People in 55 communities throughout the province, including 14 communities in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, will benefit from more than $17 million in grants in lieu of municipal property taxes this year.
“Through our annual grants-in-lieu program, we’re reimbursing municipalities for the important services they provide to provincial properties so they can fund the services and projects that meet the needs of their communities,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “The funding makes a big difference in communities throughout B.C., particularly now, as local governments and the people they serve navigate the economic impacts of the pandemic.”
Each November, the Province pays grants in lieu of property taxes to municipalities and regional districts for services they provide in their communities, such as parks, sewers, roads, fire protection and other infrastructure projects. The grants are for properties owned by the provincial government, such as office buildings, warehouses and courthouses. Municipalities use these grants to fund and maintain priority public services and local infrastructure projects.
“This annual grant represents close to 1% of our overall budget,” said Mike Morden, mayor, City of Maple Ridge. “Council navigates a difficult path every year when allocating available funds against much-needed infrastructure and service improvements, while also trying to avoid municipal tax rate increases. This grant alleviates the financial impact on citizens.”
Grant calculations are determined under the Municipal Aid Act. Schools and hospitals are exempt from paying municipal property taxes and are not part of the grants-in-lieu calculation. Also excluded from compensation under the Municipal Aid Act are provincial assets, including highways, forests, and parks or land under the control, management or administration of a Crown corporation.
“Local governments have their fingers on the pulse of their communities,” said Bob D'Eith, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission. “These grants in lieu help municipalities throughout the province, like Maple Ridge, fund important projects that benefit residents every day such as road repairs, fire prevention, or improving local parks and green spaces."
The Ministry of Citizens' Services distributes the funds electronically on behalf of the provincial government.
- The Province is exempt from paying taxes to municipal governments under the federal Constitution Act.
- In 1963, the Government of B.C. recognized its responsibility to compensate municipalities for local services that benefit provincially owned properties.
- That is why, despite the exemption, the B.C. government pays municipalities and regional districts the same general municipal and regional district amount through grants in lieu that would otherwise be paid through property taxes.
- Each municipality then distributes a portion of the funds to its regional district – where applicable – and those governments use the money to help pay for local services.
For more information on grants in lieu of taxes for local governments in B.C., visit:
A backgrounder follows.