March 15, 2022
Faye Wightman, Vice-Chair:
The Board would like to thank Director Wayne Rideout for his thoughtful review of the Vancouver Police Board’s application for a determination under section 27(3) of the Police Act, which resulted from Vancouver City Council’s decision not to approve the 2021 Vancouver Police Department Operating Budget as submitted by the Board. We appreciate his decision to reinstate the resulting $5.7mil shortfall to the VPD’s Operating Budget, in recognition of our legislated responsibility to adequately address the safety needs of Vancouver.
The Board would like to acknowledge the two consultants, Mr. Peter Lépine and Mr. Peter Locke, for their work in drafting the comprehensive reports that were developed to provide Director Rideout with key details and insight into our request, and the Board and VPD’s budget process. The Board appreciates their careful review of the matter, and meticulous consideration of a substantial amount of information.
The consultant’s reports highlight several key points with respect to the Board’s budget process, most notably that there is a strong financial management process in place, and that the VPD operates transparently, efficiently and effectively. This underlines that the VPD budget as submitted by the Board was developed within a strong financial management framework, through careful deliberation and analysis. The reports also highlight that the a rolling deficit of $5.7mil would be unsustainable, falling short of what is required to adequately and effectively police the City of Vancouver. This shortfall would have also negatively impacted the wellbeing of our sworn and civilian members, who continue to work tirelessly during these challenging times. The 2021 budget that was submitted by the Board was based on the minimum of what is needed for the VPD to operate, while taking into consideration the financial implications of the pandemic. Had the deficit not been reinstated, the ongoing shortfall to the base-budget would have compromised the VPD’s ability to maintain its existing level of service, negatively impacting public confidence in policing, and member wellness for years to come.
In his decision, Director Rideout spoke to the Board’s responsibility to continually examine and evaluate the service levels, deployment model, programs, services and staffing needs of the Department. The Board must also always explore opportunities to reduce costs and ensure continued sound financial management. We take these responsibilities seriously and will continue to collaborate with Council, through constructive engagement and open dialogue, working towards a shared vision of public safety for the community we serve.
Public safety, executed within an accountable and transparent financial framework is a joint responsibility. We appreciate the difficult decisions that are being made by all levels of government to manage both the public health needs, and the financial implications as a result of the pandemic.
It is a priority of the Board for the VPD to have the resources that it needs to function adequately and effectively, while delivering public safety to the community in a fiscally responsible way. Director Rideout’s decision to reinstate the 2021 Vancouver Police Department Operating Budget as submitted by the Board supports this priority and we are grateful for the positive outcome.