Proposal aims to restrict ministry name changes 0
Copies of B.C.'s Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour news releases in 2011, 2012 and 2013 — under different names. One B.C. municipality wants the changes to slow down. (PHOTO ILLUSTRATION)
A resolution aiming to restrict when Victoria can change the names of its ministries is among the civic proposals at next month’s Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting.
The motion is among a host of proposals put forth by civic politicians, to be heard Sept. 17-20 at Vancouver Convention Centre.
In Vancouver, politicians are backing the “Raise the Rates Coalition” to eliminate such requirements as the three-week work search for welfare rates, including the requirement that welfare recipients can’t also be working.
Smaller villages, such as Vancouver Island’s Sayward Village, meanwhile, are worried about the RCMP centralizing detachments to urban areas — meaning police response times could extend to 45 minutes for the tiny community, even if officers race to the scene.
Other municipalities, such as Quesnel and Metchosin, are worried about genetically engineered and modified foods. The former wants labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms. The latter would like a ban on imports and exports of genetically engineered plants, and to forbid raising GE animals.
Sicamous, the municipality that wants ministry name changes to slow down, said the problem it’s identified poses “a large cost to taxpayers.” Numerous ministry name changes additionally create an unnecessary burden on civic staff to update files and develop contacts.
The small B.C. community, which sits between Salmon Arm and Revelstoke, wants changing ministry names only to be allowed within a four-month period after provincial general elections.
“It’s a lot of hassle,” said Sicamous Coun. Terry Rysz. “We have stationary in place, and we also have staffing that’s familiar with different ministries and there’s these constant changes and it becomes costly to the different districts from a administration point of view.”
The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, for example, was changed in 2012, removing the “Innovation” and replacing it with “Skills Training and Responsible for Labour.” As recently as 2011, it was known as the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment.
Last year, B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and the attorney general’s office were merged into the Ministry of Justice.
Ministry of Finance spokesman Jamie Edwardson, speaking for Victoria, said the name changes only occasionally happen, and typically only after elections.
“Government works to minimize any cost that results from name changes, for example, by only updated printing material after old stock has been used up.”
Rysz said confusion builds further when government components, such as the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch, are swapped between ministries.
That happened in 2012 when the LDB switched from the public safety ministry’s jurisdiction to the Ministry of Energy and Mines and Natural Gas, which is no longer responsible for natural gas, but now responsible for “core review.”
“That’s the type of things you’ve got to wonder, why in the hell would they umbrella that?” Rysz quipped.