Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A New Medical School

 
Did you hear? A new medical school is coming to BC!
 
As part of our efforts to recruit and train more family doctors, we’re building the first new medical school in Western Canada in 55 years! The school will be at the SFU Surrey campus and will create even more opportunities for doctors to learn, train, and practice across BC
.

You can read more about the school here.

Sincerely,


Friday, November 25, 2022

Premier Eby Hits the Ground Running


Last Friday, David Eby was sworn in as our Premier, and he has hit the ground running with major steps to address housing, community safety, and affordability in the past week.
 
Tackling the housing crisis requires bold action. That's why we’ve taken steps to curb speculation, build more homes, and now we’re taking steps to continue this work, passing legislation to get homes built faster, turn more vacant homes into livable homes for renters, and remove unfair restrictions on strata housing that keeps out families. Our government will be working with our municipal partners to target areas with the greatest need and expectations of growth for housing. Learn more here.
 
We also know people in our communities want and deserve to feel safe. We’re working to make changes to make people here in B.C. feel safer, we’re launching new repeat violent offender response teams of police, prosecutors, and probation officers, we’re expanding mental health crisis response teams into more communities so people in crisis can get support from dedicated community members, and so police can focus on responding to crime. Through these actions and more to come, we’re taking repeat violent crime seriously, and getting closer to the root causes to stop these crimes from occurring. Find out all about it here.

Finally, we've also introduced affordability measures to help people against inflation. A few months ago we provided up to $175 more per child through the BC Family Benefit and introduced new savings on daycare. Now, we're also putting more money into your January Affordability Credit and launching a $100 BC Hydro Credit.

Through actions like these, David Eby and our Government team are continuing to work for our communities, to make them the thriving, diverse, healthy, and safe places we know they can be.  

Sincerely,


Friday, November 18, 2022

One Year Later


I am so amazed by the impressive work of road crews, the resiliency of farmers, and the outpouring of support from individuals and communities across BC for those impacted by last year’s atmospheric river. From the first day and beyond, many folks have stepped up to help us reach this milestone on the road to recovery. There is still much work to do, but together we will build back stronger.

Consider listening to the above video or checking out this op-ed from Minister Fleming.

Thank you,


Tuesday, November 15, 2022


Tomorrow afternoon, at 1:55, we’ll be testing BC’s emergency alert system! As usual, the notification you receive will be marked as a test.

Now may be a good time to review your emergency preparedness and refresh your emergency kits. You can find some tips on how to do so here.

Sincerely,


Thursday, November 10, 2022

A New Deal for Doctors


Every day I hear from people in our community that access to quality health care is their number one priority.  Not having access to a family doctor or other primary care provider can have long-term health implications, and long wait times to see a doctor at a clinic are deeply frustrating.

We are listing to these concerns, and we are taking action.

One thing has been clear:  the current fee-for service payment model hasn’t been working for everyone.

That is why I am proud to share with you that, in February, a new opt-in model for family doctors will take effect.  Our government and the Doctors of BC have developed a new payment model that provides doctors with the support they need to care for patients.

This new model will raise the average wage for a family doctor in BC and ensure doctors can give patients the care and time they deserve.  Rather than paying doctors based only on the number of patients seen each day, the new model will also account for the time spent with each patient, the complexity of patients’ concerns, and the administrative costs of running a family practice.

The new payment model marks the start of a new approach to supporting doctors – we’re doing things differently so that doctors can deliver more and better care to people who need it. 
Under the new payment model, the Province will be better able to attract new family doctors to family practice, and retain existing doctors.

We’ve also reached a tentative Physician Master Agreement, which includes several more actions that will better support doctors as they care for their patients. 
 
We are working to train and license more doctors to work in BC by:
  • Expanding medical training for doctors
  • Adding new residency seats, including dedicated seats for international medical graduates
  • Working to make it easier for foreign trained doctors to work in BC
  • Supporting safer workplaces for health care workers with 320 new protection service officers
  • Doubling the number of nurse practitioners to free up doctors to see more patients
  • Opening new urgent and primary care centres – 29 with more to come
You can read the full news release here, and you can see what doctors are saying about the new plan here.

We know there is more to be done, but our new deal for doctors is an important step forward in building a better health care system here in BC.  

Sincerely,



Tuesday, October 25, 2022

BC Butternut Squash Soup



This Fall and Winter, make sure to support BC farmers by cooking with local ingredients! There are lots of ways you can do this, but this recipe for butternut squash soup is a great place to start!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Vancouver Island butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 peeled and chopped BC apple
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 3-4 cups of vegetable stock
  • Ground nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped BC onion
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Halve butternut squash vertically and remove seeds. Drizzle with olive oil. Rub the oil over the inside, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Turn squash face down and roast until tender, about 40-50 minutes. Set squash aside until cool enough to handle. Then remove skin and chop.
  • Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring often, until onion is turning golden on the edges. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the butternut squash, apple, maple syrup, and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Using a blender, puree the soup in batches.
  • Add nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt to taste

Sincerely,


Monday, October 24, 2022

Happy Diwali!


Happy Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas! 

Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair, and good over evil. For Sikhs, Bandi Chhor Divas also celebrates the victory of justice over injustice and is a time to remember the importance of freedom in our lives. 

Read the Premier's statement here.

Sincerely,


Friday, October 14, 2022

Community Safety Grants


Across Saanich South, there are many organizations doing good, important work. Many of you have connected with these organizations, as a volunteer, supporter, or someone who has benefitted from their efforts. I’ve also had the chance to meet with many of these groups in our and hear about all they do. 

I'm excited to share that applications for community safety grants are now open. These grants, which use the profits from civil forfeiture to reinvest in community safety and crime prevention, help support projects under four categories – crime prevention, gender-based violence, Indigenous healing, and restorative justice. Learn more about the grants and how to apply here.

There are thousands of dollars available to community organizations to support important projects. These one-time grants are available to organizations annually, and we’ve been pleased to help fund innovative projects throughout B.C. to support community safety at the local level in partnership with the organizations who are dedicated to this work.

Sincerely,



Friday, October 7, 2022

Tackling the health care worker shortage


People in Saanich and across BC care deeply about having access to quality healthcare when and where they need it, and I thank those of you that have reached out to my office to share your thoughts and experiences. As government, it's a top priority for us to make sure our healthcare system is supported and strengthened so everyone in BC can access the quality care they need. We're working to attract and retain doctors and using innovative strategies to improve access to healthcare, like expanding the abilities of our pharmacists to prescribe and administer routine medications to reduce strain on primary care providers.
 
Through our government's incentives for recent family medicine graduates to encourage them to practice primary care in our communities, including signing bonuses and student debt forgiveness, we've had over 50 doctors sign contacts to provide full-service family practice in communities across B.C., with many more expressing interest or in discussions about contract terms. Learn more about this work here.
 
We also recently launched our Health Human Resources Strategy, which will support our healthcare providers and make our healthcare system work better. The strategy includes steps to expand medical residency seats at UBC's faculty of medicine, and beginning Oct. 14, allowing pharmacists to adapt and renew an extended range of prescriptions and administer prescribed drugs, and in spring 2023, expanding this to allow pharmacists to prescribe medications for minor ailments and contraceptives. Read more about our strategy. 
 
This work will support access to healthcare for people across BC and allow our key professionals like pharmacists to use their expertise to better serve patients. This builds upon work we’ve been doing to attract and retain family doctors, train more medical professionals, and use innovative solutions to reduce strain across our healthcare system. Through these measures, people will better be able to access the urgent and primary care they need, throughout the province
.

Sincerely,



Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Affordable Childcare


Childcare is one of the biggest bills many families face each month, and with global inflation driving up the cost of living, things are especially tough for families right now. That's why, with support from the federal government, we're making childcare more affordable by giving money directly to service providers and saving families up to $550 per child per month. 

Starting in December, more funding will go directly to participating licensed childcare centres to give parents and guardians of children who are kindergarten age or younger a break by putting money back in their pockets through reduced fees. Since the money is going directly to service providers, families will not need to apply for these savings. This announcement is building on further reduced fees as a part of the province’s $2.7-billion investment in ChildCareBC since 2018, and is being funded through the five-year, $3.2-billion Canada-British Columbia Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. When combined with past reductions at participating centres, that means that families could save up to $10,800 per year for each child. Learn more here.

Affordable childcare is a key priority for our government because we know that when childcare is accessible, parents can succeed. Funding like this allows more parents, especially women or other people from marginalized genders, to pursue work, school, or passions outside of caregiving and to contribute to British Columbia's economy. When all British Columbian's have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, we are at our best. 

Sincerely,



Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Community Office Update



My community office will be closing for a brief summer break starting on August 22nd. My office will reopen after Labour Day on Tuesday September 6th at 9:00AM. If you need assistance, you can leave a voicemail at 250-479-4154 or an email at Lana.Popham.MLA@leg.bc.ca and we will respond to inquiries in the order they were received.

Should you require assistance sooner than that, here are a few helpful resources:
  • If you need assistance with Government agencies, please call 1-604-660-2421. 
  • The latest news from the B.C. government can be found on the news website at https://news.gov.bc.ca/ 
  • Call 2-1-1 for assistance with community, government, and health services.
  • Call 250-387-1023 or email AF.Minister@gov.bc.ca for help with issues related to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.


Sincerely, 




Thursday, August 11, 2022

Building an Equitable BC



There is no doubt that BC’s diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Living with people from all walks of life teaches us how to better empathize and cooperate with each other. Despite this, some groups are still more likely to face disadvantages, discrimination, and prejudice. During the pandemic, we saw that low-wage workers, seniors, and racialized people were more likely to be impacted by COVID-19. And just this week, Statistics Canada reported that there was an increase in police-reported hate crimes in 2021. There is clearly still more work to do make BC more equitable.
 
Our government has taken steps to build equity into all aspects of our systems. We recently introduced the Anti-Racism Data Act to identify systemic barriers faced by Indigenous people, Black people and people of colour so that we can make government programs and services work better for more people. This year, we also released the Declaration Act Action Plan which outlines 89 specific actions every ministry in government will take to create a better province for Indigenous Peoples in BC .
 
These are just some of the larger examples, but work to make BC more equitable is happening in every Ministry. This week, we announced a new anti-racism training program:
 
More people throughout B.C. will now be able to receive free training on how to help defuse racist incidents through the new Anti-Racism Community Stewards pilot program. This unique program will teach people to deliver bystander intervention training – so they can teach others in their community to address racist incidents. For more information, visit vircs.bc.ca/lcrcprogram 

Sincerely,


 


Thursday, August 4, 2022

New South Island Post-Secondary Campus


Did you hear that BC is investing $77.8 million into the construction of a new post-secondary campus on the Westshore?

The new campus is a collaboration between Royal Roads University, the University of Victoria, Camosun College, and the Justice Institute of BC and will support flexible programming, accessible infrastructure, and students in the Westshore and across the South Island.

You can learn more here.

Sincerely,


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Preparing for Extreme Heat

 


This week Environment and Climate Change Canada issued heat warnings across BC, including the South Island, due to rising temperatures. We encourage everyone to plan and prepare for high temperatures.

Preparing for high temperatures: 
  • You can find information about cooling centres across the South Island here.    
    • Checking with your municipality, regional district, or First Nation is also a good way to find the most up to date information on cooling centres.
  • Know the warning signs of heat-related illness. If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms during extreme heat, take immediate steps to cool down and seek emergency care. Symptoms can include:
    • Nausea or vomiting,
    • Headaches,
    • Dizziness,
    • Rapid breathing or increased heartrate, and
    • Feeling very thirsty or having dark urine
  • Create a heat plan to keep safe
    • Identify cool zones inside and outside of homes (such as community centres and libraries), 
    • Find ways to cool down (such as taking cool baths or showers and drinking plenty of water), and 
    • Identify vulnerable family members and neighbours who are susceptible to heat and who should be checked on.
Making it easier for evacuees to receive support:

Last year’s extreme weather events made it clear how important it is to be prepared for a potential crisis. One day you may need to evacuate due to an emergency, whether it's flood, fire or earthquake. This week, we announced that we are making it easier to receive evacuee financial support – because the last thing you need in an emergency is more paperwork. You can now pre-register to receive financial support by e-transfer so when you need it and are eligible to receive it, you can get it quickly and easily. Here’s how:
Sincerely,



Thursday, July 21, 2022

July is Lakes Appreciation Month!


Did you know that July is Lakes Appreciation Month? Thank you to the BC Lake Stewardship Society and all the other non-profits, Indigenous Nations, communities, and individuals who have helped contribute to a better understanding of lake ecology in BC!

Did you also know that Elk/Beaver Lake is getting a new oxygenation system to help make the lakes cleaner and safer for people and pets?

What's your favourite lake in BC?

Sincerely,

Thursday, July 14, 2022

International Non-Binary People's Day


Happy #InternationalNonBinaryPeoplesDay to all the non-binary folks in Saanich South and across BC! Thank you for being your authentic self and expressing who you are!

Folks that are unsure what "non-binary" means should consider checking out this article
.

Sincerely, 


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Additional Booster Doses Coming This Fall


B.C. is making plans to offer everyone 12+ a fall booster dose. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has been clear this approach will provide the best protection in the fall and winter when we’re all spending more time inside and respiratory illness is passed around our communities.  

Starting in the Fall eligible residents will be invited to book their second booster. Bookings will happen the same way your first two doses and booster were booked. Click here to learn more.

Sincerely,


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Thank You Premier Horgan!




As you may have heard, Premier John Horgan announced that he will not be running again in the next election. He will be staying on as Premier until the next Leader of the BCNDP is chosen. 
I wish Premier Horgan all the best. He gave me the chance to do what I love as Minister of Agriculture, and he also gave me the gift of friendship. This is a difficult moment but I support his decision.

There is no doubt that Premier Horgan will be remembered as a leader who prioritized people. He brought us together and improved the lives of people across BC. He put science first throughout the pandemic, eliminated MSP fees, lowered ICBC premiums, created new child care spaces and lowered fees, and built a record amount of housing while taxing greedy speculators. He also took big money out of BC politics and took truly historic steps with Indigenous Peoples towards the path of reconciliation.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, devastating forest fires, unprecedented floods, and his second bout of cancer, John always put the needs of British Columbians first.
 
John is a great coach and has built a strong team that will continue the work to make life better for British Columbians. In the months ahead there will be an exciting leadership race, focused on the best ideas for the future of BC. Until then, John remains Premier and will continue to serve the people of our province. This includes pushing the federal government to fund their fair share of health-care costs so we can make our public health-care system work better for everyone.

Our entire caucus is united in our determination to make life better for the people of British Columbia. There is much more to do and we remain focused on putting people first.

Thank you,




Thursday, June 23, 2022

Pride 2022

 


We’re flying the Pride flag at the Legislature!

2SLGBTQIA+ folks continue to face violence and discrimination and it’s vital that we work against that hatred. Everyone deserves the freedom to love and to be who they are.

Our government is working hard to advance the rights and freedoms for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. That’s why we took action to ensure the spectrum of gender identity is included on B.C. government ID, or why we ensured that people can change their gender designations on their BC Services Card, BC Driver’s Licence and BCID without the confirmation of a physician or psychologist. It’s why we moved to ensure publicly funded, affirming lower surgeries are available in B.C., and why we expanded coverage of preventative treatment for people at-risk of contracting HIV. These are just some of the steps we’ve taken to build a BC where people are truly free to be who they are.

This year, BC communities like Armstrong, 100 Mile House, Vanderhoof, and Lillooet are hosting Pride parades for the first time ever! Pride Week in Victoria also starts today; click here to checkout some of the wonderful events that are happening in our community!

Pride is a reminder of how far we’ve come and of how far we have to go. Just last weekend, Cafe Fantastico in Quadra Village had to cancel a drag show because of threats of violence. We all must stand with the 2SLGBTQIA+ against these vile acts of hatred. A more inclusive society leads to a higher quality of life for everyone, and I hope you can join me in standing against bigotry and hate.

Sincerely,


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Sumer BBQ


Please join me this Saturday June 11th from 11:00AM - 2:00PM for our Summer BBQ and Open House! 

In addition to hamburgers and hot dogs, we'll have ice cream, a drop off shredding service, bicycle check-ups, a bouncy castle, and more! All of which will be free! 

The BBQ will be happening at 4243 Glanford Avenue in our parking lot. Some spaces will remain open for parking, but we are also walking distance from the 6 and 31 bus routes. 

Please feel free to come down, say hello, and enjoy our BBQ! I look forward to seeing you there.

Thank you,


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Minimum Wage Increase


Raising the minimum wage helps build a stronger province for everybody in BC, that's why we're raising the minimum wage to $15.65. 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 helps tackle inequality and make life more affordable.

Under the BC Liberals, our minimum wage was among the lowest in Canada. Now, it's the highest of any province and our government is working to make sure workers don't get left behind
.

Sincerely,


Wednesday, May 25, 2022


The Centre of the Universe is right here in our own backyard on the South Island, it’s the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory!

The access road and trails have been an important part of Saanich for cyclists and hikers, and I’m excited to share that after being closed due to covid the access road is now reopen! The vehicle gate will be open 9:15-5 and the pedestrian gate will be open 24/7. 

Community members are asked to be respectful of the area and that cyclists turn around at the first stop sign near the parking lot during working hours (7-5 on weekdays).

Thank you,


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

 


On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, we are called to stand up to discrimination against the LGBTQ2+ community.
 
We need to support LGBTQ2S+ people in our schools, in our workplaces, and in our families. I believe we can build a BC where nobody faces discrimination or violence because of who they love or who they are.

Sincerely,



Thursday, May 12, 2022


Established in 2011, The Moose Hide Campaign is an important national public awareness initiative that began in B.C. and the Province has been proud to support it.

Indigenous women, girls, two spirit people and children still face unacceptable levels of violence. Words need to be followed by actions. That’s why my colleagues and I support the Moose Hide Campaign which encourages men to be strong role models and hold themselves accountable to stop violence.

To learn more and commit to this important work, checkout the Moose Hide Campaign's website.

Also see these important resources:


Sincerely,


Thursday, May 5, 2022


This week our government took action to address the systemic racism and colonial biases that hurt Indigenous Peoples and racialized people across B.C.
 
We introduced the Anti-Racism Data Act to use and share data safely to make government programs and services work better for more people. This legislation is the first of its kind in Canada to be co-developed with Indigenous partners. It was also developed with extensive engagement with racialized communities, with more than 13,000 British Columbians taking part .
 
Having data that shines a light on where inequities exist will help us drive change by:
  • Breaking down barriers for people to access programs:
    • If data shows racialized people are disproportionately not accessing a particular program – like rental assistance or a child care benefit – we can make changes so people can get fair access to the programs.
  • Ensuring racialized people aren’t disproportionately targeted:
    • This data will show where people are being disproportionately targeted by things like tickets and penalties so changes can be made to ensure they are being applied fairly and impartially.
  • Helping to identify specific barriers and improve programs and services so people feel safe and get the help they need:
    • For example, BC Housing recently started collecting demographic data to more accurately capture the number of people who are homeless across the province, with the intention of using this data to deliver supports and services where they are most needed.
Everyone has the right to equitable and safe access to the programs and supports they need to succeed. There is more work to do to dismantle systemic racism and bias in government programs and services and this legislation will help pave the way, so we can make BC better, for everyone.

Sincerely,


Friday, April 29, 2022


People across BC are welcoming and always ready to pitch in for those in need. It’s who we are. Over the last two years, we’ve seen the power of people coming together to support each throughout the pandemic, floods, and forest fires.

I know many of you have been watching the events unfolding in Ukraine. Ukrainians who are escaping unimaginable violence are now arriving in BC and we are making sure that they receive the vital medical services and community support they need. 

As people from the Ukraine begin arriving, we understand that access to physicians, prescriptions, and mental health support is critical. Instead of the normal three-month waiting period for new arrivals, we are providing day-of-arrival MSP coverage for Ukrainians entering BC, to ensure that they can have access to immediate care.

Another important aspect of health and safety is community connection. This is why we have expanded the Service BC phone line to include United Way British Columbia’s bc211 service, a multilingual service that connects people to more than 15,500 free social supports, services and community programs throughout the province. British Columbians who would like to help can also access information and opportunities through this service. 

Additionally, we have also expanded access to free employment services and supports available through 102 WorkBC Centres, including skills training, employment counselling and access to our provincial job board. 

To help ease the transition for families and students, we have encouraged school districts to enroll K-12 students from Ukraine and to waive additional fees they might have for extracurricular activities, such as music or soccer camps. These are just some of the ways that we are supporting newly arrived Ukrainians to feel safe, supported, and connected as they navigate this challenging time. 

We are committed to working with our partners, including the federal government, to ensure that those fleeing conflict are welcomed to BC as efficiently as possible. 

Sincerely,