Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
October 17th, 2023

B.C. improving credential recognition for internationally trained professionals. Province held a fair credentials town hall with internationally trained professionals, key organizations and advocates to talk about progress made on international credential recognition in health care and the work being done to expand to all sectors of the economy.

People come from all over to live in B.C. and be a part of our communities and contribute to our province’s prosperity. Many people come here after having worked hard to gain credentials in their home countries, which aren’t always recognized in B.C.

When people’s credentials aren’t recognized, it is a barrier to getting the jobs that they have trained for and have experience in. It also means that many people who are willing and trained to serve in sectors like healthcare are shut out at a time when we need more healthcare workers. It’s past time to make changes to the credential recognition process to make sure qualified people can take on the jobs they want to work in where they are needed here in B.C.

This fall, we will be introducing legislation to help regulatory agencies improve their credential recognition process so it can become easier for people to use their skills to work in B.C. In July, we released a report on how best to improve credential recognition, after previous rounds of consultation with community members and stakeholders.

This is also crucial in our Health Human Resources strategy, so that more people can work in our healthcare system and help people get the care they need. As a part of this strategy, we’ve been improving the process for internationally trained medical professionals to be able to start working in B.C., with hundreds more internationally trained nurses and international medical graduates joining our health care teams just this year. We’re continuing to prioritize supporting more people to join the healthcare workforce, and will be expanding our Practice Ready Assessment Program so that more internationally educated family physicians can get licensed and start working in B.C.

Learn more about the work we’re doing here.

Oct. 18: Virtual information session focuses on Arrow Lakes Reservoir impacts

In response to increased concerns about the impacts of the Columbia River Treaty on the Arrow Lake region, the Province of B.C. is hosting a virtual information session on Wednesday, October 18, 2023 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time to provide details and answer questions about the extremely low water levels in the Arrow Lakes Reservoir this year.

Representatives from the Government of BC, the Canadian Columbia River Treaty negotiation team, BC Hydro, and the Columbia River Treaty Local Governments Committee will share information about the low levels, what is being done to address this challenging situation, and efforts underway to reduce these types of impacts in the future.

Register and learn more.

August 2023 Premier David Eby met with people impacted by wildfires in the Central Okanagan, as well as emergency volunteers, fire chiefs and crews. He was joined Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, and Harjit Sajjan, federal Minister of Emergency Preparedness.

Province seeks input on disaster financial assistance regulations
British Columbians are invited to provide input to help shape and improve new emergency-management regulations, including post-emergency financial assistance for people recovering from a disaster. Individuals, communities and small businesses are invited to share written feedback or take part in virtual workshops in November. Sessions for First Nations will also be offered. Public engagement is open until Dec. 31, 2023, to gather input on the development of two new regulations under the recently introduced emergency and disaster management act.

To participate in the public engagement, visit:https://engage.gov.bc.ca/emergencymanagementregulations

Application process opens for civil forfeiture grants to fund safety projects 
Organizations dedicated to community safety in B.C. are encouraged to submit applications for the 2023-24 civil forfeiture grant program. The civil forfeiture grant program provides grants to support community projects using the proceeds from the civil-forfeiture process. Applications are open from Oct 11 until Nov 22.

Animal health program helping B.C. farmers prepare for avian influenza risk
As the risk of avian influenza increases this fall with the migration of waterfowl and other birds, B.C. poultry farmers are being supported with new planning and preparedness strategies and stronger biosecurity measures on their farms. This program will increase the poultry sector’s on-farm biosecurity levels and the sector’s response time during an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). The program, delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation, is helping fund the planning and purchasing of equipment needed for disease response, training exercises, enhanced biosecurity measures, and the research and implementation of strategies that reduce the risk of infection and disease.

B.C. connects food, beverage businesses with new opportunities
To help B.C. food and beverage businesses learn about export opportunities and showcase their high-quality products, Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food, is leading a three-day trade mission to Washington state. Starting Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, the trade mission will travel to Seattle and surrounding areas with a focus on strengthening B.C.’s knowledge and expertise about exporting to the Pacific Northwest U.S. The 11 B.C. companies travelling on the trade mission are all export ready and have sales stock in a minimum of 75 stores in Canada. The focus is on natural, healthy B.C. food, an area in which B.C. companies have excelled.

New fund aims to increase productivity in construction sector
Employers and workers in the construction sector will have better support as the province launches the Workplace Innovation Fund, a program focused on labour supply and inclusion, along with new ways of improving productivity and employee retention. The Workplace Innovation Fund centres around developing sector-wide solutions that can help increase construction productivity and prepare a talented workforce for the challenges that lie ahead. This fund is responding to address multiple workforce challenges, including developing technologies to increase productivity and supporting the hiring and retention of good people who have the skills required in construction as new technologies are developed.

New digital building permit tool will help create more homes faster
More new homes for people will be approved faster as the province works with partners to develop a new digital building permit tool. Currently, many jurisdictions in B.C. rely on a paper-based application process for new housing developments that leads to delays and slow approval times. Once completed, the new digital building permit tool will make it faster and simpler for builders and developers to digitally submit building permits for new housing and for local governments to receive and process the application.

Province acts to address Indigenous racism in health care
A Ministry of Health progress report marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to dismantle Indigenous-specific racism within B.C.’s health-care system. This 24-month update highlights the implementation progress on the 24 recommendations made in the In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care report, which aims to make culturally safe health care a reality for all people in B.C.

Categories: Op/EdPolitics