Ministry 2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report -- Government of British Columbia.
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Message from the Minister of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services  
Message from the Minister of State for Community Charter and 2010 Olympic Bid  
Message from the Minister of State for Women's Equality  
Message from the Deputy Minister  
Accountability Statements  
Year-at-a-Glance Highlights  
Ministry Role and Services  
Performance Reporting  
2002/03 Resource Summary by Core Business Area  
Report on Resources: Mirroring the Estimates Vote Structure  
Summary Reports on Other Planning Processes  
Appendix A — Agencies, Boards and Commissions  
Appendix B — Key Legislation  
Appendix C — Ministry Structure  
Appendix D — Status of New Era Commitments  
Appendix E — British Columbia Heritage Trust Performance Report, 2002/03  

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Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services Home  
2002/03 Annual Service Plan Reports Home  

2002/03 Annual Service Plan Report
Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and
Women's Services

Ministry Role and Services


The Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services was established June 5, 2001 through the amalgamation of programs from seven former ministries. Shortly thereafter, work began to develop the ministry's first Service Plan, setting out goals, objectives, strategies, targets and performance measures for the 2002/03 to 2004/05 fiscal years. This Annual Service Plan Report completes the accountability cycle for 2002/03, reporting on the ministry's performance for the fiscal year, compared to the targets set in the Service Plan. It also reports achievements for which performance targets were not set when the plan was developed.

All achievements documented in this report result from the work of the ministry's eight departments:

  • Local Government
  • Safety and Standards
  • Housing and Building Policy
  • Aboriginal, Multiculturalism and Immigration Programs
  • Community Services and Culture
  • Women's Services and Child Care
  • Olympic Bid, Community Initiatives and Vancouver Agreement
  • Corporate Services

The ministry is also responsible for more than 30 Crown corporations, agencies and boards, and for over 40 pieces of legislation. These are listed in Appendices A and B respectively.

Ministry Vision, Mission and Values


Safe, secure and healthy communities.


Working in partnerships to support safe, secure and healthy communities by:

  • establishing appropriate legislative, regulatory and policy frameworks;
  • promoting and protecting provincial interests by funding performance-based services for communities; and
  • delivering innovative services through e-government and third party service providers.


  • Focus on our clients.
  • Create beneficial partnership opportunities.
  • Use resources wisely.
  • Treat employees and clients fairly and equitably.
  • Create a culture of accountability, innovation and excellence.

Ministry Overview

The following section describes the ministry's eight departments, including their roles in serving the public, their areas of strategic focus and, where appropriate, their future directions for 2003/04 and beyond. Information on each department's achievements is provided in the Performance Reporting Section.

Local Government Department

The Local Government Department is responsible for maintaining a modern legislative framework and providing focused programs and advice to British Columbia's local governments and public libraries. In 2002/03, the department moved forward to develop a framework for open, accountable and financially responsible local governments through the Community Charter. This strategic initiative builds on the Local Government Act to give municipalities greater powers and new freedom to take action and make decisions that respond to the needs and priorities of the people they serve.

The department also worked in 2002/03 to change its focus from regulating local governments to providing advice and focused programming within a legislative framework that broadly empowers local governments.

The department provides support and service in the following areas:

The Community Transition Division works with local governments in communities facing serious economic challenges to manage the impacts of industry restructuring.

The Governance and Structure Division supports implementation of new legislation, changes to local governance and boundaries, advises on complex local government issues, and works to build relationships between local governments and First Nations.

The Intergovernmental Relations and Planning Division supports community and regional strategic planning, inter-governmental relations and dispute resolution.

The Local Government Policy and Research Branch supports the development of local government and safety policy, ministry legislation and local government programs.

The Local Government Services and Infrastructure Division supports local governments through statutory approvals, information and advice to protect the administrative and financial viability of local governments, infrastructure planning, infrastructure construction grants, and partnerships with other government authorities to deliver programs that improve local infrastructure.

The Public Library Services Branch supports public libraries through grants, advice, and information and training initiatives. It also strengthens partnerships with other governments, public agencies and the private sector to foster financial support for libraries.

Safety and Standards Department

This department serves the public through two divisions:

Safety Engineering Services is responsible for programs that encourage safety in the design, manufacture, construction, installation, operation and maintenance of intra-provincial railways, aerial tramways, electrical systems, boilers, pressure vessels, gas equipment, elevating devices and institutional refrigeration systems. Headquartered in New Westminster, the division operates from offices in 30 locations throughout the province. As a result of decisions made through the Core Services Review, Safety Engineering Services will move to an independent safety authority by April 1, 2004.

Office of the Fire Commissioner is the senior fire authority in the province, responsible for fire safety legislation, major fire investigation, provincial response to major fire emergencies, advice to local fire departments on fire protection services, training and public fire safety education. Services are delivered through regional offices in Kamloops, Prince George, Cranbrook and Victoria.

Housing and Building Policy Department

This department has two branches:

The Housing Policy Branch is responsible for developing provincial housing policy, strategies and programs. It also provides policy advice on specific issues such as the residential construction industry, leaky condos, housing markets, social housing, homelessness, housing for persons with special needs, and local government's role in housing. The branch also publishes research and guides on housing issues.

The Building Policy Branch provides policy advice on British Columbia's building regulatory system to advance building safety and accessibility. It administers the BC Building Code, focusing on the development, maintenance and application of related regulations, and acting as the secretariat to the BC Building Code Appeal Board.

The department also works closely with two Crown agencies for which the ministry is responsible:

  • BC Housing provides housing assistance programs for low- and moderate-income households and works in partnership to create housing options for the most vulnerable in our communities.
  • The Homeowner Protection Office licenses residential builders and building envelope renovators and provides advice and financial assistance to owners of water-damaged homes (leaky condominiums).

Community Services and Culture Department

This department is responsible for a variety of programs and services that support the quality of life and self-sufficiency of British Columbia communities. In 2002/03, it served the public through four branches:

The Cultural Services Branch develops policy and administers programs to support arts and culture, and provides policy, program and administrative support for the British Columbia Arts Council.

The Heritage Branch is responsible for preserving historical artifacts and providing public programs at 30 provincial historic sites. The branch works with federal and local governments to implement the Historic Places Initiative — a national register of heritage sites.

The Sport and Physical Activity Branch works with partner organizations to promote health and well-being by supporting opportunities to increase British Columbians' access to sport and physical activity.

The Government Agents Branch provides public access to hundreds of government services in over 50 program areas. Services are available over the counter, via telephone or fax, and over the Internet through Community Access Terminals in 58 offices across British Columbia. The Government Agents Branch was transferred to the Ministry of Management Services as of April 1, 2003.

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Olympic Bid, Community Initiatives and Vancouver Agreement Department

This department focuses on two key initiatives:

The Olympic Bid Secretariat represents the Province as a member partner in the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation. Other partners are the City of Vancouver, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Government of Canada, along with many corporate sponsors. Their mutual vision is to create sustainable legacies for sport development, host communities, the province, the country and the global Olympic family by hosting an outstanding Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.

The Community Initiatives and Vancouver Agreement Branch is responsible for the BladeRunners program, the inclusive Olympics initiatives and the province's participation in the Vancouver Agreement. The Vancouver Agreement is a five-year agreement among the federal government, British Columbia and the City of Vancouver. Its purpose is to improve social and economic conditions in Vancouver communities, with the first focus on the Downtown Eastside.

Women's Services and Child Care Department

This department has four branches:

The Stopping the Violence Branch is responsible for funding and administering programs to support community-based violence prevention projects, counseling programs for women who have experienced violence, transition house programs for women and children leaving abusive relationships, and counseling programs for children who witness abuse.

The Women's Policy Branch provides policy analysis and research support to government on issues that affect women. Working with other ministries and jurisdictions, the branch identifies and analyzes issues of concern to women including economic, health and justice issues.

The Child Care Policy Branch develops policy and legislation and provides analysis, evaluation and research on child care issues.

The Child Care Programs Division administers programs that provide operational funding to assist eligible licensed group and family child care providers with the cost of providing care. As of April 1, 2003, it is also responsible for a program providing subsidies to parents to pay for child care.

Aboriginal, Multiculturalism and Immigration Programs Department

This department has three major areas of responsibility:

The Immigration Division is responsible for managing and implementing the Agreement for Canada-British Columbia Co-operation on Immigration. It also works to maximize the social and economic benefits of immigration to British Columbia by ensuring that the federal government considers the province's interests regarding immigration levels, planning, policy and legislation. Other responsibilities include the design and delivery of the Provincial Nominee Program, as well as strategic initiatives to support the recognition of foreign-trained, skilled workers' credentials in the province.

The Settlement and Multiculturalism Branch oversees the planning, funding, implementation and management of anti-racism, multiculturalism and immigrant settlement programs. The branch helps newcomers adapt to life in Canada through contracts with 100 third-party agencies providing essential settlement services.

The Aboriginal Directorate leads the development of cross-government programming and policy to increase participation of Aboriginal people and communities in the life and economy of British Columbia. This includes identifying initiatives and opportunities for integrated service delivery, one-stop access to program and service information, access to social and economic development opportunities, and the promotion of Aboriginal language preservation. The Directorate also represents provincial interests in federal/provincial processes and negotiations.

Corporate Services Department

In 2002/03, this department had six branches: Corporate Policy and Planning, Finance and Administrative Services, Human Resources, Organizational Transformation and Development, Information and Privacy, and Information Systems. These branches worked with the Office of the Deputy Minister and the Communications Branch to provide common services that support the ministry's programs in achieving their objectives.

The ministry's organizational structure is illustrated in Appendix C.

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Ministry Operating Context

The Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services has one of the broadest mandates in government and is therefore affected by a wide range of issues. The following section lists those that had the greatest impact on programs and services in 2002/03.

  • British Columbia's economy grew by 1.8 per cent in 2002, and the Economic Forecast Council has projected growth of 2.7 per cent in 2003. This growth generally supports the ministry's efforts to enhance the quality of life in communities.
  • Population growth has not been equitable across British Columbia. Between 1996 and 2001, urban centres recorded the highest rates of growth, while some rural communities recorded the fastest population declines in the country. These trends are expected to continue in the future, creating new challenges for both urban and rural communities, and for the ministry in serving them.
  • Changes in technology and the increasing application of computer software to engineering installations represent an ongoing challenge for the ministry. The Building Policy Branch and Safety Engineering Services must work diligently to keep provincial policy and legislation current for industry.
  • Housing construction is contributing to British Columbia's economic recovery. However, there continues to be an undersupply of rental housing. The ministry began work on a housing policy framework in 2002/03 to support continued growth while leveraging partnerships to create more affordable housing.
  • Most parents with young children continue to work outside the home, creating a continuing need for child care services.
  • Women's wages continue to lag behind men's. For example, according to the 2001 census, women working full-time, full-year earned 70 per cent of what men earn. This underlines the continuing need for ministry leadership in government to evaluate the impact of government decisions on men versus women.
  • Aboriginal people continue to experience a lower standard of living than other British Columbians. For example, the life expectancy for status Indians is 7.5 years less than the expectancy of other British Columbians. To help support improvements in their standard of living, the ministry is working to better coordinate services for Aboriginal people.
  • In 2002, 33,874 immigrants landed in British Columbia, many with little understanding of how to secure housing or access services. Although immigration levels declined by nearly 12 per cent compared to 2001, British Columbia retained its 15 per cent share of immigrant landings in Canada over the same period. Ministry funding of settlement services helps new immigrants become contributing members of their communities more quickly.
  • Culture, heritage, sports and public library services enrich British Columbians' lives and enhance their communities. Shifting economic realities are causing many communities to place greater emphasis on the economic benefits of culture. Declining activity levels amongst youth are creating a need to promote the benefits of sports and physical activity for young people.
  • The ministry is leading British Columbia's participation in the 2010 Olympic Bid. In a February 22, 2003 referendum, nearly two-thirds of Vancouver voters said they supported the city's bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. The ministry will be challenged to maximize the social and economic benefits of winning the bid for all British Columbians.
  • Local governments face many issues such as growing federal government interest in communities, greater demand for local public services and increasing awareness of environmental issues, including those affecting drinking water. The new Community Charter will redefine relationships between the Province and local governments, and has generated significant discussion and consultation over the past year.
  • In 2002/03, the ministry continued its move from a focus on service delivery to a focus on governance, consistent with trends towards centralized delivery of corporate services, and the use of third-party service providers. This shift includes downward pressure on budgets and staffing, as well as shifts in strategic direction, and can be seen across the scope of ministry operations, in areas as diverse as the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the Building Policy Branch, and multiculturalism and immigration.

Update on New Era Commitments

In June 2001, the government presented its New Era commitments, 24 of which fall within the mandate of the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services. Implementing these commitments continues to be a top priority. Some can be (or have been) accomplished fairly quickly, while others require ongoing, long-term implementation. Recognizing this, the ministry's progress in meeting these commitments is reported here in the following four categories:

  1. Achieved and concluded (8)
  2. Underway and on schedule (9)
  3. Key deliverables scheduled for 2003/04 or 2004/05 (3)
  4. Another ministry or government body has the lead responsibility (4)

For a detailed progress report on all 24 of the ministry's New Era commitments, see Appendix D.

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Core Business Areas

In keeping with instructions for developing its Service Plan for 2002/03 to 2004/05, the ministry focused its planning for 2002/03 around five core business areas. These are grouped by function (e.g., policy services, service delivery). Major programs, clients and outputs for these areas are described in the Ministry Overview section.

Core Business: Effective Local Government, Aboriginal and Women's Services

Programs associated with this core function include:
  • Local Government Services
  • Library Services
  • Local Government and Library Transfers

  • Community Transition
  • University Endowment Lands
  • Aboriginal Directorate
  • Women's Policy

Core Business: Safety and Standards

Programs associated with this core function include:
  • Safety Engineering Services
  • Office of the Fire Commissioner
  • Building Policy Branch

Core Business: Citizen Access to Government

This core function is provided through 58 Government Agent offices throughout the province. Government Agents provide access to BC government services, as well as some services from other governments and the private sector, through a range of service delivery methods including face-to-face service, telephone, fax, e-mail and Internet access through Community Access Terminals.

Responsibility for the Government Agents Branch was transferred to the Ministry of Management Services as of April 1, 2003.

Core Business: Services for Communities and First Nations

Programs associated with this core function include:
  • Women's Services
  • Child Care Services
  • Housing
  • Culture, Heritage and Sport, including the Physical Fitness and Amateur Sport Fund
  • Aboriginal Programs, including First Citizens Fund
  • Multiculturalism and Immigration
  • Olympic Bid Secretariat
  • Community Initiatives and Vancouver Agreement
  • Olympic Arts Fund
  • Royal BC Museum (funding only)

Core Business: Corporate Services

Corporate Services support the delivery of ministry programs. In 2002/03, this area had six branches:
  • Human Resources
  • Finance and Administration
  • Information Technology
  • Corporate Policy and Planning
  • Information and Privacy
  • Organizational Transformation and Development


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