2021 UBCM Convention Workshops

Plenary - Tuesday, September 14th

Pathways to Truth and Reconciliation

This session will address the urgent question of how Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities might walk further along the path towards truth and reconciliation, through a panel featuring the Honourable Murray Sinclair, Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) former City of Vancouver Councillor Andrea Reimer, and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District Chair John Jack. The panelists will reflect on opportunities for communities interested in taking meaningful and effective steps towards addressing the TRC Calls to Action.

Further details available here.

Workshops - Tuesday, September 14th

Primer on Climate Action and Municipal Pension Plan

A 2020 resolution called on UBCM to update the 2016 Primer on Fossil Fuel Divestment- Municipal Pension Plan. The 2021 Primer was distributed to all UBCM members on August 12th. The UBCM Executive is recommending the membership endorse the Primer. It will be considered during the second resolutions session at 9:00 am on September 16th.

This workshop is an opportunity to learn more about the Municipal Pension Plan, document actions taken over the past 5 years to respond to climate change, and an up to date assessment of current fossil fuel holdings by asset class. The workshop will also highlight where improvements have been made and future recommended actions by UBCM. There will be ample time for questions.

The panelists for this workshop are Gary MacIsaac, Executive Director, UBCM; Trevor Davies, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE BC; Judy Payne, Executive Director, Municipal Pension Plan; and David Morhart, Executive Vice-President, BC Investment Management Corporation

Ensuring Local Government Financial Resiliency

The 2021 UBCM policy paper builds upon a 2013 UBCM paper, Strong Fiscal Futures, by focussing on cost drivers – one of the priority action items identified in the earlier policy paper.  The report identifies three objectives: addressing local government cost drivers in housing, community safety and climate change; addressing the impacts the ‘New Economy’ will have on the local government financial system; and establishing an effective partnership with the Province to improve the local government financial system.

The session will provide an overview on the UBCM Select Committee on Local Government Finance’s approach, process and deliverables, with a Q & A session for delegates.  This policy paper (Policy Paper #1) will be brought forward for endorsement during the Wednesday Resolutions session.The panelist for this session are Al Richmond, Director, Cariboo Regional District and Co-Chair, UBCM Select Committee on Local Government Finance; Lyn Hall, Mayor, City of Prince George and Co-Chair, UBCM Select Committee on Local Government Finance, and Mike Buda, Executive Director, Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation and Committee Member, UBCM Select Committee on Local Government Finance.

Workshops - Wednesday, September 15th

Housing Prospects, Trends & Key Issues

Responses to the pandemic over the past year prompted an increased demand for homeownership, a flight from urban cores to suburbs and rural areas, and significant investments towards tackling homelessness. As we emerge from the pandemic, all orders of government are faced with a complex and shifting housing landscape. This session will bring together a diverse panel to explore some of the major trends and key issues impacting housing and affordability in British Columbia in coming years.

UBCM is pleased to welcome panelists Jill Atkey, CEO of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association; Dr. Alina Turner, co-president of Helpseeker, head of a federally funded AI project to forecast future homelessness; and Dr. Penelope Gurstein, UBCM professor and Director of the Housing Research Collective for this workshop.

Meeting the Need: Shared RD Services

Regional Districts are finding unique ways to offer services in their regions to save on costs, improve access to expertise, provide consistency, and increase collaboration among partners. This session will highlight best practices from around the province, to guide and inspire Regional District members. 

The panelists for this session are Meriko Kubota, Regional Social Planner, City of Powell River;
Kai Okazaki, Social Planner, City of Burnaby; Steve Botham, Manager of Information Technology, Fraser-Fort George Regional District; Russell Dyson, Chief Administrative Officer, Comox Valley Regional District; Shawn Tomlin, Chief Administrative Officer, Regional District of East Kootenay; and Pamela Shaw, Planning Consultant, K’omoks First Nation.

Tourism Recovery Through Collaboration

British Columbia’s tourism industry is one of the economic sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is going to take several years to fully recover and depends on effective cooperation between local governments, the tourism industry, and the provincial government. In this session, delegates will hear from the provincial government on the outlook for recovery as well as policies, development funding, and marketing levers that are supporting community tourism in the short and long term.

Delegates will have the opportunity to hear from other local governments about best practices for strengthening community support for tourism, leveraging investments in destination development to support recovery, and opportunities for tourism to be a sustainable community economic generator and community resilience builder. 

Panelists for this workshop are Honourable Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; Ingrid Bron, Director of Community Economic Development, City of Revelstoke; Allison Colthorp, Executive Director, Tourism Chilliwack; and Krista Vandersteen, Regional Development Officer, Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.

Global Warning: Lessons from the 2021 BC Heat Wave

Earlier this year, the province experienced an extreme heat wave, leading to unprecedented temperatures and more than 570 heat-related fatalities. All orders of government were left scrambling to address the immediate impacts, while long-standing systemic vulnerabilities (e.g. emergency response, communication) and a lack of preparedness became even more evident. In addition to examining lessons learned, this session will discuss what can be done to adequately prepare for future extreme weather events in the face of worsening climate change and global warming. 

The panelists for this workshop are Adrian Dix, Minister of Health; the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry; BCCDC’s Scientific Director of Environmental Health Services Dr. Sarah Henderson; meteorologist & science reporter Johanna Wagstaffe; Councillor Patrick Johnstone (New Westminster) and Mayor Barbara Roden (Ashcroft).   

Workshops - Thursday, September 16th

Is Your Local Government Safe From a Cybersecurity Attack?

Local governments are storing unprecedented amounts of data on computers, servers, and other devices. At the same time, the frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks is growing. Is your local government’s digital infrastructure safe from an attack? As an elected official, are you asking the right questions of your staff and dedicating an appropriate level of resources to this evolving threat?

During this session you will hear from a BC local government that has experienced a cyberattack. Panelists will also discuss steps that you can take to minimize your risk, including a practical example of an organization that is currently undertaking a security audit.

This session will be general in nature and is designed for decision makers. The panelists for this session are Maryam Z. Sherkat, Chief Risk Officer & Legal Counsel, MIABC; Gareth Lewis, Vice-President, Claims, Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada;  Todd Pugh, Executive Director, CivicInfo BC; Danny Francisco, Information Services Manager, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Modernizing Forest Policy in BC

The Modernizing Forest Policy in BC session will be a chance for Provincial government staff to speak about, and hear from local government leaders on, changes to forest policy. This will be an interactive workshop focussed on three key areas of modernizing forest policy: 

  1. Planned policy changes outlined in the Modernizing Forest Policy Intentions Paper with a focus on an improved program to provide fibre to higher value wood product manufacturers, starting a phase out of slash burning, and revising pricing policy for area based tenures like Community Forest Agreements, among other topics. 
  2. The latest work to improve the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA), including efforts to align with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the introduction and transition towards a new forest landscape planning regime that will enable the opportunity for shared decision-making and enhanced engagement of communities and stakeholders.  
  3. The identified process (to mid-2023) to develop a new Old Growth Strategy for B.C. This new strategy will be developed by addressing the recommendations in the Old Growth Strategic Review Report (A New Future for Old Forests), prioritizing recommendations, and operational issues. Discussions of how local government and UBCM can contribute to this process are now beginning.  

Panelists for this session will include Mike Peterson, Executive Director of Modernizing Forest Policy Engagement and Ariel Taylor, Manager, Indigenous Consultation and Negotiation.