Thursday, February 25, 2021

 As we look towards our recovery from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to build our province back better. We must make sure our economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. We need to ensure that the care and services that people count on are available when and where they need them. And our recovery must support our climate action goals, in line with our CleanBC strategy.

I want to share with you a few of the actions our New Democrat government took this week:
This week we announced that more than 100 new publicly funded spaces will be available in addiction treatment and recovery programs. The overdose crisis has impacted every community across B.C., and we have more to do to support people who are struggling with substance use issues. These new spaces will allow more people to start their path to recovery and get the care they need in a safe and supportive environment.

Part of our StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan is investing in training and education programs so people can upskill or reskill to take advantage of high-demand jobs. In recent days our government announced over $20 million for programs that will help people get the skills they need, including short-term skills training in areas like technology, manufacturing, hospitality, horticulture, and automotive trades. We also announced new micro-credentials at 15 of B.C.’s post-secondary institutions, allowing people to quickly gain qualifications or improve their skills in fields like health and human services, construction maintenance, and climate action.

Keeping our water and coastline clean helps make our communities stronger and more resilient. This week we announced that over 127 tonnes of plastic, garbage, and fishing gear have been removed from B.C. shorelines as part of our Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative. Through this effort we provided employment to 180 people, including Indigenous people and those in the tourism sector, who have been particularly impacted by the pandemic. We also recently announced an additional $9.5 million in funding for more projects like this in 2021.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I am pleased to share two exciting updates with you about how our government is making ICBC better.

Enhanced Care

Last week, we launched a new online tool that will give you an estimate of how much money you will save when you renew your car insurance under the new Enhanced Care model that comes into effect on May 1, 2021.
On average, people will save about 20% on their premiums the next time they renew.
The new Enhanced Care model is designed to work for British Columbians. That means your car insurance will be more affordable, and it will provide significantly better care and benefits if you are hurt in a crash. We are making this possible by removing many of the legal costs that are associated with our current system.
I encourage you to check out to see how much you could save – you just need your driver’s licence and licence plate number to log in.

Pandemic savings

With far fewer people on the road during the pandemic, we’ve also had fewer crashes in B.C.
This means that ICBC actually saved money this year, about $600 million overall. And because your insurance should work for you, we are giving those savings back to you with one-time rebates.
Most customers who had an active policy from April 1 to September 30, 2020 will be receiving a rebate. The average person will receive about $190 back, depending on the type of policy you have and how much you paid. Rebate cheques will be mailed out starting in mid-March.

Our New Democrat government is committed to making life more affordable. As we plan our economic recovery from COVID-19, we are building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The BC government is introducing enhancements to the Small and Medium-Sized Business Grant Program.  As our healthcare and essential workers continue their critical work in the fight against Covid-19, the B.C. government has continued to make the health of local businesses a top priority. These unprecedented times have been difficult, especially on South Vancouver Island, where homegrown companies and the tourism sector are the backbone of our local economy. Rest assured: we have been listening. Through continued consultation, we have heard the voices of local business leaders and stakeholders and the government has introduced enhancements to the Small and Medium-Sized Business Grant Program. 

We are pleased to announce that we have made several changes to the program to help more businesses get help more quickly. We are reaching out to let you know about these changes, so you can determine if your business would like to apply, or so you can help get the word out in our business community. Program funds are provided through grants, not loans, and come with no strings attached. 
Overall, the changes have simplified the application process and streamlined criteria. Businesses that have already submitted applications do not have to reapply, and their applications will be reviewed under the revised criteria. 

The program is already providing targeted financial support for some of the hardest hit businesses in B.C. The program runs until March 31st, 2021, or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.  
More information, including the online application, can be found online at 

B.C. entered the pandemic as an economic leader in Canada, and we are committed to supporting small businesses to reopen, adapt, hire, and grow. We thank you for your hard work and perseverance through these difficult times and we hope this program may be of assistance to you. 


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The British Columbia Multiculturalism and Anti-racism Awards honour exceptional individuals and organizations that promote multiculturalism and address racism.

Nominate a person or organization that’s making a difference in your community! 

Nomination categories:

Intercultural Trust Awards (2 awards) 
Provided to an outstanding individual or non-profit, business or public sector organization for their work in building intercultural trust and understanding and/or reducing racism and hate between communities.

Breaking Barriers Award (2 awards) 
Provided to an outstanding individual or non-profit, business or public sector organization for their work in tackling systemic or institutional racism and reducing barriers for communities that experience marginalization.

Emerging Leader Award (1 award) 
Provided to an outstanding youth/young adult, age 15-30, for their work in building intercultural trust, tackling racism or reducing barriers for communities that experience marginalization. Award provided with a $5,000 grant to be given to a non-profit organization of the youth’s choice.

Find out more information or nominate someone here! 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

This coming week marks the official start for Chinese New Year! 

The pandemic will stop us from celebrating this year as we have done so many years now. No parade, no official gathering for dinner...but there is plenty to celebrate as we welcome the Year of the Ox! 

 In the Chinese culture, the Ox is a valued animal. Because of its role in agriculture and for its positive characteristics, such as being hardworking and honest. 🧧 Is the Year of the Ox your year? Years of the Ox include 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021! This collection of photos from over a decade brings back so many fond memories.

 Happy Chinese New Year and Happy Lunar New Year my friends!