Agenda Index City of Vancouver



Vancouver City Council


City Manager, in consultation with the General Managers of the Community Services Group, Engineering Services, and Fire and Rescue Services, the Chief Constable, Director of Legal Services, and Director of Environmental Health


Deputy Chief License Inspector- Coordinated Enforcement Task Force




Council has passed several policies in relation to the increasing number of show cause hearings, and increasing enforcement for the Downtown Eastside.


Coordinated enforcement of problem premises and businesses is a priority for Council and staff. However, coordinating staff work from the various departments is difficult and taking the process from investigation through to Show Cause hearings can be time consuming. The worst offenders use the delays to their advantage, creating situations that are untenable for the community, staff and Council. Many of the worst offenders are in the Downtown Eastside. The Downtown Eastside Revitalization Program recognizes that and enhanced enforcement is a part of the program.

In order to better address the most troublesome of problem businesses and residences, and to assist in the Downtown Eastside Revitalization Program, a Coordinated Enforcement Task Force is recommended. The Task Force will be made up of existing positions transferred on a temporary basis to the team, a Police Coordinator (existing position) and one temporary new position, Deputy Chief License Inspector, Coordinated Enforcement. The work of the Coordinated Enforcement Task Force will also form part of the review of enforcement processes, being recommended by the Community Services Group in a separate report to Council.

The Coordinated Enforcement Task Force project will last for 12 months, during which time a transition plan will be developed for the amalgamation of task force work into the normal process. Funding of $88,000 is requested for the task force, of which $75,000 is for the temporary position of Deputy Chief License Inspector, and the remainder for anticipated overtime costs, training and equipment.


Most businesses operating in Vancouver do so in full compliance of by-laws and regulations. There are some that have problems, but those are usually resolved with little follow up action required. There is another group that are chronically problem premises; they are of concern to their neighbours, the community and Council. Dealing with this small percentage of businesses consumes an extraordinary amount of staff time.

The City is also beginning work on the Downtown Eastside Community Revitalization Program. An integral part of that program is the task force approach to the enforcement of problem premises in the area. As well, the Community Services Group is planning a review of enforcement processes which is the subject of a companion report to Council. It is anticipated that the task force approach will assist the review in streamlining current enforcement processes, ensuring swift resolution of problems and less stress on the community.

In July of this year, the City Manager and Chief Constable created the temporary position of Manager of Coordinated Enforcement for an 18-month period, to assist in coordinating efforts of City and Police staff in enforcement targeted at chronic poor performers and complex issues, particularly as they relate to the Downtown Eastside Revitalization Program.


The Coordinated Enforcement Task Force will exist for a 12-month period. Staff will be selected from the various enforcement sections, trained in coordinated enforcement methods, file coordination and evidence preparation, and assigned to address the most difficult problems.

The team will include:
Manager, Coordinated Enforcement: full time, assigned between City Manager and Chief Constable
Deputy Chief License Inspector, Coordinated Enforcement: full time, new position (temporary)
Property Use Inspector: full time, reassigned
Fire Inspector: full time, reassigned
Health Inspector: full time, reassigned
Building Inspector: part time, as required
Police: coordinated through Deputy Chief Constable, Operations
Law: assigned as required, from existing staff.

While the majority of staff selected for the task force are currently in enforcement roles and would simply be reassigned to the team; the Deputy Chief License Inspector, Coordinated Enforcement, is a temporary new position and is a key part of the strategy. The Deputy Chief License Inspector will be responsible for all enforcement, including recommending bylaw offence charges and the preparation of Show Cause hearing packages, and referring matters for Court Injunction.


The primary mandate of the Coordinated EnforcementTask Force will be to deal with enforcement issues related to problem premises using a variety of methods, including license suspensions, Bylaw prosecutions, Show Cause hearings and court injunctions.A second part of the mandate will be training for enforcement personnel, both on and off the task force.The enforcement process and procedure will be fully documented and used as a future training tool, to ensure the knowledge gained through the coordinated enforcement task force will not be lost.

The list of projects assigned to the team will include the worst offenders and the most difficult multi- department issues. As well as other enforcement action taken, the team will recommend Show Cause hearings to Council whenever appropriate. Up to 24 Show Cause hearings can be expected during the course of the project.

All departments will benefit from coordinated enforcement. In particular, the Police should see direct benefits to the Neighbourhood Policing program. Enforcement coordination for the Police will be through the office of the Deputy Chief Constable, Operations. The Police will also coordinate assistance from other law enforcement agencies, such as the RCMP, Immigration Canada, BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, Human Resources Branch, and other relevant agencies.

Links and Transition Plan

The Coordinated Enforcement Task Force project is directly related to the Community Services Group Review of Enforcement Processes. The task force project will be amalgamated into the work of the Neighbourhood Integrated Service Teams and other existing services. Therefore it is important that the work of the Coordinated Enforcement Task Force form part of the review and required process revisions that are identified through the work of the Task Force be addressed as part of the overall review. Rather than be relocated, task force members will remain in their work sites, better able to share information and expertise with their colleagues.

The task force is supported by all involved departments. In a recent meeting of senior staff to discuss the proposal, representatives agreed to reassign staff to the task force and agreed to support process changes to ensure problems are resolved as quickly as possible. It was also agreed that any training members of the task force received would be shared with other staff so that benefits are spread throughout the departments.

A transition plan will be developed and brought back to Council within six months. The plan will identify how the work of the task force can be amalgamated into existing work, and in particular into the work of Neighbourhood Integrated Service Teams to further strengthen that program. It is anticipated that with some initial success the interest in the task force methodology will make the transition easier. A coordinated task force project review committee will be established to assist in linking with the enforcement review project and in the transition plan.

Anticipated Results

As well as being a component of the enforcement process review planned by the Community Services Group, there will be direct benefits to the City from the task force approach.

Anticipated results include:

· doubling Council’s objective of 12 Show Cause Hearings annually to 24 during the period of the task force
· a lower rate of repeat offenders
· a more coordinated approach to enforcement
· better communication between staff groups, especially between Police and City staff
· enforcement that is swift and appropriate to the situation
· a process for training and continuing coordinated enforcement after the end of the project.


The temporary position of Deputy Chief License Inspector, Coordinated Enforcement, will supervise inspectors, prepare Show Cause evidence, refer matters for By-law prosecution and Court Injunction, and perform other duties associated with the position of Deputy Chief License Inspector. Therefore, the funding requested ($75,000) is for an exempted position equivalent to pay grade 30. The remaining $13,000 will cover overtime that will inevitably be incurred during the project, training requirements, and a small amount for equipment and supplies.

Funding for the project can be provided from within the existing budget envelope created by Council on October 22, 1998. This will require a allocation from the Contingency Reserve provision in the 1999 budget projection which was established to provide for this type of high priority issue. The 1998 portion, estimated at $10,000 will be funded from the 1998 Contingency Reserve.


The City Manager and Chief Constable are proposing an interdepartmental coordinated enforcement task force to address the most difficult enforcement issues, and as a model for future enforcement activities. As well as better compliance to by-laws and standards, immediate outcomes expected from the Coordinated Enforcement Task Force will include a faster response time to problem premises, more effective enforcement and an easing of the pressure on the community. In the longer term we can expect to see a well defined process for dealing with coordinated enforcement and better ongoing coordination between departments. At the conclusion of the project, a transition plan will ensure knowledge and skills learned through the process are not lost as the process are amalgamated into the larger operation.

* * * * *


Comments or questions? You can send us email.
[City Homepage] [Get In Touch]

(c) 1998 City of Vancouver