First Call Monthly Updates

April 2016 Monthly Update


We’re hiring – federal policy lowers living wage – federal progress update – restore aboriginal youth funding – sanctuary schools – and more!

April 2016

Welcome to our monthly update about First Call’s advocacy work and key actions you can take to support children and youth in BC.

Highlights this month include:

  • We’re hiring – join our team!
  • Federal policy lowers living wage rate
  • Progress update on federal c&y policies
  • MPs and Ministers learn about First Call
  • Restore of aboriginal youth funding
  • We support sanctuary schools
  • We went to Kelowna
  • Check out our news coverage
  • Check out our correspondence and upcoming meetings

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,
Julie, Sarena, Adrienne, and Deanna

2015 First Call Staff Website

 

FIRST CALL IS HIRING A COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Big news! We’re hiring! After four rewarding years, Sarena Talbot, First Call’s communications and development coordinator, is heading off on a new adventure so we are looking for a new addition to our team. Could it be you? Do you know the perfect candidate? Please help us spread the word far and wide!

The posting will be open until next Wednesday, May 4 at midnight, and the expected start date is June 20. It is a great opportunity to join an amazing team working to put BC’s children and youth first (and comes with a competitive salary and great benefits and vacation time).

Find full details on our website here.

 

2016 LIVING WAGE CALCULATION: CHANGE IN FEDERAL POLICY LOWERS LIVING WAGE FOR FIRST TIME DESPITE RISING COSTS

The living wage decreased for the first time in the eight-year history of the living wage campaign, down by four cents to $20.64 this year from the 2015 figure of $20.68/hour. This is according to Working for a Living Wage 2016: Making Paid Work Meet Basic Family Needs in Metro Vancouver, a report published April 27, 2016, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC office, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition and the Living Wage for Families Campaign.

The decrease is entirely due to the expansion of the Canada Child Benefit announced in this year’s federal budget.

Living wage rates have also decreased in the Capital Regional District ($20.02), District 69 (Parksville-Qualicum) ($16.76), Prince George ($16.52), Kamloops ($17.21) and the Fraser Valley ($16.28) where reports were also released today.

“The decrease in the living wage rates demonstrates that good public policy can have a positive impact on the lives of families,” says Deanna Ogle, the campaign organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign. “However, without the provincial government stepping up as an equal partner, we see that federal policies can only help balance out rising costs. BC is the only province in Canada without a poverty reduction plan. Families are counting on the provincial government to do better.”

Read the full press release and find out living wage rates across BC communities.

Read also:

 

FEDERAL POLICIES THAT PUT CHILDREN AND YOUTH FIRST – PROGRESS UPDATE

In the lead-up to the federal election, First Call developed an election toolkit outlining what is at stake for BC’s children and youth at the federal level under each of the 4 Keys to Success for Children and Youth. In this new report First Call has tracked the progress made on our policy recommendations based on announcements in the first few months of the new government as well as the proposed budget 2016.

We hope that this is a useful tool for advocating for concrete policy changes that would have a positive impact on the lives of BC’s children and youth, and we will continue to call for these changes. A copy has also been sent to all BC Members of Parliament and relevant federal ministers.

Read the full report

 

MPs AND MINISTERS INVITED TO LEARN ABOUT FIRST CALL

This letter from the First Call coalition congratulated all members of Parliament and relevant ministers (re)elected in the 2015 federal election and invited them to learn more about First Call’s vision and work.

It also commends them on the actions they have already taken in their first few months of government that put children and youth first, and urges them to adopt a number of other policies that would benefit BC and Canada’s children and youth.

Read the full letter

 

FIRST CALL URGES MPs JOLY AND BENNETT TO RESTORE ABORIGINAL YOUTH PROGRAM FUNDING

In this letter, First Call urges Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly and Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett to meet with the Council of Mothers to discuss reinstating federal funding for the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth (CCAY) program and to increase funding for saving and teaching Indigenous languages across Canada.

Excerpt:

“Before it was canceled by the previous federal government, CCAY-funded initiatives were developed, designed and guided by Indigenous youth in Canada’s urban communities. For many youth the skills and cultural connections they gained through involvement in the projects were empowering, healing and life-changing. We know former youth, now adults, who benefited tremendously from these initiatives. We urge you to meet with members of the Council of Mothers who can share with you their own knowledge of the value of former CCAY programming.”

Read the full letter

 

FIRST CALL CALLS ON BURNABY SCHOOL DISTRICT TO EASTABLISH SANCTUARY SCHOOLS

First Call members Check Your Head, Parent Support Services Society and West Coast LEAF have been actively calling for the Burnaby School Board to establish a sanctuary schools policy that welcomes all children who meet the residency requirement for the district, regardless of their immigration status.

First Call recently wrote a letter to the Burnaby School Trustees urging them to put the best interests of children first through adopting a sanctuary schools policy, as well as calling upon the Ministry of Education and other districts to do the same.

Excerpt:
“We have heard from many of our member organizations about families who fear enrolling their children in school for fear of being asked to disclose their lack of immigration status. This results in the denial of their children’s right to education, a right Canada and BC committed to uphold through signing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Read the full letter

Read letters from First Call members also calling for sanctuary schools:

 

Adrienne presenting in KelownaFIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT

We had a busy month out in the community, including appearances at:

  • Vancouver Community College Nursing class presenting on policy advocacy and First Call
  • Fight for $15 rally to support the $15 minimum wage
  • CATCH Early Years Network Gathering, Kelowna, presenting on child and family poverty and inequality

 

FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS

 

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