Newsletter from MLA/Minister

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
March 12th, 2024

Premier’s, parliamentary secretary’s statements on International Women’s Day 
Thousands of B.C. women started their day happy, cared for by their families and full of ambition. So many others face oppression, discrimination, poverty and violence. B.C. is home to countless smart, caring and passionate women who make our province stronger. Today, we celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in B.C. and around the world. We will continue to build a better future for women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse people in B.C.

We know that some people are struggling as global inflation has been raising costs for people across the globe, including right here in British Columbia. I have heard from members of our community that they are facing financial pressures, are concerned about affording necessities, and are looking for support.

Government of British Columbia heard these concerns and want to support you, and that’s why we’re putting more money back in peoples’ pockets through new programs we’ve recently announced and programs we know work for people that we’re expanding.

Starting in April, households will save on their electricity costs through the BC Electricity Affordability Credit which includes BC Fortis customers.

We are also expanding the BC Family Benefit by increasing both the level of support and the number of eligible families. This means that a family of four who received $1,597 last year will now receive $2,045 starting in July, and a family who previously wasn’t eligible can start receiving payments.

To help support renters, we introduced the new Renters Tax Credit which people can benefit from starting this tax season, putting an average of $374.50 back in renters’ pockets.

We are also expanding access to safe and affordable daycare through our $10-a-day childcare program, ChildCareBC. Right now, under this program more than 63,000 families are saving up to nearly $900 per child per month, and this is continuing to grow.

Small business owners are also feeling the pressure of global inflation. This is why we are doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption threshold from $500,000 to $1 million immediately, so business owners can get the break they need now.

These are just some of the ways we’re taking action to help with everyday costs. Find out more: https://StrongerBC.gov.bc.ca/CostofLiving

Young people are facing more stress and anxiety than ever due to the pandemic, the toxic drug crisis, climate emergencies and so much global uncertainty. That’s why we’re expanding access to mental health and addictions care for children, young people and their families including investing in more early intervention and prevention services. We’re adding Foundry centres in 10 additional communities across BC including one in Kootenay West, so more young people can get the help they need, where and when they need it.

More funding helps B.C. families with school expenses
Ensuring that students and families feel empowered and supported to participate equally in school activities is foundational. We’re replenishing funding that helps families that need it most cover the extra costs of school activities or buying school supplies for their children. The Student and Family Affordability Fund will ensure no student is left out because of costs.

Changes aim to help people out of poverty
We know people are facing big challenges with inflation and high interest rates. That’s why we’re setting new, ambitious poverty-reduction targets, to better help people get through tough times. We’re also taking action to ease the pressure of everyday costs for people.

Province announces minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, retention and recruitment investments
We’re working hard to support and retain our nursing workforce, help nursing students start good careers, and recruit more nurses. Nurses are an incredibly important part of our healthcare network, and we want them to feel supported at work. Together with the BC Nurses Union, the Ministry of Health has established minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for six health-care settings in acute care facilities.

More B.C. firefighters will benefit from expanded psychological wellness program
Firefighters are there for us in the most trying times of our lives and it can take a toll on their own mental health. It can be challenging for some first responders to take the time to focus on their own mental health. We’re ensuring more first responders learn how to take care of their own mental health and build resiliency that will help them throughout their careers.

Help on the way to B.C. veterinarian clinics that treat farm animals
B.C.’s farmers and ranchers rely on the support of veterinary professionals to care for the health and welfare of their animals. We’re offering students the experience and skills they need to treat livestock and farm animals. This investment will help ensure that B.C.’s veterinary offices can continue to meet demand for services well into the future.

Updates made to Securing Small Business Rebate Program
We’re making changes to offer a smoother and faster application process to help businesses access funding to offset the costs to repair and prevent vandalism. Our goal is to get the money out the door and in the pockets of our hard-working small business owners. We’re taking action on the issues being raised and taking steps to make changes to the application process.

New position expedites progress on Indigenous child welfare
We know Indigenous children are best cared for by Indigenous communities and when connected to community, family and culture. We’ve created a new Indigenous child welfare director position that will help better ensure safety, wellness, and access to community. First Nations leadership and Indigenous partners have long been advocating for this position.

Mobile app, culturally appropriate services help families access justice
Families that are eligible to receive or pay family support will now find it easier to access resources with a new mobile app that will lower barriers to free services. To meet the evolving needs of families, BCFMA has expanded its services to include a new mobile app and culturally appropriate services for Indigenous people. The BCFMA My Account mobile app is the first family-maintenance mobile app in Canada.

Mineral Tenure Act reform
Our government is taking steps to acknowledge our past and working to address the consequences of colonial legislation and policies. We are committed to the full transformation of B.C.’s mining regulatory system, including modernizing the Mineral Tenure Act. By doing this together, we are building a better future on the land, in communities, and for people in British Columbia.

Categories: GeneralOp/EdPolitics

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