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:
- Living Wage for Families Releases 2018 Living Wage Calculations in BC
- Release of 2017 Child Poverty Record Card Regional Factsheets
- Fostering Change: Advocacy with youth from care for better transition supports
- Upcoming Public Education Forum in September 2018
Read on to learn more!
Yours for children and youth,
Adrienne, Deanna, Helesia, Dylan, Emily and Kaleb
LIVING WAGE FOR FAMILIES RELEASES 2018 LIVING WAGE CALCULATIONS IN BC
According to Working for a Living Wage 2018, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ BC office, First Call, and the Living Wage for Families Campaign, $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017.
Living wage rates are also increasing across BC, as reports for nine other regions were also released on April 25th — see page 5 in the report.
Child care and housing continue to be the two biggest costs in the living wage calculation, with significant rent increases driving up family expenses across the province.
Family costs would have been even higher if it wasn’t for two substantial policy interventions by the provincial government: a 50% reduction in MSP premiums and the Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative, implemented April 1, which will result in savings of $900 this year for parents with children between three and five years if their child care provider opts into the program.
RELEASE OF 2017 CHILD POVERTY REPORT CARD REGIONAL FACTSHEETS
Looking for easily-accessible facts specific to your region to present and share with your communities? After our 2017 Child Poverty Report Card was released last November, we heard from people that localized data sheets would be helpful to share with their regions. We have since developed these factsheets in formats that are easy to share and present.
The Regional Factsheets are shareable in .pdf and .ppt files and can be downloaded below. Special thanks to Laure Spake for her work in the early stages of this project.
Page One of the Factsheet includes graphics to illustrate the regional data for:
- How many children are living in poverty
- Poverty rate for residents of all ages
- Poverty rate for all children
- Poverty rate for children in couple families
- Poverty rate for children in lone-parent families
Page Two includes graphs comparing the data from your region to British Columbia-wide data.
FOSTERING CHANGE: ADVOCACY WITH YOUTH FROM CARE FOR BETTER TRANSITION SUPPORTS
At our April coalition meeting First Call welcomed staff from the Ministry of Children and Family Development to discuss AYAs (Agreements with Young Adults) and the changes to policy and practice for youth aging out of care. There were many youth from care in the room and the Ministry staff were very receptive to the suggestions and questions brought forward from all in attendance. You can access their slideshow presentation here and the minutes from the coalition meeting here. We were glad to hear the Ministry commit to further consultation as they continue working to improve supports for youth aging out of care.
Premier John Horgan sent a thoughtful response to the policy memorandum that was developed at the Youth Policy Solutions Day that First Call co-hosted with Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change in October 2017. In his response, Premier Horgan told us that the government is working on an action plan. Fostering Change has launched a petition to ensure that the action plan comes from comprehensive, evidence-based policy and that youth are included in planning.
UPCOMING PUBLIC EDUCATION FORUM IN SEPTEMBER 2018
Helesia Luke, First Call’s Communications and Development Coordinator, attended the BCTF’s Advocacy Works 2.0 Forum in April. The event was a valuable opportunity to hear about school-led social justice initiatives, how public schools are embracing reconciliation, and challenges teachers, parents, and students are facing as the Supreme Court decision to restore teacher staffing levels plays out across the province. Top of mind for many participants was how local schools can better serve students with diverse learning needs and how we can meaningfully integrate reconciliation recommendations to create inclusive school communities. Over the course of many years, funding shortfalls have eroded students’ access to a full range of courses and resources including the arts, well-resourced libraries and teacher-librarian time, and access to secondary counselors. At the same time parents are under increased pressure to fundraise, creating further inequities in the system.
Provincial Coordinator Adrienne Montani also attended a meeting of the Parent Advocacy Network in Vancouver to listen up on issues they have identified as priorities.
First Call is hosting a Public Education Forum in September and we’re happy to announce that Annie Kidder from People for Education in Ontario will be joining us. We’d like to hear from you about topics you would like to see on the agenda at our forum. We invite you to contact us with your ideas and if you would like to get involved all the better! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share more information in upcoming weekly and monthly newsletters.
FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT
Provincial Coordinator Adrienne Montani presented to Vancouver Community College nursing students on the topic of our Child Poverty Report Card and First Call’s work. Helesia Luke, Communications and Development Coordinator, attended the BC Teacher’s Federation’s public education conference, Advocacy 2.0, to host a table and share more about First Call’s work.
Adrienne and Helesia also went to Victoria to meet with Minister of Labour Harry Bains about improving employment standards protections for children and youth. While there they also met with senior staff at the Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction about First Call’s recommendations for policy changes to reduce child, youth and family poverty.
Youth Organizer Dylan Cohen has spent the month busy with advocacy. He’s engaged the Youth Advocacy Team on the Municipal Election Pledge, reworking the Canada Child Benefit, and extending universal AYA support. Dylan’s celebrating a month of engaging MCFD, youth leaders, and the federal government on projects.
Living Wage for Families Campaign organizer Deanna Ogle and Helesia attended the BC Employment Standards Coalition meeting in mid-April. Deanna co-chairs the coalition.
FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS
FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS
The Star Vancouver: Vancouver struggling to keep up with demand for youth housing
Revelstoke Mountaineer: Revelstoke’s living wage increases for 2018, remains fourth highest in BC
Revelstoke Review: Living wage increases sixty cents to $19.37 an hour
The Star Vancouver: Living wage climbs alongside housing costs in Metro Vancouver
My Prince George Now: Living Wage in North Central BC Jumps to $16.51 in 2018
Global News: You need to be earning $20.91 an hour to make ends meet in Metro Vancouver
BC Local News: Greater Victoria’s living wage now costs $20.50 an hour
Vancouver Courier: Cost of living stats indicate tough road ahead for Vancouver families
Georgia Straight: Metro Vancouver’s living wage rises again, but not by as much as you might guess
CFJC Today: Living wage pegged at $17.31 an hour in Kamloops
BC Local News: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
BC Local News: Comox Valley’s living wage sees four per cent increase from 2017 – report
Kamloops This Week: Living wage in Kamloops pegged at $17.31/hour
Chek News: Families struggle to afford rising cost of living in Victoria: report
CKPG Today: Living Wage Edges Up
Prince George Citizen: Living Wage for North rises to $16.51
Info News: How a single parent family is left out by the living wage in Kamloops
Nanaimo News Bulletin: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Surrey Now Leader: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Business in Vancouver: Architect finds purpose in providing quality seniors’ homes
Vic News: EDITORIAL: Living wage a misnomer; where’s the quality of life?
Sooke News Mirror: WEB POLL: Can you live on a ‘Living Wage’ of $20.50 per hour?
Times Colonist: Price of housing pushes living wage in Victoria area to $20.50 an hour
Chek TV: Morning CHEK for April 25
Cranbrook Daily Townsman: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Nelson Star: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Creston Valley Advance: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
The Golden Star: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Haida Gwaii Observer: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Langley Times: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Hope Standard: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Summerland Review: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Terrace Standard: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Penticton Western News: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
Vernon Morning Star: B.C.’s living wage increase curbed due to MSP cuts, child care subsidy: report
BC Almanac: Living wages raise in B.C.
FIRST CALL MEETINGS & EVENTS
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
BC Teachers’ Federation
550 West 6th Avenue (at Ash), Vancouver
Meetings are open to the public and phone participation is available. Please RSVP by emailing email@example.com
More information, a copy of the agenda and previous meeting minutes can be found here
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
9:30 am-12:00 pm
United Way of the Lower Mainland
4543 Canada Way, Burnaby
Please RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
More information and previous meeting minutes can be found here