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

Children’s author hopes public can grant father’s wish to see work in Abbotsford library

Dawn Doig’s father recently died from COVID-19 after staying at Worthington Pavilion

Fraser Valley Regional Library branches offer curbside pick up

After two and a half months of being closed, people can once again check books out of the library

Abbotsford playgrounds to re-open Monday

City urges public to bring hand-sanitizer and maintain physical distancing

Police watchdog investigating after man injured during Abbotsford standoff

Man seriously injured during arrest on May 21 at Abbotsford hotel room

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

Most Read