Safe Restart funds for local government operations distributed

The province has fulfilled a commitment made in its Economic Recovery Plan by distributing $425 million under the federal Safe Restart Agreement to B.C.’s local governments. This federal/provincial funding will support facility reopening and operational costs along with local emergency response. The province has provided UBCM with complete information on the funding allocations that have been provided to each of British Columbia’s municipalities and regional districts.

UBCM, working in partnership with Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), voiced support for federal funding from Canada and an allocation delivery approach in April of this year. This followed upon UBCM’s outreach to the provincial government on the financial impacts on local governments due to COVID-19, and the decision by the province to provide liquidity to local government through a package of amendments to the property tax framework. UBCM engaged in continuing discussions with the Province over the summer with regard to revenue streams impacted by COVID-19 as well as new expenditures that local government face as a result the pandemic.

“I am very pleased to see the speed at which the federal and provincial governments have delivered this funding to local governments in B.C.”, said Councillor Brian Frenkel, UBCM president. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, local governments have taken steps to manage costs and rethink budgets, but communities are contending with significant revenue shortfalls. These funds will be available for immediate use and provide greater clarity as budgets are developed for the coming year. I want to personally thank FCM for the thoughtful advocacy is has provided on behalf of local governments at a federal level, and readiness of the province to match the significant funding provided by the Government of Canada.”

Funding details are still being developed for additional funding through the Safe Restart Agreement.  This includes additional funding for BC local governments, including $100 million to support local governments as they address the needs of vulnerable populations and $15 million to improve development approval processes. UBCM will be communicating details on these programs as they become available.

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