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 Campaign News and Wins
- BC Child Poverty Report Card Upcoming Release
- Contribute to the Making Ends Meet Participatory Action Research Project
- Fostering Change Celebrates the Holidays with Advocacy
Read on to learn more!
Yours for children and youth,
Adrienne, Helesia, Dylan, Halena, Leila, Susan, Becky, and Emily
LIVING WAGE FOR FAMILIES CAMPAIGN NEWS AND WINS
Halena Seiferling is moving on from her role as Campaign Organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign as of Thursday January 16th. She is moving on to be Director of Community Engagement at Living in Community, and is looking forward to continuing our collective work for safe, healthy, and just communities. Everyone here at First Call thanks Halena for her exceptional advocacy, organization, and vision in moving the Campaign forward. We wish her all the best in her exciting next chapter!
In December, the Living Wage for Families Campaign celebrated that five local governments and two school districts made progress toward paying a living wage in 2019. These include the City of White Rock, whose Council passed a motion for a staff report looking into the policy early in December, and the City of Burnaby, who has fully implemented their living wage policy as of January 1, 2020. This news received great media coverage, including this half-hour segment on CFAX 1070 (interview begins at 21 minutes).
Also in December, the Campaign was approved for a new grant from the Vancouver Foundation. This grant will provide enough funding to employ a part-time Campaign Assistant for the next three years, enabling the Campaign to build on our momentum and expand our work through increased staff capacity. Thank you to the Vancouver Foundation!
BC CHILD POVERTY REPORT CARD UPCOMING RELEASE
Every year in November, First Call publishes our BC Child Poverty Report Card to coincide with the anniversary of the 1989 all-party House of Commons resolution to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000 and in conjunction with the release of a national child poverty report card by Campaign 2000.
As we announced in a previous newsletter, the 2019 BC Child Poverty Report Card release was delayed this year due to a delay in receiving data. We are excited to announce that a Report Card Summary Report will be released on Tuesday January 14, with a full report following in Spring 2020.
To learn more about the Report Card data, we invite you to attend our next Coalition Meeting on Wednesday January 15 from 9:15-11:30am at the BC Teachers’ Federation (550 W 6th Ave) and look for the Report Card files and resources on www.still1in5.ca.
CONTRIBUTE TO THE MAKING ENDS MEET PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH PROJECT
Are you working but struggling to make ends meet? If you live or work in Vancouver, the Making Ends Meet Participatory Action Research Project invites your input. The goal of this project is to understand how low paying jobs, not enough hours of work, or the fear of losing a job impacts the lives of individuals and families in Vancouver.
FOSTERING CHANGE CELEBRATES THE HOLIDAYS WITH ADVOCACY
On December 4, the Fostering Change Campaign hosted a consultation with youth from care about accessibility for youth with disabilities to provide input to the provincial government.
The Campaign also happily welcomed the holiday bustle last month. In early December the Federation of Youth in Care Networks BC generously funded our holiday celebration for the community. We sent holiday cards to all BC MLAs to let them know, “foster kids are thinking of you this holiday season,” in hopes they keep our asks in mind as they celebrate and work towards announcing Budget 2020. After some much needed R&R, Fostering Change excitedly plans for the year ahead with optimism that 2020 will be the year our asks are implemented.
FIRST CALL OUT AND ABOUT
In early December, Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, presented a guest lecture to Vancouver Community College nursing students about First Call’s advocacy work, child and family poverty and the impacts of income inequality.
Fostering Change Campaign Organizer Susan Russell attended a meeting of the TRRUST Collective Impact initiative and Campaign Organizer Dylan Cohen met up with staff from the Representative for Children and Youth Office.
Halena Seiferling, Campaign Organizer with the Living Wage for Families Campaign, presented to the Vancouver School Board’s Personnel Committee to provide an update on the campaign. At the meeting, committee members agreed that staff will prepare another report on the feasibility of the VSB becoming a Living Wage Employer. Halena also presented to White Rock City Council about the campaign, and Council passed a motion for their staff to prepare a report on Living Wage policy and feasibility.
Communications and Development Coordinator, Helesia Luke, attended the Hannukah celebration hosted by First Call coalition member the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
FIRST CALL CORRESPONDENCE AND PUBLICATIONS
FIRST CALL IN THE NEWS
- CBC Radio: Helesia was interviewed about child poverty the morning of their Food Bank Day, Dec 6th.
- CBC: A mother should never ever have to be put in this position’: Chilliwack mom on brink of homelessness
- CFAX 1070: Adam Stirling Hour 3 – December 23 (starts at 21:35)