Home Organizations & Associations UBCM UBCM 2023 looks at housing, public safety, digital advancements

UBCM 2023 looks at housing, public safety, digital advancements

On the agenda: Legislative reform | Overview of policing and public safety | Housing | Emergency Preparedness | Speech by BC United Leader Kevin Falcon on Sept 21 | Speech by Premier David Eby on Sept 22

ubcm 2023, balancing act

Sunday September 17, 2023 | VANCOUVER, BC [Updated September 19, 2023]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends | POLITICAL NEWS SECTION

The 2023 Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention gets underway on Monday September 18 in Vancouver, and runs through the week. The theme is “Balancing Act” — recognizing an essential element in the art of governance.

Premier David Eby will deliver a speech at the end of five days, on Friday morning at 11:15 am for 45 minutes.

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Premier David Eby and wildfire service personnel, in the BC Interior on Aug 22, 2023. [BC Government photo]

The day before Eby’s speech, on Thursday morning, leader of the opposition Kevin Falcon will have 20 minutes to address the delegates.

The more than 2,000 delegates are primarily mayors and councillors and regional district directors from around the province. Many MLAs also attend.

The focus of UBCM 2023:

A lot has changed in BC in the past year, as reflected in the workshops and other sessions. There seems to be a focus on climate, wildfire and emergency management, digital advancements (including AI) and cybersecurity, housing, and public safety.

This morning began (off site) with an announcement by Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon about new initiatives to speed up housing permit process and facilitate secondary suites. Also on the housing file, at UBCM the Mayors Council appreciated the government’s announcement today that “housing development goes hand in hand with nearby, safe and efficient transportation corridors”.

mayors council, housing
Mayors pleased with housing near transportation. [Mayors council – UBCM – Sept 18, 2023]

As for the two public health challenges in BC — COVID and the substance overdose crisis — there is a study session on Monday with Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry about decriminalization and public use of drugs. [Update: she discussed the multifaceted challenges surrounding the drug toxicity crisis, decriminalization, stigma, and public substance usage.]

dr bonnie henry, ubcm
Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry addressed UBCM delegates in Vancouver, Sept 18, 2023. [UBCM]

There’s a light touch on the capital side of schools and classrooms. There is no in-depth focus on food security or agriculture, at least by reviewing the clinics, workshops and cabinet town halls.

food security news, ist

There is a workshop of legislative reform. There are two study sessions on the first day regarding Indigenous reconciliation (‘shared path’ and implementing UNDRIP). An overview of policing and public safety will be discussed in a clinic.

Taking the lead from cabinet will be the topics of housing, emergency preparedness, and ‘Strong Public Services’. On Monday Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon will hold a study session called ‘Building Homes, Building Communities’.

Clinics, workshops and town halls:

There will be many opportunities for delegates to engage with government and also discuss among themselves the various challenges that face elected officials and their communities in 2023 and into next year.

Clinics – Wed Sept 20:

  • Fair AI (finding the right balance),
  • Collaboration to develop more classrooms

Provincial policy sessions:

  • Climate Action, Forest Management and Your Community
  • Preparing for Future Wildfires
  • Modernizing Emergency Management Regulations
  • Policing and Public Safety Modernization Initiative Overview
  • Staying Cybersecure in a Modern, Digital Organization

Clinics – Thurs Sept 21:

  • Next Generation 9-1-1- in Your Community
  • Transformation Progress of Housing Development Process


Thurs Sept 21

  • Art of the Possible: AI Digital Transformations
  • Creating Climate Resilient Communities Through Collaboration
  • Legislative Reform Initiative: Next Steps
  • Natural Asset Management: Building on Momentum
  • Provincial Clean Transportation Action Plan

Cabinet town halls:

  • Housing
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Strong Public Services

Keynote speakers:

  • Wed Sept 20 – John Herdman (former head coach of Soccer Canada) 9:25 am for 1 hour
  • Thurs Sept 21 – Leader of the Opposition (Kevin Falcon / BC United) – 8:35 to 8:55 am
  • Fri Sept 22 – Federal Address by Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources – 10:35 to 10:55 am
  • Fri Sept 22 – Address by the Premier (David Eby / BC NDP) – 11:15 am to 12 noon
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More to come:

Check back at IslandSocialTrends.ca through the week to see our coverage of various aspects of UBCM 2023.