Agenda Index City of Vancouver



July 4, 1997


1. Special Advisory Committees Conference Fund

The Special Advisory Committee on Seniors, at its June 6, 1997 meeting, passed a resolution that a request be made to Council for the establishment of a Special Advisory Committee Conference Fund.

Discussion of a conference fund first arose at the Committee's meeting held April 26, 1996. At that time the allocation of a $1,000 budget to be used to pay for members' registration at conferences on issues affecting seniors was raised. Reasons for the fund were provided and it was suggested the fund be administered by the City Clerk's Office. A resolution was passed that a memorandum be sent to the City Manager for appropriate action and a letter was subsequently sent to the City Manager (Appendix A).

The response from the City Manager's Office reviewed Council's policy concerning conference funding, namely that it will only fund conference or other travel expenses for Council members or City staff upon approval by Council, and suggested the Committee defer its request until the newly-elected Council took office (Appendix B).

At a subsequent meeting the Committee resolved to approach the City's other three Advisory Committees to seek their support for the establishment of a Special Advisory Committee Conference Fund.

The Seniors Committee approached these Committees with the suggestion that a Special Advisory Committee Conference Fund be established which would allocate $1,000 on an annual basis to each Committee for the purpose of attending conferences relative to the business of the Committee. This fund to be drawn upon with the understanding that the attendee would report back to the full Committee on details of the conference.

The Committee has now received a response from each of the Committees. The Disability Issues and Cultural CommunitiesAdvisory Committees are each in support of the creation of a $1,000 per Committee per annum fund whereas the Bicycle Advisory Committee supports $500 per Committee per annum (refer to Appendix C, providing the extracts of the Committees).

Clause No. 1 (cont'd)

From the resolutions of each of the Committees it is apparent that while they are not in complete agreement with respect to the amount of funding which should be allocated, they do each agree that a conference fund is necessary.

It is therefore on this basis, that the Special Advisory Committee on Seniors


THAT Council approve an annual budget of $3,500 for a Special Advisory Committee Conference Fund. The funding to be allocated as follows:

Disability Issues, Cultural Communities & Seniors Committees $1,000 each

Bicycle Advisory Committee $ 500

The above amounts to be made available for members of the Special Advisory Committees of Council to attend local (Lower Mainland) conferences and workshops relative to the business of the respective committee. The funds to be administered by the City Clerk.

(sgd) Mary Bosze and Kay Stovold


Special Advisory Committee on Seniors


The Vancouver Charter does not empower Council to appropriate funds for the purpose of paying the conference expenses of members of the Advisory Committees as requested above. In addition, there are a number of policies related to the payment of these expenses, including a prohibition on grants to organizations, including the Special Committees, for thepurpose of attending conferences, and a requirement that the travel and conference expenses of Council members will only be paid upon specific approval of Council rather than on a discretionary basis.

City Manager's Comments (cont'd)

The statutory restriction on providing an appropriation to cover these expenses makes it impossible to satisfy the request as put by the Special Advisory Committees. Moreover, the provision of this funding on a grant basis, to be spent at the discretion of the Committees, would be inconsistent with the policies Council has established for other organizations and for its own members.

Should Council wish to extend the opportunity to have conference expenses of the Advisory Committee members reimbursed, the appropriate way would be to require requests for funding to come forward to Council for consideration on an individual basis and for Council to provide the funding in the form of a specific grant. Funding, to some maximum amount established annually by Council, would be provided in the operating accounts of the City Clerk.

The City Manager offers an alternative recommendation to the one presented above to achieve that end:


THAT Council instruct the Director of Finance to provide an allocation of $3,500 in the Operating Budget beginning in 1998 to be reserved for grant requests for local conference expenses from the Special Advisory Committees and instruct the City Clerk to advise the Special Committees that access to that funding should be by way of individual requests to Council, as necessary.

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