Vancouver City Hall

Understanding the budget

Our annual budget and five-year financial plan are made up of:

  • Operating and capital budgets
  • Department service plans
  • Consolidated budget

Operating budget

The operating budget sets the spending targets for the general operation of the city. 

Capital Budget

Capital Strategic Outlook

We plan capital investments beginning with a 10-year Capital Strategic Outlook  (2.2 MB). The outlook is updated every four years, when our four-year Capital Plan is developed. The Capital Plan then forms the basis for the one‑year Capital Budget, which is developed annually.

Having a 10‑year strategic framework significantly enhances our ability to achieve value for money, as it creates the opportunity to leverage partnership opportunities that support city infrastructure requirements. This can include working with other levels of government and other partners.

Capital Plan

The four‑year Capital Plan includes:

  • City Council, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (Park Board), Vancouver Police Board and Vancouver Public Library Board priorities for capital projects
  • Identifies planned funding sources for those investments

Borrowing requirements for certain utility capital programs and projects (waterworks, sewage and drainage, and neighbourhood energy utility systems) are set by Council under authority of the Vancouver Charter Borrowing requirements for any other capital programs and projects are outlined in the Capital Plan, and they require approval by the public through a plebiscite as part of the municipal election held every four years

The 2019‑2022 Capital Plan (6.6 MB) was approved July 25, 2018, and includes $2.8 billion worth of capital investments, including $2.2 billion worth of City‑led capital programs and $0.6 billion worth of in‑kind contributions achieved through development.

Learn more about the Capital Plan

Capital budgeting

The budgeting process strikes a strategic balance among our needs to:

  • Maintain assets in a state of good repair
  • Optimize networks of amenities to best serve residents, businesses, and people who visit and work here
  • Advance Council and City priorities within our long-term financial capacity

Annual capital budget

The annual capital budget provides the authority to proceed with specific capital projects. It defines both the Multi-Year Capital Budget and the Annual Capital Expenditure Budget for approved capital projects.

Important in fostering and maintaining public accountability and transparency, the Council-approved Capital Budget provides detailed information about specific capital projects, such as funding sources and outcomes

Capital Expenditures Chart

Consolidated budget

In accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards, we report our annual financial statements on a consolidated basis for the five funds and eight City entities (listed in the Budget Book) that make up our financial reporting entity.

Consolidated financial information increases the:

  • Accountability
  • Transparency
  • Overall usefulness of information

The Consolidated Budget includes information for all City funds and entities and is presented on a financial statement basis to follow Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) standards to include amortization (depreciation) and to exclude debt transactions and reserve transfers.