Local elections reform to include four-year terms

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Victoria: The B.C. government will introduce legislation during the current legislative session to change local elections from a three-year to a four-year cycle beginning with the 2014 elections, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes announced today.

Subject to legislative approval, the next B.C. local elections after November 2014 will be in October 2018.

Four-year terms will give local governments more time to consult, plan and achieve community goals – and also help to manage election costs.

All other Canadian provinces hold local government elections every four years.

Extending the term of office will apply to B.C.’s mayors and all elected officials serving municipalities, regional districts, parks boards, school boards and the Islands Trust.

Moving to four-year terms was recommended by the Local Government Elections Task Force. Last year, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) passed a resolution supporting extension of the term of office for elected local government officials from three to four years. The BC School Trustees Association also supports the change.

The move to four-year terms is part of a package of local election reforms planned for the current legislative session. The changes will modernize election campaign financing rules ahead of the 2014 local elections.