People in 55 B.C. communities, including Surrey and 13 other Lower Mainland municipalities, will benefit from approximately $17.3 million in grants in lieu of municipal property taxes this year.
“Through our annual grants-in-lieu program, we’re supporting the essential work local governments do to build stronger communities and provide the services people depend on,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “This funding helps improve people’s lives by giving municipalities extra resources to plan, enhance and build vital local services and amenities.”
Grants in lieu of property taxes are distributed every November and reimburse local municipalities throughout the province for the services they provide to the public and their support of local infrastructure, such as parks, municipally run sewers, roads and fire protection.
Grants cover land and property owned by the provincial government, such as office buildings, warehouses and courthouses.
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 such as highways, forests, and parks or land under the control, management or administration of a Crown corporation.
“These funds will help our municipal governments improve vital local services for the people of the Lower Mainland,” said Mike Starchuk, MLA for Surrey-Cloverdale. “The funds will help support important local projects that will continue to build our vibrant and diverse community.”
The Ministry of Citizens’ Services distributes the funds on behalf of the provincial government.
- The Province is exempt from paying taxes to municipal governments under the federal Constitution Act and pays annual grants instead.
- 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, which would otherwise be paid through property taxes.
- Each municipality 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 about grants in lieu of taxes for local governments in B.C., visit:
A backgrounder follows.