UBCM, in partnership with CivicInfo BC and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, presents British Columbia Local Government Awareness Week, which will run May 12-18, 2024.
This is an ongoing initiative with the goal to generate awareness and educate the public about the roles and responsibilities of local government, and encourage the public to participate in local government processes.
An Asset Management Awareness Day has been scheduled for Wednesday, May 15. This day will help to highlight the importance of sound asset management practices. Local governments strive to deliver services sustainably, and work to ensure that current community service needs, and how those services are delivered, do not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs through sound asset management practices.
UBCM is working with the provincial government on a new Proclamation for 2024. Once available, it will be posted below.
These documents can help you get started with your Local Government Awareness Week planning. There is a sample proclamation for your use, an agenda for success and resources to assist in getting media coverage for your week and your events.
If your local government has its own Board of Education, consider a joint proclamation between Council and the Board.
Here are some ideas for your Local Government Awareness Week! The Activity Ideas resource sheet lists a number of great ideas. Other documents in this section provide detailed information on putting together an essay contest, student council or poster contest.
Being an active citizen
This website provides information and resources for high school students to become active citizens and for teachers to access citizenship teaching resources. (Teaching resource binders are free!) Being an active citizen enhances the current BC Social Studies curriculum on law, government and citizenship. It is a sequential five-year program with 10 lessons per year for grades 7-11. The binder contains all the materials for each grade.
Local Government in BC: A Community Effort (2015)
This booklet provides an excellent overview of local government in BC in an easy to read, colourful, graphically illustrated format. If your community is in need of a succinct guide to how local governments operate and how community members can get involved, this booklet may be just what you need. Perfect for newly elected officials, the general public, schools or presentations.
Local Government in BC- 4th Edition by Bish and Clemens (2008)
A complete primer on all levels of local government, from cities and regional districts to towns, villages and school districts, this volume examines how each government works and its role in our society.Local Government in British Columbia raises some important questions, i.e.: how effectively does your community manage its water supply, road construction or fire department? This is an indispensable tool for public servants, community groups, or anyone interested in how the system works and how it could work better.
Local Government Agencies
- Union of BC Municipalities
- Ministry of Municipal Affairs
- Ministry of Education
- Local Government Management Association
- CivicInfo BC
- BC School Trustees Association
- Asset Management BC
Directory of Local Governments
Careers in Local Government
- Education Planner – BC Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development
Education Planner is an educational planning resource that is available to the public free of charge. Its primary purpose is to provide clear, reliable and detailed information about post-secondary programs available in BC. Using Education Planner can help learners make well-informed decisions about their education and career options.
- Work BC
WorkBC features labour market information carefully selected and organized for easy access by all British Columbians. People planning careers, job seekers, employers, service providers and researchers will all find information to help them navigate B.C.’s labour market.
Civic engagement versus political engagement
There is often confusion between 'civic engagement' and 'political engagement.' While civic engagement is a broad term that implies being an active citizen in any way in service to the community, political engagement is a more narrow term that refers to direct participation in formal city governance and administration.
Although thinking about political engagement can be intimidating at first, anyone can have civic engagement within their communities on any level, no matter how small. Engaging in civic activities can be your first step in being politically involved and making a difference.
What is civic engagement?
- participating in the community and volunteer organizations
- participating in elections by volunteering or voting
- writing letter to political representatives
- campaigning on various issues through social media
- membership in associations and groups
- rallying and protesting
- signing petitions
- engagement with local government politics
- sitting on city councils, regional boards, Advisory Committees, Task Forces, boards
- making presentations to the council
The importance of civic engagement in youth
A publication by the Parliament of Canada has noted that Canada’s youth voter turnout is well below all other demographic groups. To further the issue, the conventional wisdom that non-voters become voters as they get older may no longer hold true, according to a number of studies. With declining youth participation in civic engagement, the average age of people actively involved in local government will be on the rise.
By exposing youth to civic engagement earlier on, they will be familiarized with their local government – thereby increasing likeliness for youth to participate on more levels with their local government over time.
Aging and retiring workforce in local governments
According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, some municipalities expect 30-50% of their municipal workforce to retire within the next 10 years, most of which are likely senior experts. If employees within the local government sector are not replaced at the same rate as they retire, local governments may experience recruitment and retention issues for new staff. Therefore, it is important for current local leaders to engage with their youth to encourage higher civic engagement and ultimately, increasing interest in pursuing a career within local government.
Some challenges local governments face in increasing youth engagement are:
- formal structure in civic and political processes deter youth from participating;
- youth feeling disconnected due to lack of knowledge about political and civic processes;
- youth do not believe their engagement would make a difference;
- youth do not know how to get involved and where to start; and
- negative stereotyping against youth who are civically engaged.
Despite the difficulties listed above, there are ways to combat these issues and your local government can get involved now.
Your local government can get involved today to encourage civic engagement in youth.
Best practices & toolkits
Youth engagement toolkit
This multi-level comprehensive toolkit was produced in 2013 by the the University of Victoria in partnership with the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, Province of BC. Below are the five different pieces:
Municipal youth engagement handbook
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities developed this handbook in 2014 by FCM Jack Layton Fellows with input from local governments across Canada. This handbook includes strategies and tools which local governments can adopt to engage youth.
Youth civic engagement in Lower Mainland: Needs assessment
Produced by the Justice Education Society and supported by Status of Women Canada in 2014, this needs assessment report outlines research findings from seven British Columbian communities in the Lower Mainland on young women civic engagement.
Youth civic engagement
In this 2010 report, the Library of Parliament explains the importance of youth civic engagement and that it is not innate, but rather acquired. The report also outlines the ways in which civic engagement could be developed through family and academic settings, as well as through the media.
Creating a sustainable dialogue around elections
Elections Alberta and Apathy is Boring have created a toolkit manual to help community organizations support youth engagement during elections.
Making life happen: career toolkit
The Local Government Management Association of BC has developed an exciting website and toolkit designed to raise awareness of local government with a specific focus encouraging younger Canadians to consider a municipal career.
Local Government Awareness Week
The Local Government Awareness Week is held in May each year. This is a co-operative initiative, coordinated by the Union of BC Municipalities, CivicInfo BC, Ministry of Municipal Affairs, BC School Trustees Association and the Public Works Association of BC.
Annual UBCM Convention
Students are welcome at the annual UBCM Convention. The UBCM Convention is a week-long forum for dialogue, learning, and policy-making. Convention provides an opportunity for local governments of all sizes and from geographic areas to gather and share experiences and best practices to explore solutions for relevant issues facing communities. Students enjoy a significant discounted registration fee and are encouraged to attend to gain exposure to local government and experience this event.
Let's Hear From You!
We know there are other great ideas and activities going on within our members and we want to hear about it! What is your local government doing to promote youth engagement? Share your best practices with UBCM via the contact below.
General Manager, Richmond Operations
604-270-8226 ext. 104
The Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District produced a video on Local Government Awareness Week.
Submit examples of promotional efforts being made by your community that you would like to share with the wider UBCM membership. Please contact Jamee Justason, Resolutions and Policy Analyst at email@example.com or 604 270 8226 ext. 100.