Councillor Wiebe calling for community safety and well-being to be priority in 2022 budget

Published Jan 19, 2021 1:25 PM

Motion requires every city department to identify and report on all actions being taken that contribute to public safety 

VANCOUVER, B.C. –  On Tuesday January 19, 2021, City Councillor Michael Wiebe will introduce a motion asking staff to take a cooperative and collaborative, equity-driven approach to creating a Community Safety and Well-being Framework for Vancouver. Originally tabled at the budget meeting in December 2020, the motion will be debated in Council this week.

“The conventional approach to public safety is reactionary, top-down, and overwhelmingly siloed,” said Wiebe. “Council is working to change this, passing several community safety motions relating to decriminalizing poverty and mental health supports and outreach, but there has been no overarching framework. It’s time we take a proactive, community-based, equity-led, holistic and systemic approach to make the best use of our available resources.”

Wiebe’s motion also asks Council to commit to making community safety and well-being a priority in the 2022 Budget.

“If we make safety and wellbeing a budget priority, then each department will have to take inventory of what they are currently doing to achieve this objective and provide a report to Council.

“Once we have a clear understanding of the policies and programs we have in place across all departments, we can begin to adjust our spending priorities and investments to ensure that each department is doing what they are best suited for and that they have the resources they need.”

Wiebe’s motion also directs staff to take guidance from the community and key stakeholders in order to properly understand the scope, breadth, and dynamics of what safety means to our community. 

“With guidance from the community and a full accounting from City departments, Council will have the information needed to properly budget for improved community safety in 2022 across broad and critical priority areas, such as personal health, social development, safe public spaces, homes and amenities, crime prevention and reduction, transportation safety, climate safety, and emergency management.

“Over the past two decades, the defunding of social services has led to severe community safety issues including a lack of mental health services, addiction disorders, and homelessness. Because we don’t have more appropriate and effective infrastructure and resources in place, these safety needs are being dealt with by police officers, often to the detriment of the individuals suffering from lack of safety structure. 

In the 2020 Budget approval process, Councillor Wiebe successfully added an amendment to the budget directing staff to ‘report back during the 2021 budget process with the feasibility and implementation impacts of changing to a wellbeing budget process in future years.’ The 2021 budget includes preliminary wellbeing metrics which will be expanded in years to come.

“I’m hopeful that this motion can build upon the wellbeing work which is already underway with regards to the budget.

“We need a paradigm shift with regards to safety in our City. I’m hoping this is the next step in creating a larger strategy that will result in more effective spending in future budgets and ultimately result in a safer and healthier city for all our residents.”


More Information:Motion: A Community Safety and Well being Framework