February is busy as always. On February 2nd, (Groundhog Day) I celebrated my fourth anniversary and the historic day your vote empowered me to become the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant.
Did you know that I'm the 102nd woman to ever get elected in all of BC's history?
I love our amazingly active, diverse and resilient community and take my seat in the house of the BC Legislature very seriously. I am also very proud of the work I have been able to do with my team as the Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training to open doors for post secondary and skills training and create greater access to success for community members in our riding and across BC.
February also marks the beginning of the spring Legislative session. The Throne Speech outlined our government's priorities and the introduction of Budget 2020 sets out our commitments to continue building a stronger B.C. for everyone.
A major highlight of Budget 2020 is the first investment in student post-secondary grants in over 15 years. The new up-front needs based grant has been a call to action from students for a very long time. The new BC Access Grant is a game changer to open doors for students, especially those studying part time, or those in certificate, trades or diploma programs. There's more funding for health care services, new hospitals and the BC Child Opportunity Benefit investments that our government believes will lift people up and open doors to opportunity.
Thousands took part in the annual Women’s Memorial March on Friday February 14th. I want to thank the family members, survivors, elders, and grassroots community advocates and leaders for their unwavering resilience and unrelenting commitment to justice.
This update also includes information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and about local spring break activities.
Amy and Carven (my constituency staff) will do their level best to assist you with information, advice or advocacy related to provincial programs and services. Please feel free to call, email or visit the office. They can also amplify a community event or community resource you are hosting to share with our constituency neighbours.
Marching in Memory of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Walked the 29th Annual Women’s Memorial March with my mom, daughter, aunties, and friends. I started marching back in 2002. I heard heartbreaking and powerful stories, and exchanged hugs and love, from family members, survivors, and grassroots advocates. It's always emotional to hear stories about violence against Indigenous women and girls. Everyone has an important role to play in protecting women and girls from all forms of violence.
Chuc Mung Nam Moi! Happy Vietnamese New Year! Many thanks to the Little Saigon Vancouver organizers, volunteers, and youth for inviting Hon. Adrian Dix, MP Jenny Kwan, City Councillor Jean Swanson and I to celebrate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year with you. Did you know that Canada is home to more than 200,000 Vietnamese Canadians who primarily reside in Ontario and British Columbia?
My Ministry in Action!
New B.C. Access Grants will open doors for thousands of students
Budget 2020 was a major win for students with the first investment in student grants in 15 years. The new BC Access Grant will open the doors to post-secondary education and skills training for thousands of British Columbians. This has been a call to action from students for more than a decade, and I am proud our government has made it a reality.
Starting this fall, more than 40,000 students will benefit from up to $4,000 a year to help with the cost of programs leading to a certificate, diploma, trade or degree. For the first time ever, part-time students will also be eligible for support because our government understands the world is changing, and we must catch up.
I was proud to launch the new Good Jobs Guide at the PICSS, Mega Jobs Fair! This brand new tool links people and their unique skills to training and career opportunities across the province and close to home. It's intended to be a roadmap to help you plan and prepare for your dream job! Did you know that 77% of all new jobs will require some type of training or post-secondary education?
Students get new learning facility and more health-care seats
We depend on health care workers every day! They're the unsung heroes we rely on to care for our loved ones. My Ministry invested more than one million dollars at North Island College so students can learn in a newly renovated hospital space while studying close to home. Students need to study in 21st century facilities to be industry-ready. It was great to share the excitement of this new space and the newly funded health care seats, with my colleague, Courtenay- Comox MLA, Ronna- Rae Leonard. I know it means a lot for students to study, work and raise their families in the communities they love.
The focus of my speech was on the new BC Access Grant and our commitment to investing in people.
Budget 2020 is all about the people. It's about building a stronger B.C. for everyone and making sure that no one is left behind. Building the best B.C. is about improving our communities and lifting people up to take part in our shared prosperity. A rising tide lifts all canoes!
Some of the highlights from Budget 2020 include:
BC Child Opportunity Benefit, helping families pay for the necessities, childcare, and extracurricular activities
Funding for 500 new shelter spaces, including opening two enhanced shelters
Provincial sales tax is being added to sweetened, carbonated drinks
A new tax bracket for the top 1% of earners
$50 million to help address surgical wait times
$20 million to make electric vehicles more affordable through tax credits
Increasing the budget for wildfire management by $35 million
$11 million to fund the Money Laundering Public Inquiry
Our Government's Highlights
ICBC changes will mean British Columbians save 20% on car insurance
Faster process for renters to get their deposits back
As recommended by the Rental Housing Task Force, tenants can now do a direct request through the Rental Tenancy Board to get their damage deposit back. This has been a call to action for over a decade that will make sure renters can get their deposits back and avoid the time-consuming dispute resolution process.
Pattullo Bridge replacement will mean safer, easier, toll-free commutes
The Pattullo Bridge replacement is literally building bridges by creating training opportunities for solid Red Seal jobs in the skilled trades. These welders are lighting things up, and in turn, they’ll leave a public infrastructure legacy that is helping us build the best B.C.
Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs) like the one used for the Pattullo Bridge are all about investing in people! CBAs open doors for women like Kayla, Journey-person welder, to access a high-paying career in the trades closer to home.
More funding for the students who need it through funding review changes
New B.C. education funding model means, for the first time, children and youth in care will be recognized through a new supplement that also supports more children with mental health challenges and kids living in poverty.
This is part one of a two-phase plan to improve education in B.C., following the completion of a comprehensive review that examined the ways in which the education funding system be used to ensure that all students receive the support they need
To learn more: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EDUC0012-000244
For general health information or symptom advice, you can call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 any time 24/7 to speak with registered nurses and health professionals.
Community Programs in VMP
Free tax clinics
These clinics are hosted by community organizations across Canada through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Find out if you qualifyhere! Find a location here
Boys and Girls Club’s Camp Potlatch summer camp program has welcomed over 1,000 youth between the ages of 7-16 for an amazing overnight camp experience. 2020 summer camp registration opens March 2, 2020 at 10:30am Tel: 604-591-9262 Fax: 604-591-8971
City of Vancouver Recreation, Spring Break Camps and Activities
The City of Vancouver offers some spring break day camps for children! As well, it offers activities for all age groups at its various community centres! Whether you are looking for opportunities for leadership, making new friends, or learning how to paint, there are hundreds of pathways waiting for you! Registration dates vary, so enroll early! Click here: https://ca.apm.activecommunities.com/vancouver/Activity_Search
UBC CampOUT! is a social justice summer camp for queer, trans, Two-Spirit, and allied youth from British Columbia and the Yukon! Their 10th Annual CampOUT! will take place on Gambier Island from July 2-5! You can sign up for their Newsletter or visit their website to see if spaces are still available: https://campout.ubc.ca/
CKNW Kid's Fund
For decades, the CKNW Kid's Fund has been lifting people up. The Kids' Fund accepts grant applications from both individual families and organizations in BC that are focused on children’s programs and special projects. CKNW Kids’ Fund Summer Camp Subsidy Applications are due Friday, March 27, 2020. To apply: https://www.cknwkidsfund.com/
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre recurring events
The Centre has been providing quality programs and services to the community for over 50 years. Since incorporation the centre has moved a few times; it was previously located on West Broadway, Vine Street and, due to growth, the centre is now located at 1607 East Hastings Street.
Check out the Friendship Centre's 2020 schedule here: http://www.vafcs.org/calendars/ Phone: 604-251-4844 Fax: 604-251-1986 E-mail:email@example.com
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House Family Drop-in
573 East Hastings St, Vancouver
Tuesday and Thursday 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
The Families, Farming and Food program works to mitigate the effects of material poverty by providing access to healthy food and by empowering participants with life skills and knowledge of healthy food preparation. Info here: https://dtesnhouse.ca
Healthy Living Support Group for Immigrant Women
Want to practice your English, make friends and learn more about Canada?
Join the Health and Wellness Group for Immigrant Women!
To register please contact Sherifa Azzab: 604-879-8208 ext 203, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Arabic group: 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm on the 1st & 3rd Wednesday of every month at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House (800 East Broadway), and, 2nd & 4th Wednesday of every month at the Immigrant Services Society of BC Welcome Centre (2610 Victoria Drive).
Mandarin group: 10:30 am - 12:30 pm on the first Saturday of every month at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House. Childcare is available. Registration is required so be sure to call 604-879-8208!