BC COMMITS TO PROVINCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE SHARE
The Province of British Columbia will be sustaining its commitment to funding a one-third share in the delivery of the new Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. Premier Christy Clark shared this news in her keynote address to delegates on Wednesday. UBCM has been advocating for British Columbia to retain a one-third share in light of reductions in other provinces and territories.
"Securing a 33% funding share from the Province has been one of the top priority items for UBCM's Executive over the past year," said UBCM president Al Richmond. "While we will still need to see what happens in the next phase of the program, this is very good news for local governments in B.C. I want to thank Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender for understanding the needs of communities."
All local governments throughout the province are eligible to apply for funding. Approved projects will be cost shared 50% by the Government of Canada and 33% by the Province of British Columbia, with the remaining 17% contribution coming from the local government. This agreement will be finalized on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, prior to the conclusion of the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Victoria.
Ms. Clark also announced that the Province is providing $10 million to support a British Columbia addiction treatment research and training centre and to fund strategies identified under the Joint Task Force on Overdose Prevention. In the face of the province’s overdose crisis, among the first tasks of the new centre is to implement a provincial guideline for the treatment of opioid addiction later this fall.
The Premier told delegates that the Province and the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to make it easier for seasonal firefighters with the BC Wildfire Service to access health and welfare benefits. The new agreement is aimed at providing benefits to auxiliary firefighters sooner than is currently allowable.
In illustrating the theme of her speech, “Putting British Columbians First,” Ms. Clark also touted the benefits of programs like the Single Parent Employment Initiative, which to date has provided funding to over 3,000 British Columbians, 91% of whom are women.