Government Finance Officers
Association of British Columbia

Session Description: 

One of the top priorities in the Province of BC today is addressing the supply of affordable housing and ensuring appropriate social housing along with the necessary supportive services.  Given the recent elections, and many changes in municipal governments, priorities are being reconfirmed, execution strategies are being developed and the approaches are being heavily debated.  There are many communities where the issue is relatively new, while others have had many years of experience.  This provides an opportunity to discuss some key pitfalls from three different perspectives – Elected Officials, Non-Profit Service Provider, and Local Government Staff.  The panel will moderated by Kristine Simpson, Partner with BDO who will push the panelists to address some key challenges to overcome. 

Kristine will be joined by Henry Braun, the Mayor of Abbotsford, recently elected to his second term as Mayor in October 2018, one of the few returning mayors in the Lower Mainland this round.  Prior to being an elected official Mayor Braun was also involved with companies that developed and owned commercial, industrial and residential income-producing real estate properties. Mayor Braun has been actively advocating for supportive housing projects in Abbotsford and partnerships with BC Housing, after some failed passed projects.  He believes that Abbotsford deserves another chance for money that had been on offer for social housing. 

Kristine will also be joined by Shayne Williams CEO of Lookout Housing and Health Society.  Shayne has over 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector, currently operating 45 sites and 90 programs throughout 14 communities that address extreme poverty and associated challenges including homelessness, physical and mental health, substance use, trauma and disabilities.  Working in such a wide variety of communities, with a variety of elected officials and municipal staff, he can provide insight into methods to set projects up for success and avoid pitfalls in the processes. He is a 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient and a 2017 Canada 150 award recipient for outstanding service and dedication to the community. 

To round out the panel and provide the third perspective, we will have Senior Manager of Regional Housing of the Capital Regional District, Christine Culham join us to provide her insight.  The Capital Regional District (CRD) is the regional government for the 13 municipalities and three electoral areas that are located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, which means that Christine works with a complex stakeholder environment. The CRD Board approved their Regional Housing Affordability Strategy in May of 2018 and is focused on building the right supply of housing across the spectrum, providing a sustainable, regional response, protect and maintain housing stock, develop and operationalize a homelessness response and create community understanding regarding affordable developments.

Moderator: Kristine Simpson, Partner BDO Canada, BC Non-Profit Leader


Henry Braun


City of Abbotsford

Shayne Williams


Lookout Housing

& Health Society

Christine Culham

Senior Manager of Regional Housing

Capital Regional District