June saw us working hard, playing hard, and travelling all over our community and the province to connect with constituents, students, educators, and more.
"Making people's lives better" is not just a motto, but the goal our constituency team and I work towards every day. We're passionate about hearing from our constituents and learning more about what matters in their lives, and what makes Vancouver-Mount Pleasant (VMP) such a unique community.
Check out some of what the team and I have been up to, catch some highlights from a jam-packed month of government announcements, and mark your calendar for our upcoming Tenants' Rights Workshop on Tuesday July 10th!
On June 1st I had the honour of attending Xpey' Elementary's renaming ceremony. Xpey' means cedar in hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, the Musqueam language. So inspired by all the smart, proud, resilient young people I met. To me, this is Truth and Reconciliation in action!
My team and I had a ton of fun at Celebrate Mount Pleasant Day! Next time you see us tabling at a community event, be sure to stop by and #TagYourHood!
It was great to spend an afternoon at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre on June 5th. Chatting with people about our neighborhood and the services my team and I provide at the constituency office is one of the best parts of my work. We saw everyone from ping pong players, to boot campers, to library-goers!
We also had a chance to visit with the 70-100 seniors that meet at the centre every Tuesday afternoon from 1-3pm. We even joined them for some ballroom dancing!
I kicked off Public Service Week by serving up a pancake breakfast for the hard-working Advanced Education Skills & Training team over in Victoria! Ha’awa to the incredible staff who serve our communities each and every day.
Constituency office practicum student Catherine and I spent a morning with representatives from Coast Mental Health to learn more about their programs, meet some of their clients, and congratulate them on receiving a $25,000 Gaming Grant.
We even got to meet "therapy-dog-in-training" Domino!
One of the highlights of my year is to cheer on a sea of change!
Congratulations to all of the gifted and hard working Class of 2018 grads at Britannia Community Secondary School! We are so proud of you!
Special shout out to the parents, teachers, support staff and all adult allies.
Car Free Day on Main Street was another excellent opportunity to connect with the vibrant, passionate constituents of Vancouver-Mount Pleasant.
The vendors at the event were full of generosity and community spirit. My staff and I shared resources, handed out fun swag, and heard more about the priorities and passions of those living in our riding.
This year National Indigenous Peoples Day was celebrated with over 100 events across B.C. !
I celebrated National Indigenous People's Day June 21st with my daughter Makayla and the Vancouver Mount Pleasant Community.
First stop was the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society for a morning celebration and pancake breakfast. I was blown away by the over 100 volunteers supporting this event!
Then the VMP Constituency Office Team helped me keep the energy going all afternoon at Trout Lake.
It was an inspirational day of coming together and feeling the empowerment in our community.
The celebrations continued on Saturday at the DTES National Indigenous People’s Day event at Oppenheimer Park. The DTES is home to some of the most beautiful, resilient, and generous community members that I know.
It warmed my heart and spirit to celebrate with people from all over the community, from so many nations, at both events.
June 26th I spent a fantastic morning with the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. team learning how they are passionately working to build bridges to inclusion and supporting VMP community members and beyond! Our different cultures, views, and knowledge make us stronger when we paddle together.
On July 10th from 7-9pm, the VMP office is hosting a workshopin partnership with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre.
The workshop will cover topics from knowing tenants’ rights, to tips on how to access private market housing. My staff will also be available to answer questions about BC Housing, how to optimize a Housing Registry application,
Please contact my constituency office at 604-660-0707 or by email to let us know if you can make it!
Working for You
Expanded Tuition Waiver Program for Former Youth in Care
The tuition waiver program for former youth-in-care is being expanded outside of public post-secondary institutions to include union trainers! Watch a video from the announcement here. The expansion went into effect July 1, 2018!
Open Textbooks for Adult Basic Education
Adult Basic Education, tuition-free since September 2017, will become even more affordable with more open textbooks for students. With these changes B.C.’s adult graduation diploma will become the first credential in Canada to be both tuition-free and have free course materials available for instructors to use.
Further Investments in Current and Former Youth in Care
The Youth Futures Education Fund provides grants to pay for rent, food, and other costs while students attend school, making it possible for current and former youth-in-care who don't have the support of parents to attend school. It was an honour to meet three students who had received these funds in the past, to hear their stories, and to announce a $250 000 grant to the program!
If this is a program you think you might qualify for and benefit from, please check out youthfutures.ca!
Accessibility Funding Gives Students the Tools to Succeed
Twenty post-secondary institutions will share in $1.5 million in provincial funding to develop or build upon programs that support students with cognitive, mental-health or physical disabilities. VMP's own Vancouver Community College is using their funding for a pilot program to train students on the autism spectrum for careers in baking and cooking! All students deserve the supports they need to thrive in their studies and train for their dream jobs.
Investing in Student Housing
Students, you told us housing is a priority and we listened!
At Thompson Rivers University our government created affordable on-campus housing—including housing for students with families—in the first partnership under the new student housing loan program, part of the B.C. government's 30-point housing plan.
Federal Partnership Benefiting B.C. Workers
The new Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) and the Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) signed between the governments of Canada and British Columbia will significantly increase the jobs and skills training available to British Columbians, including assessments, skills training, work placements, job search assistance, upgrading, certification and employment supports.
Canada will provide the province with over $2.5 billion over six years to invest in British Columbian workers. We know that when we invest in people thru training it can lead to family-supporting jobs!
Upcoming Referendum on Electoral Reform
Attorney General David Eby released a report at the end of May detailing the results of the citizen engagement with over 90,000 British Columbians on electoral reform, which informed his 18 recommendations to cabinet for how the fall 2018 referendum should be structured. The report contains a comprehensive breakdown of results, and analysis of the recommendations by the attorney general. Click here to learn more.
The Province is implementing all of the recommendations from the Attorney General's report, and has now officially established the rules and responsibilities for the fall 2018 referendum on electoral reform, based on direction from cabinet in early June. The official questions for the referendum are:
Which system should British Columbia use for provincial elections? (Vote for only one.)
The current first-past-the-post voting system
A proportional representation voting system
If British Columbia adopts a proportional representation voting system, which of the following voting systems do you prefer? Rank in order of preference. (You may choose to support one, two or all three of the systems.)
Dual Member Proportional (DMP)
Mixed Member Proportional (MMP)
Rural-Urban Proportional (RUP)
Elections BC will administer and enforce referendum advertising rules and the activities of proponent and opponent groups during the referendum campaign period (July 1, 2018, to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2018). Voting will be by mail-in ballot during the voting period (Oct. 22, 2018, to 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2018).
As of July 3, 2018, British Columbia becomes one of only three provinces to cover insulin pumps for people living with diabetes requiring one, regardless of age.
Investing in Childcare Providers
For the first time, licensed family, in-home multi-age (IHMA), and private-group child care providers can access funding to repair or replace items relating to the maintenance of their facility, in order to meet licensing standards. Click here to learn more about the eligibility guidelines.
Families searching for quality, licensed child care in their communities will also have hundreds more options through a new grant program. Eligible unlicensed child care providers—who are currently limited to providing care to a maximum of two children unrelated to them, or a sibling group—can now apply for financial assistance to become licensed family or IHMA child care providers. Becoming licensed allows child care providers to care for seven or eight children, depending on their license.
The number of respite beds will be increased, and overnight care at home will be made more accessible. In addition, the number of adult day program spaces will be increased, and the hours of operation will be expanded to provide services on evenings and weekends.
New Approach to Salmon Farm Tenures
The ‘Namgis, Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla First Nations and the Province of British Columbia signed a letter of understanding on June 27th, formalizing ongoing talks regarding salmon aquaculture in the Broughton Area. The parties have agreed to engage in a respectful government-to-government process, to reach agreement related to historical concerns related to these outstanding tenures.
The government-to-government process acknowledges the environmental impacts of the fish farms, as well as their impacts on the Aboriginal title and rights of the First Nations. The process will identify short-, medium- and long-term actions, and provide consensus recommendations to the First Nations and the Government of British Columbia.
The Government of British Columbia will also establish rigorous new rules and expectations for the renewal of salmon farm tenures in B.C. waters. Effective June 2022, the Province will grant Land Act tenures only to fish farm operators who have satisfied Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that their operations will not adversely impact wild salmon stocks, and who have negotiated agreements with the First Nation(s) in whose territory they propose to operate.
Cracking Down on Money Laundering
The Attorney General released the Peter German report on anti-money laundering on June 27th, and announced that the government has started implementing the report's 48 recommendations in an effort to put an end to the flow of dirty money into British Columbia’s casinos. Click here to learn more and read the full report.
Tougher Rules on Payday Loans and Cheque-Cashing
For some time, British Columbia’s most financially vulnerable individuals have used non-traditional lenders and credit providers, who often impose high borrowing costs and debt loads on borrowers. Click here to learn more about the new limits on fees that go into effect on Sept. 1, 2018.
Here are a couple of the events my team and I are looking forward to during the rest of July!
Car Free Day on The Drive: Sunday July 8th from 12-7pm! The festival stretches across 15 blocks featuring amazing local artisans, musicians, community activities, delicious food, tons of entertainment and activities for all ages. The team will be there all day handing out fun swag and useful resources, plus participating in our favourite activity: chatting with you!
Tenancy Rights and Education Workshop: Tuesday July 10th from 7-9pm at the VMP Constituency Office, in partnership with TRAC. Contact our office to let us know if you can make it!