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BC NDP

On October 9, Metro Vancouver sent letters to the three main political parties of British Columbia with the 14 questions you will see on this website. Responses to these questions were received on Wednesday, October 21.

 Letter to BC NDP


Questions

 

PANDEMIC RESPONSE, RESILIENCE AND EQUITY

  • How does your party intend to support the health and well-being of B.C.’s equity-seeking residents going forward?

    As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have paid particular attention to the disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations. As just one example, we have been appreciative of the partnership offered by local governments in this, as we together worked to identify nearly 3,000 people experiencing homelessness, affected by visitor restrictions or shelter capacity reductions.

    As we move forward in recovery, we will continue to work to ensure that our recovery reaches everyone. Whether that is through expanding the Tuition Waiver for former youth in care, to ensure more of them are able to access post-secondary education, or through ensuring that whenever possible the infrastructure projects we fund through our Recovery Investment Fund are delivered through Community Benefit Agreements, to ensure that under-represented groups have opportunities for new jobs in the trades, we will work to ensure that the opportunities we create are available to those most in need of them.

  • Will your party commit to applying an equity lens for planning and funding decisions?

    Yes. Policy, legislation, programs and services have different impacts on different segments of B.C.’s population. To ensure government policies, programs and services are working for all British Columbians, we must understand the different ways that different people experience the world. That is why in our first term, our BC NDP government adopted GBA+ (Gender-based Analysis Plus) guidelines. GBA+ informs all stages of the development, implementation and evaluation processes, including issue identification, research and analysis, consultation, options development and decision-making. Should we form the next government, we will continue to use our GBA+ guidelines.

  • How will your party provide additional wraparound supportive services, including for in home, outreach, addictions and mental health programs?

    Before the pandemic, our efforts to tackle the opioid crisis were making a difference, and we saw the first drop in the rate of overdose deaths since 2012. We had a lot more to do, but things were heading in the right direction. When COVID-19 hit, and the crisis escalated, we responded across the full continuum of care – opening two new treatment facilities and doubling youth treatment beds, increasing overdose prevention services, providing more outreach teams, and giving people greater access to prescription medication alternatives. We are also currently implementing 6 new Assertive Community Treatment teams in communities to provide care for people with severe mental health challenges, and help reduce interactions with police.

    A re-elected BC NDP government will move quickly to accelerate B.C.’s response across the full continuum of care, including:

    • Building new treatment, recovery, detox and after-care facilities across the province – 800 new treatment beds, for a 30% increase in beds when combined with our existing investments to double youth beds;
    • Expanding the range of supportive housing for people who need it by:
      • Continuing to build on the success of the 2,800 supportive homes built so far, in communities across the province;
      • Developing new Complex Care housing facilities to provide an increased level of support – including more access to nurses and psychiatrists – for BC’s most vulnerable who need even more intensive care than supportive housing provides; and
      • Funding new rental supplements to help those who have stabilized in supportive housing and are ready to move into the private rental market, creating space in existing supportive housing to help more people experiencing homelessness who need the on-site supports.
    • Investing in the supports needed to address the impacts of this crisis in our communities:
      • New funding for more mental health and community social service workers to ensure there are more frontline workers to respond to needs in communities, and take pressure off police so they can focus on serious crime;
      • Providing $100M in grants for local governments which will help support them in responding to community concerns around street disorder and community safety; and
    • Continuing our work to help prescribers separate more people from the toxic drug supply through safe prescription alternatives.

    There is more work to do to tackle these challenges and get more people the treatment and healthcare they need. The BC NDP is committed to continuing that work in partnership with communities.


CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY

  • If elected, will your party commit to reassessing the funding model for local governments – with a view toward providing long-term, predictable, sustainable funding?

    We would be happy to sit down with local government representatives and UBCM to look at how we can continue to support local government in delivering the services that people count on in their communities. Our record to date shows that we are willing to work with communities to find the flexibility to address these challenges, whether it’s through grants like the Northern Capital and Planning Grant, securing and providing joint federal/provincial operating funding for local governments and transit agencies, or adjusting the cost-share formulas on programs like the Rural and Northern Communities stream of ICIP to ensure that smaller communities could afford the infrastructure they need. Should we be re-elected, we would encourage you to please follow up with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to start this discussion.

  • Will your party commit to partnering with local governments – to working together with Ottawa when necessary – to garner the Federal government’s fair share for critical investments in infrastructure projects?

    We have worked with the federal government through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to deliver billions of dollars in infrastructure funding to support critical infrastructure, from investments in transit and transportation, to investments in water treatment and recreational infrastructure, to funding for new and refurbished community facilities.

    A re-elected BC NDP government will continue to work with our local government partners to advocate for federal support for critical infrastructure investments, to continue to deliver the services that our residents need. In addition, through our Recovery Investment Fund, we will be committing an additional 1% of GDP – an additional $3 billion a year above and beyond our existing $23 billion infrastructure capital spending program – to drive new growth and investment. The funding will be used in communities all over the province to build new schools, hospitals, child care spaces, roads and transit, and more – creating an expected 18,000 new jobs every year.

  • Will your party commit to funding at least one-third of the Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant project, which under federal regulations, must be completed by 2030?

    We know the importance of partnering with local governments to deliver key infrastructure projects. A re-elected BC NDP government will sit down with Metro Vancouver representatives to look at the plans for the Iona Wastewater Treatment Plant, and work with the region to explore opportunities for senior government funding for this important project.

  • Will your party commit to providing additional resources for expedited approvals of local government projects and initiatives?

    Our government remains committed to working with local governments to quickly and efficiently review applications for infrastructure funding streams and ensure funding flows to support critical infrastructure projects. We have worked closely with UBCM, and have committed nearly all of the available funding through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, with additional funding intakes closing this month. We will work with our federal government partners to review and provide approvals on successful applications as efficiently as possible.


HOUSING AND AFFORDABILITY

  • If elected, what specifically will your party do to support an expanded inventory of affordable rental housing options for the Metro Vancouver region?

    Thanks to the partnership of many local governments across the province, we have made good progress to date on our commitment to deliver 114,000 new affordable homes for people in communities of all sizes. To date, we have more than 25,000 homes complete or underway, in all categories of housing, from homes with supports for those experiencing homelessness and the first investment in new housing for women and children fleeing violence in two decades, to new indigenous housing both on- and off-reserve, new mixed-income rental housing for families and seniors with low to moderate incomes, and thousands of market rental units for middle-income families and individuals.

    But there is much more to do, and our government will again be counting on our strong partnerships with local governments to deliver the homes that all of our communities need. We look forward to working with local governments to:

    • streamline development approvals, with new provincial funding to support the efforts that many of you are already undertaking, while we act to make the provincial permit and approval process more efficient as well with a new single-window permitting process;
    • eliminate unnecessary parking minimums in new developments near transit investments, allowing for more affordable transit-oriented housing options for people to rent or buy;
    • work together to identify locations for our new Complex Care housing sites, which will bring an increased level of psychiatric and nursing care to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities who need even more clinical supports than are provided in supportive housing, and
    • continue to support bringing new rental developments to market, whether they are the next set of publicly-funded social housing projects, or tens of thousands of new market rental options for the middle-class delivered through the additional low-cost loans we will provide through our HousingHub program.

    We also plan to expand the role of the innovative HousingHub team to partner with non-profit and co-op housing providers to acquire and preserve existing rental housing. We’ll also instruct the Housing Hub to look for new pathways to home ownership through rent- to-own or other equity-building programs.

  • Will your party commit to co-investment with Metro Vancouver on its Housing 10-Year Plan?

    Our 10-year housing plan, Homes for BC, is our plan for delivering 114,000 affordable homes across the province, including in Metro Vancouver. More than 25,000 homes are currently underway or complete, and many of the funding streams that are part of this housing strategy, like the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, or the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, are already funding projects in Metro Vancouver.

    A number of these Building BC funding streams provide opportunities for partnership with local governments. A re-elected BC NDP government would be pleased to look at how we can partner with Metro Vancouver, and with individual local governments in the region, through these various funding programs so that together we can deliver the kinds of homes that people in the region need.

  • What actions will your government take to secure additional low-barrier housing units for vulnerable / priority homeless populations?

    Under the BC Liberals, homelessness tripled. Since 2017, we have been focused on working with local governments, including many in Metro Vancouver, to address the challenge. Together, we have made real progress. Across the province we have opened more than 2,800 homes with supports – these homes are changing lives, and giving people new opportunities.

    We know that more is still needed. We are committed to continuing to work in partnership to build supportive housing, and over our 10 year plan, we will complete a total of 5,000 homes with supports in communities across the province. As well, we will build new Complex Care facilities designed to meet the housing and support needs of those with significant mental illness and/or complex physical health and addiction issues, including brain injuries, who need housing with increased on-site psychiatric and nursing care. We will work with local governments to determine where these are needed, and what the opportunities are to use public land, like the Riverview lands, as locations. In addition, we will fund 2,000 new rent supplements over our first two years to help people who have stabilized in supportive housing move into private-market rental homes, helping them to take the next step and creating additional space in supportive housing for those who need the presence of those on-site supports to succeed.


CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT

  • How will your party further support adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts?

    Through our economic recovery plan, StrongerBC, we have invested approximately $90 million to help BC prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. A re-elected BC NDP government will build on this investment. In addition to pledging continued support for our forests and watersheds, our platform commits to creating a new Recovery Investment Fund that will deliver about $3 billion a year – above and beyond our existing $23 billion in new capital commitments – over three years. The funding will be used to build new schools, hospitals, child care spaces – and also infrastructure that will help communities mitigate and adapt the effects of climate change. A re-elected BC NDP will ensure this work is well-coordinated and targeted by launching the Climate Adaptation Strategy.

  • Will your party commit to partnering with Metro Vancouver to expand and acquire regional park land?

    Our platform does not specifically address partnering with Metro Vancouver to expand and acquire regional park land – that said, our platform does make an explicit commitment to expanding parks and protected areas as well as creating a watershed security strategy, which would be supported by a Watershed Security Fund to fund Indigenous, local, and regionally led clean water initiatives. The creation of new regional park land could potentially be a component of this strategy. A re-elected BC NDP government would be happy to sit down with Metro Vancouver to discuss your plans.

  • Will your party commit to establishing a greenhouse gas reduction program in alignment with the Metro 2050 climate change strategy and the targets as expressed in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report?

    Yes. The Climate Change Accountability Act sets a target of lowering emissions 80 per cent below 2007 levels by 2050. A re-elected BC NDP Government will pass legislation requiring BC to become fully net-zero by 2050 – aligning the provincial target with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report the Metro 2050 climate change strategy. To achieve that goal a re-elected BC NDP Government will strengthen and expand our CleanBC plan and invest in made-in-BC carbon capture technology – programs which are both well- aligned with Metro 2050 climate change strategy.