Anton blames feds for DNA police cost shift

Cities told to take downloading complaints to Ottawa

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

North Island College announces 2020 graduation award winners

North Island College has announced the award recipients for the 2020 Graduation… Continue reading

Couple opts for plan B for wedding in Courtenay

Pandemic restrictions prompt April Powell and Hayden Eely to change plans for the big day

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Point in Time Count indicates homelessness on rise in Comox Valley

BC Housing has released preliminary data from the 2020 homeless count for… Continue reading

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Most Read