UBCM Past President Jen Ford facilitated a question period with Premier David Eby in the closing segment of UBCM 2023 Convention. Inquiries covered the overlapping crises of housing affordability and supply, wildfire risk and response, community safety, the toxic drug crisis, decriminalization, and local government finance support.
He gave updates on what his government is focused on from pressing the federal government for housing support to consulting with local governments on the detailed regulations of a new Emergency Management Act. Eby announced new funding ($4.75 million) for volunteer fire fighter training for wildfires and ($20 million) to support transportation for cancer patients in rural areas. The Premier also announced that funding previously announced at the UBCM Housing Summit to support local government capacity building will be made available shortly to local governments
On decriminalization he emphasised that the biggest challenge is not willingness or funding, but people to do the work. Eby said his government is working to support internationally-trained health care professionals get accredited in BC, and exploring certificate programs that would enable people to work under the supervision of psychiatric nurses, to alleviate get more support in place quicker.
“There’s a lot more work to be done, and we will do this in partnership. It hasn’t always been this way, but my commitment to you is that our gov will do this in partnership with you,” Eby said.