Vancouver Agreement How it Works

How It Works

Governance is a key issue for a tri-level government agreement and in the first few years considerable effort was made to design a structure that worked for all three levels of government. Complex negotiations were necessary to draw in numerous public agencies from three jurisdictional levels and to forge shared objectives among partners.

Over the past decade, more than 20 government ministries and agencies have participated in the Vancouver Agreement (VA). Governments are involved at all levels of the VA:  Governance Committee, Management Committee, Planning Table, Coordination Unit, task teams and ad hoc committees.

In all aspects of the VA, each government and public agency retains its respective mandate, accountabilities, and reporting requirements. The parties jointly identify issues to address using their own resources, supplemented by VA funding where required. All decisions are made by consensus.

Following is a description of the VA structure and the responsibilities of the various committees.


Governance Committee (formerly Policy Committee)

The federal and provincial governments each appoint a minister responsible for the VA. The Mayor of Vancouver represents the municipal government. The Governance Committee has ultimate responsibility for the VA, including decision-making and accountability.

Management Committee

The Management Committee is responsible for inter-governmental relations, external communication, monitoring and evaluation, investment decisions and overseeing operational activities. Despite substantial differences in jurisdictional authority and financial capacity, a decision rule of unanimous consent ensures that each government partner exercises equal power.

The government partners are represented on the Management Committee by executive-level staff. Currently, the federal government representative is the Assistant Deputy Minister for BC, Western Economic Diversification Canada. The provincial representative is the Deputy Minister, Ministry of Community and Rural Development, and the City is represented by the City Manager.

Although there have been some changes in Management Committee membership during the almost 10 years of the VA, an important contributor to its success has been the relatively consistent membership of the Management Committee and of the Planning Table. These long-term relationships established a trust, a common vision and a respectful approach to the resolution of differences.

Planning Table (formerly Coordination Team)

The Planning Table is responsible for developing operational approaches to address the strategic goals specified by the Management Committee. Membership is composed of senior operational managers from the public agencies with mandates to deliver and fund services in the inner city.

Coordination Unit (formerly Secretariat)

The Coordination Unit provides administration, financial management, communications, monitoring and reporting. At the height of the VA, the Coordination Unit was staffed by an executive coordinator, administrator, financial clerk, communications director, evaluator and several consultants. Currently, there is a part-time executive director with consultant services retained as required.

Task Teams

The Task Teams were charged with designing actions that would achieve outcomes in each of the four VA Strategic Initiatives:

  • Economic Revitalization
  • Safety & Security
  • Housing
  • Health & Quality of Life

Membership was composed of staff from all three governments and some community agencies. The 12 Task Teams, each with up to 15 members, brought extensive cross-government and community experience to VA planning.

Currently, the active Task Teams are:  Economic, Housing, and Living in Community (formerly Street-Based Prostitution).