Anton blames feds for DNA police cost shift

Cities told to take downloading complaints to Ottawa

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.

B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton says municipalities worried about a requirement that they start to pay part of the cost of police DNA testing should take their complaints to the federal government.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities has urged its member cities and towns, which must pay a combined $2.9 million in new charges next year, to protest what it called a provincial decision.

“Not only does this create additional pressure on local finances, the decision flies in the face of the ‘One Taxpayer’ principle so often invoked by the provincial government,” UBCM president Al Richmond said in a letter to the province. “The cost shift to local government is both unwarranted and unfair.”

But Anton said the cost shift stems from the previous Conservative federal government’s decision to pay less than before, not the result of any downloading by Victoria.

“British Columbia has not changed its funding,” she said. “This is an increase that was imposed on B.C. and other provinces by the federal government, which is now requiring municipalities and the province to pay more for DNA services, or lose the service altogether.”

She said the province continues to make its standard annual contribution of $1.3 million a year and it has added a further $1.7 million this year to subsidize municipalities.

But that provincial subsidy dries up next year under a federal-provincial agreement to apportion the costs, leaving more to come out of civic coffers.

Meanwhile, the total cost to B.C. for DNA testing by B.C. police forces is to climb from $3.6 million this year to a projected $5.8 million by 2019.

Anton noted municipalities have known about the issue for nearly two years.

The extra annual costs for DNA testing are expected to be more than $400,000 for Surrey, $100,000 in Abbotsford and about $80,000 in both Delta and Langley Township.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Courtenay Elementary is the latest school on a growing list that has COVID-19 exposures. Google Maps photo
Courtenay Elementary latest school on growing list of COVID-19 exposures

Exposure dates at the school on McPhee Avenue are Feb. 22, 23 and 24

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read