• Sadie Hunter

What is UBCM?

If you're following my social media, you're likely seeing a plethora of posts coming from UBCM - but what is it and why is it important?

UBCM stands for the Union of BC Municipalities and it is essentially the lobbying and advocacy organization advocating on behalf of local government across BC.

Why is this important? Well, many of the issues in communities across BC are shared and are not solvable at the local level or with local policy or dollars. We need support from the provincial government to create policy and programs, and UBCM is often the way local governments let their needs, challenges, and often ideas for solutions, be known.

For example, for many years local government asked for a review of the local government finance system as it no longer reflects the needs of communities. Through the collective work of local governments, a report entitled Ensuring Local Government Financial Resiliency – Today’s Recovery and Tomorrow’s New Economy was endorsed by the UBCM membership in September of 2021.

This report identifies key cost drivers (attainable housing, community safety and climate change) and the impact of the new economy as significant factors in the local government finance system. The report included 20 recommendations covering a wide range of complex and diverse topics involving or affecting numerous ministries in the provincial government, local governments, other interests and the people of B.C.

This resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being signed between the Province and UBCM in January 2022. This MOU outlines an agreement to work together to meet the respective interests of strengthening the local government finance system, to review local government financial resiliency and analyze recommendations in the report.

This is one example of how UBCM plays an important role in ensuring communities get the supports they need. I'm honoured to be a Director at Large on the UBCM Executive and currently am Vice Chair on the Economic Development Committee and member of the Environment Committee. I get to work with other electeds who are passionate about doing the best for their communities, regional districts and electoral areas. Part of this work includes quarterly meetings with various Provincial Ministries and learning about different organizations across the province that are championing change and livability.

Another important aspect of UBCM is it provides a forum for local governments to learn from each other. We're only halfway through the second day as I write this and I already have an entire page of ideas I can't wait to share.

It also provides an avenue for strong advocacy. This can be seen in the quick formation of a group of mayors and councillors who want tangible solutions to the health care crisis we are experiencing. This alliance formed quickly in response to an urgent need and resulted in a province-wide collaboration to identify key issues impacting every community. We will be seeking responses and solutions to these issues.

Keep watching my social posts for updates on this and other issues and feel free to drop questions on any of my posts!