Vancouver releases Draft 2021 Budget ahead of December 1 special Council meeting

THE City of Vancouver on Tuesday published its Draft 2021 Budget and Five-Year Financial Plan, to be considered by City Council at a special Council meeting on December 1.

The City said it has taken a conservative and flexible approach to preparing the Draft 2021 Budget. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the City’s finances in 2020 including a projected $85 million in reduced revenue, $13 million in additional costs for the emergency response to support the community, and increased costs for regular operations during the pandemic such as personal protective equipment for frontline workers.

The Draft 2021 Operating Budget for Council consideration is $1.6 billion, which is $17 million or one per cent less than the original, planned budget for 2020.

In recognition of the financial challenges faced by local residents and businesses due to the pandemic, City Council directed staff to prepare a 2021 Budget with options for a property tax increase of no more than five per cent.

A five-per-cent increase assumes regular operations including additional operating costs due to the pandemic, addresses critical risks and service gaps, and covers the City’s annual inflationary fixed cost increases. As this budget is lower than the 2020 budget, some planned initiatives will need to be deferred and service levels for the public will be also impacted.

If approved by Council, a five-per-cent increase would amount to the following average property tax increase amounts for 2021 (based on median property values in each category) after adjusting for the impact of the Council-directed tax shift of .5 per cent property tax share from non-residential to residential classes:

* $146 for a single-family home (assessed at $1.6 million)

* $64 for a condo or strata unit (assessed at $688,000)

* $166 for a business property (assessed at $1 million)

* $104 for a residential property overall (assessed at $1.1 million)

The actual tax bill for each property owner will be different than the above average amounts, and will depend on the assessed value of the property, as well as the relative assessed value of that property to others in the same area. Assessed value is determined by BC Assessment. The final property taxes and fees for 2021 will be set once a final budget is approved by Council following their December 8 meeting.

The Draft 2021 Budget materials, including the public engagement report, can be viewed online at

To register to speak at the special Council meeting on December 1, follow the directions on the City website. Residents can also submit questions or comments to Mayor and Council via the website.