City of Victoria moves ahead on Indigenous reconciliation fund

Click to play video: 'Victoria council to debate Indigenous property tax option' Victoria council to debate Indigenous property tax option
Victoria city council will debate a new plan Thursday that would allow homeowners the option to pay a little extra when they receive their annual property tax, with the money going towards a reconciliation fund. As Kylie Stanton reports, supports of the move say its a meaningful step towards reconciliation. – Mar 23, 2022

Victoria has moved a step closer to introducing a voluntary reconciliation fund that will give homeowners the option of contributing financially to local Indigenous nations later this year.

A majority of city council committee members voted in favour on Thursday of supporting the fund, which will ask homeowners to voluntarily add between five and 10 per cent extra to their annual property tax bill when tax notices are issued in June.

Read more: Victoria city council debates Indigenous property tax option

The proposal goes to a final council vote on April 7.

Mayor Lisa Helps says the plan is for the city to collect the money and provide it to the Victoria-area Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, along with a $200,000 reconciliation grant the council has previously approved.

Story continues below advertisement

The mayor says many non-Indigenous people in Victoria have expressed wishes to do more for reconciliation and the council considers a voluntary financial contribution as a meaningful reconciliation commitment.

Council member Stephen Andrew spoke out against the fund at the committee meeting, saying people are free to make contributions to local Indigenous nations on their own and don’t need to look to a city program.

Read more: Hundreds gather on B.C. legislature lawn to honour Indigenous children from residential schools

“I support reconciliation efforts,” said Andrew, who has announced his candidacy for mayor in this fall’s municipal election.

“However, this motion is yet another foray by this council into what is plainly provincial and federal jurisdiction. To me, this is straight virtue signalling.”

Sponsored content