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,




 

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

 


We’re working to address the high demand for nurses in BC by making it easier for internationally educated nurses to work BC by consolidating the complicated, costly and lengthy application process. Right now, internationally educated nurses must go through multiple assessments and coordination with numerous organizations to put their skills to use.
 
That’s why we are moving towards a process that will remove financial and logistical barriers for internationally educated nurses wanting to work in B.C.’s healthcare system. We are funding bursaries so more people can afford the process and we are creating new positions who will help applicants navigate the system. And we are also launching a new marketing campaign to attract more internationally educated nurses to B.C. 

The high demand for healthcare workers is being felt across the world – and the pandemic has only intensified the strain. But we know how vital it is to find solutions so that more people can get the care they need, when they need it. By streamlining the pathway to employment, we will increase nurses and other healthcare workers in our province and ensure that British Columbians' healthcare needs are met sooner.

There is always more to do, but I am very proud of these initiatives that will help British Columbians access timely and high-quality care.

Sincerely,


Sunday, April 17, 2022


Happy Easter!

Copy the image above into a word document and print it for a fun colouring activity!

Sincerely,
 



Thursday, April 14, 2022


I wanted to give you an update on old growth logging deferrals in BC. 
 
Our government’s new vision for forestry is one where we better care for our most ancient and rarest forests, First Nations are full partners in forest management, and communities and workers benefit from secure, innovative jobs for generations to come 
 
The Province and First Nations have now agreed to defer nearly 1.7 million hectares of old growth (which includes 1.05 million hectares of at-risk old growth). This is intended to create the time and space we need to develop a new, long-term approach to managing old growth that prioritizes ecosystem health and community resiliency. 
 
To put it in perspective that is equal to: 
  • Over 4,100 Stanley Parks 
  • More old growth than currently protected in the Great Bear Rainforest. 
 
Government previously implemented 11 deferrals in partnership with First Nations totaling nearly 200,000 hectares of old growth forest – including the Fairy Creek watershed. 
 
Over 80% of the 4.0 million hectares of most at-risk old growth in BC is not currently threatened by short-term logging. We know we are on the right track – old growth logging has decreased by 40% compared to five years ago. In 2020, it was only 0.3% of the 11.1 million hectares of old growth in BC. 
 
New capacity funding of up to $12.69 million over three years is available to support First Nations engagement on old growth. Budget 2022 provides an additional $185 million over three years for forestry worker and community support programs. 
 
The Old Growth Strategic Review included short-term, medium-term and long-term recommendations and suggested a 36-month timeline for implementation. We have been prioritizing our work on the 14 recommendations and have made significant progress on many of them already.  We are committed to implementing all of those recommendations and are working towards a new Old Growth Strategy for BC to be complete in 2023. We need to take the time to get this right. 
 
Our forests make B.C. one of the best places to live. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to better care for our old growth forests.  
 

Sincerely,


Friday, April 8, 2022



Investing in transit infrastructure is a big part of building safe, liveable communities while also fighting climate change by encouraging active transit. This week, our government took significant steps to improve how we get around.
 
We brought forward legislation that will increase housing and services near transit hubs. People should be able to access the services they need close to home, and that’s why we introduced changes that will allow the province to acquire land near transit stations and bus exchanges, to build housing and other key community amenities. These changes will help shape growth around station sites, increase housing density and help create complete, connected communities that are close to transit.

We also announced funding to support our public transit systems as ridership levels recover from pandemic impacts. Alongside the federal government, we are providing $204 million to B.C.’s public transit systems, including $28 million for BC Transit. Reliable and affordable public transit is vital for strong communities, and this funding will go a long way towards maintaining these services that people count on.

And we are investing in projects to create more safe options for walking and cycling in rural, remote, and indigenous communities. A total of 37 local governments, Indigenous governments and other groups are receiving funding for projects that will improve road safety in their communities. Projects include crosswalks, traffic calming, walk signals that give a head start to pedestrians, speed reader boards, mixed use paths, and better lighting and signage. These things make it easier for people to chose active ways of getting around, which are healthier for both us and our environment.
 
The steps we took this week to increase housing near transit services, maintain B.C.’s strong transit systems, and improve safety for walkers and cyclists will help us make life better for everyone in B.C. 

Sincerely,



Tuesday, April 5, 2022


As we draw near to the 50th anniversary of the creation of BC’s Agricultural Land Reserve in 1973, the arguments around this cutting-edge land use tool don’t become less passionate.  From the get-go, there has been controversy, but the validity of the original intent of this reserve, to preserve food growing lands for future generations and to encourage farming, has been proven repeatedly, but never more definitively then over the past 2 years.
 
Our province has faced grave challenges recently.  A variety of supply chain issues that have been pandemic related, along with climate change weather event disruptions and disasters that have proven deadly to our food supply.  The words “food security”, “food resiliency”, and “self-sufficiency” have never been used more often in regular day to day conversations, and certainly have not had this type of attention politically, at all levels.  
 
We have been frightened by what we have gone through because we have seen weaknesses and fragility in a food system that we have grown to depend on more and more over the years.  We import more food that we produce, and for decades there has been a focus on providing food for trade and less on providing food for ourselves.  This kind of focus can be managed when everything is working smoothly - When export markets don’t see shutdowns, when transportation routes are working seamlessly, and when we have people filling jobs that support this type of system.  
 
But that has not been the case lately. We have seen unprecedented difficulties on all fronts.  
 
Since 2017, there has been a shift in focus of the BC agriculture ministry.  There has been a new focus on expanding and supporting our domestic market.  A conscious effort to build our domestic foundation as it pertains to food production, making sure our house is in order so that we can feed ourselves.  
This is not to say that we are turning away from our international opportunities, but work is being done to solidify our own provincial food resilience so that we remain stable in times of crisis.  
 
Our BC Agricultural Land Reserve gives us a distinct advantage as we forge ahead to create a more a robust and durable way of feeding ourselves, while at the same time creating opportunities to feed other jurisdictions.  
 
Our province is unique in its landscape which allows for different growing regions that can produce different primary goods.  This is one of our strengths.  We produce over 200 land-based products grown on these lands we have put aside for food production. This is on top of traditional foods, like wild mushrooms and salmon berries, that have been harvested for millennia by First Nations whose territories span the entire Province.
 
This separation of production areas, or bioregions, in the Agricultural Land Reserve is another great strength that can be developed, but this separation proved to be alarming over the past two years as we saw them getting cut off from each other, resulting in food not being able to move freely throughout our province.  
 
These pinch points in our current system helped to demonstrate the need to develop resiliency more fully within each distinct growing area.  More primary production, more farming, more regenerative production, more value-added processing, more regional purchasing, more regional procurement. Establishing more vigorous, sustainable, local food systems within our enormous province allows us to withstand times of disruption but also allows for more regional economic development.  
 
Because of what we have gone through these past couple years, more British Columbians have been awakened to the importance of BC food.  They understand more clearly the value of our provincial food producers. 
 
We are the envy of many other jurisdictions who failed to protect their food growing lands years ago.  As we embrace the idea of resiliency and food supply security, we can be thankful that we have food producing lands to fall back on.  The ways in which we produce food have been evolving and adapting, and that is being reflected in the ways that the Agricultural Land Commission balances its responsibilities to manage these lands. 
 
Fifty years ago, leaders had the foresight to make a pledge to the future of food security by establishing an Agricultural Land Reserve.  Much has changed over 50 years, but I think this is the moment they had in mind.  
 
Sincerely,



Thursday, March 31, 2022



Today, and everyday, we must protect and support our trans community.

For far too long, the trans community has faced higher rates of violence, poverty, mental health struggles, and other complex challenges- all a direct result of the stigma and discrimination that so many trans people face. Everyone should have the right to be who they are without stigma or fear of discrimination.

To parents: I challenge you to build a home where your kid(s) can feel safe coming out to you, regardless of whether or not they have to.

For those wondering what the government has been up to on this, we’ve:
  • Flew the Trans flag at the legislature for the first time
  • Flew the Trans flag at the legislature for the first time
  • Updated roughly 600 instances of gendered language across 15 ministries’
  • Introduced “X” as a third gender marker on government ID
  • Moved to ensure publicly funded affirming lower surgeries are available in BC, and
  • Ensured all 60 school districts and several independent schools were part of the SOGI Educator Network.
Protect. Trans. Kids.

Sincerely,


Thursday, March 24, 2022


Welcome spring! What's in season on Vancouver Island now?

Always in season:
  • dehydrated vegetables, 
  • frozen berries, and 
  • potatoes
Currently in season:
  • apples, 
  • cauliflower, 
  • herbs, 
  • leeks, 
  • lettuce, 
  • peppers, 
  • rhubarb, and 
  • tomatoes
Coming soon:
  • asparagus, 
  • beans, 
  • celery, 
  • kale, and 
  • spinach
Here before summer:
  • beets, 
  • broccoli, 
  • carrots, 
  • cherries, 
  • currants, 
  • garlic, 
  • peas, 
  • squash, 
  • turnips, 
  • strawberries, and 
  • zucchini
Wow, look at all this amazing local food! Please make sure to support local farmers and producers by buying BC!

Sincerely,


Tuesday, March 22, 2022


Homelessness is a complex issue that affects people and communities across BC. That’s why we are investing $633 million in comprehensive new initiatives to help address homelessness.

Here’s what we’re doing:

✔️Introducing a change to our shelter allowance to provide a new minimum base rate and funding tenant start-up kits to assist people moving from homelessness into more stable housing. We're also implementing $600-per-month rent supplements with integrated health and social supports that will help more than 3,000 people with low incomes access housing in the private market over the next three years. 

✔️ Investing $35 million over three years for new and increased supports for youth in care until the age of 27. This includes a new financial supplement, a no-limit earnings exemption, help with the cost of housing, and other needed education and social supports. Youth in government care are overrepresented in our homeless population and like all young people, these youth need supports for a successful transition into adulthood, even after they turn 19.

✔️ Investing $164 million over three years to expand government’s complex-care housing program to better support people with complex health, mental health, and substance-use challenges. This will provide housing and more intensive care for those who may need a level of support that goes beyond what the current model of supportive housing can provide.
 
✔️ Providing long-term solutions by allocating $264 million over three years for a permanent housing plan to ensure the approximately 3,000 people who were temporarily housed during the pandemic do not return to homelessness.

Since 2017, we've moved thousands of unhoused people into homes with the supports they need. But we know there is much more work to do make up for the years of inaction and underfunding of the old government. Budget 2022’s investments will go a long way to combat the growing homelessness we are seeing across B.C.

Sincerely,



Friday, March 11, 2022


I’m so proud of folks in BC who collectively worked so hard over the past 2 years! We have come to a moment that we have all been hoping for. We did this together BC! ♥️

Some orders, like masks orders, change today! And after April 8th, showing the vaccine passport will no longer be required for access to non-essential events, services and businesses…We made it! 

“British Columbians have made tremendous sacrifices and worked hard to do their part over the past two years by following the advice and direction of Dr. Henry," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "Thanks to high levels of vaccination, decreasing transmission enabled by British Columbians' resolve and the public health orders we've had in place, we are now able to lift more restrictions and continue moving forward as a province."

Effective March 11, 2022, at 12:01 a.m., the following changes will be made to public health orders:

➡️Face coverings order: Face coverings will be optional for people in all indoor public settings. People may want to continue wearing a mask based on personal choice. Individual businesses and organizations can choose to continue to require mask wearing on their premises.

➡️Gatherings and events for faith gatherings: The requirement of faith communities to restrict attendance based on vaccination status is no longer required.

➡️Indoor common area mask requirements for employees as part of the Workplace Safety Order will no longer be required. Employers may choose to continue to require wearing masks for operational reasons or in certain settings.

➡️Overnight camps for children and youth order requirements: COVID-19 safety plans are no longer required to be submitted to a medical health officer for overnight camps.

➡️Masks are encouraged on public transit and BC Ferries but are no longer required under the public health order.

April 8, 2022, at 12:01 a.m., if hospitalizations and transmission keep going down the following changes will also be made to public health orders:

➡️Showing the BC Vaccine Card proof of vaccination to access non-essential events, services and businesses will no longer be required.

➡️Individual businesses and organizations can choose to continue to require the BC Vaccine Card proof on their premises.

Sincerely,


Tuesday, March 8, 2022


Wow, what a difference five years makes!

The photo below was taken in 2017 when I was the only female Agriculture Minister in Canada.


The next photo was taken this morning, alongside my female colleagues, all of them Minister’s! 

It was such a pleasure to join Federal Minister of Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau, Ontario Minister of Agriculture Lisa Thompson, New Brunswick Minister of Agriculture Margaret C. Johnson and North West Territories Minister of Finance Caroline Wawzonek during our International Women’s Day fireside chat to celebrate women in politics! Huge thanks to Vicki Brisson for moderating. 

I am the first woman Minister of Agriculture in BC, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the last! Happy International Women’s Day 2022!!! 

Sincerely,