Monday, March 29, 2021

 




Sunday, March 21st was the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On Monday, New Democrat MLAs moved a motion to reaffirm our commitment to combat racism in all its forms. During the pandemic, we’ve seen a rise in anti-Asian and anti-Indigenous racism, and a worldwide focus on anti-Black racism. We must do more to address systemic discrimination and hatred in this province.

In light of this commitment, we announced a new anti-racism information campaign that encourages British Columbians to examine their own biases and start conversations. The campaign features illustrations by B.C. artists who are Indigenous, Black, and people of colour. To learn more visit antiracist.gov.bc.ca.

About the Artist: 











Thursday, March 25, 2021

It has been more than a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Let’s remember the toll this virus has taken in our province and around the world. Our deepest gratitude goes to our essential  and frontline workers— you have kept us safe, thank you! 

As Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, I have been focused on improving food security and keeping British Columbians fed with local, fresh food. Part of this effort has been keeping temporary foreign workers safe and healthy by ensuring they have a safe place to properly quarantine upon arrival in Canada.
We’re pleased to be extending our successful quarantine program for the thousands of temporary foreign workers who will help grow and harvest food for British Columbians this year.

In today’s Globe and Mail, there is more information on this work with Mexico's Consul-General Berenice Diaz Ceballos saying, “the program in B.C. is a model for the rest of the country”.

Our program provides peace of mind for communities, farmers and workers, ensuring we prevent the spread of COVID-19. 




Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Thursday, March 18th marked one year since a state of emergency was declared in B.C. in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an important reminder of all that we have gone through as a province, and the work that is still ahead to build a recovery for everyone.

That’s why our government announced the expansion of the Launch Online Grant Program this week. These grants will allow small businesses to build or expand their e-commerce capacity. This means more online stores, online bookings and local products delivered to more people throughout the province. This program will help small businesses, particularly those run by Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, to reach more customers, grow their business, and continue their post-pandemic recovery.

We know that this pandemic has impacted people in many different ways. This week, we also announced the largest-ever increase to income assistance, disability assistance, and the senior’s supplement. Among the many concrete benefits, those on income and disability assistance will receive an extra $175 each month – a permanent change that continues our poverty reduction strategy. Supporting British Columbians is key to a strong, sustainable economic recovery, and this is a major step in that direction.

I’d also like to share a progress update on our vaccine rollout. So far, we have administered over 444,000 doses. Starting Friday, March 19th at 12pm, we encourage seniors who are 80+ years old, as well as Indigenous seniors who are 65+ years old to call Island Health at  1-833-348-4787 to book a vaccine appointment. Please go to www.gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst for more information, or reach out to my office if you have additional questions at lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca or 250-479-4154.

 




Thursday, March 18, 2021

It’s Agriculture Safety Week! I want to thank all the hardworking producers contributing to B.C.’s food security! I urge producers to look for ways to promote health and safety at work.


For more info visit: agsafetyweek.ca




Tuesday, March 16, 2021

 

Communities play such an important role in our lives. Whether it’s the everyday services we count on or the support and solidarity in times of crisis, when our communities are stronger and more resilient, we all benefit.

Over the last week we’ve taken several steps to support communities across B.C., so they can better support people.

 In order to support people experiencing homelessness, our government is providing $100 million to the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program. Local governments, First Nations, and regional districts will be able to apply for grants to meet people’s immediate health and safety needs on the ground, including temporary shelter spaces, outreach teams, and peer-based clean-up activities. This builds on our investments in housing and our response to homelessness throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to addressing homelessness in every community across the province, so that people are safe and have the housing, resources, and support they need.

We know that rural communities are unique, and when it comes to economic recovery, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That is why we are helping rural businesses and communities to find the route to economic recovery that works for them. Thanks to an investment of $4.5 million, advisory services will be launched in rural communities across the province, to provide economic advice and support to businesses and communities. Local businesses will be able to get professional advice on how to pivot their operations, and communities will have access to resources to plan their economic recovery. This means people in rural B.C. can continue to enjoy strong communities and the local businesses they love.

With spring around the corner, we also announced over $8.5 million in funding to help local governments across the province to mitigate flood risks. Each community will be using the funding according to their local needs, for projects such as mapping flood plains, training staff to set up emergency operations centres, planning evacuation routes, or structural flood mitigation. These projects mean people will be safer if flooding occurs in their community.
Sincerely, 


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

 

While parts of our province are still seeing snow, summer is not really all that far away! This year more than ever, we are all looking forward to spending time in the great outdoors. In B.C. we are lucky to having some truly beautiful places to camp, hike and explore. I know many of you are eager to start planning your summer adventures, and on that front, I have some excellent news to share.

The Discover Camping reservation system for BC Parks will open on March 8. People will be able to reserve a campsite for up to two months in advance, with a rolling two-month window. That means that on March 8, you’ll be able to book for dates up to May 8. And if you are planning a trip for the May long weekend (May 21-24), you can start booking on March 21.

To prepare for this exciting day, the reservation system has been scaled up with increased capacity to handle all the enthusiasm of B.C. campers. The call centre will also have increased staff for those who would like to make bookings over the phone.

Of course, we all still need to follow the public health guidance, and everyone is asked to pick camping destinations close to home for this summer. For that reason, British Columbia residents will have priority access to camping reservations for the first two months. People from outside of B.C. will be able to book campsites starting July 8, for the remainder of the season.

This week, we also announced that people in over 100 rural and Indigenous communities will soon have access to high-speed internet and better cellular service. As part of our economic recovery plan, we are helping ensure more people can use video conferencing, participate in online learning, and work remotely. This will make a real difference for people and businesses, at a time when virtual connections are more important than ever.



Monday, March 8, 2021

Monday, March 8th was International Women’s Day. On this day, and every day that follows, we recognize the work of women, girls, two-spirit, and non-binary people who lead the way towards a more equitable future for our province. For many Indigenous women, women of colour, women with disabilities and people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community, the pandemic has only heightened the inequalities that still exist. That’s why we are re-committing ourselves to breaking down barriers so that everyone can plan for a brighter future. 

 


Happy International Women’s Day and thank-you to all the incredible women who came before us, making changes along the way!





Thursday, March 4, 2021

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I am so excited that B.C. is heading into the next stage of the COVID-19 Vaccine Roll out Plan. During this phase approximately 400,000 people will be immunized from March to mid-April, including seniors, Indigenous peoples and people who live and work in independent living.

You do not need to call to book a vaccine appointment if you're:

A senior or high-risk person living in independent living or senior’s supportive housing 
Staff in independent living or senior’s supportive housing
Home-care support clients and staff

Your health authority will reach out to you or your housing operator to book your appointment for you or organize a mobile clinic. 

Vaccine appointments for seniors

If you're a senior born in 1941 or earlier or an Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) person born in 1956 or earlier and you don't live in independent living, you will have to call to book a vaccine appointment over the phone.












When you can call is based on your age

I'm born in 1931 or earlier (90+) or I'm Indigenous and born in 1956 or earlier (65+)
Please call the week of March 8.
I'm born in 1936 or earlier (85+)
Please call the week of March 15. 
I'm born in 1941 or earlier (80+)
Please call the week of March 22.

Getting ready to call

When you call your health authority, you'll be asked for:

First and last name
Date of birth 
Postal code
Personal Health Number

You can find your Personal Health Number on the back of your B.C. driver's licence, BC Services Card or CareCard. If you do not have a Personal Health Number, you can still receive the vaccine.

We'll also ask you for contact information:

An email address that gets checked regularly or a phone number that can receive text messages. 

We will never ask you for your SIN, driver's licence number or banking and credit card details.


All call centres open March 8, and are open seven days a week from 7am-7pm (PST). The first day appointments are available is March 15.

If you live in Saanich South please call 1-833-348-4787

All information can be found at:

Talk to a Service BC agent about non-health related information and services related to COVID-19. Service is available 7:30 am to 8 pm. Call: 1-888-COVID19.
As always my office is here to help at lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca or call 250-479-4154. 




Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Everyone is invited to comment on proposed safety improvements to the Patricia Bay Highway (Highway 17) northbound at Keating Cross Road.

Comments can be made on the proposed project until March 24, 2021.
Every hour, hundreds of drivers need to turn left across heavy traffic on Highway 17 to get onto Keating Cross Road, causing safety issues and traffic bottlenecks. As well, with projected population growth and planned industrial and commercial development in the area, traffic congestion is expected to increase.

To address these challenges, government is proposing a new "flyover" overpass from the Pat Bay Highway northbound to Keating Cross Road westbound, eliminating the left turn across highway traffic onto Keating Cross Road. The project will also include a realigned southbound on-ramp to the Pat Bay highway.
The project design will support future plans for bus rapid transit on the Pat Bay Highway.

Pedestrians and those who travel with the help of a mobility aid will benefit from new sidewalks on Keating Cross Road. These proposed design elements will make active transportation safer and easier for people in their daily lives.
The proposed flyover overpass project and associated upgrades will allow people to travel this busy corridor more safely and efficiently, while helping to promote regional economic growth.

The South Island Transportation Strategy, released by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure in September 2020, identified advancing work on the Keating Cross Road/Highway 17 project as a priority to improve safety and reliability.

A detailed discussion guide and story map for the Highway 17 Keating Flyover Project is available online.

To learn more about the proposed improvements and submit feedback via the project website, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-infrastructure/projects/highway-17-keating-cross-overpass.

The ministry will use the input received during this public engagement, as well as the input provided by stakeholders in meetings, to finalize its business case for the project.

The Government of Canada has committed more than $16 million to this project through the New Building Canada Fund, Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component—National and Regional Projects. The District of Central Saanich will contribute $2.5 million. The provincial government will finalize its investment for the project following the business case review.

Engineering work is taking place and people can expect to see workers on site.

Learn More:

For the discussion guide and online feedback form, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/transportation-infrastructure/projects/highway-17-keating-cross-overpass
For more information on federal infrastructure funding, visit: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca