First Call Monthly Updates

July 2016 Monthly Update

BC’s child labour law must go – No clawbacks attached to CCB – First Call podcasts coming this fall – and more!

Welcome to our monthly update on First Call’s advocacy work and key developments in child and youth policy in BC.

Highlights this month include:

  • Canada Child Benefit arrives, no clawbacks follow
  • Adequate education funding a top election issue
  • Op-Ed: Why should kids work at 12?
  • Adrienne and John were out and about
  • First Call in the news
  • Across the coalition
  • Member shout-outs for July

Read on to learn more!

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



Roundhouse Radio invited First Call provincial coordinator Adrienne Montani to comment on the new Canada Child Benefit (CBB), which by government estimates will lift more than 16,000 BC youth out of poverty. “It will make a difference for low-income families, for sure,” Adrienne said, adding that the federal Liberals need to keep their election promise to index the benefit right away.

More good news followed when it was confirmed no provinces or territories will claw back income assistance to families in response to the new benefit.



The Ministry of Education caused some confusion when, in early July, it praised itself for record levels of spending. We weren’t the only ones to crunch the numbers and arrive at a starkly different conclusion:


When the BC government lowered the work start age to 12 in 2004, write Adrienne Montani and Vancouver park board commissioner and First Call volunteer Catherine Evans , our province became an outlier among developed states around the world. Nowhere else are there so few restrictions on the type of work children can do at such a young age.

Read the full op-ed



On July 14, Deanna Ogle from the Living Wage for Families campaign and Vancity community investment manager Catherine Ludgate held a webinar on ways to reach out to employers regarding implementation of a living wage policy, which for those interested can be found here. If you missed it, you can still watch the webinar.

On July 21, Adrienne Montani and new communications and development coordinator John Kennedy attended a day of learning with the Vancouver Foundation’s Fostering Change initiative to workshop ideas and experience policy discussions from different stakeholder perspectives.

One exciting takeaway is a plan to produce a podcast for and by youth in care and their allies. This grew from an earlier plan to expand First Call’s monthly update into a podcast to better serve coalition members starting with September’s coalition meeting; contact John for more details or to get involved with either podcast, and keep an eye on this space for the first episode.

We have been busy following up on our annual member appeal, and if you received a call you were probably reminded we want to see you at September’s coalition meeting. The agenda is now online; if you can’t make it please get in touch for the call-in code, and keep an eye out for the minutes here.

Mark your calendars now for September 20, when First Call will join a roundtable on child and family poverty in BC organized by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement and the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House.



Times Colonist: Trevor Hancock: Poverty serious detriment to public health

Vancouver Sun: Opinion: B.C.’s child labour laws make Canada look bad

Chilliwack Progress: Clawback of mat leave pay ‘discriminatory’ says Chilliwack woman

Vancouver Sun: Living wage proponents look to spark national movement with pay increases

News 1130: New Canada Child Benefit package coming tomorrow

Roundhouse Radio: Mornings with Kirk LaPointe – Adrienne Montani

BC Almanac: Canada Child Benefit and child poverty

Nanaimo Bulletin: Letter to the Editor: Province falls short on social responsibility



West Coast LEAF called on social development minister Michelle Stilwell to take action against clawbacks of maternity and parental benefits to persons with disabilities on income assistance, shortly after they released a separate report comprising affidavits that document the human rights impact of unaffordable child care in BC.

The Social Planning and Research Council of BC published a study of debt in Metro Vancouver, which reads well with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ discovery of widespread working poverty in the same area.

The McCreary Centre Society has also had a busy summer with a report on the negative impact marijuana use has on youth across the province, followed by a study done with UBC’s Stigma and Resilience Among Vulnerable Youth Centre looking at the substantial drop in suicide attempts, substance abuse and other health risk behaviours, as well as costs imposed on the health care system, that can be achieved through funding for LGBTQ support programs in schools.

Meanwhile, the House of Commons has convened a study to inform a federal poverty reduction strategy, and the deadline for submissions will be announced on the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) website when the Committee reconvenes in fall 2016.



Each week we strive to bring more attention to the work and wins of our amazing coalition members, and one way we do this is to regularly place member shout-outs on the First Call Twitter account @firstcallbc. Here is July’s pick of our many valued members:

Sunshine Coast Community Services

WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre

Social Planning and Research Council of British Columbia

Adoptive Families Association of BC

Vancouver Coastal Health

Coalition of Child Care Advocates of BC

Westcoast Family Centres