UBCM advocacy update

UBCM President Brian Frenkel and members of the Executive have been meeting with Cabinet ministers to discuss a range of local government priorities as well as minister mandate letters.  UBCM recently met with the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Sheila Malcolmson; Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Rob Fleming; Minister of Citizen Services, Lisa Beare; Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, George Heyman; Minister of Municipal Affairs, Josie Osborne; and Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation, Ravi Kahlon.

UBCM raised the need for a new strategy for the provision of mental health and protective services with Minister Malcolmson, as the pandemic has dramatically amplified the scope and impact of the opioid and mental health crisis. The Minister noted the alignment with her mandate priorities, and highlighted the work of the Cabinet Working Group on Mental Health, Addictions and Homelessness.

The need for a new provincial infrastructure stimulus framework was the focus of the discussion with Minister Fleming, as UBCM outlined the elements of a stimulus framework that would support an economic recovery and create much needed community assets.  Clarity was also sought on the alignment between land use planning and transportation within the Minister’s mandate letter.

In the Minister Beare meeting, UBCM brought forward the need for affordable and high-speed internet connectivity as critical for recruiting and retaining the businesses necessary for an economic recovery. The delegation highlighted the joint advocacy in extending the Universal Broadband Fund deadline, and concerns with federal connectivity mapping. The Minister noted her appreciation that UBCM made connectivity one of its top priorities and her commitment to a partnership going forward.

A joint meeting with Ministers Heyman and Osborne discussed the recommendations of the  UBCM Special Committee on Climate Action, and provincial engagement to advance the recommendations. Minister Heyman noted strong alignment between the Committee’s recommendations and the Province’s climate action strategy.

UBCM also highlighted the economic recovery potential of infrastructure investment, economic diversification supports, rural connectivity and climate action with Minister Kahlon. The Minister outlined the importance of strong collaboration with local governments as the Province moves towards a recovery framework in the Fall.

UBCM’s delegations included UBCM President, Councillor Brian Frenkel; First Vice President, Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg; Second Vice President, Councillor Jen Ford; Third Vice President, Mayor Ange Qualizza; and Councillor Pete Fry.

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