Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy
As a province, we’re proud to be a place where newcomers choose to live and where diverse communities can feel welcome, but we know that this isn’t always the case. Systemic barriers persist and mean it’s not always easy for people to thrive in B.C. and we know there’s work to be done to change this. That’s why we announced multiple initiatives this week which I’m confident will make a difference for newcomers and racialized people living in B.C., so our province can be the best place to live for anyone who chooses it!
Last week, we announced funding for the Immigrant Employment Council of B.C., so they can continue to grow their programs to help newcomers in B.C. to join our labour force and share their skills and knowledge in new jobs. This funding will support a new initiative, Tech Connect Plus, which will help bring together employers and newcomers seeking jobs, as well as help to identify and respond to factors affecting employment for newcomers.
With growing workforce needs in B.C., and business in some areas of the province facing more challenges finding staff, this will help support both newcomers in search of work and employers in search of talented employees. For newcomers to B.C., they’ll be supported to help fill one of the many jobs we need people for across B.C., which will support local businesses and economies in turn. Learn more here.
Our government also recently announced funding for local organizations that work with racialized people to help them engage with our anti-racism legislation. This week, we announced the recipients of this funding, with 68 organizations across B.C. receiving funding to support the communities they serve, so they can engage with our government and share their needs, this includes organizations like Kootenay Family Place who continues to provide our community with drop in programs such as Conversation Club Monday mornings from 10am to 12pm. KFP hosts a diverse group of immigrants and refugees from across the globe. The focus of the group is to engage each other in the English language, while still sharing and appreciating the diverse cultures that make up our country. They are looking forward in putting on an event with the money they received.
I hear from people new to B.C. and people who have spent their whole lives here who these initiatives will help support. Whether it’s people facing racism and wanting to share their experience to help us make B.C. a safer and friendlier place, or newcomers to the province, like refugees from Ukraine, who are searching for jobs, and employers searching for the right people to fill their roles. Taking actions like these will not just support one community or region, but help make B.C. a better place for all.
The Ministry of Housing is happy to announce the 13-unit building which has received a $7.4-million investment and expected to be completed in late 2024! This will be new affordable rental housing for families, seniors, individuals and people living with disabilities. Located at 1101 2nd St., Castlegar, BC, Eagle Estates will consist of eight one-bedroom apartments for people with low- to moderate-income on the upper floors, and a five-bedroom group home for people living with developmental disabilities on the ground floor. Full-time, on-site, integrated support services will be available for tenants in the group home. Thank you to Kootenay Society for Community Living for ongoing dedication to Castlegar area residents.
The CleanBC Industry Fund has granted Teck Trail $10-million in funding support, highlighting the government’s commitment to sustainable industrial practices. With construction of the CCUS pilot plant already in progress, the funding will enable Teck Trail Operations to accelerate the evaluation of various options for the captured carbon dioxide (CO2).
This wildfire season has been one of the most challenging on record in BC. Thank you to all the firefighting crews, military, coast guard, first responders and emergency management personnel who are doing an incredible job to keep people and property safe. We are deeply grateful to the international teams from Australia, the US, Mexico, Brazil and New Zealand who are working shoulder-to-shoulder with BC Wildfire Service personnel throughout the province.
Here are some ways you can help keep people and wildfire personnel safe:
• follow all fire bans and prohibitions
• stay out of active wildfire zones (including flying drones)
• download the BC Wildfire Service App
• report signs of wildfire at 1-800-663-5555, *5555 on your cell or through the app
See http://BCWildfire.ca/ for more info and updates.
There are currently 42 active fires, including three Wildfires of Note in the Southeast Fire Centre. Learn more about these fires on the BC Wildfire Dashboard. Learn more about Wildfire Rank and Stages of Control.
We know that internationally trained professionals are having a difficult time navigating the regulatory process. For too long, the recognition process has been long and difficult for internationally trained professionals. Supporting internationally trained professionals is a question of fairness. That’s why this Spring we asked British Columbians to tell us how government could improve international credential recognition – and more than 1,450 people responded. The feedback from internationally trained professionals, regulators, the public and others will inform future legislation to ensure that newcoming can work in their chosen profession. Improving credential recognition for internationally trained professionals is one way we are making sure everyone in B.C. can use their skills to their fullest potential.
Link to Report: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/121/2023/07/What-We-Heard-Report-International-Credential-Recognition-2023-07-24.pdf
B.C. launches $10.5-million rebate for businesses’ vandalism repairs, prevention measures!
Small businesses keep our communities vibrant. We know some have been dealing with a rise in vandalism and the costs associated. That is why we are creating a rebate to help with the costs of repairing and preventing vandalism, helping to revitalize our neighbourhoods.