New amendments to the Community Charter, the Local Government Act, the Municipalities Enabling and Validating Act (No.4) and the Vancouver Charter will give local governments more flexibility to better serve communities and people, as special authorities granted during the pandemic become permanent, including allowing people to participate in meetings and public hearings online.
The Province is introducing amendments to support Municipalities and Regional Districts in B.C. by granting them permanent authority to hold a mix of virtual, in-person and hybrid meetings and public hearings, to meet a wider range of people’s needs.
Along with the electronic meetings and hearings, the amendments will: expand eligibility for mail ballot voting by bylaw in local government elections; permit improvements districts greater flexibility with the timing of their annual general meetings and trustee terms; and create new Ministerial authorities for borrowing in emergency situations and elections administration matters, allowing the Province to be more responsive in future extraordinary events.
The legislation also ensures extraordinary financial measures and corresponding repayment obligations currently under COVID Ministerial Order 159, which is set to expire on July 10, 2021, will continue to have legal effect after this date.