VICTORIA, British Columbia – July 8, 2015 – Provincial and Territorial (P/T) Ministers Responsible for Local Government reaffirmed their commitment to continue collaboration on shared issues to deal with the ever changing needs of communities.
Local government ministers used this meeting to exchange experiences and information relating to communities such as changes in population and economic impacts, local government restructuring, modernization of local government legislation, new streams of revenue and measures to reinforce public confidence in local decision-making. Ministers gained insight from one another’s experiences in supporting communities facing strong and rapid growth, held a panel on new developments in local governance and discussed their priorities for the year ahead.
A key priority will be establishing two working groups:
In addition, ministers agreed to maintain a working group on local government accountability. Outcomes of the work of these groups will be shared at the ministers’ meeting next year.
Provinces and Territories reaffirmed their intention to collaborate with the federal government on matters such as public infrastructure funding, social housing and disaster mitigation. Ministers were highly concerned that federal ministers, despite the invitation, did not participate in the meeting again this year.
Ministers emphasized that infrastructure remains a top priority for all jurisdictions and therefore reiterated the call for a stronger commitment from the federal government and greater federal funding for vital local government infrastructure projects — such as compliance with new federal wastewater regulations — while also respecting provincial and territorial priorities and jurisdictions. It was agreed that P/Ts and local governments must be able to rely on guaranteed federal funding if they are to ensure sustainable public infrastructure.
Concerns were also expressed about unilateral changes to the federal government disaster assistance program, and ministers raised the importance of these transfers for the security of communities. Increased support for provinces and territories is needed to respond to issues such as flood and fire mitigation funding.
“Provinces and territories are eager to work with the federal government to ensure that important infrastructure investments, health and public safety requirements that benefit local governments or shared priorities receive funding support,” said Coralee Oakes, Chair of the 2015 Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Local Government and BC Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “These capital investments support critical health, public safety and transportation issues and at the same time encourage strong economic development.”
The next annual meeting of Ministers Responsible for Local Government will be held in Québec City in July 2016.
Media contact: Gillian Rhodes
Director of Communications
Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
Province of British Columbia
Tel: (250) 888-1462