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Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
August 29th, 2023

When we face disasters like wildfires, so many people come to the forefront as heroes in communities all across B.C.

Our BC Wildfire Service team first and foremost deserves our thanks and respect for the work they are doing. Fighting fires, protecting homes and communities, and putting their lives on the line day after day is an incredible task. We also have firefighters joining us here in B.C. to help with the effort, which requires a high level of commitment and bravery, coming from places like Ontario, eastern Canada, the US, Australia, Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil, and Costa Rica. We’re so lucky to have these folks coming to B.C. to help in our efforts this wildfire season.

We not only see heroes on the front lines, but also among the many people working behind the scenes in official and unofficial capacities – the people who are getting information out to people who are evacuating or on alert, the people coordinating movement of people, goods, and equipment as needed across B.C., those who are looking at temperature and fire trends to help us anticipate the days to come, and everyone working in local governments and Indigenous communities who are managing communications, evacuation, and more at a local level.

Everyday people are heroes during these times too – people who have opened up their homes and lives to evacuees, volunteers with the SPCA who have worked to save pets and livestock, people coordinating food and supplies to get to evacuated people and people who have lost their homes, and of course, everyone who has done the right thing and evacuated when asked to, leaving behind their homes and belongings. I know it can be one of the most difficult things to do, but it helps immensely to let our firefighters do their work and keep people safe.

Many people have generously offered gifts of supplies, food, or other donations to our wildfire fighters. Unfortunately, this often is a challenge to accept and coordinate. Instead, if you wish to help please consider donating to organizations like the Canadian Red Cross who are best able to distribute funds and supplies to make sure they get to the right people and places. For a list of organizations accepting donations, please visit canadahelps.org

Thank you to all of you who have reached out looking to support, and to everyone who has been a hero so far during these wildfires. We appreciate you!

People on evacuation alert or order, or displaced from home due to wildfire: please register with Emergency Support Services as soon as possible. ESS can help alert your loved ones that you are safe and provide emergency services like food, lodging and clothing. The operational delivery of ESS varies slightly by community. If your local government or First Nation has asked you to register online, please visit: https://ESS.gov.bc.ca

Always check DriveBC to see any impacts to routes or highways. It’s important to ensure that people in fire-affected communities are able to evacuate if necessary and access the supports they need.

More people will get nutritious food with new funding
People struggling to put food on the table will have better, more reliable access to healthy food with $15 million in funding to Food Banks BC. It’s important that people not only have access to food, but nutritious food. This funding will help food banks meet rising demand and fund rapid access to food in emergencies like wildfire.

On August 21, 2023 Regular Council Meeting – YouTube Trail City Council unanimously agreed to let the homeless shelter move to Riverside Avenue, but for a shorter period than requested. Temporary Use Permit for a homeless shelter at 2039 Riverside Avenue will be for 1 year with one 3 year extension possible if approved by council.

“We are happy that Trail city council understands the critical need for a new shelter and approved the Temporary Use Permit for the new shelter site on Riverside Avenue,” a BC Housing spokesperson replied early Wednesday. Recognizing that homelessness is an ongoing issue, BC Housing said it was hopeful that the shelter site would be approved for the originally proposed three-year term.

Check out the Let’s Talk page for details:
Trail – Riverside Ave. Shelter – 2039 Riverside Ave. | Let’s Talk Housing BC (letstalkhousingbc.ca)

Expanded graduate scholarship funding will support students
Increased scholarship funding will support graduate students during their studies and prepare them for in-demand careers. Financial barriers should not prevent students from pursuing careers they’re passionate about. These scholarships reinforce how important it is to train people for current and future jobs in our rapidly growing clean economy.

Grants will help international, francophone educators join child care sector
Early childhood professionals educated in languages other than English will have reduced costs and more support to become certified to work in B.C. These financial supports will help more qualified educators to join the child care sector, benefiting families, children and B.C.’s economy.

BC PharmaCare now covers new drugs for rare diseases
People in B.C. will benefit from BC PharmaCare’s new coverage of medications used to treat rare diseases. Effective Aug. 18, 2023, the oral formulation of edaravone which works to slow the loss of physical functions in ALS patients, will be added to the PharmaCare formulary as a limited-coverage benefit. In the first year of implementation, it is expected as many as 100 patients in B.C. will be eligible.

Click Image for more details of events in Castlegar and News link regarding the number of ways Trail will be recognizing Overdose Awareness Day – Trail recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day, Saturday – Trail Daily Times (trailtimes.ca)

Pharmacists helping British Columbians  CFJC Kamloops
Since the start of summer, British Columbians have been able to have minor ailments assessed and treated at their local pharmacies. Over 40,400 patients have been assessed by a pharmacist already, saving time for patients and doctors.a

Here’s how you can help B.C. wildfire evacuees – Times Colonist
Thousands of British Columbians are or were on evacuation order or alert, and people are wondering how they can assist. The BC SPCA is helping take care of hundreds of pets for people affected by wildfires, and people can support by making donations or volunteering.

Wildfire Heroes – Fraser Valley Today column by MLA Sandhu
Wildfire fighters, volunteers, and emergency responders have been working around the clock to fight wildfires and keep us safe. Local Governments and First Nations have played a huge role also in making sure that people get the information and resources they need, especially when it comes to evacuation alerts and orders. British Columbians stand together in hard times, and I know that we will support each other through this challenge too.

My community office is open Monday to Thursday 10-3pm during the summer months. Please call or email in advance to let Angelika or 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.

Categories: Op/EdPolitics

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