April has been all about education! This month, I was excited to visit several schools in our riding, meet with students, teachers and parents, and celebrate the hundreds of former youth in care who are benefiting from our government's provincial tuition waiver program.
Education played a significant role in my life. My grandparents attended St. Michael's, Elk Lake and Brandon residential schools. I attended a few elementary schools and six high schools before graduating from Ladysmith Secondary. I was in care for three years. I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school. I never dreamed of going to college or university because it was so out of reach. I did manage to attend what was then Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University), later studied Criminology at Native Education College/Douglas College and then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Simon Fraser University.
My rugby coach encouraged me at school. He told me that I had tenacity. His encouragement gave me the courage to step up.
It is my honour to be your MLA and the Minister for Advanced Education, Skills and Training. I am living beyond my wildest dreams.
It is my passion to lift people up and make our communities stronger. Thank you for the opportunity.
With spring in full swing, I look forward to seeing you out and about in the community. We have three more weeks to go at the B.C. Legislature for our Spring session. Below are a list of a few key events in our community - Save The Date!
Please continue reaching out to my dedicated staff with your ideas on how we can improve our community.
Hon. Melanie Mark,
Member of the Legislative Assembly
Vancouver Mount Pleasant
Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak | 馬蘭妮
In Vancouver Mount Pleasant
Thank you parents and adult allies from Strathcona Elementary for inviting me to hear about your concerns regarding the VSB Early French Immersion consolidation proposal. I am really glad Janet Fraser, VSB Board Chair, was able to attend so she could hear directly from parents. Strathcona serves such a dynamic community- thank you for all that you do to support our children and strengthen our community.
T'ooyaksim' N'iisim' Vancouver School Board Chair, Trustees, and the Superintendent for hosting a meeting with Vancouver MLA's- George Chow, David Eby, George Heyman, Shane Simpson and I. We had a great discussion about supporting student wellness and success, parental engagement, the draft Long Range Facilities plan, Truth and Reconciliation, as well as space utilization. I'm looking forward to meeting again soon.
Thank you WISH Drop-in for visiting my community office to share the importance of your programming for women who are involved in Vancouver’s street-based sex trade. T'ooyaksim' N'iisim' for all that you do to lift people up.
Congratulations to Army & Navy on your 100th anniversary! Thank you for serving generations of families in Vancouver’s Eastside. I have fond memories of eating and shopping at A&N with my mom and today I proudly shop there with my daughters. Your one-stop flagship Hastings and Cordova store is serving our diverse community in more ways than you can imagine. T'ooyaksim' N'iisim'
New funding for survivors of violence to access skills training and employment support
I'm so proud that the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training has recently announced that we will be funding close to $5 million annually to provide skills training and employment supports to people who have survived violence and abuse. I believe this investment will help open doors, improve people's lives, and lift people up.
Eight hundred and six former youth in care are now accessing post-secondary education and skills training through the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program that Premier John Horgan and I launched in September 2017. Now, the future is looking brighter and the sky truly is the limit for people like Makayla Waldenberger, who is studying at the University of the Fraser Valley in the Bachelor of Arts Child and Youth Care program. Keep shining!
Learn more about the program here and please share with young people:
Click above to hear Makayla's inspiring story, with remarks from me as the Minister.
Investing in Open Textbooks
Our government is investing $3.26 million into open education resources. Open textbooks can be a major game changer for students because they reduce the burden of debt that students accumulate during their studies. Students have long been advocating for greater investments in open textbooks because they’re a great way to level the playing field. As the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, I'm thrilled to be a part of a government that is listening to students and is working with them, as we make record investments to support post-secondary education.
Through a ministerial order, Minister of Education, Rob Fleming will require all B.C. public schools to provide free menstrual products for students in school washrooms by the end of 2019! Thank you to all of the advocates for championing this important cause. Students should never have to miss school or activities because they can’t afford or access menstrual products. To fund menstrual products and provide additional services for people in need, our government is also providing $95,000 to the United Way's Period Promise Research Project.
The Select Standing Committee
Children and Youth wants to hear from you!
The Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth invites British Columbians to share their input, experiences and recommendations on assessment and eligibility processes for children and youth with neuro-diverse (e.g.: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delay) special needs.
You can participate by speaking with the Committee at a public hearing, or by making a written, audio or video submission.
Changes to Employment Standards will better
protect children and support workers
The Minister of Labour, Harry Bains, introduced new legislation to bolster British Columbia’s employment standards and strengthen labour laws to better protect children and youth from dangerous work, and deliver improved support for workers whose rights have been violated.
The proposed amendments tackle four priority areas of employment standards, changes to:
better protect children and youth from dangerous work;
make it easier for workers to get help when they feel their rights have been violated;
provide more job protection to people dealing with difficult personal circumstances; and
ensure people are paid the wages they are owed — and that those that violate the law do not have an unfair economic advantage.
CleanBC efficiency rebates make saving energy more affordable
British Columbians making energy-saving improvements to their homes can save thousands of dollars with new CleanBC efficiency rebates.
CleanBC efficiency rebates will save people money, create good jobs and help put B.C. on the path to a cleaner, better future,” said Premier John Horgan. “Helping people keep their homes cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter makes sense, and the efficiency they’re investing in will help B.C. reduce climate pollution.
Seizures of proceeds of crime lead to safer communities
Programs that mentor youth to resist joining gangs, support women escaping violence and help Indigenous families heal from intergenerational traumas will benefit from just over $6 million in grants supporting government crime prevention priorities.
For some of these events we are excited to be hosting tables and booths. We are always in need of volunteers. It's a great opportunity to connect with your MLA, neighbours and make new friends. Community tabling also helps to educate and empower our constituents about the accessible supports our Vancouver Mount-Pleasant office can provide. If you're interested to get involved with our community office, please fill out our volunteer form here!
Community Programs and Events in VMP
There is a measles outbreak in Vancouver right now. If you were born between 1970 and 1995, you made need a measles booster. Find out where you can get yours at: https://immunizebc.ca/finder
Indigiqueer & Two Spirit Crafting Night
Thursday, May 2, 2019; 4 PM - 7 PM
First Thursday of Every Month
BYRC would like to invite all Indigiqueer and Two Spirit youth between the ages of 12-24 to join us for an afternoon of beading and traditional crafts with Peyton, our Indigenous Youth Support Worker. You're welcome to bring any crafting, carving or beading supplies from home. Feel free to drop by BYRC anytime between 4-7 PM. We will have snacks, coffee and tea available.
For more info, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/287155308619103
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House - Community Potluck
Fri, May 17, 2019; 6 PM – 7:30 PM
DINNER | 6:00-7:00 p.m.
CLEANUP | 7-7:30 p.m.
If you want to share a tasty meal and enjoy some togetherness, bring a dish and join the table!
For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/323687208179513/
Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market
Sunday, May 26, 2019; 10 AM - 2PM
Every Sunday until October 27
Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market returns on May 26th! Each week, there are over 30 farms, producers, and food and coffee trucks. Come out and try some local fare!