 5,000.

Minister Morris re-iterated that the province would not reverse the transfer of DNA testing costs to local governments. The letter also discusses actions construed by the Province as engagement with local governments and police agencies, and concludes with a brief summary of recent financial commitments to policing made by the provincial government.

UBCM President Al Richmond met with Minister Morris on January 26, 2016 following the receipt of the Minister’s letter. During the meeting, President Richmond re-iterated many of the local government concerns around cost, consultation, ability to pay, and legal authority. He also highlighted the ever-increasing burden, by pointing out that the Organized Crime Agency has projected DNA analysis services costs in British Columbia to increase by 127% from 2014/15 – 2019/20.

Minister Morris maintained that the Province will not rescind its decision, although he did note that provincial representatives were examining the possibility of a made in BC solution for undertaking DNA analysis. Currently, all DNA analysis requests made by local governments are sent out of province to the RCMP DNA laboratory.

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