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The provincial government has advised UBCM of its intention to amend the Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing (TFRS) agreement. This was communicated to UBCM in correspondence from the Honourable Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The current agreement provides an unconditional grant to local governments, returning 100% of net provincial traffic fine revenue.

Minister Robinson, in accordance with s. 276 of the Community Charter and the 2004 Consultation Agreement between the Province and UBCM, has indicated that the Province would like to immediately begin consultation regarding potential changes to the TFRS agreement. The Province would like to complete the consultation process by the end of July 2018.

UBCM has responded to the Minister with a letter that outlines concerns regarding the Province’s rationale for seeking changes to the current TFRS agreement, while also providing examples of new policing cost pressures faced by local governments.

The Province’s rationale for amending the agreement is largely based on the expansion of automated traffic enforcement, which has the potential to generate additional traffic fine revenue. However, the overall state of policing in B.C. is one where local governments continue to face escalating costs, and stand to absorb a number of new policing costs (e.g. RCMP unionization, new Auxiliary Program, etc.).

Background

The TFRS agreement is an unconditional grant that returns 100% of net provincial traffic fine revenue (violation ticket fines minus provincial recovery costs) to local governments. While local governments over 5,000 in population receive a percentage of traffic fine revenue from the Province, local governments under 5,000 in population receive traffic fine revenue through a reduction in the Police Tax. Traffic fine revenue is not allocated based on the jurisdiction where a ticket is issued, but rather the ratio of a local government’s policing costs to aggregate local government policing costs in BC.

There is a two-year delay from when violation tickets are issued to when traffic fine revenue is distributed to local governments. For example, in 2017/18, local governments received $53.4 million in traffic fine revenue, based on violation tickets issued in 2015/16. While the intention is for TFRS grants to be spent on enhancing community safety, ultimately it is up to the discretion of the local government.

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