City appreciates pandemic recovery funding
Today’s funding is a significant help for our city, its residents, and businesses. It will help to offset the revenue losses the City has experienced as a result of the pandemic and help support our local economic recovery.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart
We are pleased to see today’s announcement by the Province of British Columbia to provide more than half a billion dollars in funding to local governments and transit agencies, as part of the pandemic recovery program.
This money comes from a funding partnership between the Government of BC and the federal government, as part of a financial support package for municipalities across Canada.
This is an important step to support crucial work which we have undertaken to help and protect residents and save lives during the current pandemic. We look forward to receiving details of the funds allocated to Vancouver.
Pandemic created financial challenges
Today marks 6 months since the provincial public health emergency was declared. During this period, we have worked tirelessly to assist residents. We provided additional services and support, designed to help secure the health and livelihoods of all our residents and businesses.
We entered these uncertain times in a strong financial position with healthy liquidity and reserves, strong fiscal management, and low debt burden which are reflected in the City’s AAA/Aaa credit ratings.
Despite this, the COVID-19 pandemic created major financial challenges, with significant reductions in revenues to run our operations, coupled with many additional costs.
Budget cuts and layoffs
To address the revenue shortfall created by the pandemic, we undertook budget cuts and layoffs earlier this year. Measures included:
- Issuing temporary layoff notices to 1,800 unionized staff
- Implementing a 10% reduction in pay for non-unionized staff
- Delaying merit increases
- Restricting new hiring and travel
- Reducing discretionary spending costs wherever possible.
Despite these efforts, our budget shortfall as of July 8 was $124 million.
Revised capital plan
We also worked with Council over the past several months to revise the four-year capital plan, which resulted in the postponement or scaling back on scope of some large, multi-year projects to help ease the funding pressures created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We worked with other municipalities across Canada through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to ask senior levels of government for financial support for municipalities during this unprecedented situation.
About our COVID-19 support and recovery efforts
Ensuring the current and future well-being of Vancouver residents and businesses is a top priority for us.
For the latest information on City actions and support available from federal, provincial and local governments, as well as other organizations:
We continue to work with public health officials and multiple partners on the COVID-19 response.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart
“We welcome the announcement from the Province today,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Vancouver residents rely on the City to provide essential services and the additional support needed to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud of the way our City staff has risen to meet the needs of our residents at this critical time; their nimble action has saved countless lives. Today’s funding is a significant help for our city, its residents, and businesses. It will help to offset the revenue losses the City has experienced as a result of the pandemic and help support our local economic recovery.”