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Weekly Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
April 23rd, 2023

This week, we celebrated Creative Industries Week here in British Columbia. Throughout the week, I had a chance to speak with people from the music, book, TV and movie industries from across the province who joined us here at the Legislature.

The creative sector is so important to B.C. These industries not only employ nearly 120,000 people, but they also attract tourism and business to our province, boosting our local economies. Creative media also can be moving, inspirational, and is a powerful tool to create change — our creators here in B.C. show some of the very best of this.

That’s why our government is providing an historic contribution of $42 million to support people and businesses working in film, music, publishing, and interactive digital media industries in BC. This is the largest-ever single investment to B.C.’s creative sector. We also are providing targeted support to our magazine and book publishers with a $600,000 investment to support their immediate needs and those in the next few years.

The province has heard from many in the creative sector that music, film and publishing industries are still recovering from the pandemic and supply chain issues. This funding will help strengthen the entire sector to better weather global shifts, making it more competitive and sustainable in the years ahead, while helping to promote more of our amazing talent throughout B.C. and to the larger market. 

This sector is diverse, innovative, and creative and I am proud to have so many unique voices amplified through the arts in BC. From actors to digital artists to producers to writers, there are thousands of people in BC that make our creative sector so inspiring. Thank you to the creative sector for showcasing all that BC has to offer.  

Help on the way for local book, magazine publishers
To help B.C.’s book and magazine publishers address immediate challenges and give the broader publishing industry the support it needs to thrive in the future, the Province is providing $600,000 over the next three years. B.C. is the second largest English-language book publishing market in Canada. We know publishers are facing significant challenges such as supply chain pressures due to inflation and rising costs related to printing, shipping and distribution.

Historic investment promotes stability, jobs for B.C.’s creative sector
The Province is providing a historic contribution of $42 million to support people and businesses working in motion picture, music, publishing and interactive digital media industries in British Columbia. We want to enable people and businesses, in every industry of our creative sector, to recover from the pandemic, look to the future, and grow, evolve and lead in the long term. This is the largest one-time investment throughout the creative sector ever. 

Five First Nations reach settlement with B.C., federal governments on Treaty Land Entitlement claims
On April 15, 2023, five First Nations in B.C., alongside provincial and federal government representatives, announced settlement agreements of the Nations’ Treaty Land Entitlements claims. Honouring Treaty and legal obligations to First Nations and working collaboratively to renew relationships are fundamental to addressing historical wrongs and advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada. These settlements will also create economic and business opportunities for the entire northeastern region of British Columbia.

Kitselas First Nation and Province sign Environmental Assessment Agreement
Kitselas First Nation (KFN) and the Province have signed an agreement that establishes a government-to-government framework for co-ordinating governance and decision-making processes during an environmental assessment. The Environmental Assessment Agreement is an important step in shared decision-making between the Province and KFN, and in advancing reconciliation. The agreement describes how the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and KFN will work together on environmental assessments for projects in KFN’s territory or where KFN’s interests may be affected by a project.

Upgrades protect Comox Valley public health, promotes First Nation’s growth
The Province is helping the Comox Valley Regional District build sewage infrastructure in rural areas to support the health of residents and the environment, as well as advance reconciliation with K’ómoks First Nation. Currently, homes and businesses in the communities of Royston and Union Bay depend on on-site septic systems. Many of these systems are more than 25 years old and are at an increased risk of failure, which could create health risks and pose an environmental threat to Baynes Sound. The Province is providing $30 million for the Comox Valley Sewer Extension South Project, which will provide wastewater services to Union Bay and Royston through a new wastewater main that will connect to the existing regional treatment system.

Changes to act ensure every vote counts in provincial elections
In response to recommendations from the independent Electoral Boundaries Commission, the Province is introducing amendments to the Electoral Districts Act to make sure votes are weighted evenly across B.C.  The amendments repeal the existing Electoral Districts Act and replace it with a new act to establish 93 electoral districts. These changes are in response to the independent and non-partisan recommendations of the Electoral Boundaries Commission’s report on electoral boundaries in B.C.

Province takes action to protect supply of diabetes drug in B.C.
The Province is enacting a new regulation effective immediately to ensure that diabetes patients in B.C. do not experience a shortage of the diabetes drug semaglutide, known widely as Ozempic. Through the new regulation, British Columbians, other Canadian citizens and permanent residents can buy Ozempic through B.C. pharmacies both in person and online. Currently, the regulation includes semaglutide drugs, including Ozempic, Rybelsus and Wegovy, but other drugs can be added as needed to protect patients and ensure they continue to have regular access to and supply of the drug they need.

More people facing barriers will have access to skills training
People who want to get into the workforce but are facing multiple barriers to employment will have greater opportunities as the B.C. government significantly expands skills training for employment programs. As part of the StrongerBC’s Future Ready Plan, the Province is investing $44.5 million over three years to boost the number of people supported to nearly 7,500 people in communities around the province. Additional supports will be available to people to help them with social or financial barriers, which may include employment assistance, counselling, mentoring, job placements, Indigenous cultural supports, child care, transportation, disability supports, work experience, wage subsidies, equipment, employer connections and other tailored individual supports.

Province seeks input from internationally trained professionals
Internationally trained professionals are invited to share their views on the foreign credential recognition process in B.C. and identify barriers that may be preventing them from fully participating in the labour market. This survey is part of a wider engagement effort that will inform the development of legislation. Feedback gathered through an online survey will inform legislation to improve foreign credential recognition.

Animal disease prevention program opens for applications
B.C. farms will be more resilient to animal diseases, such as avian influenza, swine fever, and foot-and-mouth disease, with support from a $5-million provincial grant program now open for applications. The program complements other recent provincial efforts to support animal health in B.C. The Farmed Animal Disease Program is part of the $200-million food-security announcement made by the Province in March 2023.

Ottawa, B.C. launch plan to plant more than 37 million trees across province  Global
Healthy forests are essential in the global fight against climate change. This partnership will help B.C. plant 38 million more trees in the next two years. By the time they are grown, one million trees planted today will be the equivalent of taking 42,000 cars off the road for a year.

New Strategy positions B.C. as a global hub for life sciences- Indo Canadian Voice
B.C. is home to the fastest growing life sciences sector in Canada. We’re introducing the B.C. Life Sciences and Biomanufacturing Strategy that will help open thousands of new well-paying jobs. This strategy helps chart the path toward an inclusive, sustainable and innovative economy that works for everyone in British Columbia.

BC gives $2.4M employment grant for survivors of abuse, violence Prince George Citz
Immigrant and refugee women and non-binary people and their families who are survivors of violence deserve to have a good life. We are helping fund the YWCA’s Axis program for three more years to help more refugee and immigrant women and non-binary people who experienced violence overcome barriers and get good jobs here in British Columbia.

B.C. to see 12 new Foundry centres for mental health, addictions services- City News
We know that young people and families who struggle with mental health and addictions need and deserve support. With 12 more Foundry centres coming to the province, more young people and families will have faster and easier access to mental health and addictions services and primary care in their communities.

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.

Sincerely,

Katrine Conroy
MLA Kootenay West 

Categories: Op/EdPolitics

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