Municipalities and regional districts provide British Columbians with essential local and regional services such as clean water, sewer systems, parks and recreation, and fire protection. These local governments plan and shape their communities, and exercise the vision through the adoption of bylaws.
Whether you live in a rural area, a small town, or a big city, locally elected officials represent citizens and taxpayers; they make decisions together to meet your community’s needs now and in the future.
Local governments may receive funding from several sources, including the B.C. government and the Government of Canada.
All local governments in B.C. operate within a legislative framework that governs their administration and finances including financial planning, reporting, revenues (taxes and fees), liabilities, capital financing, development financing, and property acquisition and disposition.
Municipalities and regional districts in B.C. are empowered by provincial legislation to govern in a wide range of areas. Local government governance and powers focus specifically on how municipal councils and regional district board of directors organize, operate, provide services and make themselves accountable to their communities.
- Municipal Councils & Regional District Boards
- Local Government Bylaws
- General Local Elections
- Local Government Powers & Services
- Local Government Consent & Approval of the Electors
- Conduct of Locally Elected Officials
- Local Government Economic Development
- Collaborating & Building Relationships
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Infrastructure at the local government level facilitates the delivery of public services. The design and location of infrastructure can have a significant effect on a region's economic growth, community livability and overall health. B.C. government grants support local governments to plan, build and sustain these essential assets.
Local government planning establishes land use patterns, which are implemented through land use regulation. Local governments may also acquire or dispose of property and assets, such as parkland, water systems, highways and utilities.
Municipalities and regional districts play an important role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation. Almost every local government in B.C. has committed to climate action under the B.C. Climate Action Charter.
In some areas, specific local authorities can provide local services and administration. These are not local governments, and either predate the regional district system or exist for a specific purpose.
B.C.’s local government system is based on concepts of autonomy, empowerment, and accountability, and collaboration among local governments and with other forms and levels of government. Local governments make decisions based on a legislative framework, provide services and are accountable to their electors in a diverse range of communities.