Front Page Breaking News – October 2016


patricklagaceAs reported by CBC today (and many other outlets across the country and elsewhere in the world), a columnist for Montreal’s La Presse newspaper was spied upon by the police for months. The targeted journalist — La Presse columnist Patrick Lagacé (top photo) — was apparently told that the action was part of an attempt to intimidate members of the police force who want to share information with journalists.  Lagacé got caught in the cross-hairs of that, just for doing his job.

It was not a one-off thing. Police had obtained 24 warrants this year to track Lagacé’s whereabouts using the GPS chip in his iPhone, and to obtain the identities of everyone he has spoken and messaged with, it was reported by La Presse.  “I lived in this fiction that this could not happen in this country,” said Lagacé. He said police told him he was being used as a “tool” in an investigation into one of its own officers.

Criminal lawyer Jeffrey Boro told CBC that the decision by the police to spy on a journalist threatens the roles journalists and defence lawyers play in society. “If journalists are not allowed to work without having these worries, not being able to get informants to tell them what’s going on, it weakens our whole system,” he said.

edwardsnowdenWell-known NSA ‘whistleblower’ Edward Snowden (middle photo), upon hearing the news, Tweeted this commentary today: “Are you a journalist? The police spying on you specifically to ID your sources isn’t a hypothetical. This is today.” In less than 24 hours, that Tweet has (as of 8:45 pm PDT) been retweeted over 5,800 times.

ralphgoodaleA ripple of great concern for the rights of all journalists was seen across the Internet and national media today.

Canadian Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale (bottom photo) in a quick TV news report expressed serious concern at the infringement of Montreal police upon freedom of the press.

adopting-familyMonday, October 31 ~ KELOWNA. The BC government has announced a new online adoption website portal for use by adoptive-hopeful families and the children who may be adopted. The website at www.gov.bc.ca/adoptbckids offers information to all prospective parents and families “to begin their journey”, it was stated in a Ministry of Children and Family Development news release today. The launch is part of BC’s Adoption Awareness Month (Nov 1 to 30).

This year $30.7 million is allocated for adoption promotion, up $3 million from last year

At its deeper levels, the new website includes personal information about both the families and the prospective adoptees. That level of the website is available once prospective parents are approved by direct interaction with social workers of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“We’re moving adoption in into the 21st century,” said Cadieux. “We heard from adoptive parents that the old paper-driven, ministry office-based system was cumbersome and just too slow. Adopt BC Kids allows people to manage their application online and helps streamline matching functions for adoption workers, helping us find the right family match for waiting children, quicker.”

Adopt BC Kids is the first website of its kind in Canada – no other jurisdiction offers a personalized and user-friendly system that captures all the foster children available for adoption and the prospective families in one accessible database. Parents can track which of the required documents have been received by the ministry, where they are in the process and better understand next steps. The journey starts with obtaining an identification code from Service BC.

“Adopt BC Kids supports our belief that online and mobile technologies only improve adoption information, support and education,” said Karen Madeiros, executive director of the Adoptive Families Association of BC. “It provides improved access to all waiting parents, and allows applicants to check their application any time, in any location. Helping more adults through the adoption process helps the children waiting for families, and Adopt BC Kids is a big help.”

Families no longer need to go into a local office and book an appointment with a social worker as they can get all the information they need online. Photos and biographies are posted in a secure area of the website. Families can attend an information session (a Waiting Child Session) online and no longer have to wait for in-person sessions, which run
every month or two.

Prospective parents can narrow their search by different criteria, like the age range of kids they are interested in adopting, whether or not they can adopt a sibling group, and if they are willing to consider providing a permanent home to a child with special needs. Once approved, applicants are given extra clearance to access pictures, video and audio of suitable adoptees. The site also allows families to post pictures and write about their interests and lifestyle, in their own words.

Cadieux explained during a media conference out of Kelowna that the adoption system and foster care system “work very much in parallel”. She says there are about 1,000 at any given time who are available for adoption and about 7,200 kids in foster care. “Those (in foster care) are kids not available for adoption but we hope may end up back with their families and so have not become a permanent ward of the state.”

Of the 1,000 of the children in the adoption system about 20 are newborns or very young infants. Oftentimes, newborns are adopted right away by relatives outside of the foster care system.

“We need foster parents,” Minister Cadieux said. Every October we do a special drive to encourage people to open their heart and home to a child in need. Interestingly enough, about 40% of kids are adopted by their foster family,” Cadieux told media. The minister said: “Foster care is quite often a route that ends up in adoption, whether that be the original goal of foster family or they just can’t part with the child once they’re in their home.  We are always in need of new foster families as well. I anticipate we will always have a need for foster families but that very much works in concert with adoption program.”

Adopt BC Kids is strengthened by the addition of new adoption service hub staff who will work with families to ensure all supporting documents, like criminal record and reference checks, are completed and included in the application package prior to it going to an adoption worker for review. This enables adoption workers to focus on in-person parent interviews and home studies.

Adopt BC Kids is a secure site, and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner was included in all stages of its design. Only users who have completed a full criminal record check, home study and have been approved to adopt can access the site and browse adoptive children’s profiles.

Those with interest in becoming an adoptive parent to one of BC’s waiting children or youth may call 1 877 ADOPT-07 or visit www.gov.bc.ca/adoptbckids

In 2015-16, the Ministry of Children and Family Development exceeded its adoption placement target of 600 adoptions, achieving 644 adoptions in that year. That’s the highest annual adoption count since the Adoptions Act came into effect in 1997. The goal for 2016-2017 is again at least 600.

Adoptive parents come from diverse backgrounds and have a range of life experiences. Any BC resident 19 years of age and over who is interested in providing a loving, nurturing home, may be eligible to adopt.

Many of the children and youth still waiting for adoption are school-aged. They may be siblings who need to stay together. Some may have special placement needs due to difficult early childhood experiences, prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs, learning delays or other developmental challenges.

For a list of Adoption Awareness Month events taking place in communities throughout BC see www.bcadoption.com/all-events and information on the adoption process in BC see www.1000familiesBC.com. The Adoptive Families Association of BC website is at www.bcadoption.com

safehalloweenishappyalloween-webFriday, October 28 ~ VICTORIA. Keep your Halloween spooky but safe!  BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris has issued the following statement ahead of Halloween:

“Halloween is, above all, about kids having fun. Like many grandparents, I look forward to hearing from my grandkids about their costumes and their night of fun (and, no doubt, their candy collection). But as a former police officer and now the minister responsible for public safety, I also look forward to knowing they’re safe come Tuesday morning.

“That leads me to a warning for some so-called adults out there: don’t think that police will view every trick as treat-worthy. If you engage in acts of vandalism or mischief – particularly while ‘clowning’ or otherwise disguised – you risk the possibility of arrest and potentially even a criminal record. Recently, some ‘crazy clowns’ across North America have been learning this the hard way. If whatever you’re planning could be considered irrational or illegal on any other night of the year, don’t assume Halloween is your get-out-of-jail-free card.

“Beyond that, I want to repeat the basic Halloween safety message that will be familiar to most parents and guardians: please make sure your young trick-or-treaters are visible while they’re going door to door. It’s getting darker earlier, which makes pedestrians harder to see generally – and young children who are caught up in the excitement of Halloween may not be focused on traffic and what’s going on around them. These circumstances make it even more important for drivers to be sober, focused on the road and free of distractions on Halloween.”

map-vancouverislandThursday, October 27 ~ VICTORIA. The BC Liberals are shoring up a political presence on Vancouver Island, where the BC NDP has built and maintained a political stronghold for decades.

Today Premier Christy Clark announced there will be a Vancouver Island-specific platform for the 2017 provincial election, with development to be led by MLA Don McRae who is retiring at the end of his current term.

The BC Liberal Party says it’s the first time they have developed a region-specific election platform for Vancouver Island.

Clark made the announcement in advance of her keynote speech to community and business leaders at the 10th annual State of the Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo.

“Vancouver Island is growing, vibrant, and unique – with its own opportunities and challenges that deserve government’s full attention,” said Clark. “That’s why I’ve asked MLA Don McRae to lead the effort to produce a specific set of commitments from our party to the people of Vancouver Island for the next election.”

“I’m excited to work with our Vancouver Island party members to identify what their families, communities, and businesses need in order to succeed,” said Comox Valley MLA Don McRae.

“We’ve had passionate discussions as part of the Party’s biggest-ever policy consultation, and we’re ready for a platform built for Islanders, by Islanders.” McRae’s sole Vancouver Island caucus colleague, Minister of Social Development and Innovation Michelle Stilwell agrees. “As a two-person caucus, Don and I have worked hard to deliver results for our communities and Vancouver Island as a whole. We want to achieve even more, which will be possible with additional regional representation in government.

“Today’s announcement of a standalone Vancouver Island platform is a welcome step in that direction,” she added.

Stilwell is the only government caucus member seeking re-election on Vancouver Island with her nomination in Parksville-Qualicum set for October 30. “Stilwell is joined by a strong, growing team of new BC Liberal candidates locally including Jim Benninger (Courtenay-Comox), Alana deLong (Nanaimo-North Cowichan), Paris Gaudet (Nanaimo), Steve Housser (Cowichan Valley), and Stephen P Roberts (Saanich North and the Islands). Dallas Smith (North Island) and Mathew Wilson (Powell River-Sunshine Coast) will be officially nominated on October 29 and November 12 respectively,” it was stated in a BC Liberal news release today.

“Candidates for Esquimalt-Metchosin, Langford-Juan de Fuca, Mid Island-Pacific Rim, Oak Bay-Gordon Head, Saanich South, Victoria-Beacon Hill, and Victoria-Swan Lake are expected to selected well in advance of the May 9th election,” it was stated in today’s release.

The news release says that the decision to craft a platform specific to Vancouver Island – a region broadly recognized as underrepresented in government – came out of a year-long consultation exercise with BC Liberal members throughout BC led by Minister of Education Mike Bernier and Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto. The process involved 20 local roundtables with 800 participants, generating over 1,000 policy ideas.

Last year, 12,000 jobs were created on Vancouver Island with an unemployment rate lower than the national average. Continued support for the forestry industry is needed while encouraging diversity and new economic development in areas with higher unemployment. New sectors like technology, artisan agriculture, tourism, and craft beer, liquor, and wine sectors have experienced tremendous growth.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan presently holds the riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca (won in 2013 as the Juan de Fuca riding). He has worked the Vancouver Island political scene for decades. Vancouver Island is considered to be an NDP stronghold in the BC political landscape.

senate-redchamberThursday, October 27 ~ OTTAWA.  The appointment of nine new independent Senators will be recommended to the Governor General by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it was announced today. The new Senators will fill vacancies in the Senate for British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

“In doing so, the Government is today taking further concrete steps to follow through on its commitment to improve the appointments process, and to restore public trust in a reformed Senate,” it was stated in a news release from the Prime Ministers’s office.

The individuals being recommended were chosen using the Government of Canada’s new merit-based process. The new process is designed to help ensure that the Senate is independent, reflective of Canada’s diversity, and best able to tackle the broad range of challenges and opportunities facing the country.

Under the new process, the following people are being recommended for appointment to the Senate:

Announcements about further appointments to the Senate will be made in the near future. Additional information on the first cycle of the permanent process will be made public when the Independent Advisory Board for Senate Appointments completes its report to the Prime Minister later this year.

After two more installments of new senators, about 44% of the senate will be composed of new senators based on merit, rather than on political persuasion. Until now, the Senate has been a source of political influence to ensure the steady hand and/or re-election of Liberals or Conservatives. The NDP have never favoured the Senate.

lottmax-ticketTuesday, October 25 ~ VANCOUVER.  This is the last week for the person holding a $1 million winning Lotto Max ticket from the October 30, 2015 draw to claim their prize.
A ticket sold in Burnaby for the October 30, 2015 draw matched 7/7 numbers for a $1 million Maxmillions prize.

“Lottery players should check their pockets, drawers and secret hiding places to see if they hold the $1 million ticket,” says the BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC). The person holding the ticket has until 4:30pm Friday, October 28 to claim the prize at a BCLC corporate office in Kamloops or Vancouver.

Only four major prizes have gone unclaimed in BC since 2006, totaling $534,572.70. All four prizes matched 5/6+ numbers, not the grand prize. The unclaimed prizes were $99,318.50 in 2006, $104,534.60 in 2008, $113,807 in 2009 and $219,912.60 in 2016. No top lottery prize in BC has ever gone unclaimed.

BCLC says it offers socially responsible gambling entertainment while generating income to benefit all British Columbians, with more info at  www.GameSense.ca. “Remember, play for fun, not to make money,” says the corporation that helps fund municipal coffers with annual grants and also is a major source of funding for the general BC budget (with the health care budget often noted as a benefactor).

stone-toddTuesday, October 25 ~ VICTORIA.  The Victoria Regional Transit Commission has been expanded by creating an additional seat, it was announced this morning by BC Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. The Victoria Regional Transit Commission was formed in 1982, and its mandate is to provide oversight and represent the transit needs of Greater Victoria. The board of directors, through the chair, reports to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, who is the Minister responsible for BC Transit.

“Over the years, the population and demographic makeup of the region has changed with the western communities growing at a much faster rate than the rest of Greater Victoria, largely due to the relatively affordable housing, especially for young families. “It’s important that the western communities’ voice and needs are fairly represented on the Commission,” it was stated in the release.

1305-mayotait-closeup-oct1716“In response to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission’s request to expand the number of its members from seven to eight to reflect the growing population in the region, the Province is pleased to announce the appointment of District of Sooke Mayor Maja Tait to the Commission,” said Minister Stone in a news release.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait has had some interaction with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure over the past few years, largely to pitch for attention to Highway 14 (Sooke Road) as it impacts the 12,000-resident population of Sooke which lies about 35 km west of Victoria. Since the demise of its resource-based economy last decade, Sooke holds onto its rural appeal for many long-time residents. But in the past 10 years Sooke has rapidly become a bedroom community for commuters to Victoria and other parts of south Vancouver Island in recent years. Tait had served as a District of Sooke councillor for two terms, before winning as Mayor in November 2014 with 68% of the vote.

carolhamilton-headshotCity of Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton also represents the interests of the residents of the western communities on the commission. Hamilton is serving in her second term as Mayor of Colwood, that she won with a strong return mandate of 84% from the Colwood electorate in 2014. She seems to be crafting Colwood as a bedroom community of choice, with a strong office/retail component to the municipality but less of the big-box stores and industrial enterprises than are seen in neighbouring Langford.

Transit service in Greater Victoria is governed by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. It will now consist of eight members (six locally elected mayors and two councillors) who are appointed according to the BC Transit Act.

Under the act, the following representatives must be appointed to the commission: Victoria’s mayor, a Victoria councillor, the mayor of Esquimalt or Oak Bay, the mayor of Saanich, a Saanich councillor and one of the mayors of Sidney, North Saanich or Central Saanich, as well as two representatives of the western communities – the Mayors of Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal, Langford, Highlands, Sooke or the director of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area. With Hamilton and Tait being the western communities representation (the only two women who are mayors in the western communities), that leaves the other mayors to focus on other specific needs of their areas.

“Today’s decision will help us continue to build on the transit investments and improvements we’re making in Sooke and the western communities,” said Minister Stone. “Over the last few years, BC Transit and the commission have added double-decker buses to increase capacity, installed additional bus shelters along Highway 14, has adjusted bus routes to improve service to and from SEAPARC Leisure Complex, introduced a Saturday night trip to and from Victoria, and built a new Park and Ride on Highway 14.”

Mayor Tait finally brought a traffic roundabout to Sooke town centre on Highway 14 last summer — which was not mentioned in the ministry release. Since final completion in fall 2015, the roundabout has improved traffic flow in and through Sooke.  In Sooke, Tait has overseen some town centre parking improvements, but cramped the style of parking at the Sooke public boat launch and never worked to resolve the issues of seriously impeding access to some businesses and residents with the restriction of turns at the Townsend/Sooke Road intersection, despite a public call to address it.

BC and the federal government have recently announced nearly $160 million in funding to further improve transit services throughout the province. This includes a $10-million extension to the Douglas Street northbound bus lane, from Tolmie Avenue to the McKenzie interchange that will reduce congestion on one of Victoria’s major transit routes servicing West Shore communities.”

“We will continue to work together toward improving and evolving public transit to meet the needs for everyone in Greater Victoria,” said Stone.  Victoria is of course the capital city of BC, with the legislature and government providing a lot of activity and employment for the south island region.

Transit service in Greater Victoria is governed by the Victoria Regional Transit Commission. It will now consist of eight members (six locally elected mayors and two councillors) who are appointed according to the BC Transit Act. Under the act, the following representatives must be appointed to the commission: Victoria’s mayor, a Victoria councillor, the mayor of Esquimalt or Oak Bay, the mayor of Saanich, a Saanich councillor and one of the mayors of Sidney, North Saanich or Central Saanich and two representatives of the western communities – the Mayors of Colwood, Metchosin, View Royal, Langford, Highlands, Sooke or the director of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.

The commission sets routes, service levels, fares and local taxes for transit purposes. It reviews and is responsible for raising the local share of the annual cost of transit in the region. The commission’s members are now:

  • Chair – Councillor Susan Brice – District of Saanich
  • Mayor Richard Atwell – District of Saanich
  • Mayor Lisa Helps – City of Victoria
  • Mayor Alice Finall – District of North Saanich
  • Mayor Barb Desjardins- Township of Esquimalt
  • Mayor Carol Hamilton – City of Colwood
  • Mayor Maja Tait – District of Sooke
  • Councillor Marianne Alto – City of Victoria


Tuesday, October 25 ~  ‘Spring forward, fall back’.  The change back to Standard Time is coming up on Sunday, November 6. At 2 am that morning, daylight savings time ends for this year.

Most people re-set their clocks back one hour (other than the ones on computers and most other electronics that reset themselves) on Saturday night before bed. So this year, that will be on Saturday night, November 5. It will produce an extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning. The broader impact of returning to Standard Time in the winter is that mornings will be a little brighter for the morning work commute, but nightfall comes sooner.

Each year, Daylight Savings Time ends the first Sunday of November and starts the second Sunday in March. Daylight Saving Time returns on Sunday, March 12, 2017. More daylight hours in spring and summer is thought to be supportive to modern economies, particularly outdoor sport and recreation.

In the past year in BC, there has been a movement to end the practice of Daylight Savings Time. The request has been made based on evidence that disruption of people’s sleep patterns can lead to some disorientation that in turn may lead to inattention or even accidents. There’s been an online petition, and some attention paid to the matter by some BC MLAs.

In general, the modern busy Canadian lifestyle leads to sleep deprivation for many people. In busy lives, schedules are jam-packed with commitments, obligations, places to be and people to see. Insufficient sleep is often compounded by use of caffeine to stay awake, or use of sleep aid medications to fall asleep.

poppy-artisticMonday, October 24 ~ VICTORIA.  Remembrance Day season 2016 has begun.

On Tuesday, October 25 at 10 am at Government House in Victoria, the Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, will be presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion BC/Yukon Command’s 2016 Poppy Campaign.

Funds raised in the annual Poppy Campaign by Legions and veterans across Canada support veterans, their families and dependents, seniors, education and Remembrance programs.

nathancirillo-fileSaturday, October 22 ~ OTTAWA.  Today a statement was issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the two-year anniversary of the October 22, 2014 attack at the Cenotaph and Parliament Hill:

“Two years ago, Canadians were shocked by the brutal attack that took place in and around Parliament that claimed the life of Corporal Nathan Cirillo [photo] and injured others. This vicious attack, at the very heart of our democracy, sought to frighten and divide Canadians. Instead it had the exact opposite effect, drawing us closer together and making us stronger. In the wake of this deadly assault, parliamentarians and Canadians united in condemning terrorism and further embracing our diversity.

The whole country honoured first responders – Senate and House of Commons Protective Services, the RCMP, former House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, medical personnel and others – for their bravery and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way for Canadians of all backgrounds and faiths.

It showed the world that Canada will not be intimidated by hatred and violence, but will meet these acts with strength and conviction. This also showed me yet again that our diversity and collective love of democracy are what make our country strong and our nation great.

I join all Canadians today in mourning the loss of Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent – who was killed two days earlier in an attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. These two members of the Canadian Armed Forces made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they loved. The most fitting tribute that we can pay them is defending the values that they so personified.”

The attack on Parliament Hill on October 22, 2014 was ultimately considered to be a terrorist-inspired attack by lone operator Michael Zihaf-Bibeau whose life was later determined to have spiraled from privilege to petty crime and drugs to, eventually, deadly extremism.

Sgt at Arms Kevin Vickers who shot the attacker near the library inside the Parliament buildings, was later given a Canadian diplomatic post in Ireland.

Justin Trudeau personally experienced the event on Parliament Hill that day (then Leader of the Liberals in the House), as did then Prime Minister Stephen Harper and then Leader of the Official Opposition Tom Mulcair. All the leaders and their caucuses happened to be in caucus meetings that Wednesday morning, and all were secured inside their caucus rooms while gun shots ensued.

The event impacted all Canadians for its bizarre aspects of how things unfolded, the sadness of it all for Cpl Nathan Cirillo and the families involved, and that it happened at all in a country where we generally feel safe and secure.

islandhealth-LOGOFriday, October 21 ~ Vancouver Island.  Island Health says it is on track to deliver 93 substance use beds as part of the provincial plan to open 500 substance use spaces throughout British Columbia.

Island Health’s 93 beds are based on population proportion and will support and enhance existing substance use services, it was stated in a news release from Island Health today. Since the initiative began in 2014, Island Health has already opened 55 beds across its service area. Plans are underway to open the remaining 38 beds by early 2017.

“We understand the harms and incredible risks of substance use, and that’s why more beds are needed to help people get back on track,” says BC Health Minister Terry Lake. “Everyone deserves a chance. Adding beds on Vancouver Island shows that we value our strong communities, and can help individuals struggling with substance use with support recovery beds and services.”

The 55 beds which have already opened are located throughout the area served by Island Health:
• Victoria: 14 tertiary supportive recovery beds, 10 supportive recovery beds and five stabilization beds for adults and six supportive recovery beds for youth
• Nanaimo: Four crisis stabilization beds for Aboriginal youth with concurrent mental health and substance use challenges
• Courtenay: Six supportive recovery beds for women
• Port Alberni: Five stabilization and supportive recovery beds
• North Island: Five withdrawal management/community detox beds on the North Island located in Port Hardy

“I’m looking forward to the positive impact these beds will have on the community, and proud to support the number of beds that have already opened, helping countless adults and youth,” said Don McRae, MLA for Comox Valley.

The remaining 38 beds will be located in communities throughout the Island Health region. In addition, when Island Health residents need to attend residential treatment facilities on the Lower Mainland, Island Health teams coordinate referrals and provide funding assistance. These services are part of a continuum of mental health and substance use programming.

“Ensuring that both adults and youth have better access and improved outcomes for mental health and substance use is a top priority for Island Health,” said Don Hubbard, Island Health Board Chair. “This additional treatment capacity will be a significant improvement and will help ensure appropriate levels of supports and services are available to people who need them.”

Cheryl Damstetter, Island Health’s Chief of Population and Community Health said: “For people who are living with substance use issues, these beds – and the supportive recovery services that surround them – will help support individuals through their personal journey toward recovery and will benefit not only them but also their children, families and communities.”

On July 27, 2016, BC Premier Christy Clark announced a new Joint Task Force on Overdose Prevention and Response. The actions being taken under the task force support the ongoing work to support and treat British Columbians with substance use issues, a key priority of government.

The province has committed to meet the goal of opening 500 new substance use treatment beds in 2017, and today’s announcement of more beds and the treatment and intervention services that surround them will work to meet that goal. In the past two years, the Province has opened more than 220 new beds as part of this commitment to ensure better access to appropriate substance use treatment and supports.

Island Health provides health care and support services to more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and the mainland communities north of Powell River.  www.viha.ca

johnhorgan-vanc-10childcare-oct1916-with2mlasFriday, October 21 ~ ELECTION BC 2017 campaign trail. Why vote NDP? That question was posed by West Shore Voice News to John Horgan in an interview today, as the BC NDP Leader was enroute from Richmond to Bella Bella.  Here’s what he says when BC voters ask him that question:

“The BC Liberals have been in power for 16 years, but is your life better today than 16 years ago?. Do the BC Liberals have your interest at heart or are they just holding onto government? When clinging to power, a government is not focussed on the best interest of the public.  It’s time for a change,” Horgan stated with conviction.

Earlier this week Horgan announced the BC NDP’s commitment to $10/day child care if the BC NDP form government after the May 2017 election. [Livestream Photo: in Vancouver with NDP MLAs Jodie Wickens and Melanie Mark].  While the BC Liberals issued in a statement that the cost of delivering $10/day child care is not possible, Horgan explains that an NDP government would achieve such a program with the likelihood of negotiating some federal partnership funding, something that Horgan feels wasn’t possible under the Harper government. Ultimately, the difference in approach between the two parties is about the political will to enable affordable child care as one component of an improved economy and society. When parents are confident about child care services, they are more productive employees, employers and contributors to the economy.

langford-jdf-map-smIn his home riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca, where Horgan has been the MLA since first being elected in 2005, the boundaries have changed (as well as the name of the riding over the years). But that’s because more people are moving to the area for relative housing affordability, so the boundaries over time have become smaller. Electoral area boundaries are reviewed and often revised every couple of years to ensure that the population count is similar among ridings.

“Langford-Juan de Fuca represents the cross-section of challenges that have developed under the BC Liberals,” says Horgan. “The challenges in Langford are the same as everywhere in BC: affordability, how to make family life easier, how well are schools funded, and good transportation options,” says the NDP Leader who saw two new NDP candidates nominated last weekend, with two more nominations coming up this weekend.

bellabella-oilspill-oct1416John Horgan is heading to the small coastal community of Bella Bella today to see for himself the damage to the pristine waters in the Great Bear Rainforest area due to an oil spill last Friday. Seafood harvesting areas that are critical to the Heiltsuk economy are being contaminated as a result of the spill from a tugboat.

Last month, the Duke of Cambridge delivered a speech in Bella Bella during the Royal Tour, stating his pleasure at protecting the Great Bear Rainforest as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy which was created by Queen Elizabeth to help preserve natural wilderness ecosystems around the world.

ruralbc-princetonFriday, October 21 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier Christy Clark has announced her intention for Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett to be sworn in as Minister of State for Rural Economic Development by Her Honour, Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon.

“Every community in British Columbia benefits when our rural communities are strong,” said Premier Clark.

“Donna Barnett is a proven champion for rural development who will strengthen our cabinet team as BC leads the country in economic growth and jobs, and as we work together to put British Columbians first.”

Premier Clark has also made the following change to parliamentary secretaries: Marc Dalton, MLA for Maple Ridge-Mission, is now Parliamentary Secretary for Métis Relations for Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad.

BCFerry-fromBCFerriessiteThursday, October 20 ~ COASTAL BC.  BC Ferries announced today that a major fleet-wide pricing promotion of 50% savings on vehicle fares will be in effect starting mid-November.

Similar to a promotion last year in the autumn season, customers travelling on select sailings will receive the discount off the standard vehicle fare.

This year there will be over 3,100 promotional sailings, including select Sunday morning sailings.

  • For North Coast routes servicing Port Hardy, Prince Rupert, Haida Gwaii, Alliford Bay and Skidegate, as well as the Discovery Coast Connector, the half-price discount will apply on all sailings from November 14 – December 18.
  • On all of the other routes, the promotion will be in effect on select sailings Monday through Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from November 14 – December 18.

The half-price fare discount will apply to cars, motorcycles, trucks, SUVs, vans or recreational vehicles (discount applies to the first 20 feet of vehicle length only).

“BC Ferries is pleased to once again offer this vehicle promotion for customers to enjoy some savings this fall,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We understand fare affordability remains a key concern for customers and hope they take advantage of this promotion when planning their fall travel. It was very popular last year and encouraged many passengers to travel on off-peak sailings, which helps shift traffic across our system.”

The promotions help reduce congestion at terminals by encouraging both foot and vehicle passengers to travel on off-peak sailings. BC Ferries is planning another pricing promotion for next spring.

Space on the selected sailings is on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are recommended to ensure a spot on the sailing of choice. www.bcferries.com

boc-monetarypolicyreport-coverWednesday, October 19 ~ NATIONAL. Today the Bank of Canada announced that it is holding its overnight rate at 0.5%. They are seeing slower growth than expected, to mid-2018.

In its Monetary Policy Report released today October 19, the Bank of Canada is now looking to 3rd quarter growth in 2016 as being 3.2% (previously 3.5%), with 4th quarter growth now expected to be 1.5% (down from 2.8%). The overall economy is now predicted to grow by 2.0% in 2017 rather than 2.2%.

The revisions put the Bank of Canada’s forecasts closer to the market consensus, according to RBC Economics Research.

Interesting, that the cover image on the Monetary Policy Report shows a tilting ship – not exactly the image of stability.

Exports in 2017 are expected to sag a bit. It also appears that the Bank of Canada expects investment in housing to act as a small drag on growth next year following the government’s recent policy actions requiring a ‘stress test’ for affordability of a 5-year fixed rate.

“The tweaks to the growth forecast mean that economic slack will persist until the middle of 2018 and will exert downward pressure on core prices through 2017,” says RBC Economics Research today in a published report.

The Bank of Canada report refers to an environment of “heightened uncertainty” especially with respect to the export outlook.

The Bank of Canada’s next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is December 7, 2016. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published on January 18, 2017.

owl-w-castWednesday, October 19 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND. A rare avian patient has landed at the BC Wild ARC facility. “She’s a female adult Short-eared owl – a rare patient at Wild ARC – it’s been many years since we last admitted one,” says Heather Schmitt, assistant manager at Wild ARC. “Her injuries needed immediate surgical repair, as the bones needed to be pinned and stabilized in order for her to be able to fly again.”

Staff at the BC SPCA’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) on Vancouver Island are hoping the public can help a short-eared owl fly again, after she was found by the side of the road with two severely broken bones in her left wing. “She’s a beautiful bird! We just want her to be able to fly again, and hunt for her meals the way owls are supposed to,” Schmitt says.

The feathered patient is expected to be in Wild ARC’s care for about eight weeks as she recovers, needing medication for pain, to prevent infection and to promote healing, specialized staff care including hand-feeding and therapies to help rehabilitate the wing, and flight testing before release. If all goes well, the owl will be returned to the wild when she is fully recovered.

The estimated medical costs associated with the owl’s treatment and recovery is expected to be over$4,000. As a non-profit organization, the BC SPCA relies primarily on public donations to carry out their work helping vulnerable companion, farm and wild animals. Donations are accepted by Wild ARC at their facility at 1020 Malloch Rd (off Rocky Point Road in the Metchosin area), or online at www.spca.bc.ca/medicalemergency . Info: 250-478-9453.

italogoTuesday, October 18 ~ VICTORIA. An investment of$5.2 million in Camosun College for skills training in high-priority trades seats was announced today by the BC Government. 

Greg Kyllo, parliamentary secretary for the BC Jobs Plan, announced the funding today on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, during a tour of Camosun College’s Centre for Trades Education and Innovation. The investment, through the Industry Training Authority (ITA), will fund 2,047 seats through to March 31, 2017, in various trades, including: Electrician, Welder, Carpenter, Cook, and Automotive service technician.

The funding is part of the ITA’s allocation to BC post-secondary institutions and training providers to run various training programs through out the province. In response to the objectives outlined in BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and the McDonald Report, the BC government has worked in partnership with the ITA to begin building a demand-driven trades-training system with funding aligned to specific in-demand trades.

The provincial government invests more than $94 million annually in industry training through the ITA. The ITA leads and co-ordinates British Columbia’s skilled trades system by working with employers, employees, industry, labour, training providers and government to issue credentials, manage apprenticeships, set program standards and increase opportunities in the trades.

ITA provides more than 100 apprenticeship training programs in BC.,  including almost 50 Red Seal trades. There are currently more than 39,000 registered apprentices in the  industry training system (including youth) – more than double the 14,676  apprentices registered when ITA was created in 2004.  BC is expecting up to one million job openings by 2025 due to retirements and economic growth. Eight of every 10 of these job openings will require post-secondary education or trades training.

businessweek2016Sunday, October 16 ~ OTTAWA. Small Business Week in Canada is October 16 to 22, 2016.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today issued the following statement marking Small Business Week:

“Small business owners work incredibly hard to provide Canadians with quality goods and services while also creating job opportunities that strengthen communities across the country and grow the middle class.

“In Canada there are over 1.16 million small and medium sized businesses. These businesses account for 99% of all firms, and employ over 90% of the labour force in the private sector. They are anything but ‘small’ in terms of their contribution to Canada’s economic growth, job creation, and innovation.

“Small Business Week is important for many reasons. It allows Canadians to thank small business owners and entrepreneurs for their enormous contributions to our country’s prosperity. It is also a chance for current and future small business owners to participate in events across the country to learn, network, and share ideas about making their businesses as innovative, export-ready, and successful as possible.

“Our government recognizes the importance of small businesses and the entrepreneurs that make them thrive. That is why we are investing in several programs that support innovation and skills training, including for women, Indigenous, and young entrepreneurs.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I invite all Canadians to celebrate our small business owners and entrepreneurs. We hope you will be able to take part in the events organized across Canada, learn, share ideas and do some networking, while recognizing the hard work, talent, ambition, and determination of small business owners and entrepreneurs.”

wsv-mpoweroutages-webSaturday, October 15 ~ Vancouver Island. [posted at 8:15 pm]. Remnants of a typhoon are forecasted to affect Vancouver Island and the BC lower mainland this evening.

All regions BC Hydro crews are pre-positioned in key locations on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland to move quickly into affected areas as strong winds are moving through parts of the province as expected. “Crews will be working through the evening to restore power as quickly and safely as possible for our customers. The safety of our crews and the public remains our top priority,” says a bulletin on the BC Hydro website this evening.

Vancouver Island South is presently experiencing 18 outages, affecting 4,779 BC hydro customers. Vancouver Island North has 15 outages as of 8:15 pm, with 9.703 customers affected. On the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast area, 12,152 customers are without power within 34 areas of power outage.

On the west side of Vancouver Island, about 1,295 customers are affected in the extended Sooke area including West Coast Road west of Grant Road (ETO 11 pm), north of Phillips Rd (no ETO), and various other areas around West Coast Road. Only 16 customers are presently without power in Victoria (Topaz Avenue area).

shakeout-studentsSaturday, October 15 ~ BC. A new program to help inspire students throughout the province to do their part to prepare British Columbia families and communities for emergencies is now available in BC classrooms.

Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness Naomi Yamamoto has announced the launch of the Master of Disaster program, a three-module learning resource, available in both English and French. It’s designed to help Grade 6 students learn about emergency preparedness from a proactive and interactive all-hazards perspective.

To become a Master of Disaster, students gain the knowledge necessary to prepare for the worst should disaster strike, as well as the skills to create more resilient and connected households and families that understand the importance of working together before, during and after an emergency.

The Master of Disaster program was first introduced by PreparedBC as a pilot in five schools in April 2016. Feedback received from teachers and students who participated in the pilot has been incorporated to enhance the program in preparation for today’s province-wide launch.

The program was developed in collaboration with public, independent and First Nations school teachers from around BC, emergency program coordinators, parent advisory council members, school administrators and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The learning materials are available to all schools in BC including public, independent, francophone and First Nations schools, as well as home study.

BC Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto, says: “This Master of Disaster program is a fun and interactive way to develop a foundation to guide and help protect our students’ families and communities for a lifetime. By teaching children about emergency preparedness when they are young, students can help ingrain these
lessons in our culture and better protect B.C. families for generations to come. The resiliency of our province depends on us all taking action, and doing everything we can to prepare for emergencies. I am so proud of the work of our ministry and our partners in making this vision a reality.”

BC Minister of Education Mike Bernier says: “Schools need to be safe places for our children. That’s why we
continue to invest in our globally recognized seismic mitigation program that’s seen 155 schools upgraded or replaced. The Master of Disaster program will help students be prepared for and ready to react to any disaster whether they are at school or at home.”

The Master of Disaster is currently targeted at Grade 6 students, based on recommendation by the Ministry of Education. However the government says the program is flexible and adaptable and can be used for a variety of school-age children. Students will receive a Master of Disaster certificate for completing the program.

Each Master of Disaster module is aligned with the new provincial curriculum and supported by worksheets, learning plans, a multi-media library and a role-playing game featuring a colourful cast of community characters. To ensure ease of adoption, the learning resources align with the principles of the new curriculum standards rolled out by the Ministry of Education.

Master of Disaster fits with Yamamoto’s mandate toward making emergency preparedness a priority in BC (through public education), a direct recommendation of the Office of the Auditor General and Henry Renteria reports.

shakout-logoThe rollout of this program lines up with this year’s Great BC ShakeOut earthquake drill exercise. The annual drill is this year on Thursday, October 20 at 10:20 am. Hundreds of thousands of British Columbians will take part. They will be joined by millions around the globe in a “Drop, Cover and Hold On” drill to help make sure British Columbians are prepared well before the ground begins to shake. Last year over 770,000 people in BC took part in the Great BC ShakeOut. This year’s registration tally has reached over 720,000.

Links: Master of Disaster Learning Resources | PreparedBC  | Emergency Info BC | The Great British Columbia Shakeout | Build an emergency kit  | Household preparedness

bedsheltersFriday, October 14 ~ VICTORIA. Extreme weather response shelters have opened early, as the winter storm season has arrived earlier than usual this year, says the BC Ministry of Natural Gas Development and Responsible for Housing. As a result, the BC Government is providing early funding to any Extreme Weather Response (EWR) shelter in BC that is prepared to open early.

While the EWR season officially runs from November 1 to March 31, almost 30 EWR shelters across Metro Vancouver and around BC were able to begin operations Wednesday evening, October 12. These additional spaces will increase capacity so that homeless people can access a safe and warm place to sleep during the rainy days ahead.

Last winter, more than 1,700 additional shelter spaces in over 80 communities were made available during extreme weather events. These spaces are in addition to more than 1,900 permanent, year-round shelter beds throughout the province. Most permanent shelters are open 24/7 and provide three meals per day.

BC also funds outreach teams to help connect people who are homeless, or at risk, with housing and support services such as income assistance and mental-health and addictions services.

BC Housing will be updating the BC Shelter Map  at www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map on a daily basis to indicate which shelters are open and will be tweeting all EWR shelter openings at @BC_Housing

A complete list of EWR shelters will be made available in November.

Since 2001, the BC government has invested $4.9 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families.

  • More than 104,000 BC households benefit from a diverse range of provincial housing programs and services.
  • Last year, the Province provided approximately $204 million to support more than 14,000 emergency shelter spaces, subsidized units and rent supplements for those who were homeless throughout BC
  • Close to 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter beds;Nearly 8,800 subsidized housing units for individuals who are homeless or homeless at risk.
  • More than 3,200 homeless rent supplements, including over 1,500 monthly rent supplements allocated to providers in the province through the new Homeless Prevention Program.


Thursday, October 13 ~ VANCOUVER.  Coast Capital Savings recently held a contest to draw one winner for a prize of $1,000, from among their customers who participated in with feedback during web banking.

“Feedback from our members is extremely important to us – it lets us know what we’re doing well and what we could be doing better,” it was stated in a Coast Capital Savings message to customers, without itemizing what had been learned from feedback participants.

They announced that Annemarie M. from Bowen Island was selected as the winner of the $1,000 prize.

The BC-based credit union says that next week they will be making an announcement about the future of Coast Capital Savings, saying it is an opportunity to “serve our members better than ever before”.

bclc-logoThursday, October 13 ~ VANCOUVER. A LOTTO MAX ticket worth $1 million remains unclaimed, says BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC).

“This is a treat and no trick for someone holding a $1 million winning Lotto Max ticket that expires on October 30, 2016. A ticket sold in Burnaby for the October 30, 2015 draw matched 7/7 numbers for a $1 million Maxmillions prize,” it was stated in a BCLC release today.

“Lottery players should check their pockets, drawers and secret hiding places to see if they hold the $1 million ticket. Winners have one year from the draw date printed on the ticket to claim their prize.”

Only four major prizes have gone unclaimed in BC since 2006, totaling $534,572.70. All four prizes matched 5/6+ numbers, not the grand prize. The unclaimed prizes were $99,318.50 in 2006, $104,534.60 in 2008, $113,807 in 2009 and $219,912.60 in 2016. No top lottery prize in BC has ever gone unclaimed.

BCLC says they offer “socially responsible gambling entertainment while generating income to benefit all British Columbians”. Gaming funds are regularly paid out to municipalities and help to support the costs of health and education.

weatheralert-oct1116Tuesday, October 11 ~ VANCOUVER ISLAND.  Weather forecasters are predicting a series of three storms that will impact Vancouver Island starting tomorrow night, October 12, lasting for several days into Sunday. They are saying there could be potential for tree damage, power outages, flooding and landslides.

A series of intense storms will deliver prolonged heavy rain and strong winds to the South Coast beginning Wednesday evening:

• The first storm will reach the South Coast late Wednesday evening spreading the first round of heavy rain and strong south-east winds. Winds will likely exceed warning criteria (>80km/h) for the west side of Vancouver Island and perhaps Greater Victoria.
• A second round of strong winds and heavy rain is expected to begin late Thursday/early Friday with the arrival of storm #2.
• The third and potentially most vigorous storm is expected on Saturday when the remnants Typhoon Songda approach the South Coast. This third storm will be slow moving and produce heavy rain into Sunday.
• Currently, forecast models are suggesting the possibility for Saturday’s storm to intensify into a major storm. If the forecast holds, widespread damage from extreme winds is likely.
• Daily rainfall amounts will be in the 50-80 mm range. Total rainfall amounts from the three storms could be in excess of 200 mm along coastal sections and even higher over the North Shore mountains.

Environment Canada says that the forecast models are in good agreement regarding overall intensity of the storm cycle. Given that Saturday’s storm is still 4 days out, there is still plenty of time for the forecast to change. As always, forecast certainty will increase with time as the storms approach.

Environment Canada recommends that people prepare for potential power outages. They also suggest that people ensure that culverts and storm drains are free of debris.

happythanksgiving-withmapleleavesSunday, October 9.  BC Premier Christy Clark has issued the following statement on Thanksgiving:

“Thanksgiving is a time to gather with friends and family to celebrate and appreciate life’s many blessings.

In British Columbia and Canada, we have a lot to be thankful for. We live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, in a tolerant, diverse, and prosperous society.

Our growing economy means more people can take care of loved ones – but we should never forget those who are less fortunate. To all those who donate their time, food and service at community shelters and food banks this long weekend – thank you.

I wish all British Columbians a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.”

happythanksgiving-turkeypeekingSaturday, October 8. Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Many people already started their extended weekend over the last few days.

This is one of the busiest travel weekends for BC Ferries (70 additional sailings, most of those on the Vancouver-Victoria route).

Monday October 10 is a statutory holiday.

justintrudeau-teacher1Wednesday, October 5 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has today issued the following statement on World Teachers’ Day:

“World Teachers’ Day is a special day to honour the teachers who have played an essential role in our lives.

The theme of this year’s World Teachers’ Day – Valuing teachers, improving their status – is an important one. Teachers have the awesome responsibility and the humbling opportunity of building the society of tomorrow through the students they teach every day in their classrooms.

Enriching and educating the next generation of Canadians is no small task. It requires a lot of generosity, compassion, and hard work. Day in and day out, teachers seek new ways of engaging with students and explaining tough concepts, taking the time to understand students’ needs while empowering them to satisfy their own curiosity.

The Government of Canada is committed to providing teachers with the tools necessary to help students succeed. That is why we are undertaking a broad range of initiatives in this area, including: helping teachers and early childhood educators recover some out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies through a new school supply tax credit; investing in schools on First Nations reserves and in infrastructure projects at Canadian universities and colleges; providing learning opportunities for displaced children in the Middle East; and promoting cooperation in education with countries such as Mexico through Canada’s International Education Strategy.

I am exceptionally proud of having been a teacher. Regardless of whatever other job titles I hold over the course of my life, I will first and foremost be a teacher. That is why I was particularly delighted to present this year’s Prime Minister’s Awards for Teaching Excellence and Excellence in Early Childhood Education.

In fact, today is also the beginning of the nomination period for the Prime Minister’s Awards. Between now and January 9, 2017, I encourage all Canadians to recognize our tremendous educators and their contributions to the future of Canada by nominating them for the #PMAwards.”

biosolidsprocessingWednesday, October 5 ~ VICTORIA. Public input is being sought on new BC’s news biosolids and composting rules.

British Columbians are invited to review and provide feedback on a policy intentions paper for the organic matter recycling regulation (OMRR), including new requirements for the management and use of biosolids.

The current OMRR has been in effect since 2002. Updates are needed to reflect the best available science and to ensure the highest levels of protection for the environment and human health are in place.

New and updated proposed policies highlighted in the intentions paper include:

  • Improving public transparency through online posting of biosolids land applications and posting of plans and reports for non-permitted compost facilities;
  • Requiring notification be given to First Nations for new compost facilities and land application of biosolids;
  • Improving facilitation for organics recycling, which will decrease materials that are landfilled;
  • Harmonizing with national guidelines, other BC regulations and other requirements and standards; and
  • Introducing new standards for protection of human health and the environment, including enhanced planning and reporting requirements, new technical standards and improved compost storage requirements.

composting-foodscrapsA 60-day window for public comments ends Dec. 2, 2016. In addition to the public engagement, focused discussions will also take place with First Nations, agricultural producers and local governments.

> The intentions paper can be viewed at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/waste-management/recycling/organics/omrr_ip_sept_22.pdf
> Findings from the Province’s scientific review, including a soil sampling report and literature review, were used in the development of the intentions paper. These reports are available at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/waste-management/recycling/organics/regulations-guidelines

Amendments to the OMRR, based on all engagement and information received, are anticipated to take place in 2017.

“This intentions paper is the next step in our comprehensive review of the organic matter recycling regulation and the policies we are proposing will ensure the rules we have in place to protect human health and the environment are based on the latest and best science available,” says Mary Polak, BC Environment Minister.

“We also intend to reduce pressure on our landfills, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from organic waste, as recommended in the Climate Leadership Plan. We welcome all feedback on these proposed changes so we can ensure organic matter, including biosolids, is dealt with in the safest and most transparent way possible.”

worksafebc-logoTuesday, October 4 ~ VICTORIA. The first conference in BC dedicated to the health, well-being and soft skill development for Health Care Assistants (HCAs) kicks off in Esquimalt on Thursday, October 6. Health Care Assistants are the front line caregivers in homes, residential care facilities and hospitals who provide personal care to clients and patients with increasingly complex care needs.

According to WorkSafeBC statistics, Health Care Assistants experience the highest number of injuries of any occupation in BC. WorkSafeBC accepted more than 15,000 time-loss claims in the last five years in this occupation mainly caused by overexertion; violence; slips, trips and falls; infectious disease and motor vehicle incidents.

The sold out one-day conference will focus on workplace safety education from a psychological/social perspective; topics will range from proactive dementia care strategies to how to avoid compassion fatigue, survivors’ guilt and burn out . More than 160 Health Care Assistants and employers have registered.

Conference speakers:
Kath Murray RN, educator and author, Strength Training for HCAs
Elizabeth Causton MSW, Baggage and Boundaries: Foundations for Compassionate Care
MC Brenda Robinson, trainer and speaker, Energy for the Day
Representatives from Beacon Community Services, Camosun College and Home Instead Senior Care will present on The Dementia Experience.

Tuesday, October 4 ~ VICTORIA. Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux issued the following statement today in response to the release of the representative for children and youth’s report that investigates sexualized violence against children and youth in care:

“I’d like to thank the Representative’s Office for their work on this important report. It helps shed further light on a very dark issue in our society – an issue we’ve explored extensively in other reviews, including most recently in our file review of children and youth in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

“The factors behind the sexual abuse of children are both disturbing and complex, and the report does a thorough job of detailing those factors as well as identifying those populations that are most vulnerable.

“In an effort to prevent the victimization of youth who come into our care the ministry has rigorous standards in place for assessing caregivers. Those standards require, for example, criminal record checks for all adults residing in the home, home studies and caregiver training.

“We are also implementing a number of measures to strengthen the system of care including: revised standards for social workers who assess, train, support and monitor foster parents; an expanded audit program to include the work of these social workers; and revised protocols for responding to allegations of harm or poor quality of care for children in foster homes.

“This ministry is built on the principle of protecting children from harm. We know that many of the young people who come into our care have suffered from varying forms of abuse in their lives – and too often at the hands of those they’ve loved or trusted. We need to ensure we are doing all we can to make our system of care a safe haven for these children and youth.

“This report offers some interesting recommendations in support of that goal and we will be discussing those with our partner ministries and agencies in the coming weeks.”

“In many cases these children have been targeted by sexual predators because they are already experiencing multiple challenges including developmental disabilities, substance abuse problems and mental health issue,”says Opposition Spokesperson for Children and Families, Melanie Mark. “Christy Clark is failing and her government is denying vulnerable children the protection and support that they need,” said Mark.

Three quarters of children under 12 who experienced sexualized violence while in care experienced it in their ministry placement, the report shows. Aboriginal girls are 4 times more likely to be the victims of sexualized violence in care before the age of 12 than other children. Of the children in care who experienced sexualized violence, 64 per cent were Aboriginal girls. Mark noted this is a staggering statistic that calls into question whether the BC Government is truly committed to the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, or if she believes reconciliation can wait – leaving more youth to be subject to more sexualized violence.

“Sexual assault and abuse is the single most reported critical injury of children in care,” said Mark. “What’s even more disturbing is knowing that many more children in care aren’t reporting the sexualized violence they are suffering because they can’t trust the system to protect them and provide them with the resources they need to heal,” says Mark.

In the report, one frustrated social worker noted that high caseloads have left them without the time to monitor the children in their care and build relationships: “All we do is enter data.”

BCFerry-fromBCFerriessiteMonday, October 3. As for Thanksgiving over the last several years, BC Ferries is adding extra sailings for the upcoming Thanksgiving long weekend. Seventy additional trips are scheduled to service holiday weekend travellers.

On the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, which is the busiest route in the fleet (Vancouver-Victoria), there will be 56 extra sailings from Thursday, October 6 through Tuesday, October 11.  For the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route at peak times, 12 more sailings have been added. An extra round trip will be provided between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale on the evening of the holiday Monday.

The most popular travel times are expected to be Thursday and Friday afternoons (October 6 and 7) as well as Saturday morning (October 8) with traffic moving from the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

The busiest day of the long weekend will be Monday October 10, and multiple vehicle overloads are expected at the Departure Bay, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals. Duke Point terminal tends to be less congested than Departure Bay, so customers returning to Metro Vancouver from the Nanaimo area may consider Duke Point terminal as an alternative.

“The holiday Monday of the Thanksgiving long weekend is traditionally the busiest day of the year for foot passengers and is one of the few times of the year where we experience foot passenger overloads,” said Corrine Storey, BC Ferries Vice President of Customer Services. “Customers travelling as foot passengers are advised to arrive at the terminals well in advance of their desired sailing and consider travelling before noon on the holiday Monday.”

Southern Gulf Island customers (Salt Spring, Pender, Mayne, Galiano and Saturna Islands) are reminded the holiday Monday schedule will be in effect on Monday, October 10. Passengers travelling from Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands also have the option of sailing via Swartz Bay terminal.

BC Ferries recommends that travellers check the website for current conditions before heading to the terminals on the Thanksgiving long weekend and suggests reservations for travellers with a specific sailing time in mind. Foot passenger reservations are also available for customers travelling from Tsawwassen to the Southern Gulf Islands. Schedules and reservations:  www.bcferries.com

dukeduchess-atcridgecentre-oct0116-webSaturday, October 1 ~ VICTORIA [2pm]. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent this morning and early afternoon in Victoria, BC learning about organizations that provide youth support and mental health services.

They visited the Cridge Centre in Victoria this morning [Photo: The Duke is greeted by BC Lt Gov Judith Guichon], then chatted with representatives of the Kelty Mental Resources Centre at the Breakwater Cafe and Bistro at the Dallas Road oceanfront.

Cridge Centre board president Val Fuller said the Cridge Centre offers programs for people with brain injuries, victims of domestic violence, infant, family and seniors care. She welcomed William and Kate to the Cridge, saying their visit to the centre touches “the common thread of the courage to overcome.”

kate-on-ship-oct0116-webThe royal couple then went for a sail on the Pacific Grace tall ship [see photo] then is used by the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS). The ship sailed past the breakwater and return to the Victoria Inner Harbour.

Walkabouts to meet with members of the public occurred at several points on today’s Royal Tour itinerary.

At 2 pm the Duke of Cambridge released a statement to Canadians:

“Catherine and I are incredibly grateful to the people of Canada for the warmth and hospitality they have extended to our family over the last week. We have loved our time in British Columbia and Yukon and will never forget the beautiful places we have seen and the many people who have been kind enough to come to welcome us in person.

“We feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit.

“Canada is a country of optimism, generosity and unrivaled natural beauty. I hope we have helped all Canadians celebrate what makes this country great. We will see you again soon.”

The eight-day Royal Tour (September 24 to October 1) wraps up this afternoon with an official departure ceremony at the Victoria Inner Harbour at 3:30 pm Pacific Time. The departure will be attended by  They are scheduled to depart the Inner Harbour at 3:50 pm for the Victoria Airport Water Aerodrome aboard a seaplane.

William and Catherine and their young children George and Charlotte will be officially greeted at the outdoor Official Farewell by Governor General David Johnston, and he will be the last to bid them farewell as they board the seaplane. in a 20-minute ceremony, also bidding the family farewell will be: Songhees First Nation Chief Ron Sam, Esquimalt First Nation Chief Andy Thomas, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James, Victoria MP Murray Rankin, and BC Premier Christy Clark.

2306-pm-greets-duke-sept2416-webSaturday, October 1 ~ OTTAWA.  Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau today announced the Government of Canada’s official gift to mark the Royal Tour of Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The official gift is a donation of $100,000, which will be divided equally between two worthy initiatives.

The first $50,000 contribution will go to Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC), and will be used to promote education in Canada’s Indigenous communities and help more young people reach their full potential. It will also be used to help preserve Indigenous languages in Canada.
The second contribution of $50,000 will be given to the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia to help assist newcomers with housing, employment, and language skills.

A news release from the Prime Minister’s office says: “Canada looks forward to more visits from Their Royal Highnesses, especially during the upcoming celebrations to mark our 150th anniversary of Confederation.”

Says Trudeau: “In keeping with tradition, I am honoured to mark the visit by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a gift that will help both Indigenous youth as well as newcomers to Canada realize their dreams. Canadians have a real affection for the Royal family which was once again very much on display during this tour.”

This is the second official Canadian tour for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Their first Royal Tour was in 2011.

The work of Prince’s Charities Canada (PCC) focuses on The Prince of Wales’s main interests which include helping disadvantaged youth, education, responsible business, environmental sustainability and support for the Canadian Armed Forces, among others.  PCC works with existing Canadian charities and provides opportunities for charitable organizations in Canada and the UK to work together.

The Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia has been providing support services for immigrants and refugees since 1972.  It provides targeted programs for refugees, women, children and youth and is the largest agency of its kind in Western Canada.

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: September 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: August 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: July 2016

BC & NATIONAL Breaking News Archive: February through June 2016