OP/ED: MLA Conroy newsletter includes includes ambulance upgrades for Rossland/Fruitvale

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
April 15th, 2024

More ambulance services in rural and remote communities in the B.C. interior (bcehs.ca)
People living in 21 communities in the B.C. interior are now benefiting from improved paramedic staffing models to enhance 911 responsiveness and provide consistent and reliable out-of-hospital care.

As of April 1:

  • Eight communities including Fruitvale and Rossland were upgraded to the 24/7 full-time “alpha” model in ambulance stations
  • Eight communities, including New Denver and Winlaw upgraded to a new “mix shift” staffing model
  • Five communities including Edgewood are benefiting from new full-time paramedic unit chiefs to provide support to on-call paramedic staffing.

“Expanding ambulance services to more areas is crucial so people can get better access to the ambulatory care they need, when they need it most” said Katrine Conroy, MLA, Kootenay West.

Everyone in B.C. deserves to feel safe and respected at home, school, work, and out in the community. But we know this is not always the reality for many people. Indigenous people and people of colour continue to face racism and discrimination throughout our province. Systemic racism in our provincial systems can make it harder, or impossible, for people to access the government services they need and deserve.

This week we introduced the Anti-Racism Act, to help support Indigenous and racialized people and address the barriers they face in accessing public services. We’re using data to better inform our services and remove systemic barriers. We’re also committing to recruit and retain a public service workforce that reflects the diversity of B.C. and create an anti-racism committee to work on a government-wide action plan on racism and inclusion. Groups and organizations will also be able to apply for grants to do work to identify, address, and work to eliminate racism, so the communities doing this work don’t need to bear the financial burden alone.

I encourage you to learn more about the new legislation here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2024AG0020-000521 . We know that legislation alone will not put an end to racism – there is lots more work still to be done, and we’re committed to doing it.

This week we also took action to make sure that students and staff at schools are safe and able to learn and work without unnecessary disruptions. In recent months, some schools in B.C. have been targeted as sites for protests, often with hateful messages. While everyone has a right to express themselves, including the right to peacefully protest, it is not appropriate to disrupt or frighten students who are trying to learn.

We have introduced new legislation to stop disruptive protests within 20 metres of school grounds. These “bubble zones” will help ensure kids are safe and able to focus on learning. You can learn more about this here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2024PREM0018-000526 This legislation builds upon work we’re doing to keep young people safer by restricting cellphone use in schools and addressing online threats to kids.

As a government, we are committed to ensuring marginalized and vulnerable members of our communities feel safe, supported, and welcome here in B.C. I know many of you are also doing work in your communities and your own lives that reflects these values and hopes. Let’s continue to work together to make this a B.C. that is good to everyone!

B.C. builders can now use mass timber in taller buildings
Updates to the BC Building Code will benefit people in the building and housing sectors with the expanded use of mass timber in taller buildings. We know mass timber looks great, and now we can use it in larger buildings and more types of buildings. These changes will help reduce carbon pollution, support the forestry sector, create jobs, build more homes and lead to more vibrant communities.

Wildfire-damaged wood recovery underway in B.C.
Wildfires are increasingly having devastating impacts on our communities and economies. Making the salvage of fire-damaged wood faster, easier and more economic means more forestry operations can access fire-damaged wood, supporting forestry-dependent regions and forestry workers. That’s why we’ve introduced new measures to streamline the salvage process, making it easier for the forestry sector to recover, repurpose damaged wood, and regenerate the forests.

New policy will help B.C. liquor manufacturers enhance visitor experiences
Recent years have been difficult for wineries and tourism across the province, and we are taking action to support these valuable businesses. The changes we are making will create better experiences for visitors of wineries and liquor manufacturers across the province, helping them – and all of B.C. – to be a more competitive and desirable destination for visitors. In response to industry feedback, we’ve implemented a suite of policy changes to enhance visitor experiences at wineries and other liquor-manufacturing sites this summer.

More options coming for people needing legal help
When you need legal assistance, you shouldn’t have to choose between straining your finances or navigating a complicated legal matter on your own. We’re giving more people more options and helping level the playing field for people trying to resolve their legal issues. People seeking legal assistance will now have more choices with changes to how lawyers, notaries and other legal professionals are regulated.

SAFER improved, top-up benefit coming for people on rental assistance
We’re making changes to the SAFER program to support more seniors, and delivering a top-up cheque for seniors and families who are struggling with the cost of living and rent. A one-time rental benefit of $430 will bring relief for families and seniors with low incomes who are receiving a rent subsidy through the Rental assistance Program (RAP) and safer program. Now, an estimated 4,800 more seniors will qualify for the program, and existing recipients will see an increase of approximately $110 per month.

TradeUpBC builds, enhances tradespeoples’ skills
Tradespeople in B.C. build the foundation of the province that we all benefit from. It’s their growing expertise, skill and innovation that contribute to B.C. now and will continue to contribute in the future. That’s why we’re supporting their growth and bringing together short-term training opportunities for experienced Red Seal tradespeople into one online platform.

More support coming for B.C. students with diverse needs
When children with disabilities and diverse abilities are well-supported, they may feel more included at school and experience big improvements in their self-esteem, mental health and well-being. We know from school districts that this initiative is making a difference for families by making sure students in smaller communities have access to specialists to support their individual learning and development. B.C. students with disabilities and diverse abilities will benefit from a second outreach team that provides professional learning support.

Students in B.C. gear up to enhance cycling skills
Learning to ride safely will give kids the opportunity to become lifelong cyclists and open the door to healthier and cleaner choices. Building the foundational skills to ride a bike safely steers our community towards a future less reliant on cars. This program gives students the opportunity to develop skills that can be used on the many new active-transportation infrastructure projects in communities throughout the province.

Categories: GeneralOp/EdPolitics