New BC gov early childhood report a distraction – human rights complaint filed against EI maternity clawback – sanctuary schools in New West – and more!
Welcome to our monthly update about First Call’s advocacy work and key developments in child and youth policy in BC.
Highlights this month include:
- Latest early childhood report a distraction from what really needs to be done
- Human rights complaint about EI maternity benefits clawback
- New West School district sanctuary schools policy
- Adrienne and Deanna were out and about
- We were in the news
- Check out our correspondence and upcoming meetings
Read on to learn more!
Yours for children and youth,
Julie, Sarena, Adrienne, and Deanna
EARLY CHILDHOOD REPORT A DISTRACTION FROM WHAT REALLY NEEDS TO BE DONE
First Call’s provincial coordinator Adrienne Montani weighs in on the report on the consultations by the Provincial Office for the Early Years (POEY) about early childhood planning in BC released this Wednesday.
“All the time and effort spent conducting this review of meagerly funded early years planning efforts at the community level has produced predictable conclusions and commitments to streamline government-funding of this work, reduce duplication, ‘leverage’ existing resources, etc. This is, in effect, rearranging the insufficient deck chairs on a fragile boatload of early years services and supports that are already stretched to the limit.
Read the full post on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ blog Policy Note.
FAMILY FILES HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT CHALLENGING EI MATERNITY BENEFITS CLAWBACK FROM DISABILITY ASSISTANCE
You may remember Jess Alford’s story from our most recent child poverty report card where she shared that when she went on maternity leave after the birth of her daughter, the BC government clawed back her earned maternity and parental benefits from her husband’s disability cheque.
The Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) has recently filed a human rights complaint on her behalf. The complaint alleges that the BC government is engaging in sex discrimination contrary to human rights law by depriving women of these benefits.
First Call has actively called for an end to this unfair clawback and supports CLAS’ human raights complaint. First Call’s provincial coordinator Adrienne Montani shared the following statement in the press release about the case: “Children in families with female wage-earners are already more likely to live in poverty than children in families with male wage-earners. The BC government is contributing to women and children’s poverty when they claw back women’s EI benefits.”
Read the full media release
Read the article in the Tyee
FIRST CALL CALLS ON NEW WESTMINSTER SCHOOL DISTRICT TO ESTABLISH SANCTUARY SCHOOLS
First Call recently wrote a letter urging the New Westminster school district to put the best interests of children first by adopting a sanctuary schools policy.
First Call has 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.
In addition, families with precarious immigration status who enroll their children in schools often live with the fear that their immigration status will be disclosed to immigration authorities, resulting in their deportation.
Read the full letter
First Call has also written a letter to the Burnaby School district
A FOND FAREWELL AND A BIG THANK YOU!
It’s hard to believe we have already wrapped up our second ever First Call communications and development volunteer cohort! We want to take the opportunity to say a huge thank you to Christian Playfoot and Stephanie Marron, our spring 2016 volunteers. You may have noticed our more active and engaged social media presence over the past few months thanks to their hard work. We were very impressed by their communications skills and their enthusiasm and interest in child and youth advocacy. We will miss seeing their smiling faces in the office, but wish them well in their next adventures and we know that they will continue to make a positive contribution to the child and youth sector in BC.
FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT
We had a busy month out in the community, including:
- Adrienne participated in Fostering Change’s Write the Future campaign launch at Earnest Ice Cream (yum!)
- Deanna connected with Living Wage campaigns from across Canada at a Conference in Ontario
- Adrienne presented to the BC Association for Child Development and Intervention team
- Deanna participated in the Hospital Employees’ Union summer school
FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS
Common Law Radio: The living wage explained
United Church Observer: Spare the rod, protect the child
Co-op Radio-Media Mornings: Deanna Ogle – Living Wage Campaign
Prince George Citizen: P.G. may join call for provincial poverty plan
North Shore News: Editorial: Wage wars
Nelson Star: COLUMN: Poverty reduction and the living wage