First Call Monthly Updates

July Monthly Update

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:

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,

Adrienne, Helesia, Dylan, Emily and Kaleb



In July, the Vancouver Sun ran a front page article about our child labour research findings. The article shared our public opinion poll results that revealed only 6% of British Columbians could correctly identify the age at which a child can work without government oversight or a permit. However, when asked what the work-start age should be, most said 15 or 16. Sixteen is the age the Canadian government agreed to when it ratified the International Labour Organization’s Convention 138 on the minimum age for employment in 2016. Currently, the actual work start age in BC is 12.

The British Columbia Law Institute is conducting a project to review and make recommendations for reform of British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act. No comprehensive review of the Act has been carried out in over 20 years. You are invited to learn more and participate in an online consultation survey until August 31st.

CBC NewsCBC RadioThe Province, and Redeye Collective also picked up the story of BC child employment standards this month.

Read about our new campaign and research here. And if you have a child or youth work-related story to share, please call or email us at or 604-709-6970.



First Call’s election toolkits are resources to support our coalition member organizations and all individuals and community groups in their advocacy for legislation, policy and real change that benefits BC children and youth and their families.

The next local Election Day in British Columbia is Saturday, October 20, 2018. We are revising our municipal election toolkit with up-to-date information and resources and invite you to contribute facts, ideas, resources, and recommendations.

Please send us information, webpages, research – anything you think is timely and important so that we can include it, or a link to it, in the local elections toolkit.

Need some ideas? Click here to view our 2017 Provincial Election Tool Kit and here for our 2014 Municipal Election Toolkit.

Please send your information to or call 604-709-6970 by August 17, 2018.



On July 16th, Fostering Change Community Organizers revealed a ‘fostering change for aged out youth’ banner in downtown Vancouver hand-painted by the organizing team. They carried signs highlighting challenges in the system like ‘imagine losing it all on your 19th birthday’.

The action brought attention to the difficulties affecting youth from government care. For example, youth who age out of care at 19 suddenly lose access to financial assistance and support systems. 76 per cent of British Columbians believe that the cut-off for youth in care receiving financial assistance should be extended past age 19.

In the fall, Fostering Change is bringing alumni of care together in Victoria to meet with decision makers. They’ll hold teach-in sessions in August to prepare their recommendations (universal and comprehensive supports for youth aging out) and plan to meet with politicians. Want to sign up?



First Call’s Fall Public Education Forum with special guest, Annie Kidder from People for Education in Ontario is coming up on Saturday, September 22nd from 9:00am – 4:00pm. Click here to RSVP for this free event and we’ll update you as the full program is finalized. The event will be held at SFU’s downtown Vancouver campus.



Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, and Fostering Change Community Organizer Genevieve Capilano met with the Representative for Children and Youth staff to update their office our First Call and Fostering Change work, while Helesia Luke, Communications and Development Coordinator, was out bringing the child labour perspective to the BC Employment Standards Coalition. We also met with our colleague Scott Graham about getting started preparing the 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card.

Dylan Cohen, Youth Organizer, spent the last month collaborating with the Fostering Change Community Organizers. First Voices and Fostering Change team member Skyla Barahona partnered with the BC Plan to End Youth Homelessness to sketch out plans for an August forum to engage youth voices. As mentioned above, we dropped a banner in downtown Vancouver on July 16th and we also continued other campaign activities.



June: Federal Child Poverty Data – Letter to BC MPs
July: Child Employment in BC – Letter to BC MLAs



Vancouver Sun: More than $5 million in disability claims paid to kids 15 and under injured on the job in B.C.
CBC Radio: Child and youth advocates say “Twelve is too young to work”
CBC News: Child and youth advocates say “Twelve is too young to work”
The Province: Adrienne Montani: B.C. needs better rules to govern youth employment
Vancouver is Awesome: Advocates call for more funding support for youth aging out of care
National Observer: Trudeau government doubles down on promises to middle class
Redeye Collective: BC’s child workers experience high rate of injury on the job



Next First Call Coalition Meeting

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
9:15-11:30 am
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

More information, a copy of the agenda and previous meeting minutes can be found here

Next Early Childhood Development Roundtable

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
9:30 am-12:00 pm
United Way of the Lower Mainland
4543 Canada Way, Burnaby

Please RSVP by emailing

More information and previous meeting minutes can be found here