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New laws in BC and Ontario push privatization while appearing to address community concerns. In Ontario, years of complaints about last-minute funding decisions have led the government to promise it will move to a three-year funding model for hospitals, school boards and universities. Municipalities are also being given the hope of multi-year funding.

But theres a catch. To qualify for funding, public institutions will have to meet harsh performance indicators that could drive another round of privatization and cutback pressures just like the current underfunding model.

In BC, the provinces proposed Community Charter doesnt deliver on its promise to increase funding for cities and towns. Instead, the province continues to download onto municipalities.

The charter, which will replace the provinces Local Government Act, also lets municipalities go ahead with P3s without providing key information to residents. Under the old law, municipalities had to share P3 information, including the parties, the nature and terms of the deal, and the cost. Under the new charter, residents will only be entitled to vote on a concept. Triggering a referendum on a P3 is tougher residents will have to sign up 10 per cent of voters, double the old ceiling of five per cent.