By Goat Staff with files from BC Gov

In response to recommendations from the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission, the Province is introducing amendments to the Electoral Districts Act to make sure votes are weighted evenly across B.C.

The amendments repeal the existing Electoral Districts Act and replace it with a new act to establish 93 electoral districts. This is an increase of six districts, with four new districts in the Lower Mainland (Burnaby, Vancouver, Surrey and Langley), one on Vancouver Island (Langford), and one in the Interior (Kelowna).

“Every vote counts,” said Niki Sharma, Attorney General. “As our province continues to grow, it’s critical that our provincial electoral districts equitably represent the people of B.C. These changes will make sure British Columbians can continue to have confidence their voices will be heard in the B.C. legislature.”

According to BC law, the population of each electoral district should be within 25 per cent of the “electoral quotient,” which is the population of B.C. divided by the number of electoral districts. With the addition of six new districts, B.C.’s electoral quotient is 53,773 people. The usual deviation range is between 40,330 and 67,216 people per district. As a result of the new districts, 72 districts will have their boundaries adjusted and 41 districts will have their names changed.

These changes are in response to the independent and non-partisan recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Commission’s report on electoral boundaries in B.C. The commission presented its preliminary report to the legislative assembly in October 2022, and the final report in April 2023. The legislative assembly voted unanimously to adopt the commission’s final report proposals on April 6, 2023.

The commission held 63 public meetings in 43 communities and received more than 1,800 submissions as part of the consultation process. If passed, these amendments will take effect for the scheduled 2024 provincial general election.

The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act requires that an Electoral Boundaries Commission be appointed after every second provincial general election to propose changes to the area, boundaries and names of electoral districts in the province. Under the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act, the commission may recommend adding as many as six new electoral districts in B.C.

The commission recommends these changes in response to the province’s estimated population growth of 500,000 people since 2015 and projected population growth in urban areas.