First Call Monthly Updates

November Monthly Update

November 2018

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:

  • 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card Release
  • First Call Fundraising Gala 2019 – Award Announcement!
  • First Call 2018 Holiday Closure
  • Fostering Change update
  • Living Wage for Families update

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,

Adrienne, Helesia, Dylan, Halena, and Emily



On November 20, First Call released its annual BC Child Poverty Report Card finding that not much has changed for poor children and their families. In 2016, the year this report covers, there were 172,550 children and youth living in poor households with many living in deep poverty.

Every year, First Call, in collaboration with SPARC BC, produces a report card with the latest statistics on child and family poverty in British Columbia. This is done in conjunction with the release of the national child poverty report card by Campaign 2000.

We have been tracking child and family poverty rates in BC for two full decades. Our first provincial report card containing data for 1996 showed that one in five BC children were poor. It is profoundly disappointing that, now more than twenty years later, the data still shows one in five BC children live in poverty.

Due to systemic discrimination and other factors, the situation is even worse for some groups of children. Indigenous children, new immigrant children, children in visible or racialized minority groups and children affected by disabilities all have much higher poverty rates than the BC average.

Download a copy of our 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card.

Check out our 2018 report card website

Listen and watch our 1-hour 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card webinar.

Access BC child poverty maps here.

Read our joint OpEd in the Times Colonist on an important child poverty solution here.

Read Campaign 2000’s national report card and other provincial report cards here.



In our last monthly update, we announced that Michael Redhead Champagne is our keynote speaker for our 2019 First Call Fundraising Gala on Thursday February 28th. We are also excited to share that Katie Hyslop will receive our 2019 Champion of Child and Youth Rights Award at the dinner. Katie is a distinguished journalist with the Tyee and will be recognized for her extensive work on publication education, foster care, Indigenous issues, housing and poverty. For example, earlier this year Katie wrote a 13-part series on the Canadian-made Indigenous child welfare crisis that sees half of the kids in government care today identifying as Indigenous. Tickets are available here, or read more information about the gala.



Please note that First Call will be closed for the holidays from Tuesday December 25 until Tuesday January 1. We will return to the office on Wednesday January 2 at our new office location at 302-312 Main St., Vancouver, BC. V6A 2T2. We hope you have a wonderful winter holiday season and start to 2019. Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday January 9, 2019 for the first Coalition Meeting of the new year.



On Friday November 23, the Fostering Change Campaign hosted a Learning Day event to bring together individuals, organizations, and policy experts to learn about advocacy in child welfare in BC, discuss gaps and opportunities, and hear about a map of advocacy work being created for the community in BC. We recognized current work and new advocacy opportunities. Special recognition to Helesia, Anita, and Dylan who facilitated the workshops.

We’re still building the advocacy map and would love to hear from other organizations doing policy work in child welfare. Reach out to for more.



In November, the Living Wage for Families Campaign certified eight more Living Wage Employers across BC. This means more than 130 BC employers have now been certified as Living Wage Employers, representing more than 19,000 staff and contractors who are earning a decent wage in their communities.

One new certified employer is Modo Co-operative. Bernice Paul, Human Resources Manager, says, “Modo has always been committed to paying a fair wage, while offering our employees life-balance and meaningful work in a diverse and respectful environment. Getting our Living Wage certification feels like a natural step in putting people before profit.”

Click here to read the full blog post announcing more recently-certified employers.



At the beginning of November, Provincial Coordinator Adrienne Montani and Early Years Consultant Nadine Gagné-L’Hirondelle hosted a workshop at the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society’s conference to discuss Indigenous early childhood development to help guide First Call’s Early Years Call to Action campaign.


Communications and Development Coordinator Helesia Luke and Living Wage for Families Campaign Organizer Halena Seiferling hosted tables at the Hospital Employees’ Union and BC Federation of Labour conferences to share information about our campaigns.


Adrienne and Helesia also presented at the Global Child Conference in mid-November to talk about child poverty and foreshadow child poverty stats from the 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card. On the same day, Adrienne joined Gyda Chud, co-chair of the First Call Steering Committee, Youth Organizer Dylan Cohen and Fostering Change Community Organizer Ashley Crossan to talk about First Call and the Fostering Change Campaign to social service organization board members at the Board Voice conference.



November: Letter to BC MPs on 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card

November: Letter to BC MLAs on 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card



CBC News: ‘It’s absolutely appalling’: Indigenous youth in care vulnerable to exploitation, say advocates

New West Record: OUR VIEW: ‘Gotcha’ moment shines a spotlight on child poverty in B.C.

CBC Early Edition: Reconcile This: Indigenous youth exploitation

Vancouver Sun: Rhys Kesselman and Adrienne Montani: B.C. needs to make important changes to its childhood tax benefit

Global News: Supervised consumption site for youth among ideas in new report on youth addiction

Vancouver Sun: B.C. child poverty figures remain bad, but report sounds note of optimism

CBC: Child poverty decreasing ‘pitifully slowly’ in B.C., report finds

The Province: B.C. child poverty figures remain bad, but report sounds note of optimism

CBC Early Edition: Child poverty decreasing ‘pitifully slowly’: one in five B.C. children still live in poverty

Cision: 2018 Report Card Outlines Bold Ambitions for Child and Family Poverty Eradication

CBC Vancouver News: CBC Vancouver News at 6

CBC Vancouver News: CBC Vancouver News Late Night at 11pm

Times Colonist: ‘Big problem’ for B.C.: One in five children growing up poor

Times Colonist: Opinion: Still a long way to go in cutting child poverty

Tyee: Whose Children Are Growing Up Poor in BC?

StarMetro Vancouver: B.C.’s child poverty rates remain higher than Canadian average

My Bulkley Lakes Now: One In Five Children In The RBDN Are Living In Poverty

Times Colonist: Still a long way to go in cutting child poverty

Prince George Matters: Prince George’s child poverty rate slightly below provincial average

My Prince George Now: Local Groups Speak Out on PG’s Concerning Child Poverty Rating

Hansard Blues Report of Proceedings: Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth

Quesnel Observer: CNC Students Celebrate National Child Day

Vancouver Courier: ‘Big problem’ for B.C.: One in five children growing up poor