Weekly Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy
See you this Saturday May 13th at the Silver City Parade! Trail Firefighters’ Parade downtown to East Trail, Starts at 11 AM route map. For more information regarding events Silver City Days – City of Trail.
During the spring legislative session, Premier David Eby and the B.C. government focused on the issues that matter most to British Columbians – passing new laws and introducing solutions to help reduce costs for families, build more affordable homes, strengthen public health care, and train people for the opportunities of the future. Government passed 25 pieces of legislation in the spring session to deliver on British Columbians’ priorities. While other jurisdictions around the world face uncertainty and instability, B.C.’s economy remains strong – with a low unemployment rate, more than 20,000 full-time jobs created this year, and the export of made-in-B.C. goods to the rest of the world up 20% over last year. Spring legislative session focused on tackling big challenges
Province unveils new process for skilled trades certification
A new process will identify potential trades to be designated for skilled trades certification in the next step to strengthen the skilled trades for workers and businesses. SkilledTradesBC is accepting applications for more trades to be certified. Trades identified through the new process for skilled trades certification are expected to be announced in spring 2024.
New partnerships preparing B.C. students with future-ready skills
Students from kindergarten to Grade 12 in B.C. will have more access to programs that develop skills needed to succeed in technology and other in-demand careers. The province is partnering with several organizations to develop and implement programs that equip students with skills for emerging sectors such as digital marketing and technology. We’re boosting the opportunities available to students while they are still in high school, so more young people can gain skills and experience in some of the emerging and in-demand sectors such as technology.
Investment creates 3,000 tech-learning spaces in B.C.
More students will have access to in-demand programs as 3,000 more technology-relevant spaces become available in the public post-secondary education system. Post-secondary education and skills training plays an invaluable role in closing the skills gap, supporting economic sustainability and growth in our province. This is on top of the 2,900 new student spaces created over the past six years, for a total of nearly 6,000 new tech-relevant spaces throughout B.C. since 2017.
The Confluence will be a 7,000-square-foot building that will house the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development, Destination Castlegar, the West Kootenay Gateway Visitor Centre and a satellite branch of Community Futures. It will also include co-working spaces, a large collective space for community events or gatherings, tech charging stations, boardroom, meeting and office spaces for rent and will be accessible for public use. A meeting place to bring economic growth, tourism, and local business support together. This new public space has so much more to offer Castlegar and the Regional District of Castlegar Areas of I and J. For more information please check the link https://www.castlegarconfluence.com/
More seniors around the province will have improved support to remain independent and living in their own homes, as the province strengthens the United Way British Columbia’s Better at Home, bc211 and community-based programs. Seniors want to be supported to live independently in their communities for as long as possible. The province is investing $70 million over two years to expand the Better at Home program to nine more communities, continue the bc211 program and continue community-based projects that reach people who might not otherwise have access to community services.
Congratulations to Peter Makortoff who was awarded the 2023 Citizen of the Year for Trail & Warfield earlier this week!
Peter has brought the healing gift of music to the community of Trail over many years. He is a regular volunteer at Columbia Lodge, bringing musical entertainment to local seniors. He also hosts dances at the Arena, and over the pandemic he set up COVID-safe outdoor musical performances right in his neighbourhood, providing much needed connection and positivity to folks in the area during some of our most challenging times.
It is clear that Peter and his music are so valued and beloved in the community.
Thank you to the Knights of Columbus for organizing this annual award, which was much missed when it was put on hold during the pandemic.
B.C. reaches new surgical milestone
The Year-End Progress Report on B.C.’s Surgical Renewal Commitment to patients clearly demonstrates ongoing innovation delivering the most surgeries ever recorded in the province in a year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, non-urgent scheduled surgeries were postponed on March 16, 2020, resuming on May 18, 2020. Since then, further surgical postponements were caused by subsequent waves of COVID-19, extreme weather, and human resources challenges. We have not only delivered on our commitment to complete the postponed surgeries, but we have delivered more surgeries overall than we did prior to surgical renewal.
Province, BC Housing taking action on recommendations from forensic investigation
A new forensic investigation of BC Housing tabled in the legislature has found mismanagement related to a conflict of interest between the former CEO of BC Housing and his spouse, the CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society. We expect the rules to be followed, and there must be strong safeguards in place to preserve the public’s trust. We’re taking strong action with BC Housing to strengthen safeguards so we can continue to deliver much needed homes for people.
Data improvements for gender, sex make services more inclusive
New standards for gender and sex data will help make data collection more inclusive and provide more accurate information for programs and services in B.C. The standard clarifies the difference between gender and sex by providing alternative definitions that recognize a range of gender identities. Government is refreshing systems and forms to reflect the distinction between gender and sex, and to ensure that people who are being asked to provide this information also understand the difference.
Wear a moose hide pin to take a stand against violence towards Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQIA+ people. Moose Hide Campaign Day calls on people – in particular the men in our communities – to stand in unity against gender-based violence. Together, we can work to honour and protect Indigenous women, girls, gender-diverse and two-spirit people, and to make BC a safer place for everyone.
Learn more: https://moosehidecampaign.ca
Métis people benefit from new mental-wellness supports
Métis people throughout B.C. will soon come together to build resilience, mental wellness and connections to culture, and to have safe Métis-led conversations about alcohol and community health. The Government of B.C. is providing $500,000 for Métis Nation BC to host the two gatherings. By listening to communities and investing in the supports that are important to them, we’re helping communities heal in a way that’s culturally safe and community-driven.
Haida Nation, B.C. step toward reconciliation
New provincial legislation supports the Haida Nation’s inherent right of governance by recognizing the Council of the Haida Nation (CHN) as the government of the Haida Nation in provincial law. Our government is committed to a progressive approach to reconciliation, and this historic moment is a great step towards our goal. In collaboration with the Haida Nation every step of the way, this new legislation will recognize that within provincial laws the Haida Nation has inherent rights of governance and self-determination.
British Columbians urged to remain cautious as water levels stabilize, wildfire risk increases
Lighter than expected rainfall last weekend has relieved pressure on watersheds in B.C.’s Interior, however, people are urged to remain vigilant as conditions can change quickly and warm temperatures are expected this weekend. Warming temperatures into this weekend (May 12-14) are expected to progress the snowmelt at higher elevations, which may reintroduce pressure on watersheds in the Interior and increase the risk of wildfire. The province is encouraging people in the affected areas to remain vigilant and have a household plan in place.
Building code changes support B.C.’s zero-carbon targets
New changes to the province’s building code will ensure cleaner, more efficient buildings are built in line with B.C.’s commitment to zero-carbon new construction by 2030. The province engaged with stakeholders, including industry experts, local governments and utility providers to develop these changes. Effective May 1, 2023, the BC Building Code will require 20% better energy efficiency for most new buildings throughout the province.
Revised legislation aims to protect B.C.’s natural environment
The province is amending legislation to ensure owners of high-risk industrial projects are responsible for the full cost of environmental cleanup if their projects are abandoned. Changes under the proposed legislation will enable future provincial regulations to give government the authority to collect, use and enforce financial assurance requirements under the Environmental Management Act. Companies will be obligated to plan for decommissioning and closure of their operations, and may be required to provide financial security for this cleanup in advance.
My community office is open Monday to Thursday 10-3pm. Please call or email in advance to let Angelika and Sarah know when you are planning to come in so they can be ready in advance to assist you. If you have any questions or concerns about any provincial issue, or need assistance with a provincial body, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help. My office can be reached at 250-304-2783 or Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca.
Find out about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters: gov.bc.ca/covid19vaccineFind mental health and substance-use supports: wellbeing.gov.bc.caFind climate disaster support and resources: ClimateReadyBC (gov.bc.ca)