Highrise apartment buildings

How we fund the budget

2018 Budget
 (11.5 MB)

2018 Budget Highlights
 (670 KB)

Vancouver, like other Canadian cities, provides a broad range of services and funds them from a limited revenue stream with only three main sources:

  • Property taxes
  • Utility fees
  • User fees (such as parking meter fees; dog and business licences; parking and building permits; recreation programs including pools, rinks, and fitness centres)

Over half of our operating revenues come from property taxes paid by residents and businesses. Almost one quarter comes from fees and other revenues, with the remainder from utilities.

Over the past five years, Vancouver has had one of the lowest average property tax increases among Metro Vancouver municipalities, at 2.3%

Capital projects funding

Along with property taxes, funding sources for capital projects include: user fees, development contributions (Development Cost Levies and voluntary Community Amenity Contributions), partner contributions from senior levels of government, other agencies, non-profit organizations, foundations, and philanthropists, particularly in the areas of affordable housing and childcare.

We use a variety of payment methods, including pay-in-advance from capital reserves, pay-as-you-go from current revenues and user fees, and debt financing that is repaid over time. We take a careful approach to our use of debt, which is reflected in our consistently strong credit ratings.


Tax and Utility
Tax increase
Tax and Utility Chart

Where your taxes go

Many of the charges on your property tax bill represent taxes levied by the Province of BC (provincial school tax), BC Assessment Authority, TransLink, Metro Vancouver, and Municipal Finance Authority. These taxing authorities determine the amount they need, and we collect the funds on their behalf.

As well, approximately 60% of our sewer and water utility fees are determined by Metro Vancouver.



Tax or fee type  2018 increase 
Property tax  3.9% 
Water utility fees  6% 
Sewer utility fees  10.4% 
Solid waste fees  8.5% 
Median single-family home combined municipal property tax and utility fees  5.3% 

How the 2018 Budget will affect property taxes

Median strata and residential unit

Median single-family home

Median business property

What you get in return

Although we receive the lowest share of your tax dollar of the three levels of government, we provide the services that you encounter every day and consider essential – running water, roads and traffic lights, fire and police departments, community centres, and so much more.