The Community Economic Development Committee works on behalf of UBCM members to improve regional economic development opportunities for local governments. As such, the Committee continues to represent and acts as an advocate for communities on economic development issues by monitoring, developing and making recommendations on policy regarding fish, forests, energy, mining, agriculture and water; by connecting communities to emerging economic development opportunities (e.g. value-added, tourism, technology sectors, arts, culture and heritage); and advocating for greater provincial support for job and skills training and retraining efforts.
Multi-Year Initiative Underway to Improve Forest Policy
The Province has issued a notice advising that a multi-year initiative is underway to make improvements to the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA) legal framework. Initial improvements will begin in early 2019, and continue over several years. The process is in response to concerns and views expressed by many interested groups, including UBCM.
Forest Policy Decision-Making
Round Table Discussion
Round Table Discussion Summary Document – Nov 2016
At the 2016 UBCM Convention over 200 participants from local government, the Province, forest industries and associations contributed to the discussion at the Monday pre-conference session on forest policy decision-making. A summary document of the round table discussion highlights the feedback from participants when asked the following question:
What steps or actions can communities, industry, and the Province take to improve consultation and engagement opportunities with respect to forest policy decision-making?
The summary document will continue to guide the Community Economic Development Committee in its outreach and engagement activities.
Communication Between Tenure Holders & Local Governments
UBCM surveyed BC local governments in December 2015, to learn about communication and consultation between forest tenure holders and local governments, and the impact of forestry decisions upon local governments. Responses confirmed that better forestry decisions could be made if communities were consulted, and that community engagement can help minimize negative environmental impacts, poor community-tenure holder relations, and land use conflicts. UBCM has conveyed its report on the survey data to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and shared the information with the Minister's Advisory Council on Forest and Range Practices.
Understanding Thermal Energy Systems
The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) has issued a fact sheet to help interested parties understand thermal energy systems – how are these systems regulated; guidelines for these types of systems and the implications for local governments.
National Energy Board Modernization
Expert Panel Consultations
The Minister of Natural Resources has been mandated by the Prime Minister to modernize the National Energy Board (NEB) and to ensure that its composition reflects regional views and has sufficient expertise in such fields as environmental science, community development and Indigenous traditional knowledge. An expert panel has been established to consult with interested parties as part of the review.
UBCM has conveyed a submission to the NEB, based on the resolutions and policy positions that have been adopted by the UBCM membership.
Local Economic Development
Local Economic Development Survey
In June 2016, UBCM with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training (MJTST) and the BC Economic Development Association (BCEDA), jointly released the results of a survey on local economic development. The survey data helps all three organizations better understand where we can support communities in their local economic development efforts.
The three partners (UBCM, MJTST, BCEDA) surveyed local governments on their economic development practices. With over 400 respondents, the survey data provides an excellent overview of different approaches to economic development; how communities support, plan and monitor economic development; and how they identify challenges, opportunities, and areas of focus.
This survey data can be compared to 2009 survey data from UBCM:
- Evaluating the Economic Development Role of BC Local Governments – 2010
- Summary Report: UBCM Economic Development Survey of Local Governments – 2010
At the 2016 Annual Convention, UBCM members endorsed resolution B76, asking UBCM to advance the use of social procurement practices by local governments. Social procurement is an emerging best practice that governments can use within their existing spending to create additional social, sustainable and cultural benefits that support strategic goals and community objectives.
The British Columbia Social Procurement Initiative (BCSPI) is a BC Government-funded shared learning and implementation program that governments across British Columbia can join to help their staff learn about and begin to implement social procurement practices. BCSPI provides staff training, expert coaching, resources, tools, templates, impact measurement support and more for member municipalities.
Access the program brochure here and visit www.bcspi.ca for more information.