MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy's Weekly Newsletter

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
February 9th, 2024

Government apologizes for historic wrongs against Sons of Freedom
Last week in Castlegar and Grand Forks, Attorney General Niki Sharma delivered a heartfelt and a long overdue apology to the Sons of Freedom Doukhobor community for historic wrongs committed by the provincial government. Along with this apology, a $10 million compensation package was also announced for the survivors and their families.
Email if you are interested in receiving a commemorative copy of the apology, available in Russian and English.

Secondary suite program expands, adds housing in 16 regional districts
More affordable housing options are on the way for people in B.C. as eligibility for the upcoming Secondary Suites Incentive Program (SSIP) is being expanded to 16 regional districts. We’re using innovative solutions to make it easier for homeowners and communities to build homes faster. The three-year pilot SSIP is set to launch in April 2024 to support the delivery of as many as 1,000 affordable rental units per year for three years.

Additional rent-bank funding will benefit more people
We know that people are feeling the impacts of high rents and inflation, and that’s making it hard for them to pay their bills and rent. For many people in B.C., this funding can mean the difference between having a safe home or losing it. The province is investing nearly $11 million in additional funding to BC Rent Bank to continue to help people maintain their homes in times of immediate financial need.

Province takes action to prevent sale of nicotine products to youth
Raising safe and healthy kids is our most important job. Nicotine is highly addictive and children and youth are more likely to develop dependence. We’re taking action to restrict buccal nicotine-pouch products to be sold only by a pharmacist on a non-prescription basis.

B.C. updates access to life-saving medication for people at risk of toxic drug poisoning
The province is making immediate updates to the Prescribed Safer Supply program based on Dr. Bonnie Henry’s recommendations to reduce unintended harms and help people living with addiction stay alive. Separating people from the poisoned drug supply so they can stabilize their lives and begin their own recovery journey is a critical part of our plan to save lives and connect people to care that works for them. Prescribed alternatives are one part of B.C.’s work to address the toxic-drug crisis, in addition to the expansion of treatment and recovery services, early intervention and prevention, supportive housing and more.

New pilot project trains workers to mitigate wildfires
Workers in British Columbia’s silviculture sector, including forestry workers, tree planters and staff at nurseries, will benefit from new training to better prepare them to prevent and mitigate wildfires. Climate change is real, and every Canadian has felt the effect of it last summer with the heatwaves and the wildfires that happened nationwide. This investment is important for the safety of Canadians and the future of our forest sector.

B.C. supports growth in local wood manufacturing
Wood manufacturing is growing in British Columbia as more forestry businesses retool and expand their facilities. We’re helping made-in-B.C. manufactured wood products access new market opportunities with $250,000 to promote B.C.’s competitive and sustainable wood products suppliers. Having our local manufacturers take centre stage in global markets that are increasingly looking for renewable wood products will support highly skilled and good-paying jobs here at home.

Agritech projects plant seeds for B.C. job growth, food security
New agritech projects funded through the B.C. Centre for Agritech Innovation (BCCAI) are supporting more learning opportunities, new jobs and the creation of technologies that will strengthen production of local food.  Developing a strong agritech industry is critical to building a sustainable food supply. Our government is making it easier for local tech companies to work with the agriculture industry and support farmers.

B.C. working with farmers to prepare for summer drought
We’re hosting a series of in-person workshops in over 30 communities to help farmers around B.C. prepare for potential drought this summer. At these workshops, farmers will receive practical, step-by-step water management advice and information about available financial support. The workshops are part of our efforts to help farmers prepare for drought and understand how water management decisions are made.

Province continues support for fairs, festivals, events
Fairs, festivals and events are the heart of our communities and contribute to making our province a vibrant place to live and visit. Our government is proud to support the people who organize and attend these events. We’re providing $15 million in one-time grants to eligible events through the B.C. Fairs, Festivals and Events fund. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 25, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. Events between April 1, 2024, and Sept. 30, 2025, are eligible for funding. Organizations are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.
To see the B.C. Fairs, Festivals, and Events Fund criteria and application, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/tourism-immigration/tourism-resources/tourism-funding-programs/fairs-festivals-events-fund

Grants help grow B.C. music industry
B.C. is the third largest music hub in Canada. Supporting our artists and music businesses helps them contribute to vibrant and connected communities across the province. More than 220 B.C. musicians and music companies are receiving $3.3 million though four Amplify BC programs. Congratulations to Ben Fox of Castlegar!

New services help people protect their intimate images
People who have had their intimate images or videos shared without consent have new supports to get them off the internet, stop their distribution, and seek monetary compensation. Circulating or threatening to distribute intimate images is sexualized violence and it can have devastating impacts. We are creating more legal options so that victims can get the justice they deserve on their own terms and making sure they have the tools and support to regain control of their lives.

My community office is open this Monday to Thursday 10am – 3pm. To ensure Angelika or Sarah are available please contact in advance to set up an appointment. The office can be reached at 250-304-2783 or Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

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