Ensuring local government financial resiliency

Publishing Date

A progress report from the Local Government Financial Review Working Group

The joint provincial–UBCM Local Government Financial Review Working Group was established in 2022 to address the 20 recommendations outlined in the 2021 report: Local Government Financial Resiliency – Today’s Recovery and Tomorrow’s New Economy. This March the working group met with the ministers of Finance and Municipal Affairs, and the UBCM Presidents Committee, to provide an update on its work in 2022 and to confirm direction for its 2023 work plan. This was the first briefing with both ministers since the December cabinet shuffle, so background on the Report and its history were provided.

The 20 recommendations in the Report are being considered under three cost drivers: attainable housing, community safety, and climate change. In 2022 work focused on:

  • a joint negotiation approach for the renewal of the Canada Community-Building Fund;
  • best practices for asset management to better manage infrastructure;
  • a review of funding mechanisms for financing growth-related infrastructure; and
  • identifying impacts of the ‘New Economy’ through the establishment of baseline metrics to monitor impacts.  

The Medium-Term work plan for 2023 is focused on:

  • continued review of the current local government property tax system and the impacts of the ‘New Economy’;
  • monitoring financial impacts of the new Emergency Management legislation to local governments through identifying additional requirements and the financial burden of those requirements;
  • continued review of funding mechanisms for financing growth-related infrastructure being developed under Development Approval Process Review (DAPR) by the Ministry of Housing/Municipal Affairs;
  • identifying financial impacts on local governments in supporting the creation of attainable housing;
  • identifying financial impacts on local governments of homelessness, mental health and addiction; and
  • working with the Ministry of Citizens Services towards supporting local governments in improving cybersecurity.

The Ministers and the Presidents Committee endorsed the Medium-Term Work Plan and agreed to meet again in June 2023 to finalize plan and provide additional direction, as necessary, regarding the next steps to support the work on a fairer, more responsive property tax. The working group continues to meet bi-weekly.

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