Municipal government

Municipal government spending per capita increased by 15.2% on average in 17 municipalities in Metro Vancouver from 2009 to 2019

Fraser Institute

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Spending per person increased in Metro Vancouver’s 17 municipalities between 2009 and 2019, after controlling for inflation, according to new research released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think tank.

“Municipal government spending has increased dramatically in Metro Vancouver’s 17 major municipalities, and naturally with spending comes taxes,” said Garreth Bloor, policy analyst at the Fraser Institute and co-author of Comparison of spending and income per person in Metro Vancouver, 2009-2019.

In 2019, West Vancouver spent the most ($3,267 per person), followed by New Westminster ($2,558) and Vancouver ($2,415), while Surrey spent the least ($1,435 per person).

The biggest increase was 27.7% in White Rock, which took them from 11e biggest spender in 2009 at 8e at its highest in 2019.

The City of Maple Ridge saw the smallest increase at 2.6%, dropping it 1 spot in the rankings from 15e in 2009 at 16e in 2019.

Not surprisingly, there is a link between high-spending municipalities and high-tax municipalities. For example, West Vancouver, the highest spending municipality is also the 2n/a highest-taxed municipality (total per capita adjusted for inflation) in 2019. Similarly, New Westminster and the City of Vancouver both rank highest in spending per capita (2n/a and 3rdrespectively) as well as income per person (4e and 5erespectively).

“Municipalities that decide, through the democratic process, to spend more, must also impose higher taxes on their residents. The baseline data provided in this study helps Metro Vancouver residents understand their comparative level of municipal spending and taxation,” Bloor said.

Garreth Bloor, Policy Analyst
Fraser Institute

Jason Clemens, Executive Vice President
Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and education organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal and links to a global network of think tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and widely communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choices on their well-being. To protect the independence of the Institute, it does not accept government grants or research contracts. Visit