It's inspiring to see that here in British Columbia we are cautiously moving towards a new normal for our everyday lives as we move into phase 2 of our BC's Restart Plan. As well, it is great to see businesses opening up again. I want to acknowledge our incredible local businesses and service providers for doing your level best to keep our community thriving and for supporting your employees and the vibrancy of Vancouver Mount Pleasant. We should feel proud that by working together we have managed to flatten the curve.
Let’s keep up our efforts! We should continue physically distancing and keep sharing government resources and news that can lift people up. In this newsletter, you will find links of resources that support businesses, families and communities.
Typically in June, my office would be preparing to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st at the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and Trout Lake! My staff and I will miss seeing everyone at these events in person but please find creative ways to celebrate and tag me on social media via @melaniejmark.
The first week of June is also BC Children and Youth in Care Week (June 1-7). It's a great way to illuminate the innovative and important work from current and former youth in care.
June is also a time to celebrate Father's Day and graduation. I want to take a moment to honour all of the fathers who are going above and beyond to support your families and community.
As the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, I want to congratulate the class of 2020, whether you are graduating from high school, college or university. Well done! We are going to need you more than ever to build back this beautiful province.
Even though our office is closed, we are still providing services and advocacy. Feel free to call our office at 604-660-0707 by email at Melanie.Mark.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Updates from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training
Downtown Eastside supported through skills training, employment
Our government recognizes the valuable lived experience of peers. I’m proud of my ministry for responding to a call to action from local advocates to support a grassroots approach to peer leadership and training in the Downtown Eastside.
Many of us understand the complex and diverse needs of people in the DTES community. Many of these individuals were failed by the residential school system, are immune compromised and are struggling with mental health and addictions.
By working with a respected grassroots organization like EMBERS and their partners, they will be able to help inform government on other tools we should be looking at to successfully support vulnerable people. Peers will be empowered to leverage their knowledge to support their fellow residents to stay safe, while gaining self-confidence, job skills & paid work experience. This is the kind of innovation our government believes in!
On May 11, 2020, the Nisga'a Nation celebrated 20 years of self-government. I am proud to be Nisga'a, my late grandmother Thelma Mark is from Laxgalts'ap, we are Laxsgiik (eagle clan). You may not know this but the Nisga'a were often referred to as Briefcase Warriors. They were the first to sign a modern treaty back in 1998.
Thank you to Frontline Workers from Government Caucus
I am so thankful for our frontline workers for punching above their weight-class and taking care of our loved ones during these unprecedented times. My caucus colleagues and I appreciate all that you do. Please feel free to share this video on Twitter and Facebook. Keep shining! T’ooyaksim’ N’iisim
Decampment Oppenheimer Park and Blessing Ceremony
On May 9, following the decampment of the Oppenheimer Park, I took part in a blessing ceremony led by Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh elders and leaders. My colleague Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and I were called upon as witnesses. In my remarks I stated that it's not by accident that many of the people in the camp are Indigenous. I am grateful to the peers, family members and front line service providers. We have a lot of work to do to turn things around. This is why I believe so strongly that we must Paddle Together.
Patios extensions for restaurants, pubs and breweries
Patio season is here! To support industry recovery and allow for proper physical distancing, the government is temporarily allowing businesses to extend their patios. If you can, please support your local restaurants, pubs and breweries! We're in this together.
Order take-out, drive-thru or use food delivery services
Purchase a restaurant gift card for a friend, or to use later
Choose local products whenever you can
Support B.C. restaurants and businesses on social media
Support BC Farmers’ Markets:
Did you know that BC Farmers’ Market Association is helping member markets set-up an online model in addition to physical markets? Find both online and physical markets at https://bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/
Buy BC Online and Support BC Farmers and Food Producers:
Whether you’re a consumer in search of local food, or a farmer or food processor looking to sell your product, this list of e-commerce food platforms has you covered!
As a parent of two school-aged children, I recognize that everyone has been anxiously waiting to hear about the next steps for a return to school for K-12 students. As we transition into phase 2 of Restart BC, the gradual return on June 1st will focus on health and safety.
Small Business BC helps British Columbia's entrepreneurs grow successful and sustainable businesses through expert business advisors, educational services, easy-to-use free resources and engaging community events.
The Lifeguard App has been developed in cooperation with British Columbia Emergency Health Services. The app was created to help prevent overdoses, as part of the harm reduction strategy.
The app is activated by the user before they take their dose. After 50 seconds the app will sound an alarm. If the user doesn’t hit a button to stop the alarm, indicating they are fine, the alarm grows louder. After 75 seconds a text-to-voice call will go straight to 9-1-1, alerting emergency medical dispatchers of a potential overdose.
During the first week of June, British Columbian's are invited to celebrate children and youth in care.
As a former youth in care, I am very passionate about supporting and empowering young people who are or were in care. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing measures, it isn't possible to hold events in the same way. Thankfully my colleague, Minister of Children and Family Development, Katrine Conroy put together a list of some ideas for you to be an ally.
BC 211 is an important resource to help you find supports in your community. They have recently launched their Safe Seniors Strong Communities program that matches seniors who need support with non-medical essentials to volunteers in their community who are willing to help. To register as a senior needing help or a volunteer, click here.
To learn more about BC211: https://www.bc211.ca/
BYRC is offering a COVID food program where youth 12-24 can access food kits. For more information, contact reception at 604-709-5720