Every September, hundreds of local government officials from across B.C. gather at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention to discuss issues that are affecting their communities. But this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, delegates will instead be voting on resolutions, attending clinics and workshops, and meeting with cabinet ministers from the comfort of their living rooms, home offices and kitchen tables. The UBCM has held in-person conventions for more than 100 years, and this will be the first year that won’t happen. Rather, a shortened virtual convention is set to take place Sept. 22 to 24 .
Mental health, addictions and illicit drug toxicity remain a concern for communities, and the UBCM wants to see the province do more to provide protective and health services, like funding for the overdose crisis, long-term care beds for mental-illness cases and integrated teams to help those with mental-health issues. It is also urging the province to ensure B.C. Housing policies support adequate shelter space for those who need to be in “safe, clean and sober” environments throughout the province.