ARCHIVE – BC & NATIONAL Breaking News – September 2016

 

BREAKING NEWS ARCHIVE – BC & NATIONAL – SEPTEMBER 2016


ubcmlogoThursday, September 29 ~ VICTORIA.  The Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) today presented its 2016 Community Excellence Awards at their 113th annual Convention being held in Victoria.

The awards recognize communities that have demonstrated exemplary leadership through policies, decision-making or actions that have made a difference for their residents:

  • Staff-led initiatives that go above and beyond the call of duty and demonstrate what it truly means to be a ‘public servant’
  • Setting the bar for enhancing citizen awareness of local government through social media and other forms of engagement
  • Making responsible decisions that showcase environmental stewardship or developing best agricultural practices.

In all categories, winners offer a path for other municipalities to follow, not only in British Columbia but around the world, making communities more efficient, healthier and ultimately, more livable. This year, only one of the awards was received by a Vancouver Island municipality or region, that being North Saanich.

BEST PRACTICES, Excellence in Action

  • WINNER – Fraser Valley Regional District for their Fraser Valley Express Implementation Plan
  • WINNER: –  City of Richmond for their District Energy Implementation
  • Honourable Mention: City of North Vancouver for their City-led Rezoning of Moodyville Neighbourhood

BEST PRACTICES, Organizational Development & Improvements

  • WINNER –  Corporation of the Village of Salmo – Rebuilding the Public Record

BEST PRACTICES, Community Connections

  • WINNER – City of Abbotsford for their Abbotsforward – Official Community Plan Update

LEADERSHIP & INNOVATION, Green Initiatives

  • WINNER – City of North Vancouver for their Invasive Plant Management Program
  • Honourable Mention – City of Fort St. John for their Micro-Hydro and Passive House Projects

LEADERSHIP & INNOVATION, Agriculture

  • District of North Saanich, Sandown Redevelopment Project
  • City of Surrey, The BioPod Initiative

PARTNERSHIPS

  • Winner – Cariboo Regional District – Cariboo Chilcotin Regional Hospital District for their Quesnel Primary Care Clinic
  • Honourable Mention – Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District for their South Okanagan-Similkameen Protocol Agreement

duchesspremier-redandwhite-sept2616Monday, September 26 ~ VICTORIA. A formal reception by invitation only was held at Government House this evening, September 26, to honour the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The event was hosted by the Government of BC as part of the 2016 Royal Tour by Prince William and his wife Catherine.

The invitation list was split half and half between choices by the Lieutenant Governor of BC Judith Guichon and BC Premier Christy Clark.

It was a stand-up mix and mingle affair that started around 8pm. In a visual salute to the red and white of Canada’s flag, the Duchess of Cambridge wore red adorned with the Queen’s maple leaf broach, and BC Premier Christy Clark wore white with a silver-grey motif of First Nations artistry.

For the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, tonight’s closed reception followed fast on the heels of a long day spent attending a rainy-day event in Bella Bella on the central coast of mainland BC (that was also attended by BC Premier Christy Clark and Governor General David Johnston). In Bella Bella, the Duke of Cambridge officially announced the inclusion of the Great Bear Rainforest in the Queens’ Commonwealth Canopy. (See story below on this page.)

Over the past few days of the eight-day tour (September 24 to October 1), the Duke and Duchess have been a popular hit with the crowds and individuals they are meeting along the way. And even those with positions of power and prominence in Canadian society have for a few moments been seen to be gazing upon the William and Kate with various degrees of admiration, awe, respect and pride.

Quitely unspoken, in some cases there is a sense of remembrance of either meeting or remembering Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, whose death by car crash in 1997 has left a gap in the royal lineup, at least in terms of public desire.  Many of William’s projects and charities appear to follow in the footsteps of his mother’s interests and awareness of the needs of everyday people in society.

In his speech on Saturday early evening in Victoria out front of at the BC Legislature, the Duke of Cambridge summarized the interests of himself and his wife Catherine as including the environment, youth, and mental health.


coquitam-rcmp-responds-to-new-years-day-drive-byMonday, September 26 ~ VICTORIA. A session at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria today drew a large crowd to hear from experts and community leaders on the issue of gang violence and organized criminal activities in BC communities.

Journalist Kim Bolen who covers organized crime for the Vancouver Sun facilitated the session. She highlighted that gangs have been around for a long time in British Columbia and that no community is immune to gang-related activity. Bolen’s presentation covered the history of gangs in BC and the transformation from street gangs to sophisticated high profile criminal organizations in recent years.

Identified in the presentation were some of the solutions to reduce future gang-related violence could include a comprehensive BC wide curriculum in the schools, more exit strategies for gang members, and introducing a specialized court system for certain gang related activity.

The panel included Mike Morris, BC Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General; Chief Superintendent Kevin Hacket; Williams Lake Mayor Walter Cobb; and Surrey Councillor Mike Starchuk.

Minister Morris highlighted a number of initiatives to reduce gang violence in the province including October’s firearms amnesty, which in the past has seen thousands of firearms and ammunition taken off the streets; and the creation of the Illegal Firearms Task Force, which will meet later this week to develop draft recommendations to be released in 2017.

Morris also committed to the development of a Gang Exit Pilot Program, which will focus on providing other opportunities for gang members such as employment and other services.

Today’s presentation outlined how BC has a unique and changing gang landscape. Gangs, based strictly on ethnicity, are no longer the norm. Even outlaw motorcycle gangs are becoming reluctant to self-identify for fear of unwanted police attention.  New gang alliances and new power blocks are emerging, aiming to capture a monopoly on the illicit market. They are a driven enterprise driven, so much so that former enemies now work together and mid-level gangs have grown in sophistication and have spread beyond BC’s borders relocating to other provinces where they are aligning more crime groups to commit more violent acts.

In BC there is a Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit BC (CFSEU-BC). That integrated anti-gang agency is the largest integrated police program in Canada, made up of members from every police department including the RCMP, and is the third largest police ‘force’ in the province with over 400 officers.

The federal Liberal government aims to have new legislation in place in 2017 that will decriminalize marijuana, and significantly will collect taxes on sales of legal marijuana. In part this is an effort to work against the gangs.

UBCM has 2,057 registered delegates this year, including mayors, councillors and other officials from municipalities throughout BC.


kp-insidebellabellahall-sept2616-webMonday, September 26 ~ VICTORIA. A Great Bear Rainforest legacy has been established by the BC Government.

A new $1 million trust will commemorate the 2016 visit of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and celebrate the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative, Premier Christy Clark is announcing today. [Photo: indoors at official welcome in Bella Bella, BC today]

The new Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust will foster a deeper public recognition and appreciation of the unique nature of the Great Bear Rainforest and how the Government of BC, First Nations, industry and environmental organizations developed a world class and innovative approach to manage both the natural environment and human activities.

Trust funds will be used to support various activities, including:

  • Developing teacher and student resources centered on the Great Bear Rainforest that’s aligned to BC’s new curriculum.
  • Raising public awareness of the Great Bear Rainforest and the people who have lived on BC’s Central and North Coast for more than 12,000 years.
  • Resource management practices and supporting ongoing research.
  •  Investing in and support broader resource management based education, awareness and understanding in the Great Bear Rainforest area.

The new trust will be operational later this year. Fund disbursements will be overseen by an advisory board with representatives from government, First Nations and different sectors. The Great Bear Rainforest covers 6.4 million hectares on British Columbia’s north and central coast, and is home to 26 separate First Nations.

bellabella-sept2616-8-clarkthomson-poster-webfullContributing to the trust funds, will be $5 of every sale of Great Bear Forest awareness posters that will be sold by the BC Government online for $19.95 each. The poster was unveiled by BC Premier Christy Clark and BC Forests Minister Steve Thomson today in Bella Bella.

One-third of the 6.4-million-hectare area is fully protected, while the remainder allows low-impact resource development activities, such as forestry, tourism and hydro-electric generation to support the people living in the area. Agreements were reached between the Province of BC, Coastal First Nations and Nanwakolas Council for management of the area, based on recommendations submitted by three environmental groups (Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC and Stand) and five forest companies (BC Timber Sales, Catalyst Paper, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper, Interfor and Western Forest Products). Premier Clark made the announcement at the official unveiling of the plaque proclaiming the Great Bear Rainforest as a forest conservation project under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Commemorative posters are also being distributed to schools throughout the province.

Premier Christy Clark: “The Great Bear Rainforest is not only a source of pride for all British Columbians – it’s a global treasure, one that we have a unique responsibility to protect, and to make sure the world knows how unique and valuable it is.”

Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson: “I believe the lessons we’ve learned in arriving at the agreements we’ve reached in the Great Bear Rainforest should be shared with the next generation. I think we’ve proven how environmental values and resource development needs can be effectively balanced.”

Chief Marilyn Slett, president, Coastal First Nations: “A Great Bear Rainforest public awareness program will promote and facilitate dialogue on issues related to land use agreements, healthy relationships and reconciliation between First Nations, governments and others. The new Trust also ensures that our collective work results in a BC curriculum that honours First Nations cultures, histories and languages of the people who have lived on BC’s central and north coast for more than 12,000 years.”

Dallas Smith, president, Nanwakolas Council: “It’s so important to take the lessons learned from the Great Bear Rainforest and share them. It’s a world class model that has to be broken down and understood so it can be applied in other places and areas with conflict within Canada and around the world.”

Joe Nemeth, president and CEO of Catalyst Paper Corp., on behalf of the Coast Forest Conservation Initiative comprised of: BC Timber Sales, Catalyst, Howe Sound Pulp & Paper Corp., Interfor Corp., and Western Forest Products Inc: “This new trust will create the educational foundation by which tomorrow’s young adults will develop an appreciation for B.C.’s world-leading sustainable forest management and the importance of its economic, social and environmental benefits.”

Eduardo Sousa of Greenpeace, Jens Wieting of Sierra Club BC, Valerie Langer of Stand (formerly Forest Ethics) says: “The endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative is an honour for this spectacular region. This endorsement and the newly created educational trust fund are a welcome recognition of the years of collaborative work to develop big solutions for conservation and indigenous rights, while establishing a consensus on forestry that operates within nature’s limits. The Great Bear Rainforest represents a model the Commonwealth community and beyond, can build upon.”

Links: Great Bear Rainforest: www.gov.bc.ca/greatbearrainforest  | The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy:  www.queenscommonwealthcanopy.org | 2016 Royal Tour: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1466181306703


williamkate-indoors-bellabella-sept2616-webMonday, September 26 ~ ROYAL TOUR. Today the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in the small community of Bella Bella by boat, instead of by float plane. Heavy rainfall caused that change in the schedule, as well as serving to redirect the welcoming ceremony indoors, instead of at the water.

A huge crowd gathered inside the Bella Bella community hall to greet the Duke and Duchess. Kensington Palace Tweeted: “The rain has not kept the community from making their way down to the hall for today’s welcome.” The visit is part of Day Three of the Royal Tour in BC and Yukon.

The Duke and Duchess dressed casually for this portion of the tour. Today they are casually dressed, including the Duchess in a trim jacket, slim slacks and tall brown leather boots. The Duchess used a clear umbrella, no impediment to the cameras.

The Duke delivered a speech that will prove to be of historical significance:  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, as the Great Bear Rainforest is officially committed to the Queens’ Commonwealth Canopy . I’d like to thank the Heiltsuk First Nation community for so welcoming us to their home.

Her majesty has asked me to convey her sincere thanks to the government of BC and the federal government of Canada for nominating your innovative ecosystem-based management program in Great Bear, to be part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy network.

This is a substantial dedication, which will highlight a more collaborative approach to sustainable forest conservation. Other commonwealth countries will benefit from sharing the knowledge and expertise you have gained by working together with first nations, industry and environmental organizations to establish the unique forestry management program.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy was launched by her majesty in Malta last year. An appeal has been made to all 53 commonwealth nations to contribute areas of indigenous forest to be preserved forever in the Queen’s name, marking Her Majesty’s service to the commonwealth.

I am pleased to say that more than 15 countries have already dedicated forestry projects or are planting new forests with another 10 finalizing their submissions. By CHOGM 2018, it is expected that all 53 countries of the commonwealth will have joined the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, creating a global network of forests that will benefit indigenous communities, wildlife and tourism, now and into the future.

The Commonwealth has at its heart always been about the values that bind its people. This project , focusing on our shared national heritage is no different. The establishment of the canopy is a loud and unambiguous statement that the citizens of all Commonwealth countries believe that nature is fundamental to the health of our societies. When we protect our rivers, oceans, atmospheres, and like today our forests, we are telling our children that their future prosperity cannot be disconnected from the health of the natural world.

Her Majesty is immensely grateful to you, and the people of Canada, for the leadership you’re showing in making this contribution. I have no doubt that other Commonwealth nations will be inspired by what you have achieved here.

Then BC Premier Clark announced a new $1-million trust that will be established to commemorate the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and celebrate the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative.  A poster program from which a portion of online sales will go to the trust, was then unveiled by Premier Clark along with BC Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson.

The new Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust will foster a deeper public recognition and appreciation of the unique nature of the Great Bear Rainforest and how the Government of BC, First Nations, industry and environmental organizations developed a world class and innovative approach to manage both the natural environment and human activities.

The BC Government has released today that a new $1 million trust will be established to commemorate the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and celebrate the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative, as announced by Premier Christy Clark announced today.

The new Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust will foster a deeper public recognition and appreciation of the unique nature of the Great Bear Rainforest and how the Government of BC, First Nations, industry and environmental organizations developed a world class and innovative approach to manage both the natural environment and human activities.


_pic-2252-dukeduchess-closecrop-westshorevoicenews-sept2416-webSunday, September 25 ~ ROYAL TOUR. The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) was the last to speak during the Official Arrival ceremony yesterday September 24, outdoors in front of the BC Legislature at the end of a long afternoon.

He and the Duchess of Cambridge (Catherine) listened attentively to remarks given by the Governor General David Johnston, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and BC Premier Christy Clark.

After a strong round of applause, William was relaxed yet intent with his remarks to the crowd of 25,000 gathered on the lawn of the legislature and beyond onto the streets of downtown Victoria.

“Catherine and I are delighted to be back in Canada. When we were here last time we’d been married only three months. The warm welcome you gave us in that important moment in our lives meant a lot to us and we’ve never forgotten it. That why we’re so pleased that George and Charlotte could be in Canada this time around, beginning their own lifetime of friendship with this wonderful country.”

“Over the next week, Catherine and I will see once again what makes Canada such a special place in the world. Canada is a country much esteemed for its strong values, and its strong contributions that it makes to peace, prosperity and human rights. This week we will witness much of it ourselves … through the diversity of the Canadian people, your pristine environment, your armed services and other public servants. As well as your arts and your culture.”

“Catherine and I have asked to meet as many people from as many walks of life as we can while we are here. We are very much looking forward to learning about how Canadians are tackling some of the biggest challenges of the day including the environment, supporting young families, and the mental health of young people — subjects about which we are very passionate.”

“We are very grateful to the Canadian government, and the governments of British Columbia and Yukon for putting together a unique program for us. We feel very fortunate for our time to get to know parts of this country that we did not get to visit in 2011. Of which I have very happy memories as a shy teenager.” And then he added with something of a chuckle: “Yeah, a few of you remember it too well I think.”

_pic-161257-w-on-screen-sept2416-westshorevoice-webfullPrince William then addressed matters of country and Queen:

“One final word if I may about two important milestones. As Canada approaches its 150th anniversary next year we’re excited to meet and to interact with the young people who will lead this country into its next few decades. And in the year of the Queen’s 90th birthday – I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to thank the people of Canada for the warmth and generosities they’ve extended to my grandmother throughout her reign. The Queen has asked me to extend her warmest greetings to you, and her thanks for all the goodwill you’ve shown her during her 90th birthday year.”

After a line or two in French, there was applause, to which he responded about his facility with the French language: “It’s a little rusty, work with me.” And then it was the audience’s turn to chuckle.

He concluded with this: “Catherine, George and Charlotte and I are very pleased to be here. Thank you for welcoming us so warmly.”

Photos and article Copyright 2016 West Shore Voice News


_pic-2246-croptotrudeau-sept2416-webfullSunday, September 25 ~ ROYAL TOUR. Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau toured about in Vancouver with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Catherine) to four events on the itinerary. They visited the Sheway center (a pregnancy outreach program on Vancouver’s downtown east side), the Immigrant Services Society of BC (pitched by Premier Christy Clark as a unique facility), a reception with youth leaders (at which the four main VIPs circulated together and separately), and the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station that was recently reopened. For all that he shared the spotlight.

And yesterday during the Official Arrival ceremony at the BC Legislature, Justin Trudeau also was the gregarious host, keeping his welcome remarks at the podium both light and inspiring. His comments were brief but elicited several bursts of applause. It was his official invitation earlier this year that got the ball rolling for this royal visit. Trudeau spoke directly to William and Catherine in his lighthearted remarks:

“I know you’ve visited Canada before, but as any parent who has traveled with children knows, it’s a whole different experience when you bring your family with you. I want to commend you and thank you for introducing our part of the world to Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Though, let me caution you from my own experience, if they’re anything like our kids, getting them back on the plane after a visit to our beautiful west coast will really be a challenge. In addition to British Columbia, you will also have a chance to visit the Yukon, truly one of the most spectacular parts of our country. I know you will enjoy it. And I’m confident, that wherever you go, Canadians will make you feel right at home.”

A big cheer for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau swelled up out of the crowd of 25,000 when he was announced during the formal event. The 44-year-old ‘rock star’ prime minister certainly appears to be maintaining the popularity he has amassed both during and following the election of his Liberals to a majority in October 2015. Both from the crowd and among the dignitaries, Trudeau drew the sort of looks and responses that people spontaneously give to high profile celebrities.

Photo and article by West Shore Voice News Copyright 2016


_pic-174729-horganclark-in-line-sept2416-web400Saturday, September 24 ~ VICTORIA. By the time the official Royal party arrived a bit behind schedule at the BC Legislature this afternoon, there were about 25,000 people gathered out front of the BC Legislature and beyond onto Belleville and Government Streets.

About 30 other dignitaries were seated in rows near the speakers platform, awaiting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Governor General David Johnston and his wife Sharon; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau; BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon; and BC Premier Christy Clark and her son Hamish.

A receiving line for the official party included BC Official Opposition Leader John Horgan and BC Finance Critic and MLA for Victoria, Carole James. BC Speaker of the House, the Hon Linda Reid was also in the lineup, as well as Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.

Horgan seemed to carry on an animated conversation for several minutes with both the Duke (Prince William) and the Duchess (Catherine). Horgan seemed to reveal an expression of real pride for the young Duke, as the conversation finished. As leader of the New Democrats in BC, Horgan may have found common interests with the Duke who is pursuing an agenda in BC this week that explores various social issues regarding mental health, youth and First Nations.



_pic-0101-deplaning-sept2416-westshorevoice-webfullSaturday, September 24 ~ VICTORIA.  The turnout at the grounds of the BC Legislature to official greet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this afternoon was enthusiastically attended by VIPs and public alike.
Crowds and dignitaries waited first under warm hazy skies before things turned cooler with a few drops of rain.

As the Royals arrived at 443 Squadron at the Victoria International Airport around 4pm, that event was projected onto large screens at the BC Legislature grounds for the crowd to watch. The idea of a multi-media world has never been so apparent, as the crowds and media could view what was really the start of the event being broadcast from another location.

duke-and-duchess-cambridge-kids-deplaning-cbc-webGetting off the airplane with orchestrated grace, were The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Catherine), with their two young children Prince George, 3 and Princess Charlotte, 16 months.  All the while poised and fashionable in a royal over-the-knee blue dress with hat, the Queen’s maple leaf brooch, and high heels, the Duchess admirably carried her toddler in one arm while eventually finding the grasp of young Prince George’s other hand, and the family descended the steep airplane steps in unison.

Greeting the young royal family were Governor General David Johnston and Sharon Johnston, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon, and BC Premier Christy Clark and her son Hamish. There were handshakes and quick exchanges among the dignitaries, but all eyes were on the young children also dressed in tones of blue. Prince George showed interest in the airplane, cars and helicopter in the vicinity than in the older folks chatting around him. Princess Charlotte calmly clung to her mom. Mrs Trudeau gave a little wave and smile to Prince George. BC Christy Clark bent down to eye level to chat with Prince George.

More Royal Coverage to come over the hours and days ahead. West Shore Voice News is an accredited media representative on the Royal Tour.


2205-grounds-atbcleg-sep2316-westshorevoice-webSaturday, September 24 ~ VICTORIA.  A crowd of about 10,000 is expected to blanket the lawn of the BC Legislature this afternoon for the official arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  People were already checking out the setup yesterday (photo September 23).

Today BC Premier Christy Clark issued the following statement to welcome Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to British Columbia:

“On behalf of all British Columbians, I’m pleased and honoured to
welcome Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to our province, as we share our diverse, urban, rural and remote wilderness regions we proudly call home. British Columbia is among the most beautiful places in the world, with scenic landscapes ranging from snow-capped mountain tops to sandy beaches. It is a place that welcomes people from all corners of the world. The peoples of BC are just as diverse. I am looking forward to introducing The Duke and Duchess to some of the different communities that make this such a great place to live. I know The Duke and the Duchess will enjoy their tour and will want to come back soon.”


bclegislature-exterior-webFriday, September 23 ~ VICTORIA. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau will participate in a number of events taking place in Victoria and Vancouver during the first portion of the September 24 to October 1 Royal Tour to Canada of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

On Saturday, September 24, the Prime Minister and Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau will participate in the Official Welcoming to Canada and British Columbia ceremony at the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in downtown Victoria.

The official public welcome on the BC Legislature grounds starts at 5 pm (the public may wish to start assembling by 3:30 pm). It will feature full military honours, including a 21-gun salute, the raising of His Royal Highness’s Canadian Standard, and an inspection of the Guard of Honour.

The Prime Minister will later have a private audience with The Duke and Duchess.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister and Mrs Trudeau will accompany the royal couple on a tour of the Immigrant Services Society’s new Welcome Centre in Vancouver – the first, purpose-built facility of its kind that provides settlement, education, and employment services for thousands of immigrants and refugees each year. Later that day, the four will attend a youth reception in Vancouver where they will meet young Canadians who are helping to make a difference in their communities. During their visit to the Immigrant Services Society (ISS) of British Columbia’s new Welcome Centre, the Prime Minister and Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau will meet with a government-assisted refugee family from Syria as well as with three clients of the MAPLE 2.0 immigrant professionals program.

While in Vancouver, Their Royal Highnesses, the Prime Minister, and Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau will also visit Kitsilano Coast Guard Station for a first responders showcase. They will tour the station and speak to first responders about the issues they face every day in carrying out their life-saving work. As part of their visit to the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station, they will participate in a discussion on mental health issues with representatives of first responders’ organizations, including Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue; North Shore Search and Rescue; Vancouver Police Department; Vancouver Fire Department; BC Ambulance Services; Coast Guard First Responders; and Do it for Daron.

“Canadians have tremendous affection for the Royal Family, and are excited to welcome The Duke and Duchess to our nation for their second official Royal Tour of Canada. Sophie and I look forward to showcasing beautiful British Columbia and to promoting awareness of both youth and mental health issues alongside Their Royal Highnesses,” said Prime Minister Trudeau in a news release this morning.

0018-govthouse-exterior2-sept2016-webThis upcoming eight-day visit of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge based out of Victoria, BC is the second official tour of Canada for the couple. Their first was in 2011 as newlyweds; that tour included events in Ottawa (for Canada Day) and Calgary (during the Calgary Stampede).

The royals will be staying at Government House in Victoria, where their children Prince William and Princess Charlotte will stay during the visit.  A children’s party for the Prince and Princess will be held on Thursday, September 29 to which invitations have been sent to some military families to attend with their young children.

Government House will be closed to the public from September 23 through October 2. Security will be enhanced with support from the RCMP.


0004-govthouse-tablesetting-sept20-2016-web400Tuesday, September 20 ~ VICTORIA. The preparation of meals for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their two children is being organized this week at Government House.

William and Kate, and their young children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will be staying at Government House on Rockland Avenue in Victoria, from September 24 to October 1.

Today media were given a tour of the reception areas, main floor dining room, and food preparation areas at Government House.

Executive Chef Aleks Kornat was excited to explain that he’s been sourcing out local food products for the royal family’s meals, including produce, proteins and even wine.  Asked if he was nervous, Kornat said: “We’re getting ready. Once we’re ready, we’ll be in full swing.” Kornat has been at Government House for about two years. He has about 10 staff to help with the food preparation for the eight-day royal stay. Meals, snacks and beverages are being planned.

0007-execchef-alekskormat-govthouse-sept20-2016-web400“It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the foods of BC,” the head chef said. “It will be a full-on menu, specific to our region, ” he said. Government House has its own orchard, vegetable garden and bee hive, from which products will be drawn.

Menus have been provided ahead of time to the royal couple, so they can make selections for themselves and their children, Kornat explained.

Meanwhile, Director of Operations Thandi Williams explained that she and her staff have been arranging to have toys and activities on hand for the young prince and princess. In case the weather is rainy, some rain gear has been arranged for the children.

The royal children will be attended during the full stay at Government House by the royal couple’s own child care personnel, says Williams.  A children’s party will be held, to which military families with young children have been invited. “There will be a lot of very special things in and around the grounds and in the house, for the children to play with,” says Williams.

The official reception at Government House will feature a guest list compiled by both Lieutenant Government Judith Guichon and BC Premier Christy Clark. Notable British Columbians — including recipients of the Order of BC — are among the reception guests. “It will a comfortable size stand-up reception, about 300 people,” says Williams.

0006-autumnveggies-govthouse-sept20-2016-web400Accommodation at Government House includes a total of 13 bedrooms, including the area for Her Honour Lt Gov Guichon. More office space is available for quick adaptation for more space for the royal visitors, as required.

“This is a family that is well-traveled and worldly,” stated Williams, who said this has been taken into account regarding what is provided for them at Government House. “They will be able to move freely and we hope they will feel at home,” she told media today.

The grounds of Government House — which are normally open to the public, will be closed from the evening of September 23 through to October 2. Additional security is being handled by the RCMP.

Photos Copyright 2016 by West Shore Voice News


trudeau-un-sept1916webMonday, September 19 ~ Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a UN conference that it’s not enough to applaud what Canada has done to help Syrian refugees, in that there’s much more left to do.

Trudeau announced that Canada will increase humanitarian assistance to people displaced by the Syrian crisis by 10%, allocating $465 million to humanitarian programming in Syria, Iraq and the surrounding region. The government also announced an additional $64.5 million towards humanitarian relief around the world.

The audience broke into applause today when he mentioned that Canada has taken in almost 31,000 Syrian refugees since last year.

Trudeau said that as a former teacher he is particularly interested in better support for displaced people when it comes to education. “We must not lose site of generations of children and youth who could be lost to fear and marginalization,” he told those assembled.


terryfox-runningSunday, September 18 ~ VICTORIA.  BC Premier Christy Clark has issued the following statement on Terry Fox Day:

“Today, people around the world remember Terry Fox. They honour him for his courage, vision and legacy. But here in British Columbia, we also remember Terry Fox the man. In BC, we have the unique honour of calling him one of our own.

“Terry was a young man from Port Coquitlam who was struck by cancer – and chose to fight back. He decided to run across Canada to raise awareness, raise money for research and help people around the world. While cancer forced him to stop, he has never stopped inspiring us.

“Terry showed the world two things. First, that cancer research works. If Terry was born today, his cancer would be treatable because of the money he helped raise.

“And second, that we can all make a difference. The fact that there are now millions of people across 30 countries that participate in the Terry Fox Run is a testament to Terry’s legacy, his family and his supporters in British Columbia and around the world.”


statscan-logoFriday, September 16 ~ OTTAWA. There is a new Chief Statistician in Canada, effective September 19, 2016.

On Monday, Anil Arora — who is the current Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada — becomes Chief Statistician of Canada, it was announced today by the Prime Minister’s office.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to thank Wayne Smith, Chief Statistician of Canada, for his service to Canadians over the last 35 years.


msp-noincrease-bc-sept1516Thursday, September 15 ~ VICTORIA. The BC government is cancelling the planned four-per-cent increase to MSP premiums, and those eligible for Regular Premium Assistance will see a four-per-cent reduction of their premium beyond what was announced with Budget 2016, BC Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.

Thought by many of those in financial distress to be changes long in coming (rates have increased annual for several years), the BC Government claims that the changes are now possible because the government is in a stronger fiscal position than forecast in Budget 2016, with the First Quarterly Report showing strong economic performance compared to other provinces and stronger than forecast revenues across the three-year fiscal plan.

Cancelling the January 2017 premium increase will save adults up to $36 per year, says a BC Government release.

The enhancements announced with Budget 2016 will continue to be implemented as planned Jan. 1, 2017. This includes exempting children and expanding the range of incomes at which British Columbians can qualify for Regular Premium Assistance.

With today’s changes and the changes announced in the Budget 2016, a single parent with two children will only be charged the single adult rate, rather than the three-person rate they pay today – saving this family $900 per
year.

As a result of the changes made in Budget 2016 and announced today, by January 2017 approximately 40% of B.C. families will pay reduced premiums or no premiums at all. Once the changes have been implemented, an estimated two million British Columbians will pay no premiums. Cancelling the January 2017 premium rate increase also means businesses that fund part or all of MSP premiums for their employees will not require a payroll adjustment.

MSP premiums account for only about 13% of the overall health-care budget and other taxes like corporate income tax, sales tax, natural resource and other government revenues are all required to help fund the cost of health
care. In 2016-17, total health-care spending is forecast to be more than $19 billion, or 42% of all government spending.

In 2017, as a result of eliminating children from premiums and enhancing premium assistance:

  • A single parent with two children can save up to $1,248 per year.
  • A single parent with one child can save up to $1,080 per year.
  • A couple with two children can save up to $696 per year.
  • A senior couple can save $528 per year.
  • A couple can save $528 per year.
  • A single senior can save $348 per year.
  • A single adult can save $348 per year.
  • As a result of the enhancements to premium assistance announced with Budget
    2016:
  • A single adult earning up to $42,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
  • A single parent with one child earning up to $45,000 may qualify for
    reduced premiums.
  • A couple earning up to $45,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
  • A single senior earning up to $45,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.
  • A single parent with two children earning up to $48,000 may qualify for
    reduced premiums.
  • A couple with two children earning up to $51,000 may qualify for reduced
    premiums.
  • A senior couple earning up to $51,000 may qualify for reduced premiums.

Find out if you qualify for MSP Premium Assistance when the changes take effect in 2017 using the MSP Premium Assistance Eligibility Calculator: https://extranet.gov.bc.ca/forms/gov/health/msppa.html

Applications for Regular Premium Assistance are available at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/forms/119fil.pdf


fishingThursday, September 15. The freshwater fishing season in rivers and streams on Southern Vancouver Island to go ahead, starting tomorrow, Friday September 16, says a release today from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

This summer’s high temperatures and low rainfall caused drought conditions across the Island. The BC Government closed freshwater fishing from Campbell River to Victoria in response.

High water temperatures pose health risks for many fish, particularly trout, and increase catch-and-release mortality rates.

The Province is responsible for non-salmon freshwater fisheries, including sea-run steelhead, cutthroat and Dolly Varden. The federal government is responsible for First Nations fisheries, commercial and recreational fisheries in tidal waters, and salmon fisheries in non-tidal waters.  www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/regulations

More info on drought and water conservation in BC


minimumwage-bc-sept1516Wednesday, September 14 ~ VICTORIA. As announced on May 4, the BC government is increasing the minimum wage in the province as of September 15, 2016.

The action will be taken in two stages beginning tomorrow, Thursday, September 15. The higher minimum wage is “to better reflect the province’s overall economic growth and ensure all workers benefit from BC’s thriving job market,” says a release today from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour.

The first increase – effective September 15 of this year – will be 40 cents and will bring the general minimum wage up to $10.85 per hour (and the liquor server minimum wage to $9.60). These new rates include the 10 cents scheduled for the 2015 Consumer Price Index (CPI), plus an additional 30 cents.

The second increase – effective September 15, 2017 – will be 30 cents plus an amount based on the 2016 CPI (currently estimated to be 10 cents) and will bring the general minimum wage rate to at least $11.25 (and the liquor server minimum wage to $10). The 2016 CPI will be available from Statistics Canada by March 2017.

The daily rate for live-in home support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers and farm worker piece rates (for harvesters of certain fruits and vegetables) will also increase proportionate to the general minimum hourly wage increases on the same dates.

A number of fact sheets for workers and employers have been updated to reflect the minimum wage increases, and are available on the Employment Standards Branch website, including:

* A Minimum Wage Factsheet available in six languages * Minimum Wage – Liquor Server * Commission Sales * Farm Labour Contractors (in 10 languages) * Farm Workers (in 10 languages) * Live-in Support Workers (in English and Filipino) * Guidelines for Motel and Campground Managers and Caretakers * Quick Reference Guide for Employers * Resident Caretakers * Restaurant Employees * Talent Agencies * Domestics Brochure * Guide to Employment Standards * Working in B.C. poster. The “Top 10 Things Employers Should Know” video, and the Interpretation
Guidelines Manual will also be updated Sept. 15, 2016.

For more information/resources for workers and employers in BC, visit the Employment Standards Branch website:
www.gov.bc.ca/EmploymentStandards/.  Also see the May 4, 2016 minimum wage news release.  |  BC Jobs Plan |  BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint  |  WorkBC


bc-minadvancededTuesday, September 13 ~ VICTORIA.  Post-secondary is big business! The BC Ministry of Advanced Education says there are 25 public post-secondary institutions in BC.  There were 426,317 student enrollments at public post-secondary institutions throughout BC in 2014-2015, up substantially from 370,744 in 2002-2003. This includes 45,132 international student enrollments in 2014-2015, compared to 17,838 in 2002-2003.

The system appears to be accommodating to student choice. Around 50,000 students transfer between public post-secondary institutions annually.

Age and gender are two sets of demographics that the Ministry of Advanced Education tracks. They show for 2014-2015 that 49% of students were under 25 years old, 19% were over 40 years old. Of all students, 53% are female, 47% male.

The top five programs in BC post-secondary are listed broadly as: arts & science (28%); business / management (14%); engineering / applied science (11%); human and social (9%;) and trades (9%).


bc-minadvancededMonday, September 12 ~ VICTORIA.  There are five public post-secondary institutions on Vancouver Island, namely Camosun College, North Island College, Royal Roads University, University of Victoria, and Vancouver Island University.

“Public post-secondary education institutions on Vancouver Island are preparing students for in-demand careers in a wide variety of sectors that support a growing and prosperous British Columbia economy,” says a statement from the BC Ministry of Advanced Education.

In 2014-2015 there were 70,885 students enrolled in public post-secondary institutions on Vancouver Island compared to 68,990 in 2002-2003. This includes 8,195 international students enrolled in 2014-2015, compared to 3,580 in 2002-2003.

Credentials (including degrees, diplomas and certificates) there were awarded in 2014-2015 tallied to: 12,784 compared to 9,756 in 2003-2004.

The BC Ministry of Advanced Education says the BC Government has invested $313.7 million invested for operating costs at Vancouver Island public post-secondary institutions in 2016-2017,  calling that an increase of 42.3% since 2001-2002 when government invested $220.5 million.

In the Premier’s most recent mandate letter to Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson (July 2015), it is expected that the Advanced Education ministry “continue to minimize overheads within our publicly funded universities and colleges, and where possible to consolidate functions or programs across different post-secondary institutions in geographically similar regions”.

Investment in campus facilities on Vancouver Island includes:

  • $437 million invested to support 320 capital projects at Vancouver Island post-secondary institutions since 2001-2002. Examples include:
  • $103 million toward $324.6 million for 186 research projects under the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund.
  • $35.6 million toward the $66.5 million expansion of the Bob Wright Science Centre at the University of Victoria.
  • $30.7 million toward the $67.6 million expansion of the Superconducting Electron Accelerator at TRIUMF at the University of Victoria.
  • $29.2 million toward the $32 million trades building renewal/replacement project at Camosun College. Officially opened February 2016.
  • $24.8 million towards the $37.7-million expansion of the Social Sciences and Mathematics Building at the University of British Columbia.
  • $7 million toward the $9-million expansion of the school of management at Vancouver Island University.
  • $11.7 million toward the expansion of the Island Medical Project at the University of Victoria.
  • $6 million toward the $28.1 million expansion of the Pacific Sport Institute at Camosun College.
  • $4.1 million toward $8.2 million for construction of a new skills development and trades training facility at North Island College. Officially opened in February 2011.
  • $15 million toward $20.1 million for construction of the Learning and Innovation Centre at Royal Roads University. Officially opened November 2011.
  • $13.5 million toward $26.7 million to build the new Cowichan Place campus at Vancouver Island University. Officially opened September 2011.

William&Kate&kids-2016Monday, September 12 ~ VICTORIA.  Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will launch and complete their September 24 to October 1 BC and Yukon visit from downtown Victoria, BC.

BC Premier Christy Clark today issued a statement on the upcoming Royal Tour itinerary of William and Kate: “I’m pleased to announce the official itinerary for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their visits to British Columbia communities as part of their Royal Tour. This tour presents a unique opportunity the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to learn more about our province’s diverse urban, rural and remote wilderness regions.”

These portions of the itinerary are open to the public:

  • Saturday, Sept. 24 Official Welcome to Canada – Parliament Buildings, Victoria.
  • Sunday, Sept. 25 Their Royal Highnesses arrive in Vancouver, Jack Poole Plaza.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27 Their Royal Highnesses arrive at UBC Okanagan, Kelowna.
  • Saturday, Oct. 1 Official departure from Canada, Inner Harbour, Victoria.

The Duke and Duchess will also be meeting British Columbians making positive changes such as conserving the Great Bear Rainforest, innovating approaches to addressing mental illness, and welcoming new Canadians, it was stated in the release.

“I know all British Columbians will extend a warm welcome to their Royal Highnesses as we share the very best of our province.”


Trudeau-with-flagsSunday, September 11 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement on the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the National Day of Service:

“Today, we mark the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States that killed nearly 3,000 innocent victims – including 24 Canadians.

“On this solemn day, we join with the families and friends of the victims to remember and honour those who fell. We also offer our heartfelt support to those still struggling with the physical and emotional injuries they sustained on 9/11.

“We recognize the extraordinary courage and bravery of the first responders on that day and the days that followed. We honour the EMTs, the firefighters, the police officers, and all those who ran toward the sounds of danger and the plumes of smoke, risking their lives so others might live.

“While 9/11 will long be remembered as a day of destruction and terror, let us also remember it for the remarkable humanity that was shown in such a tragic time. May we never forget the countless Canadians, from coast to coast to coast, who opened their hearts and their homes to those affected by the attacks.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I encourage Canadians to remember the tremendous outpouring of goodwill shown on 9/11 by participating in charitable and community activities, and other worthy causes across the country, as part of the National Day of Service.”


Saturday, September 10 ~ BC.  There was a 4.1 Magnitude quake this morning September 10 at 9:16 am PDT just 15 km east of Penticton, as reported by Natural Resources Canada. There are no reports of damage, and none would be expected.

The tremor was lightly felt in Penticton, Kaleden, Bridesville, Lake Country, Abbotsford and region.


Friday, September 9 ~ VICTORIA. The BC Ministry of Education has introduced LGBT anti-bullying policies for schools throughout the province.  School anti-bullying policies — enhanced to support and respect diversity — were announced on September 8 by Mike Bernier, BC Minister of Education.

“BC’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students will not see themselves together with other groups reflected in anti-bullying policies in school districts and independent schools throughout the province,” said Minister Bernier. “Now explicit references to sexual orientation and gender identity are being added to the policies that school districts and independent schools are required to have in place.”

The changes will bring district school policies in line with July 2016 amendments to the BC Human Rights Code that included gender identity and expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Public school boards will need to have codes of conduct in schools by the end of this year, to address bullying by articulating the prohibited grounds of discrimination. A new Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Education advisor will help schools develop their policies.


sheringhamlighthouse-basic-webFriday, September 9 ~ SHERINGHAM POINT [8:45 am]. The gate at the Sheringham Point Heritage Lighthouse site is currently closed today, as there are active bears at the site enjoying their breakfast at the apple tree.

Volunteers are monitoring the situation and will open the gate as soon as the bears vacate the site.

As always, when enjoying the passive park, please be aware that bears, cougars and other wild things are frequently present at the site. So please be careful and follow the simple rules at www.wildsafebc.com .

The non-profit organization Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society earlier this year achieved heritage status for the lighthouse.  They are holding their AGM this weekend on Sunday, September 11 at SEAPARC, starting 2 pm. New members always welcome. www.sheringhamlighthouse.org


patiocafeThursday, September 8 ~ VICTORIA.  Businesses in BC with only outdoor patio seating may now apply to offer liquor service, it was announced today by the Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the
Liquor Distribution Branch. “The move will create new opportunities for small businesses and support increased consumer choice.”

Previously, patios could only be licensed to serve liquor if they were attached to an indoor venue which held a liquor licence. Now, businesses with a suitable outdoor space can apply to operate a licensed patio even if the establishment has no other licensed areas. This change enables eligible seasonal outdoor restaurants, concessions and resorts throughout the Province to expand their businesses, supporting BC’s growing beer, wine and liquor industries.

For a patio to become licensed, it must comply with local zoning, adjoin a permanent structure that is affixed to a foundation, be plumbed and wired to meet licence requirements, and the perimeter must be properly defined and enclosed to easily control the flow of patrons entering and exiting the establishment.

Consultations were held between the Province and key stakeholders such as the joint BC-UBCM Liquor Policy Review Working Group to ensure that this policy change would both address industry needs and fit seamlessly with current municipal bylaws.

This change builds on previous liquor policy updates – such as removing the requirement for restaurants to have separately designated lounge spaces and introducing happy hours – aimed at reducing red tape and modernizing liquor laws to increase convenience for consumers, support growth of BC businesses, and continue protecting public health and safety.

Liquor primaries with only licensed outdoor patios must comply with the requirement to focus on beverage service, entertainment or hospitality while providing hot or cold snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, and must obtain local government input as part of the application process.

In 2013, the Liquor Policy Review put forward 72 recommendations to modernize BC’s liquor laws. Of those, 43 recommendations have been implemented with more to come this year, it was stated in the government release.


Trudeau-with-flagsTuesday, September 6 ~ OTTAWA. “China is playing an increasingly important role in shaping world politics and driving global economic growth,” says the Prime Minister’s office in a news release today. “Renewing Canada’s relationship with China will help to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, today in Hong Kong, wrapped up a successful first official visit to China. Over the last eight days, the Prime Minister visited Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Hong Kong, and connected with Chinese leaders in government, business, and the public at large. He also participated in the G20 Leaders’ Summit.

Canada’s principal goals for the visit were to build the foundation for a stronger, more stable Canada-China relationship, and to explore how both countries could harness the untapped potential and benefits that closer relations could provide—especially in the areas of trade and investment, collaboration on environmental issues, and growing the middle class. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance of building closer ties between Canadian and Chinese citizens and participated in discussions between women entrepreneurs.

The Prime Minister met with political and business leaders, as well as Chinese students and entrepreneurs, and promoted a deeper understanding and goodwill between both countries. Canada and China have agreed to engage in more regular high-level dialogue on a range of issues. As well, new initiatives were announced in priority areas for Canada that will strengthen trade and investment, legal and judicial cooperation, and cultural and people-to-people ties and exchanges.

“Prime Minister Trudeau was impressed by the warm welcome he was shown by Chinese leaders. The Prime Minister intends to continue regular, respectful and frank discussion with China, including on issues like good governance and the rule of law,” it was stated in the release from the Prime Minister’s office.

At the G20 Summit, the Prime Minister worked with his colleagues to promote strong, sustainable, and balanced global growth. In his meetings, the Prime Minister advocated for coordinated G20 action to help address some of the world’s most pressing challenges—from building prosperity for the middle class to promoting open and free trade and investment.

One of the trip highlights for the Prime Minister was seeing Canadian and Chinese entrepreneurs come together to forge new business relationships. More than 50 deals were announced or signed in Shanghai worth $1.2 billion, and an additional 10 were announced in Hong Kong.


WorkBC-signinMonday, September 5 ~ SAANICH. Young people have an opportunity to learn the skills they will need for tomorrow’s in-demand occupations at the WorkBC’s ‘Find Your Fit’ booth at the Saanich Fair, September 3-5, 2016.

Find Your Fit is an interactive event where individuals of all ages can learn about BC’s in-demand careers and test out some of the skills they would need for those occupations. Participants will also get to check out career planning tools – such as Blueprint Builder and Career Trek videos – and the job resources and labour market information www.WorkBC.ca offers.

Parents, teachers and career counselors may benefit, too – by discovering ways to educate and support youth in their career exploration.

The Find Your Fit event was open September 3 & 4 at the Saanich Fair at 1528 Stellys Cross Rd, Central Saanich, and continues today Monday September 5 from 9am to 6pm.

Find Your Fit is part of BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint commitment to re-engineer education and deliver the skilled workforce needed in BC’s growing economy. The tour has had more than 150,000 participants so far, and was most recently in Vancouver.

“Through BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, we are committed to preparing the skilled workforce that our growing economy needs. The Find Your Fit tour ensures that our youth have the tools and resources necessary to consider the full range of in-demand occupations available to them,” says Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour.


Trudeau-with-flagsMonday, September 5 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Labour Day:

“Today, we commemorate Labour Day – an occasion to celebrate the many accomplishments of Canada’s labour movement.

“For more than a century, the labour movement has played an integral role in improving the lives of Canadian workers, and protecting Canada’s middle class and those working hard to join it. In the face of great adversity, the labour movement has fought to ensure fair living wages, safe working conditions, an inclusive workplace, and equitable relations with employers.

“The Government of Canada is committed to collaborating with the labour movement to ensure that working people are protected and supported during their entire careers and retirement. That is why we worked hard with the provinces and territories and achieved an agreement in principle to expand the Canada Pension Plan, invested more than $85 million in union-based apprenticeship training, and temporarily increased Employment Insurance benefits for workers hit hardest by the commodities downturn. We have also committed to repair and build roads and bridges, and other infrastructure across Canada, which will create better, well-paying jobs for union members and more livable communities for Canadian families.

“We are working to restore fair and balanced labour laws that acknowledge the important role of unions in promoting and protecting Canada’s middle class and those working hard to join it, and improve workers’ access to good quality skills training.

“Moving forward, we will amend the Canada Labour Code to allow federally regulated workers the right to formally request flexible work arrangements from their employers.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I wish all Canadians a safe and happy Labour Day.”


BCFerry-fromBCFerriessiteThursday, September 1 ~ VICTORIA.  BC Ferries is conducting a pilot project to improve thru-fare connections at the Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island. As well, a foot passenger reservation pilot has been extended.

The pilot for customers to connect with their second sailing out of Swartz Bay travelling by vehicle from Tsawwassen on the mainland to the Southern Gulf Islands may now use a ‘thru fare’ travel option. When arriving at Tsawwassen terminal, thru fare vehicle customers are provided with a mirror hanger that will allow terminal and vessel employees to load, unload and ticket them in the most expedient manner.

“BC Ferries addressed the feedback we had heard from thru fare customers who were anxious about transferring between sailings at Swartz Bay, and we developed procedures to help,” said Corrine Storey, BC Ferries Vice President of Customer Services. “By establishing communication, staging and loading protocols, we were able to now provide a way to greatly increase the likelihood of making a desired sailing to any of the five Southern Gulf Islands at Swartz Bay.”

As well, a successful pilot project that allows foot passenger reservations for customers travelling on the Tsawwassen-Southern Gulf Islands route has been extended. For travel until March 31, 2017, walk-on passengers will now be able to guarantee boarding on a sailing in either direction of travel.

The passenger reservation pilot originally began May 1, 2015, offering customers an opportunity to reserve a walk-on space when travelling from Tsawwassen to Salt Spring, Galiano, Saturna, Pender or Mayne Islands. Earlier this year, the pilot was expanded to include travel from these islands back to Tsawwassen.

Details of these pilot projects can be found on www.bcferries.com . To book a foot passenger reservation for travel to or from Tsawwassen and the Southern Gulf Islands, or for more info on both of these pilots, call 1-888-BC FERRY.


BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: August 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: July 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: February through June 2016