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Community Charter

[SBC 2003] CHAPTER 26

Part 1 — Principles, Purposes and Interpretation

Principles of municipal governance

1  (1) Municipalities and their councils are recognized as an order of government within their jurisdiction that

(a) is democratically elected, autonomous, responsible and accountable,

(b) is established and continued by the will of the residents of their communities, and

(c) provides for the municipal purposes of their communities.

(2) In relation to subsection (1), the Provincial government recognizes that municipalities require

(a) adequate powers and discretion to address existing and future community needs,

(b) authority to determine the public interest of their communities, within a legislative framework that supports balance and certainty in relation to the differing interests of their communities,

(c) the ability to draw on financial and other resources that are adequate to support community needs,

(d) authority to determine the levels of municipal expenditures and taxation that are appropriate for their purposes, and

(e) authority to provide effective management and delivery of services in a manner that is responsive to community needs.

Principles of municipal-provincial relations

2  (1) The citizens of British Columbia are best served when, in their relationship, municipalities and the Provincial government

(a) acknowledge and respect the jurisdiction of each,

(b) work towards harmonization of Provincial and municipal enactments, policies and programs, and

(c) foster cooperative approaches to matters of mutual interest.

(2) The relationship between municipalities and the Provincial government is based on the following principles:

(a) the Provincial government respects municipal authority and municipalities respect Provincial authority;

(b) the Provincial government must not assign responsibilities to municipalities unless there is provision for resources required to fulfill the responsibilities;

(c) consultation is needed on matters of mutual interest, including consultation by the Provincial government on

(i)   proposed changes to local government legislation,

(ii)   proposed changes to revenue transfers to municipalities, and

(iii)   proposed changes to Provincial programs that will have a significant impact in relation to matters that are within municipal authority;

(d) the Provincial government respects the varying needs and conditions of different municipalities in different areas of British Columbia;

(e) consideration of municipal interests is needed when the Provincial government participates in interprovincial, national or international discussions on matters that affect municipalities;

(f) the authority of municipalities is balanced by the responsibility of the Provincial government to consider the interests of the citizens of British Columbia generally;

(g) the Provincial government and municipalities should attempt to resolve conflicts between them by consultation, negotiation, facilitation and other forms of dispute resolution.

Purposes of Act

3  The purposes of this Act are to provide municipalities and their councils with

(a) a legal framework for the powers, duties and functions that are necessary to fulfill their purposes,

(b) the authority and discretion to address existing and future community needs, and

(c) the flexibility to determine the public interest of their communities and to respond to the different needs and changing circumstances of their communities.

Broad interpretation

4  (1) The powers conferred on municipalities and their councils under this Act or the Local Government Act must be interpreted broadly in accordance with the purposes of those Acts and in accordance with municipal purposes.

(2) If

(a) an enactment confers a specific power on a municipality or council in relation to a matter, and

(b) the specific power can be read as coming within a general power conferred under this Act or the Local Government Act,

the general power must not be interpreted as being limited by that specific power, but that aspect of the general power that encompasses the specific power may only be exercised subject to any conditions and restrictions established in relation to the specific power.

Definitions and other interpretation rules

5  The Schedule to this Act establishes definitions of terms used in this Act and rules of interpretation that apply to this Act.

Contents  |  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  Schedule