NDP Proposal Would Deliver Affordable Dental Care

On Tuesday, there will be a final debate on the NDP’s motion that would give dental coverage to millions of Canadians who struggle with the cost of dental care. The NDP plan would allow 6.7 million people in Canada whose household income is less than $90,000 a year to access the dental services they desperately need.

“Canadians across the country are suffering unnecessarily because they can’t afford to see a dentist,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “In the last year, the Liberal government has given billions of dollars in subsidies to large corporations. They stood by while pandemic aid that was supposed to help workers keep their jobs was given to wealthy executives. And they have refused to put a wealth tax on the ultra-rich to ensure they’re paying their fair share. After giving so much money to those that don’t need it, how can they then tell Canadians that they won’t help make dental services affordable? This isn’t right. Instead of supporting the richest in our country, New Democrats will fight for everyday Canadians to get the health care services they need.”

Tomorrow, Members of Parliament from all parties will vote on the New Democrats’ proposal to deliver affordable dental coverage to more Canadians. The motion was brought forward by NDP MP Jack Harris (St. John’s East) who says this would be life changing for millions of students, seniors, single parents and low-income households across the country who don’t have a dental plan.

“Dental health issues can have a very serious impact on your overall health but they can also affect your confidence. I have spoken to people who don’t feel like they can go out and get a job because they have bad teeth and feel very self-conscious about how they look or sound to others. There are seniors in our communities who struggle to eat because their teeth are in such poor shape. There are single moms enduring pain and risking other health complications because they can’t afford to see a dentist for a simple procedure. These people deserve our help,” said Harris. “Tomorrow, the Liberal government has a chance to do the right thing. They can support our plan and get millions of Canadians access to the basic healthcare services they need.”

Climate Bill C-12 Is Not Enough; but it Must Go Through

The following article by Laurel Collins (Federal NDP critic for the environment and climate change) and  Taylor Bachrach (NDP critic for infrastructure and communities) was recently published in the National Observer.

“For the last six years, the Trudeau government has not taken the bold action Canadians expect to address the climate crisis and has consistently missed its emissions targets. Clearly, we need a climate accountability law to keep us on track between now and 2050 if we are going to get to net-zero emissions. With Bill C-12 having just passed the committee stage on June 9, the parliamentary clock is ticking closer to the end of this session. With rumours of a fall election, it’s important to reflect on what’s at stake.

The NDP has always been clear that Bill C-12, the Liberals’ Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, was insufficient. The bill lacked near-term accountability measures like a 2025 target, the role of the advisory body was weak, and the role of Indigenous knowledge was poorly defined — among other shortcomings.

Other countries have done much better — especially the U.K., whose Climate Change Act represents the global gold standard for climate accountability. With the help of this legislation, the U.K. has achieved every carbon budget it has set since 2008 and has reduced emissions by a whopping 48 per cent since 1990. Compare that to Canada, which has the shameful distinction of being the only G7 country whose emissions have risen since the signing of the Paris Accord.

It was clear to us and to Canadians across the country that C-12 had to be strengthened. The minority Parliament presented an opportunity to do that, as the government can’t pass any legislation without support from one of the three main opposition parties.

The NDP consulted leading environmental organizations, legal experts, climate advocates and concerned Canadians. As the bill made its way through the House, we met with the environment minister’s office and discussed the changes needed to improve the bill and make it effective. The Liberals pushed back on several of our demands, but we reached agreement on others.

We fought to secure an interim emissions objective for 2026 and two more progress reports before 2030 for Canadians who no longer trust this government to hit its targets without proper oversight. Before we made this improvement, the Liberals wanted Canadians to wait almost a decade for any real accountability. We succeeded in defining the range of expertise of the advisory body, so Canadians can trust the government is receiving solid advice. We ensured that important, detailed information will be added in both the emissions plans and progress reports, allowing Canadians to know where we stand in the fight against the climate crisis.

Bill C-12 is a better bill today because of our efforts. But let’s be clear: this isn’t the climate plan we would have written.

For starters, we would have pushed to adopt a carbon budget approach as the U.K. did — a much more direct way to articulate how much carbon emissions can be released each year. We would have also added stronger language on the legal enforceability of the bill. And we would have had a truly independent advisory body to provide science-based advice directly to Parliament.

Canada’s major environmental groups agree the bill should move forward. Six organizations wrote to members of the House environment committee on June 7 stating, “Bill C-12, as amended, provides a foundation we can build on to ensure Canada develops the robust accountability framework we need.” They fear our work to date will be lost if the bill does not become law in short order.

We hear Canadians who feel the urgency of this moment and want political leaders to do everything necessary. We share this sense of urgency and are dismayed that some other elected officials do not seem to. In fact, based on their performance at committee, the Conservatives seem determined to drag out proceedings and ensure the bill never becomes law.

We need to be realistic about the choices before us. This is not a decision between a good bill and a perfect bill; it is a choice between passing a strengthened bill into law before the House rises for the summer or getting no bill at all.

If we choose the latter, we know that it will take at least another year to get legislation back to where it is. That will be at least one more year lost when there is already no time to lose.

An NDP government would prioritize strong climate legislation. There is no guarantee that a Liberal or Conservative government would. We have already seen what the former sees as adequate legislation, and if the Conservatives have their way, oil and gas executives would be in charge of Canada’s climate strategy.

In 2006, the late NDP leader Jack Layton led the way by bringing forward Canada’s first climate accountability legislation. It made its way through the House, but, sadly, did not make it out of the Senate. Fifteen years later, we should not allow C-12 to meet this same fate.

Federal NDP Statement on the WE Charity Scandal

Charlie Angus, MP for Timmins-James Bay and NDP Ethics Critic, and Alexandre Boulerice, NDP Deputy Leader, issued the following statement:

“We welcome the recent report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

During Summer 2020, when Canadians were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, people were relying on the federal government to launch programs that helped them keep their jobs, pay their rent, and support themselves and their families. Canadians were shocked to see that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were directly supporting the Kielburger brothers and their network without appropriate accountability measures.

It became immediately clear through this study that this was just how the Liberals operate – if you’re a member of the Liberals’ inner circle, you will get priority access to contracts worth billions of dollars.

The Liberal WE Charity scandal has severely undermined public confidence in this Liberal government. Canadians need to know that their government will be there for them, not just for their friends.

We call on the Liberal government to implement the recommendations in this report without delay. The public’s trust in the government must be restored.

The Liberals must now conduct a mandatory review to determine if a cabinet member may be in conflict of interest and, if so, require the recusal of that member before any cabinet decision is made on the awarding of a contract. We are also asking for vigorous competition for outsourcing be included on any large projects.

We also call on the government to conduct a conflict of interest review of all decisions made in the office of the Minister of Finance. New Democrats also want to see a comprehensive review to examine how non-registered lobbying groups had such direct access to the Minister of Finance.

The NDP will continue to fight for more transparency and make sure Canadians always come first.


Federal NDP Motion Forces Government to Release Documents on Offshore Tax Havens

Yesterday, the finance committee passed an NDP motion asking the Department of Finance and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to produce all records and communications relating to the KPMG offshore tax scheme where hundreds of Canadians were defrauded of their savings.

“The federal government is not giving the CRA the tools it needs to crack down on tax evaders. The ultra-rich and large corporations continue to keep money offshore to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. By failing to put in tax reforms, the government is standing by and letting it happen,” said NDP finance critic Peter Julian. “Not only does this keep $25 billion out of Canada – money that could be used for education, health care or housing – it also creates situations for abuse where Canadians have lost their entire retirement savings.”

During yesterday’s committee meeting, Julian asked officials from CRA if any criminal charges had been laid against those who defrauded Canadians or the corporations who avoid paying taxes by keeping profits offshore. According to officials, no charges have ever been laid for those involved in the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers, the Bahama Papers or the Isle of Man Scam.

“When a problem is identified, people expect the government to fix it. That’s not what’s happening here. The government know offshore tax havens allow the ultra-rich and huge corporations to keep billions of dollars in their pockets instead of paying their fair share of tax in Canada,” said Julian. “It is my hope that the successful adoption of this motion is a step in the right direction. The government is now compelled to provide information about this fraud. Having all of the information can help us determine what needs to happen to make things fairer and to help Canadians from being defrauded.”

ICBC Issues Second COVID-19 Rebate

ICBC will issue a second COVID-19 rebate in recognition of lower claims costs due to fewer crashes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been clear that any pandemic-related savings against ICBC’s bottom line will benefit customers,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The good news is that ICBC is in a strong financial position to issue a second COVID-19 rebate to customers, putting more money back in the pockets of B.C. drivers.”

ICBC will start distributing rebates averaging $120 per policy in mid-July, returning approximately $350 million in additional rebates to 2.94 million customers. This builds on the first COVID-19 rebate of $600 million for a total of $950 million.

Most customers who had an active auto insurance policy from Oct. 1, 2020, to March 31, 2021, will be eligible for the rebate. Exceptions include customers with short-term, storage or distance-based policies, whose premiums already reflect lower usage. The rebate is approximately 11% of the premium customers paid for coverage during this six-month period.

“The past year and a half has been tough on all British Columbians, but they’ve been doing the right thing – including staying closer to home and driving less because of the pandemic,” said Nicolas Jimenez, president and CEO, ICBC. “Due to lower claims, we’re in a position to support our customers and bring them some extra relief, and that’s just what we’re going to do.”

ICBC received about 20% fewer crash claims than expected between Oct. 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, but also saw a reduction in premium revenue as customers made changes to their insurance policies, held off on getting new ones or cancelled them.

The estimated impact of fewer claims is $450 million, while written premium revenue is down $100 million compared to what would normally be received for the period, resulting in net underwriting savings of about $350 million.

Rebate amounts will vary between customers, depending on whether they had a vehicle insured for the full six months and how much they paid in premiums during that time. Roughly 70% of customers will get a rebate between $60 and $200.

A customer with several vehicles fully insured with ICBC Basic and Optional insurance may see a higher value COVID-19 rebate, while a customer who has a vehicle with only Basic ICBC coverage or a vehicle that was insured for a portion of the six-month period would see a lower value rebate. For example, a customer who insured a recreational vehicle for one month may see a very low-value COVID-19 rebate of just one or two dollars.

Unlike the first COVID-19 rebate, which ICBC issued by cheque and mailed to customers, the second COVID-19 rebate will be distributed based partly on how customers paid for their insurance policy.

Customers who used a credit card will have their COVID-19 rebate returned to the card they used. Customers who paid by cash, debit or Autoplan payment plan will be mailed a cheque to the latest address on file with ICBC. Customers can update their address online: icbc.com

If a customer signs up for direct deposit by June 30, 2021, ICBC will deposit the rebate into their bank account.

Supporting Skilled Trades Workers, Strengthening B.C’s Recovery

The Province is launching a made-in-B.C. certification system to support higher-paying, more stable work for trades workers and to help build the foundation of a strong economic recovery.

The new skilled trades certification system will help deliver steady employment for people and address the demand for skilled workers in B.C. It will also create more opportunities for women, Indigenous peoples and those just starting their careers.

“Skilled tradespeople are building B.C., especially with the largest infrastructure investment in our province’s history already underway,” said Premier John Horgan. “This is a made-in-B.C. solution to ensure confidence that a highly skilled workforce is behind our recovery while providing good, family-supporting jobs that tradespeople can count on. By working together, we’re ensuring B.C. comes out of the pandemic stronger, with a recovery that reaches people across the province.”

Every other province in Canada requires tradespeople to be certified. B.C. removed that requirement in 2003. Without a recognized credential, it can be challenging for workers to transition between projects and industries, resulting in lost wages for workers and their families – especially for people who already face greater barriers to employment in the trades. Skilled trades certification will enhance the strong industry and safety training system, which includes partnerships with WorkSafeBC and Technical Safety BC.

Skilled trades certification will increase prestige for the trades, helping attract more people to trades careers. It will formally recognize the skills of current and future trades workers, helping them keep working as the economy and industry’s needs shift over time.

Apprentices will be part of a certified workforce that will build the infrastructure and provide the services that British Columbians rely on every day. Following public consultation, implementation will start with 10 initial trades from electrical, mechanical and automotive disciplines.

“Skilled trades certification recognizes the professionalism of tradespeople throughout B.C., and ensures equity-deserving groups and every person who wants a rewarding career in the trades can access the highest level of education and training,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “Similar to a post-secondary degree, a certified trades worker has a certification that is recognized by employers – just like teachers, lab techs, nurses and other certified workers. By recognizing the worker’s skill, we will attract more people into careers in the trades in order to help address labour shortages across a variety of trades.”

Based on recommendations from a 16-member stakeholder advisory working group representing industry associations, labour, post-secondary institutions, Indigenous skills trainers and the Industry Training Authority, the 10 initial trades designated for skilled trades certification are:

  • mechanical: gasfitter Class A and B, steamfitter/pipefitter, refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic and sheet metal worker;
  • electrical: powerline technician, industrial electrician and electrician (construction); and
  • automotive: heavy-duty equipment technician, automotive service technician and autobody and collision technician.

Once implemented, individuals in these 10 trades will be required to either be a certified journeyperson or a registered apprentice to work. To ensure high standards of supervision, safety and quality training for apprentices, government will also be working with industry to introduce journeyperson to apprentice ratios for each of these 10 trades, as in every other province. Key supports will be identified to support people during the transition to full certification.

A public engagement process will seek input on key aspects of implementing skilled trades certification, including:

  • helping support current workers to become certified while standardizing skills at a high level;
  • identifying and creating implementation supports for employers during economic recovery; and
  • creating multiple pathways to completion for all workers, so no one is left behind.

The engagement will start immediately and includes an online survey, roundtables, community dialogues and focused discussions with the Industry Training Authority, the parliamentary secretary for skills training and staff from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.

“Trades workers keep our lights on, the heating running and our vehicles safe, and deliver the services British Columbians count on,” said Andrew Mercier, Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training. “That’s why we want to hear from current tradespeople, those interested in starting their careers and employers on how we can implement a new skilled trades certification system that meets the needs of people and economy today, with a support system that makes sense for both workers and employers. The conversation is ongoing, and we want to hear from you.”

Government will consult with apprentices, trades workers, small to large employers and Indigenous peoples, as well as asking for insight from women, new Canadians and other groups critical to growing the trades workforce about their experiences. These conversations will ensure representation from rural and urban communities.

Quick Facts:

  • In 2003, the B.C. government eliminated compulsory trades credentialing system. This removed 11 compulsory trades and prescribed journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios.
  • Skilled trades certification will be implemented in phases after the public engagement process is complete. Once a trade has been designated for certification, individuals will have at least one year to either register as apprentices or challenge an exam to certify as a journeyperson, allowing uncertified workers to continue working while accessing any additional supports they may need to.
  • Approximately 73,000 job openings are expected in the trades in B.C. through to 2029. With 77% of these openings replacing retiring trades workers, skilled trades certification will help ensure the success of the individuals who will fill these roles, while continuing to build prestige around trades for those already working in them.

Learn More:

For skilled trades certification information, business cases and a public survey, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/skilledtrades

For a techincal briefing on B.C.’s skilled trades certification, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/STC_Technical_Briefing_June11.pdf

Increased affordability, accessibility for apprenticeships
Apprentice supports reduce financial barriers to trades certification by covering certain training costs, such as tuition ($1,000 on average per level), travel, living away from home, child care costs and loss of wages.

Apprenticeships are usually four years in length and include a combination of in-class technical training and on-the-job training with an employer.

In addition to the financial supports outlined below, both apprentices and employers benefit from the services offered by the Industry Training Authority and WorkBC (e.g., apprenticeship advisors, industry relations and employment supports).

Financial supports for apprentices

B.C. supports:

  • A government mandated cap on tuition limits annual tuition fee increases to no more than 2%.
  • The BC Access Grant provides eligible pre-apprenticeship (foundation) students with a grant of up to $4,000.
  • The Youth Work in Trades Scholarship ($1,000) is available to secondary school students upon graduation and completion of the Youth Work in Trades program.
  • The Training Tax Credit for Apprentices provides up to $2,000 in tax credits within the first two years of a non-Red Seal apprenticeship, with an additional $1,000 for Indigenous apprentices or people with disabilities.
  • The Apprentice Tax Credit for Completion provides apprentices with up to $4,500 in tax credits in the final two years of their apprenticeship, with an additional $2,250 available to Indigenous apprentices or people with disabilities (all trades).
  • WorkBC Apprentice Services assists eligible apprentices with employment services, living supports and other financial supports (e.g., travel, dependent care and disability-related costs) while attending the in-classroom technical training component of their apprenticeship.

Federal supports:

  • The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant provides up to $2,000 in cash grants to Red Seal apprentices within the first two years of apprenticeship.
  • The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women provides up to $6,000 in cash grants to women in a Red Seal apprenticeship within the first two years of apprenticeship.
  • The Apprenticeship Completion Grant offers apprentices who complete their training and achieve Red Seal certification with a $2,000 cash grant.
  • The Exam Tax Credit provides apprentices with up to $120 in tax credits per year when taking an Industry Training Authority exam.
  • The Tools Deduction provides a $500 in tax credits per year to help with purchasing new tools.
  • Up to $4,000 in interest-free apprenticeship loans are available to apprentices during their in-class technical training (B.C./Canada student loans are only available for foundation/pre-apprenticeship training).
  • Employment insurance (EI) is available to financially support apprentices during their in-classroom technical training, averaging $4,222 per year, per claimant.

Financial supports for employers

B.C. supports:

  • Employers who hire and train apprentices in non-Red Seal trades are eligible for up to $8,000 in tax credits for the first two years of apprenticeship, with an additional $4,000 if employing Indigenous apprentices or people with disabilities.
  • B.C. provides both Red Seal and non-Red Seal employers with up to $5,500 in tax credits during the final two years of the apprenticeship, with an additional $2,750 for Indigenous apprentices or people with disabilities.

Federal supports:

  • For Red Seal trades only, the federal government provides up to $4,000 in employer tax credit for the first two years of apprenticeship.

Language and education accessibility (ELL/ESL):

  • Government is reducing barriers and providing learning pathways for all British Columbians by providing tuition-free adult basic education and English language learning programs.

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program:

  • In 2017, government expanded the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program for former youth in care to all 25 public post-secondary institutions and the Native Education College. It further expanded the program in 2018 to include 10 union-based training providers.

Workforce Development Agreement programs:

  • Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement (WDA) programs enable people throughout the province to get the skills they need and help communities and employers connect with the training and workers they need.
  • Programs include a focus on meeting the needs of vulnerable and under-represented groups, regardless of EI eligibility, by providing access to the support and training needed to get good-paying jobs.
  • These programs include pre-apprenticeship programs for women, Indigenous peoples and other equity-seeking groups, delivered through the Industry Training Authority, so they can access trades training and apprenticeship.

Addressing sexism/racism in the workplace:

  • The vision for those who work in trades is to build an environment where employees are treated fairly and respectfully by coworkers and colleagues on all worksites.
  • An inclusive and respectful worksite culture is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Worksite culture contributes to the retention and growth of a diverse, skilled workforce for the province.
  • Government is committed to making B.C. a safer and more inclusive place for everyone, including:
    • committing to introduce a new anti-racism act and legislation on race-based data collection;
    • committing to create a multilingual racist-incident hotline for British Columbians to report racist incidents and receive support and referrals;
    • providing $2 million to support Japanese Canadian seniors as a first step to honour the traumatic internment of almost 22,000 Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; and
    • working in partnership with the Black community to recognize the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent.

Province Seeks Input from Indigenous Peoples to Shape Future of Reconciliation

The provincial government is asking Indigenous peoples for additional feedback on the draft action plan required under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

“British Columbia made history when we became the first jurisdiction in Canada to adopt the United Nations (UN) Declaration, but passing this legislation was only one step on our journey to advance reconciliation and undo 150 years of colonial harms that continue to be felt to this day,” said Premier John Horgan. “While we still have much to do, we believe the proposed actions in this draft plan demonstrate our government’s commitment to pursuing true and meaningful reconciliation together with Indigenous peoples. Part of our changing relationship is a commitment to the idea of ‘nothing about us without us.’ That is why we are asking for further feedback on this draft action plan from all First Nations and Indigenous peoples and organizations in B.C.”

The consultation draft of the action plan identifies 79 specific actions developed in partnership by the Province, First Nations and Indigenous peoples to help advance the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

“We are very grateful for the leadership, expertise and commitment of the Indigenous partners who have engaged with us on the important work of developing this consultation draft,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “We are now looking for further input from all Indigenous peoples in B.C., so we can make sure the finalized action plan appropriately represents their priorities.”

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act requires the provincial government to develop and implement an action plan in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples. Ministries across government have been engaging with First Nations and Indigenous partners over the past year to develop the draft action plan. Feedback collected between now and July 31, 2021, will be used to finalize the action plan later this year.

The draft action plan outlines key actions the Province proposes to take over the next five years across government to achieve the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It includes actions in the areas of self-determination and self-government, rights and title, ending anti-Indigenous racism and social, cultural and economic well-being.

The draft action plan does not include all of the Province’s work on reconciliation. Much work is currently planned or underway. That will continue in parallel with the work under the action plan, including separate work to align laws to the UN Declaration.

There are a number of ways to provide feedback. First Nations and Indigenous peoples and organizations are invited to visit the website to provide comments directly online, fill out a feedback form online or in hard copy, or make a submission in writing. In addition, provincial government staff will be reaching out directly to engage with a wide range of Indigenous organizations, leadership tables and First Nations communities. More information can be found at: engage.gov.bc.ca/declaration

The Province will be collecting feedback on the draft action plan until July 31, 2021.

Quick Facts:

  • B.C. was the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement the UN Declaration through legislation. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act passed unanimously in the B.C. legislature on Nov. 26, 2019.
  • Since July 2020, provincial ministries held more than 80 separate meetings with more than 75 First Nations and Indigenous partners to identify potential actions to include in the draft action plan.
  • The First Nations Leadership Council (representing the BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs) conducted similar engagement with 11 First Nation organizations.

Learn More:

Draft action plan:

Engagement opportunity: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/declaration

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act: https://declaration.gov.bc.ca

Province Purchases Kamloops Motel to Provide Housing

The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased the former Fortune Motel in Kamloops.

The motel will initially be renovated to provide up to 40 temporary supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness. BC Housing will work with the City of Kamloops and the community on a plan for the permanent use of the property.

“Buying this property means that dozens of people who are struggling to find a place to live in Kamloops will have safe and secure shelter, as we work with the community on plans for this property to provide the housing people need for years to come,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “While there is much more to do, helping people come inside, keeping them off of the streets and out of the parks, is good news for them and the community.”

BC Housing is in the process of finding an experienced non-profit operator to manage the project. A request for proposals will be issued in the coming weeks.

The future operator will provide support services, such as daily meals, mentorship and life-skills training. It will also support residents to access mental health and addiction treatment for those who are seeking this type of support. There will also be multiple staff on site 24-7 who will monitor the property and support residents’ well-being.

Located at 654 Fortune Dr., the former motel includes two buildings – a larger 28-unit building and a smaller 12-unit building. Prior to opening in early fall 2021, the property will undergo renovations to create an amenity and programming space, as well as upgrades to the rooms and broader site upgrades to ensure the property is secure and safe for residents and the community.

BC Housing will be applying to rezone the property later this year and will submit a proposal to the city outlining potential long-term plans for the site, which BC Housing has yet to determine. BC Housing will work closely with the municipality and the community throughout the planning process and rezoning phase for this property.

The future non-profit operator will also set up a community advisory committee that will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood.

Neighbours can find out more about BC Housing’s plans for this property and ask questions here: letstalkhousingbc.ca/kamloops-654-fortune

Quick Facts:

  • The Province purchased the Fortune Motel for approximately $3.6 million through the Supportive Housing Fund.
  • An independent appraisal of the site was completed and supports the purchase price.
  • In addition to the purchase, the Province, through BC Housing, will be covering renovation costs and providing a monthly subsidy to the future non-profit operator to assist in managing the building.

Learn More:

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

More Licensed Child Care Options Coming to B.C. Families

Families will have new options for child care on school grounds and through recreation-based programs, thanks to recent changes to the Province’s Child Care Licensing Regulation.

“Giving families better access to quality, licensed child care is a key part of our Childcare BC plan for inclusive, universal child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “For too long there were barriers to creating child care spaces on school grounds. Last year’s changes to the School Act combined with these regulation improvements will enable more child care programs to be offered on school grounds and through local recreation programs, making pickups and drop-offs easier for parents and giving kids a safe place to go after school.”

To support access to quality child care, the Province is creating two new licensing categories in the regulations: school-age care on school grounds and recreational care.

“This is good news for people around B.C. who are seeking child care supports,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Our government is taking strong action to provide assistance to families who need child care and these changes by the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Children and Family Development, will go a long way in helping both those with children and those places that offer child care programs.”

Child care providers operating licensed child care under the new School Age Care on School Grounds category will be exempt from requirements related to minimum amount of usable floor space, washroom facilities and outdoor play areas because schools are already designed to be safe for children.

This new category builds on the changes government made to the School Act that require school boards to prioritize space that is not being used for K-12 students for child care and encourage school boards to adopt an inclusive child care policy. The changes to the act and to the regulation better support school districts and partners to directly provide before- and after-school care on school grounds.

“Bringing child care and education together is a significant step in our plan to create a universal, integrated and inclusive early care and learning system here in B.C.,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education. “That’s why we are giving school districts the supports they need to increase capacity and play a stronger and more seamless role in providing child care services.”

The second change to the Child Care Licensing Regulation includes the introduction of a new Recreational Care licence category that will enable flexible drop-in and after-school recreation care programs. Recreational care is for after-school drop-in programs run by organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, the United Way and the YMCA. Providers licensed under this new category will have fewer physical space and programming restrictions.


Jennifer Blatherwick, chair, Tri-Cities Task Force on Child Care –

“Improving access to quality, affordable and inclusive child care is key to supporting families in growing communities. The Coquitlam School District-led Tri-Cities Task Force identified the licensing of child care spaces in schools as a significant barrier to creating new spaces and are pleased to see the new School Age Care on School Grounds licensing category. This category will make it easier for school boards to use school facilities, which are already designed to meet the needs of children, to participate in providing before- and after-school care in our communities.”

Carolyn Tuckwell, CEO, Boys and Girls Club of South Coast BC –

“We are very pleased with this new category of recreational care. It will support our efforts to both continue and expand our delivery of safe, high-quality, high-impact after-school programs to thousands of children and families across south-coast B.C.”

Quick Facts:

  • Licensing for child care facilities is administered under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.
  • The act and the Child Care Licensing Regulation establish the minimum health and safety requirements for licensed child care providers.
  • The School Age Care on School Grounds category aligns licensing regulations for school-aged children with the safety protocols that school districts already have in place.

Gazan to Call on Federal Government to Recognize Canada’s Indian Residential Schools as Act of Genocide

Tomorrow, June 10, NDP MP Leah Gazan will ask for unanimous consent in the House of Commons for the federal government to recognize what happened at Canada’s Indian Residential Schools as an act of genocide.

“There is no definition in international law for cultural genocide. What happened in residential schools is consistent with Article II of the UN Genocide Convention full stop,” said Gazan (Winnipeg Centre). “It is time that this government acknowledge the truth and provide justice for survivors who went through the most serious acts of genocide.”

The news of the 215 bodies found at the former site of Kamloops Residential School shows the scale of the tragedy, this is only one school. Grief and anger are justified reactions to this devastating news – and the certain knowledge that there are many other unmarked graves at many other residential schools.

“Before we can reconcile we need the truth to be acknowledged. What I experienced in residential school was genocide,” said residential school Survivor Gerry Shingoose. “It is violent that the government’s failure to acknowledge this fact leaves the experience of survivors up for debate,“ she said.

“The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) gives a very clear definition of what is and what is not a genocide. This country was built on the backs of and to the detriment of First Nation citizens by starving them death to make room for settlers; forcibly removing children to attend residential schools, inflicting physical and mental harm often causing death and forcibly removing children and adopting them to other ethnic and cultural groups in what is known as the 60s scoop. Each act meets the definition of genocide, without question,” said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. “Those 215 children found in the mass grave in BC were murdered. It is far past time for this country to stop mincing words to protect the image of the Federal government. Now is not the time fall silent. This is genocide. First Nations expect the Federal government to admit as much so that we can finally begin from a position of honesty and responsibility towards healing.”

“There is no debating anymore as to whether this was genocide or not. When the bodies of hundreds of children are found in mass unmarked graves across the country, it wasn’t just their culture that was taken, it was their lives, and that’s murder. The Canadian government needs to stop “tip-toeing” around the facts with word games and commit to meaningful changes and legislation that protect First Nations people.” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, Southern Chiefs’ Organization Inc.

“All eyes are on Canada and it’s response to the deadly impacts of the residential school system on Indigenous people in Canada. I urge the Government of Canada to realize the utmost importance of a truthful response to the tragic discovery of hundreds of unmarked children’s graves in Kamloops. Today I stand with Leah Gazan as she calls on Canada to recognize that the residential school system fits the definition of genocide.” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc.

The NDP are calling for real action and justice – not just more words and symbolic gestures.

Gazan will ask for unanimous consent in the House of Commons on Thursday, June 10th after Question Period.