Canada & BC to deliver $540 million for local government operations

The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia are working together to contribute close to $540 million in funding to support local government operations. Today’s announcement also includes details on an additional $418 million for community infrastructure, along with $1 billion in provincial and federal investments to help keep people moving, whether by transit, TransLink or BC Ferries.

Local governments in British Columbia have seen a significant decline in revenues from a number of variable sources, including transit fares, parking, recreation fees and others. 

“The pandemic has blown a hole in local government budgets, particularly large and mid-size communities with public transit services,” said Mayor Maja Tait, Union of B.C. Municipalities president. “This funding will provide some needed relief to sustain the delivery of service and is good news for B.C.’s communities.”

UBCM was consulted by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing as it developed the design for the local government portion of today’s announcement. The funding was announced by Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James earlier today. A backgrounder is attached to the provincial announcement.

This funding is provided as part of the Canada-BC Safe Restart Agreement and will be allocated as follows:

  • $425 million for local governments - to address local government facility reopening and operating costs, emergency response costs, lost revenues and other COVID-related impacts; 
  • $100 million for strengthening communities – to support local governments in addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, the challenges posed in local communities by homelessness, and community concerns with street disorder and safety; and 
  • $15 million for development services – to continue the work identified through the Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR) and support innovative local government efforts to improve the efficiency of development approval processes. 

The funding streams for Development Services and Strengthening Communities will be application-based. All local governments will be eligible to apply, and further details about the application process and eligible costs will be provided this fall. 

Today’s announcement also includes details on the following:

  • An additional $418 million to revitalize community infrastructure, enhance connections between communities and get people back to work. Within this stream, $100 million in infrastructure grants for shovel-ready projects in a new Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program.

Local governments are encouraged to read the Stronger BC backgrounders for details.

UBCM will provide further details to local governments once the province has completed the program design for these funds.

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