Ensuring local government financial resiliency

Publishing Date

Thursday afternoon’s workshop on local government finance provided delegates with an update on the current work of the joint provincial/UBCM Local Government Financial Review Working Group.

Following the UBCM endorsement of the 2021 report Local Government Finance Resiliency – Today’s Recovery and Tomorrow’s New Economy (Finance Report), the provincial Ministries of Finance and Municipal Affairs and UBCM entered a Memorandum of Understanding on Local Government Financial Resiliency.  The implementation of the MOU included the formation of the Local Government Financial Review Working Group and the development of a 3-year work plan to address the 20 recommendations outlined in the Finance Report. All of the recommendations were considered under three cost drivers: attainable housing; community safety; and climate change.

The Working Group is currently focused on:

  • a joint negotiation approach for the renewal of the Canada Community Building Fund;
  • a review of funding mechanisms for financing growth-related infrastructure;
  • and impacts of the ‘new economy’ through the establishment of baseline metrics to monitor impacts.  

Other short-term recommendations noted were finding areas of productive joint action to address homelessness as a common interest; addressing the tragedy of mental health and addiction and identifying appropriate roles for both the provincial government and local governments; continued contribution to the discussion of the financial components of the Emergency Management Act review; and discussion on strengthening the transit funding model and matters specific to transit funding.

Brian Bedford and Glen Brown – co-chairs of the Working Group – lead an interactive session to seek early input with delegates on the renewal of the Canada Community Building Fund (formerly Gas Tax Fund), and outlined the coordinated approach UBCM and the province will be taking when negotiating a future long-term CCBF agreement with the Government of Canada.  The panel advised delegates that consultation with BC communities will occur later in 2022 leading up to further discussions with the Government of Canada in 2023.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs staff also provided an update on the Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR) – which was established to support local governments to reduce barriers to affordable housing and accelerate construction of new homes. Staff noted their current focus is on Community Plans and zoning framework; the development of finance tools; streamlining local government approvals; and reviewing the public engagement process.  Further updates will be provided to UBCM through the Financial Review Working Group.

Further information on the Finance paper and work of the UBCM Select Committee on Local Government Finance can be found on the UBCM website.