Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy
Dear Community Member, Neighbour and Friends,
Everyone deserves to live free from hate, but injustices and prejudices fueled by racial discrimination continue to take place every day. As a government we’re committed to supporting anti-racism efforts in communities across B.C. And an important part of that is recognizing the people and organizations who are doing this vital work on the ground. This works makes our province a better, kinder, and more inclusive place for everyone to live.
On March 21, we marked the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day was first recognized by the UN 75 years ago, and today we still have much work to do. Some of the people combatting racism in B.C. were recognized this week with our Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards. Over 100 outstanding individuals and organizations were nominated for their work on anti-racism, diversity, and inclusivity in their communities. Learn more about the awards and our anti-racism work at https://news.gov.bc.ca/
Our government has also taken recent steps on anti-racism initiatives at a provincial level, like working to implement our K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan to help equip students, teachers, and parents to recognize and address racism in schools. We're also implementing our Anti-Racism Data Act, which will help us to identify inequities in provincial programs and services. Later this year, we'll be releasing information about our research priorities with the Anti-Racism Data Act, which we developed alongside Indigenous governance groups, and our Anti-Racism Data Committee.
We’re committed to addressing and preventing racism everywhere in B.C. The diversity reflected in the province is one of our many collective strengths, and we're working to make sure everyone feels welcome, included, and well-served by their government.
We’re working to make the province more equitable, inclusive and welcoming for everyone: https://AntiRacism.
More veterinarians coming for B.C. pet owners, farmers
The Province is permanently doubling the number of subsidized seats for B.C. veterinary students attending the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan. We are addressing the shortage of veterinarians by supporting more B.C. students in getting quality education and practice in high-demand regions, as well as attracting more veterinarians to B.C. through migration and international recruitment. This will allow many more veterinary students from B.C. to attend the Western College of Veterinary Medicine- which is internationally recognized for veterinary training.
Public libraries see historic funding boost from Province
Libraries are vital for vibrant communities, delivering the services people rely on every day. Our government is investing $45 million into B.C.’s public libraries to help communities meet the rising costs of services and ensure libraries can keep pace with demand. The pandemic highlighted the digital divide and put a strain on libraries. With this funding, libraries will be able to improve access to books, digital collections, programs, spaces, literacy, technology and operating hours. Public library users in communities throughout B.C. will benefit from modernized technology, enhanced programs and services, and better access to information through provincial funding.
Third enhanced BC Family Benefit arrives
Approximately 75% of B.C. families with children will see more money in their bank accounts from the third enhanced BC Family Benefit payment. From January through March 2023 combined, the extra BC Family Benefit payments have provided as much as an additional $350 for a family with two children. Raising BC Family Benefit payments is one of the ways Budget 2023 investments are reducing costs and increasing support for people.
Community programs boosted to safeguard environment, protect people
More than $12 million in new funding for public safety and environment programs will support not-for-profit organizations that are helping make life better for people throughout B.C. Funding will support public safety programs that address restorative justice, firefighting, search and rescue, emergency preparedness and community safety. In the environment sector, these grants will support not-for-profit organizations that focus on animal protection, conservation and environmental awareness programs.
Here in the Kootenays we have incredible opportunities to explore the outdoors, and I’m so grateful to our search and rescue teams for the work they do to keep people safe. Funding for these groups gives people peace of mind as they go out and venture into our great outdoors knowing that if they need help, it will be available.
More information on Community Gaming Grants: https://www2.gov.bc.
Province improves inclusion, accessibility in B.C. parks
The Province is renewing and expanding its commitment to make B.C. parks more inclusive and accessible with the release of the BC Parks Commitment to Inclusion. Everyone deserves access to B.C.’s beautiful parks, and that’s why we’re funding B.C. Parks Commitment to Inclusion. Budget 2023 provides $3.6 million over the next three years to continue upgrading facilities, such as washrooms, parking lots and trails, to an accessible standard in parks near urban centres.
Funding will support Indigenous youth, leadership development
New funding will support the BC Association of Friendship Centres to expand access, education and training opportunities for Indigenous youth in B.C. during the annual Gathering Our Voices Indigenous youth leadership conference. The $10.35-million grant from the Province will be used to enable approximately 500 more Indigenous youth from First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban and off-reserve communities to attend Gathering Our Voices annually for the next five years. It will also support the expansion of education and training workshops, and the exhibitors' hall to include more employment and academic training opportunities for attendees.
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.
MLA Kootenay West