Wednesday, June 9, 2021

 


I’d like to provide an update on an important development in Fairy Creek.

On Monday June 7th, the Pacheedaht, Huu-ay-aht, and Ditidaht First Nations issued the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration, taking back decision-making responsibilities over their traditional territories. At the same time, these three nations asked our government to defer old growth logging in the Fairy Creek Watershed and Central Walbran areas, which are located within their territory.

I’m pleased to report that our BC NDP government honours and has approved the request to protect all of the old growth identified by the three First Nations, including the Fairy Creek Watershed.

The protection of Fairy Creek is an important step in protecting the old growth forests that we all love.

The over 2,000 hectares protected in Fairy Creek and Central Walbran adds to the nearly 200,000 hectares our government has already protected, including in Clayoquot Sound and the Skagit “Donut Hole” in Manning Park. In total, we have now issued deferrals in 11 rare old growth ecosystems left vulnerable by the BC Liberals. 

But let’s be clear: while these are very important first steps, we know there is a lot more work to do. That’s why our government will announce more old growth protections this summer, following ongoing consultations with Indigenous rights and title holders.

In recent weeks, I’ve been asked why government didn’t act immediately to defer Fairy Creek. The answer is simple: We were respecting the request from Pacheedaht First Nation not to interfere as they developed a stewardship plan for their territories. The days of making land management decisions without consulting Indigenous rights and title holders is over.

All First Nations have the inherent right of self-determination and are uniquely positioned to be stewards of their territories. The outcome in Fairy Creek shows that when we put Indigenous peoples at the center of land management in their territories, we can protect old growth while advancing reconciliation.

Although some demonstrators have said they intend to continue protesting, it’s important to recognize what the Pacheedaht, Huu-ay-aht, and Ditidaht said on June 7:

“Third parties – whether they are companies, organizations, other governments, or individuals – have no right to speak on behalf of the Nations. Moreover, for third parties to be welcome in their ḥahahuułi (traditional territories), they must respect their governance and stewardship, sacred principles, and right to economically benefit from the resources within the ḥahahuułi.”

Thank you for raising your voice on this issue. British Columbians have cared about these forests for a long time, and these last few weeks have shown that commitment is stronger than ever. These forests are part of what makes our province a great place to live. They’re part of who we are as British Columbians.

 

Protecting Fairy Creek is an important step, but there’s a lot more work to do. I’ll keep you updated as we take additional action to protect old growth forests for future generations.

 

Click here to read the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration.

Click here to read more about our government’s announcement today.

Sincerely,

 



Tuesday, June 8, 2021


 
Today, Tuesday June 8th, is World Oceans Day! 

Our government has partnered with Indigenous Nations, coastal communities, local governments, and tourism operators to clean up over 1,200 KMs of our coastline. This is part of our Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative that is helping restore marine life and protecting BC’s coasts today and for years to come while also creating jobs and local opportunities! 🌊🌊🌊
 
To learn more about the Clean Coast, Clean Waters Initiative visit this link: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021ENV0029-000783

Sincerely,



Thursday, June 3, 2021


Throughout the pandemic, front line workers have been essential in keeping our communities going. Those front line workers include many hard-working people who still struggle to make ends meet, including grocery store workers, servers, and cleaners. Our government believes that these and all workers should make a fair and dignified wage. This week, we increased the minimum wage in B.C. to $15.20 an hour. We’ve also eliminated the discriminatory lower minimum wage for liquor servers – these workers will now make the regular minimum wage. 
 
Since 2018, we’ve been regularly increasing the minimum wage, which was $11.35 an hour when this work began. Close to 400,000 people have benefited from these increases, the majority of whom are women, immigrants and youth – people who bear the brunt of low-wage labour.  

Increasing the minimum wage is one way we are tackling inequality while making life more affordable. Another action we are taking is increasing the accessibility of child care. 
 
For too long, parents in B.C. have struggled to find affordable child care, which disproportionately impacted women. As of this week, our government has funded nearly 26,000 new licensed child care spaces, exceeding our original goal. In just three years, we’ve funded more than twice as many spaces as the previous government did in an entire decade. This means more parents can afford to go back to work or school, knowing their kids are being cared for and nurtured. 

When we lift up the most vulnerable, we are all better off. This pandemic has exacerbated many issues that British Columbians were already facing, from paying the bills to finding child care. We are committed to a recovery that benefits everyone in our province. 

Speaking of benefits – have you applied for your BC Recovery Benefit yet? This is the one-time payment of up to $1000 for eligible families, or $500 for eligible individuals. Applications close on June 30th! 
Visit this page to apply. If you have already applied, you don’t need to apply again – visit this page if you have questions or haven’t received your benefit.

Sincerely,




Tuesday, June 1, 2021


 
Happy B.C. Wild Salmon Day!
 
Today we join Indigenous communities, federal colleagues, conservation organizations, and B.C.’s fishing community in celebrating BC Wild Salmon Day! Wild Pacific salmon are an iconic species that mean many different things to British Columbians. They are culturally significant to B.C.'s Indigenous communities, contribute to our province's food security and are the economic backbone of many coastal communities, providing good jobs throughout B.C.
 
As we recognize B.C. Wild Salmon Day, we take great pride in celebrating how many people in our province are committed to helping protect and revitalize B.C.'s wild salmon populations. There are British Columbians who dedicate their careers to wild salmon, volunteer their time and effort to help restore habitat in watersheds in their communities or share information and engage others in the value of healthy rivers, lakes and streams. We want to both recognize and thank each one of them for making a difference.
 
The Province is supporting efforts to protect and restore wild salmon through the $143-million British Columbia Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund. To date, the federal and provincial government fund has supported 42 projects with over $71 million. More projects are on the way.
 
On Vancouver Island, the Peninsula Streams Society has received funding to remove an existing obstruction in Millstream Creek and to install a fish ladder and a fish-friendly culvert. When the project is complete, trout and coho will have a 40% increase in habitat. The new fishway will also provide educational opportunities for locals and Mill Hill Regional Park visitors.
 
Our government is committed to working with Indigenous communities, conservation organizations and B.C.'s fishing community to support the conservation of wild salmon in the province and to continue to build a wild salmon recovery strategy we can all be proud of. This collaboration is what we need to get the job done with all of us working together so salmon will continue to swim in our waters for generations to come.
 
Sincerely,  



Friday, May 28, 2021

We were all horrified to learn this recent news. Please see the following statement from Premier John Horgan about the burial site at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School:
 
“I am horrified and heartbroken to learn that the burial site of 215 children has been confirmed on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. I honour Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc as they grapple with this burden from a dark chapter of Canadian history and uphold their commitment to complete this investigation over the coming weeks – bringing to light the full truth of this loss.
 
“Each child has been forever taken from a family and a community that loved them. This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. And it is a stark example of the violence the Canadian residential school system inflicted upon Indigenous peoples and how the consequences of these atrocities continue to this day.
 
“The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people have said they are the caretakers of these children, as some would have been brought to the residential school from neighbouring Nations. My thoughts are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and all who mourn, as they enact their cultural protocols to notify First Nations communities whose children were sent to this school.”
 
Support services are available for those affected by this news:
 
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1 866 925-4419.
 
Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1 800 588-8717. Alternatively, call direct into the Youth Line at 250 723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250 723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/
 
You can also view the statement here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021PREM0039-001034?fbclid=IwAR1m4eYKZqBgF91FiLB5EXLkZBAWO19UnBDTxBg_pswO6aRsl4MFx0Rzd5Y

Sincerely,



Tuesday, May 25, 2021


Today our government announced BC’s four-step restart plan. 

Implementing this plan will not be like flipping a switch. Rather, it will be a gradual and careful reopening that continues to put science and the advice of health experts first. 

Now, with more than 60% of adults vaccinated with their first dose and COVID-19 case counts and hospitalizations steadily declining, British Columbia is ready to move forward with our cautious first step for a careful and safe restart. The four-step plan was designed based on data and guidance from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and Dr. Bonnie Henry. Progressing through these steps will be measured by the number of adults vaccinated, COVID-19 case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths, while also considering clusters and outbreaks. While there are approximate reopening dates, the plan will be guided by data, not dates, and we will not proceed to the next step until it is safe to do so.

As of today, we are in Step 1. That means:
  • Maximum of five visitors or one household allowed for indoor personal gatherings
  • Maximum of 10 people for outdoor personal gatherings
  • Maximum of 50 people for seated outdoor organized events with safety protocols
  • Recreational travel only within your travel region
  • Indoor and outdoor dining for up to six people with safety protocols
  • Resuming outdoor sports with no spectators, and low-intensity fitness activities with safety protocols
  • Starting the gradual return to offices
  • Provincewide mask mandate, business safety protocols and physical distancing measures remain in place
  • The return of indoor in-person faith-based gatherings with reduced capacity

Sincerely,



Friday, May 21, 2021



Our province is home to some of the world’s finest tourist attractions. Whether it’s the Butchart Gardens, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, or the MacMillan Space Centre, these attractions have been vital to our economy, and have given us many cherished memories. But we know they are among the businesses hit hardest by this pandemic, and our government is committed to supporting this crucial industry.
 
Recently, our government announced that $50 million is on the way to support B.C.’s major tourist attractions. The BC Major Anchor Attractions Program offers up to $1 million per attraction through one-time grants. Businesses can apply until June 7th, with the funds coming in July. We’re taking strong action to ensure these treasured attractions can continue to draw people to B.C., enrich our local experiences and keep people employed. 
 
This funding will help these crucial businesses survive, and I look forward to the day they are able to welcome everyone back with open arms.
 
You can learn more here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021TACS0036-000947
 
Sincerely,



Thursday, May 20, 2021


 

Happy Child Care Appreciation Day to all our hardworking child care staff in Saanich South and beyond! 

Thank you for everything you do to support families in our community. Download and print this colouring sheet for a fun activity- either for a child or for yourself!

Sincerely,


Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Our government is building the next phase of our restart plan, a careful step-by-step approach which will allow us to do more as it becomes safe to do so. This approach has helped us keep a lot of businesses operating safely this past year and avoid larger shutdowns. We are working with businesses on their reopening needs and will have more to share on the next steps after the May long-weekend.
 
We know this virus can surge quickly. That’s why, like every decision in this pandemic, we will move forward step by step based on Dr. Henry’s advice. Our top priority remains keeping people and families safe.  
 
The pandemic has been hard on so many people, businesses, and communities and while cases are still too high and we’re not through it yet, there are reasons to be optimistic.
 
We asked people to limit their contacts with coworkers, friends, and family to bend the curve back down – and British Columbians stepped up and pulled together. It’s working. As a result of our efforts, cases are going down and so are hospitalizations.
 
At the same time more and more people are getting vaccinated - more than 50% of BC’s eligible population have received their first dose.  
 
We’re all looking forward to better days. We’re not there yet, but we get closer everyday.

Sincerely,




Thursday, May 13, 2021


 


Over the past few weeks, we have all felt some relief as our most vulnerable—our grandparents, parents, and loved ones—received their vaccines. Recently, there was more good news: we’re expecting to receive over one million doses of the Pfizer vaccine this month, speeding up our rollout!

With these new vaccines coming, it’s more important than ever for all British Columbians aged 18+ to register through B.C.’s Get Vaccinated system. This way, you will get an email or text notification prompting you to book an appointment when it is your turn. You will only need to register once. Anyone who is not yet registered can do so in one of three ways:
  • Online at: gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated
  • By phone between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (Pacific time), toll-free, at 1-833 838-2323 
  • In person at your nearest Service BC location 

People 30+ can expect to start receiving email or text notifications to book their vaccine appointment, along with Indigenous people 18+ and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. As well, pregnant British Columbians 16+ are now eligible to receive their vaccine as a priority population. After registering, people who are pregnant can book their vaccine by calling 1-833-838-2323 and identifying as being pregnant. For more information, please visit this page. 

The Pfizer vaccine has now been approved by Health Canada for kids 12-17, and we’ll be integrating them into our age-based vaccine rollout. As more people become eligible and more vaccines are approved, we will continue to update our provincewide program. 

To date, more than 50% of eligible British Columbians have received their first dose of the vaccine, with that number increasing every day. At this crucial time in the pandemic, I strongly urge everyone who is eligible to register and get vaccinated as soon they are able. Being immunized is the best way to protect ourselves and our communities and to put this pandemic behind us. Thank you for continuing your efforts to keep each other safe.  

COVID Resources:    
  • For PHO orders and guidance, visit this page
  • For seniors looking for additional support, or for those looking to support seniors, call 2-1-1 or visit bc211.ca 
  • For virtual mental health resources, click here. 
As always, if you have questions or need any assistance with vaccination information, provincial COVID-19 supports, or any other provincial issue, please reach out. My office can be reached at250-479-4154 or Lana.Popham.MLA@leg.bc.ca.


Sincerely,    

  



Tuesday, May 11, 2021


Last Spring, my office published a restaurant guide for eateries in Saanich South. The guide was delivered to almost 22,000 households to encourage folks to support our local restaurant industry that is suffering heavily because of the pandemic. 

Now, we’re distributing our Saanich South Restaurant and Eatery Menu 2.0 with updated contact info and including new restaurants!

Special thanks to everyone who did take-out and pick-up last Spring. We know the drill my friends, let’s come together once again to show these important businesses lots of love! 

Every bit helps!



Tuesday, May 4, 2021


Exciting news for Elk Lake and Beaver Lake!

Our government is partnering with the Capital Regional District and moving ahead with a new oxygenation system. In recent years, both lakes regularly suffered from blue-green algae blooms, which produce toxins harmful to humans and pets when ingested and can lead to lethal liver damage in dogs.

The new system will help reduce these cyanobacteria blooms and improve the health of fish, water quality, and habitats in the lakes and downstream. Our efforts to improve the lakes’ health and function follow through on commitments to step up protection of fish habitats.


Moving forward our lakes will be safe and enjoyable for everyone from local families and freshwater fishers, to triathletes and rowers - now and for generations to come.





Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Did last week's warm weather get you looking for something to do out in our community? Check out our list of south island farmers markets!

Esquimalt Farmers Market

  • Archie Browning Sports Centre rear parking lot, 1151 Esquimalt Rd
  • April 1st – September 16th
  • Thursday: 4:30pm – 7:30pm

Sooke Country Market

  • John Phillips Memorial Park
  • April 24th – October 9th
  • Saturday: 10am – 2pm

Goldstream Station Market

  • Bryn Maur Rd at Goldstream Ave
  • May 8th – October
  • Saturday: 10am – 2pm

James Bay Community Market

  • Superior St at Menzies St
  • May 1st – October 2nd
  • Saturday: 9am – 3pm

North Saanich Farm Market

  • St. Johns United Church garden, 10990 West Saanich Rd
  • June 5th – Thanksgiving
  • Saturday: 9:30am - 11:30pm

Moss Street Market

  • Moss St – Fairfield
  • May – October (Summer Market)
  • Saturday: 10am – 2pm

Sidney Street Market

  • Mary Winspear Centre
  • May 9th – October 10th
  • Sunday: 11am – 3pm

Oaklands Sunset Market

  • Oaklands Community Centre #1-2827 Belmont Ave
  • June 30th – September 1st
  • Wednesday: 4:30pm – 8:30pm
As always, please refrain from non-essential travel outside of your health authority, and visit www.gov.bc.ca/covidtravel to see the full details of current travel restrictions. 



Friday, April 23, 2021

 


Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General announced new travel restrictions
 
These restrictions are about keeping people safe and healthy. As we continue to roll out our vaccination program, limiting non-essential travel will help us to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
 
Most British Columbians have been working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19 by following public health advice to stay in their communities and avoiding non-essential travel. 
 
But we need to do more to discourage travel.
 
This order will limit travel into and out of three regional zones in the province:
  1. Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley
  2. Vancouver Island
  3. Northern and Interior (this includes Hope and the Bella Coola Valley and Central Coast)
The order is designed to discourage and stop recreational and leisure travel – not punish people. The order does not restrict essential travel between regional zones – including for work, for school and to help care for a sick loved one.
 
As Dr. Henry says, staying in our local communities means we are not going to and from COVID hotspots and inadvertently bringing the virus along with us.
 
I encourage everyone to visit www.gov.bc.ca/covidtravel to see the full details of the travel restrictions.
 
My office is available to help answer your questions by phone at 250-479-4154 or email at Lana.Popham.MLA@leg.bc.ca.


Thank you for doing your part to help keep BC safe.
Sincerely,   




Thursday, April 22, 2021


 

Since day one of the pandemic it has been our government’s priority to protect the health of individuals and communities. That’s why we’re investing in healthcare to get us through the pandemic safely and strengthen the services that people will count on for years to come.

While our most immediate focus has been on the vaccine rollout, Budget 2021 is about long term improvements to our healthcare system. We’re hiring thousands of new healthcare workers, opening more urgent and primary care centres, and reducing the backlog for diagnostic imaging and surgeries. 

Our government is also expanding our response to the overdose crisis and working to improve access to mental healthcare. Given the devastating uptick in overdose deaths this past year and the general decline in people’s mental health due to isolation and uncertainty, mental healthcare needs special attention. We’re solidifying overdose prevention supports, creating new treatment and recovery beds, and improving outpatient support. 


For more information on Budget 2021 please visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021FIN0023-000744 




Tuesday, April 20, 2021


Recently, our government unveiled the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant. While stronger public health measures are necessary in keeping our communities safe, we also know that they have taken a toll on many businesses.
 
Affected businesses, including restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms, and fitness centres can receive up to $10,000 in one-time funding to help with expenses, as well as unexpected costs that resulted from the restrictions. Applications for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant are now open, and we encourage all eligible businesses to apply at www.gov.bc.ca/business-relief
Through a simple yes/no check mark application, a business simply declares that they were affected by the recent provincial health orders, are registered as a B.C. business, demonstrate majority ownership and operations in BC, and pay taxes in BC. 

BC entered this pandemic as an economic leader in Canada, and we are committed to helping small businesses as they adapt and grow.

As always, if you have any questions or need assistance with any provincial matter please reach out to my office. Our email is Lana.Popham.MLA@leg.bc.ca and our phone number is 250-479-4154.







Friday, April 16, 2021


Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home, but the BC Liberals let the housing crisis spiral out of control, and the pandemic has only made things worse.

That’s why we’re investing $2 billion into the HousingHub program so that affordable housing developers can now have access to low-interest loans in exchange for passing savings on to middle-income families. The HousingHub program will create thousands of new homes and since the money will be paid back, it will be re-invested over and over again increasing our supple of the “missing middle” housing stock.

Our government is taking a comprehensive approach to tackling the housing crisis and this investment is just one way we are creating housing to meet the full spectrum of need in this province. Right now, more than 26,000 new homes are complete or underway in B.C. for people with a wide range of incomes.





Monday, April 12, 2021


 
Last Spring, from my constituency office, I was able to develop a restaurant guide for eateries in Saanich South. This guide was delivered to each household in Saanich South, about 22,000 households, to encourage folks to support our local restaurant industry that was suffering heavily because of the pandemic.

Many residents commented, saying that they had no idea we had so many restaurants were in Saanich South. They let me know that they were going to make extra efforts to support the best they could. I’m happy to say we are currently working on Volume 2 of our Saanich South Restaurant and Eatery menu! It will be out in a month and delivered to our constituents homes.
Thanks to everyone who did take-out and pick-up last Spring. We know the drill my friends, and together we must come together once again to show these important businesses lots of love!

Every bit helps!

If you are a restaurant or eatery in my constituency and want to make sure you are included in our guide, please contact our office by emailing Lana.Popham.MLA@leg.bc.ca or calling 250-479-4154



Thursday, April 8, 2021

Families on Vancouver Island will soon have access to nearly 340 new licensed child care spaces as part of the Province's ongoing commitment to increasing access to child care through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond!

The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund is supporting nine projects to create 336 new licensed child care spaces in Greater Victoria, Sooke, Tahsis and North Saanich. These spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.'s history and were part of the September 2020 milestone that marked more than 20,000 new spaces funded throughout the province in just over two years.

Right here in Saanich South the 
Greater Victoria School District 61 is continuing its partnership with the Vancouver Island Kids Klub Centre Society to create 40 new child care spaces at Lake Hill Elementary – 16 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten and 24 school-age spaces. Working closely with the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children, the new spaces will be fully accessible. The Kids Klub Brown Bag program will provide free daily lunches to support vulnerable children in the Victoria, Saanich and Sooke School Districts. The spaces are expected to open in July 2022.
Learn more: 
For information on health and safety standards for child care during COVID-19, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/ChildCareCovid-19Response
Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430
To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund

For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare
For a French translation, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021CFD0020-000340#translations



Sunday, April 4, 2021


Happy Easter everyone!


Print out the image below for some Easter colouring fun!