UBCM asks the Province to withdraw Bill 45

Publishing Date

UBCM has received legal counsel that Bill 45, Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, is intended to, and may in fact, limit the ability of local governments to manage homeless encampments. Bill 45 will apply to local governments seeking court injunctions to remove or regulate homeless encampments. Councillor Trish Mandewo, UBCM’s president, conveyed her concerns to Minister of Housing, Ravi Kahlon, in a meeting this Tuesday, and requested that the legislation be withdrawn.


Bill 45 was introduced by the provincial government last week and, if passed into law, will make the following amendments to both the Community Charter (under section 274) and the Vancouver Charter (under section 334):

For the purposes of enforcing, under section 274/section 334, a bylaw against a person who is sheltering at an encampment while homeless, alternative shelter is reasonably available to the person and meets the basic needs of the person for shelter if
  (a) the person may stay overnight at the shelter,
  (b) the person has access to a bathroom and shower at or near the shelter, 
  (c) the person is offered without charge one meal a day at or near the shelter, and
  (d) the shelter is staffed when persons are sheltering at the shelter.


If the Bill is passed, it is intended that local governments seeking an injunction to remove an encampment will need to provide evidence that there is reasonably available shelter space to the quality outlined in the legislation.

Currently, it is highly unlikely that any community in BC has sufficient shelter space for all unhoused persons, so there is reason to believe that it would be practically impossible for local governments seeking an injunction to meet this test.

Also, since the provision of shelter is the responsibility and jurisdiction of the provincial government (and provided through BC Housing), local governments would need to rely on BC Housing to provide this data for a court decision.

A likely unintended consequence of the amendment is that unhoused persons will be able to set up shelter in parks, sports fields, city halls, and sidewalks, knowing that local governments will not be granted an injunction for decampment. This can potentially lead to the establishment of long-term or permanent encampments in public spaces.

Meanwhile, local governments will have one less tool to manage encampments, and the associated public safety, sanitation, and health concerns in the interim.

Moving forward

BC local governments have called for many actions to support persons who are unhoused, including: the development of a national housing strategy and a comprehensive plan to address homelessness; mental health and addictions support; additional complex care and supportive housing in communities; and the development of employment strategies.

In addition, delegates to the 2023 UBCM Convention endorsed a resolution asking BC Housing to provide management and oversight of encampments in all communities across BC and for the Province to provide additional funding for temporary warming and cooling shelters.

Bill 45 passed second reading on November 20 and has moved to the Committee stage. With six more days remaining in the Fall sitting of the Legislature, UBCM encourages local governments to convey their concerns both to us and to the Minister of Housing.

Consulting with members

Local government elected officials and staff are invited to participate in a webinar on the potential impacts to local governments. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, November 28 from 2-3pm. UBCM President, Trish Mandewo, will open the session, followed by UBCM legal counsel who will outline concerns raised to date. Registration is limited to local government elected officials and staff.