First Call Monthly Updates

June 2017 Monthly Update

First Call staff changes – Provincial election promises – Federal poverty reduction strategy – and more!

June 2017

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:

  • Goodbye…and hello! First Call staff changes
  • Provincial election promises
  • Federal poverty reduction strategy submissions
  • Repeal Section 43 update
  • New podcast: All my kids in care
  • First Call 2017 member appeal
  • First Call out and about
  • First Call in the news
  • First Call correspondence and publications

John, Adrienne, Viveca and Deanna




Four years after joining First Call and helping the coalition grow into what it is today, office coordinator Julie Cheng is missed as she heads off now for a new adventure.

At the same time, First Call warmly welcomes Viveca Ellis, who joins us this month to work on early years and other campaign work, and take over producing First Call’s weekly update for those in the child and youth sector.


More than two months after the provincial election, a new government has finally been formed and we’re all excited to see action begin on campaign promises that responded to First Call concerns and questions. Premier-designate Horgan’s first public statement on the job included attending to BC’s public education system as one of his government’s immediate priorities.

The NDP also promised $10-a-day child care, a major win for child care advocates within and without the First Call coalition. We are pleased to see many of the issues First Call and coalition members raised during the election addressed for action in the 2017 Confidence and Supply Agreement between the BC Green Caucus and the BC New Democrat Caucus.  Before the BC Liberal government fell, it was also good to see new promises aligning with this agreement in their speech from the throne.

Besides public education and child care, these multiple promises also touch on a provincial poverty reduction strategy, welfare rates, post-secondary education, child protection services, supports for youth aging out of care, and youth mental health and addiction services.

With support from the Vancouver Foundation, First Call was able to print 250 copies of our BC Provincial Election toolkit which we distributed as widely as possible—in addition to more than 200 digital toolkits downloaded from the First Call website.

Read the full set of questions and responses from each party here.

Congratulations to everyone who everyone who worked so hard to get child and youth issues on the election agenda!


Following the June 14 meeting co-hosted by First Call and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition to gather input from across both coalitions for Employment and Social Development Canada’s ongoing consultation to build a federal Poverty Reduction Strategy, both First Call and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition made submissions of their own, in addition to a third submission with input from all who gathered, which can be found here.  See also Campaign 2000’s submission, Federal Action Plan to Eradicate Poverty.


As part of First Call’s work to get Section 43 of the Criminal Code repealed, which makes it legal to physically punish children, First Call urged members to write and ask Senators to pass Bill S-206, which seeks to remove Section 43 and protect children from all forms of violence.

Bill S-206 failed to pass by the June 30 deadline, so the campaign will continue; in the meantime, thank you to Cameray Child & Family Services, YWCA Metro Vancouver, and everyone else who endorsed the Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth.


Three Indigenous youth hosts touched on Reconciliation and intergenerational trauma, Support the 700 and recent political advocacy work in episode 5 of As Word Spreads—an hour-long National Aboriginal Day special.


Thank you very kindly to each of the First Call coalition members who have already sent in their annual membership fee. If you would like to pay your member organization’s 2017 fee (or join the First Call coalition) before we call you to follow up sometime in July, a form has been built just for you and can be found here.


On June 7, John and Adrienne joined grantees under the Fostering Change initiative for a day of mutual learning, and to hear project coordinator Dylan Cohen speak about his background advocating for youth aging out of government care in Manitoba through the 25not21 campaign and many others.

Deanna and Adrienne were at City Hall on June 8, as they attended the formal announcement that the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver Police Department have now been certified as living wage employers. Congratulations to all involved!

Adrienne took part in a Federal Poverty Reduction Strategy discussion on June 12 with advocates from across Canada, and on June 14 First Call and the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition joined forces to host a consultation for the Canadian poverty reduction strategy soon to be developed, the outcomes of which can be found here, here and here. Following the joint consultation, the City of Vancouver joined us for an hour to seek feedback on its official submission to the federal consultation.

Also in mid-June, Adrienne and Deanna enjoyed talking with BCGEU delegates at the First Call and Living Wage for Families Campaign table at the union’s Convention 2017.

Adrienne spoke to the Westcoast Family Centres annual general meeting in late June and had a chance to hear about the excellent work they do supporting children and families in several Metro Vancouver locations.


June 30: First Call submission
June 30: First Call and BC Poverty Reduction Coalition Joint Submission
June 21: As Word Spreads, episode 5: All my kids in care


CHEK News: Ucluelet First Nation officially adopts living wage policy
Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News:               Ucluelet First Nation adopts living wage policy
CBC News: Ucluelet First Nation adopts living wage policy
Vancouver Courier: Vancouver adopts living wage of $20.62
CBC News: City of Vancouver officially becomes living wage employer
CTV News: Vancouver adopts $20.64 hourly ‘living wage’ for city staff
Vancouver Sun: A Step in the right direction for working poor
Surrey Now-Leader: Vancouver adopts $20 living wage for city employees, police
The Indo-Canadian Voice: City of Vancouver now a certified Living Wage Employer
Vancity Buzz: City of Vancouver now officially a ‘Living Wage’ employer
CBC Almanac: [JUNE 19, 2017] Income assistance rates.
Metro News: Desperate Liberals change tune on welfare and campaign donations
Fairchild TV: [Translation] BC NDP call out BC Liberal minority government for playing political games (加西-卑詩新民主黨抨擊自由黨少數政府玩弄政治把戲)
Times Colonist: Geoff Johnson: Lack of breakfast gets in the way of learning