The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development works in partnership with all B.C. local governments, including 162 municipalities and 27 regional districts, as well as the Islands Trust and the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality.
Through strong partnerships with B.C. local governments and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), the ministry helps build strong communities throughout the province.
The ministry offers grants and programs that help B.C.’s local governments provide key services to their communities and citizens.
Tools for local governments
- Created in 2003, the Community Charter is the first local government legislation in Canada to establish a full set of principles for municipal-provincial relations.
- The B.C. government established the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG) to help ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are used in the most efficient and effective way possible – and to strengthen local government accountability.
- Working in partnership with UBCM and stakeholders, the B.C. government modernized local government elections by strengthening accountability and transparency for spending by candidates, elector organizations and third party advertisers. The final component of campaign finance reform, expense limits, will be in place for the next local elections in 2018.
Infrastructure for local governments
- To help build infrastructure for community success, the B.C. government has provided significant funding, including $148.5 million for the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund and $109 million for the Small Communities Fund.
- Thirty-five projects received approval under the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund in 2016, representing $60 million in combined funding from the provincial and federal governments.
- In March 2017, the B.C. government and federal government announced a combined $373.2 million for 144 new projects in B.C. through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
- Fifty-five Small Communities Fund projects were approved in 2015, representing $64 million in funding each from the provincial and federal governments for a total of $128 million.
- In March 2017, 26 Small Communities Fund projects were approved with over $87 million in federal and provincial funding.
- Since 2001, government has provided approximately $3 billion to local governments over and above previously existing funds.
- Through the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, B.C. local governments receive important annual funding ($116 million in 2017-18) to support diverse community services and projects.
- This funding includes the Small Community and Regional District Grants that help provide local services, programs and infrastructure in smaller and rural communities in every region of British Columbia.
- Small Community Grants are specifically meant to help address infrastructure, administration and service delivery priorities for communities with under 20,000 people. Regional District Grants serve the same purpose for B.C.’s regional districts.
- Since 2009, the Small Community Grant and Regional District Grant programs have provided over $437 million.
- Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grants are funded from ticket fines and court-imposed fines on violation tickets.
- The B.C. Government delivers 100% of collected net traffic fine revenues to communities with over 5,000 people.
- Since 2009 more than $485 million has been provided to fund policing and community safety.
- Communities with populations between 5,000 and 20,000 qualify for both the Small Community Grant and Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grant programs.
- The Infrastructure Planning Grant Program offers grants up to $10,000 to help local governments plan, design and manage sustainable infrastructure that will improve public health and safety, protect the natural environment and strengthen local and regional economies.
- The grants assist local governments in developing or improving long-range comprehensive plans for water, wastewater and drainage.
- Eligible projects also include plans that address other aspects of community sustainability such as energy and asset management.
- In 2014, $1 million in planning grant funds were made available to assist local governments in the Northwest.
- In 2016-17, the B.C. government approved 52 projects representing $501,160 in planning grants.
Building Local Economies
- The B.C. government provides funding to local governments that helps B.C.’s communities build strong local economies.
- Signed in 2015, the 20-year Peace River Agreement (PRA) provides local governments in B.C.’s northeast with funding for planning, programs and infrastructure investments that will support the region as an industrial service sector into the future.
- Under the PRA, the Province will provide annual payments to the eight Peace River local governments to a maximum combined total of $50 million per year (plus a two-percent inflator starting in 2020).
- The B.C. government made the first annual payment under the PRA in 2016 – for $50 million – to the signatory local governments: the District of Chetwynd, City of Dawson Creek, City of Fort St. John, District of Hudson’s Hope, Village of Pouce Coupe, District of Taylor, District of Tumbler Ridge and Peace River Regional District.
- Signed in 2013, the 20-year Infrastructure Development Contribution Agreement (IDCA) provides the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) with funding to ensure the NRRM has the infrastructure in place to become a major industrial service centre.
- Under the IDCA, the Province will provide annual payments to the NRRM to a maximum of $10 million per year starting in 2015.
- In 2016, the B.C. government made the second $10-million payment to the NRRM under the IDCA.
- Projects supported in 2016 through the IDCA include: airport and sewer system upgrades, water and recreation projects, roads and drainage works, as well as the purchase of Crown land for residential development.
A Sustainable Environment
- Through the voluntary annual Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP), the Government of B.C. helps local governments support a sustainable environment.
- CARIP grants provide local governments with funding equivalent to the full amount of direct carbon tax they pay in a year – over $6.4 million provincewide in 2016-17.
- Since 2008, CARIP has granted over $39 million to B.C. local governments to help support communities in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and work toward Climate Action Charter goals.
- Ninety-eight per cent of B.C.’s local governments have signed the charter, committing them to be carbon-neutral in their corporate operations, to measure and report on their community-wide greenhouse gas emissions and to create complete, compact and energy efficient communities.