First Call Monthly Updates

September 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:

  • We’re Hiring! Living Wage Campaign Hiring Research Coordinator
  • BC Poverty Reduction Strategy Act introduced
  • Policy Solutions Lobby Day
  • 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card Release Date
  • Reflections on Public Education Forum

Read on to learn more!

Yours for children and youth,

Adrienne, Helesia, Dylan, Emily and Halena


The Living Wage for Families Campaign is hiring a Research Coordinator for a participatory action research project on the impacts of low wages on individuals and families. This is a part-time role at 3 days (21 hours) per week, for the duration of the three-year project. Deadline for applications is Sunday October 21, 2018.



This month, the Provincial Government announced legislation to guide BC’s first Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act defines the goals of the strategy, which will be released in early 2019, and sets poverty reduction targets and timelines that government must meet.

First Call has called for a 50% reduction in B.C.’s child poverty rate since 2009, and we are pleased that government has listened and has this target in the legislation. We will continue working with our coalition members and government to ensure more children, youth and families are lifted out of poverty and have the opportunity to thrive.

Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, was quoted in the BC Government news release and in Global News, Vancouver Sun, My Cowichan Valley Now, and StarMetro Vancouver articles on the topic.



On October 24 2018, dozens of youth from care advocates are going to Victoria for Fostering Change’s second annual Policy Solutions Day. We want universal and comprehensive Agreements with Young Adults. We’re gathering dozens of young people from care in Victoria to meet with organizations, elected decision makers, and policy makers about the Fostering Change campaign. In addition to meeting with politicians, we also want to meet with Victoria-based organizations to build campaign momentum. Please contact Dylan Cohen, Youth Organizer, with any questions at



We are excited to announce that our 2018 BC Child Poverty Report Card will be released on Tuesday November 20. You can look forward to accessing this year’s child poverty statistics, read stories from families about the impacts of poverty on their lives, view maps of poverty data in your local area, and more. There will also be opportunities to participate in our press conference. Don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to learn more details as they are released.



On Saturday September 30th, First Call hosted a Public Education Forum, with support from SFU’s Your Education Matters. We were grateful to have had Annie Kidder, Executive Director of Ontario’s People for Education, as our keynote speaker. We also had plenary remarks from Glen Hansman, President of the BC Teachers’ Federation, and Seth Klein, Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-BC. The four breakout sessions shared important perspectives, facts and lessons from The Institute for Public Education BC, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, Inclusion BC, and Parent Advocacy Network. We greatly appreciate everyone for coming out and for their on-going advocacy for a well-resourced, inclusive public education system.



Adrienne Montani, Provincial Coordinator, was recently awarded the prestigious Bill McFarland Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Child Welfare. We thank Parent Support Services Society (PSSS) for recognizing Adrienne’s dedication to promoting the rights of children and youth, and advancing their welfare. Coalition member PSSS does amazing work supporting families with their peer-led parent support circles all around the province and their advocacy on behalf of grandparents raising grandchildren.

Adrienne also spoke to the BC Legislature’s Finance Committee to share First Call’s budget 2019 recommendations. In the presentation, we highlighted our ask to enhance BC’s Early Childhood Tax Benefit into a BC Child Benefit that covers children up to 18 years old. We also called for continuing investment in universal child care, universal and comprehensive support for youth transitioning out of care, and more. You can learn more about our recommendations here and here. Our full submission to the Committee will be posted to the First Call website soon.

This month, Dylan Cohen has been meeting with several community partners in preparation for Policy Solutions Day in Victoria on October 24, 2018. He also spent a few days in Toronto for the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada’s Stand Up for Kids Night as a committee member of the inaugural Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award Committee.



September: Join us: Call for Improvements to BC’s Early Childhood Tax Benefit in Budget Consultations

September: First Call response letter to Minister of Health Adrian Dix regarding outdoor play space requirements

October: Submission to the Advisory Council on the Implementation of a National Pharmacare Program



Columbia Institute e-news: Putting children and youth on the municipal agenda

My Cowichan Valley Now: Province makes first step towards poverty reduction strategy

BC Government News: Historic legislation sets targets, timelines to reduce poverty

Vancouver Sun: B.C. NDP sets anti-poverty target, but won’t reveal how it will be done until next year

Global News: B.C. government sets targets to reduce poverty, won’t release plan until 2019

Star Metro Vancouver: B.C. sets timetable to reduce poverty by 25 per cent

Surrey Now-Leader: Nearly 700 homeless youth in Metro Vancouver point to gaps in housing, advocates say

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News: Nearly 700 homeless youth in Metro Vancouver point to gaps in housing, advocates say

The Vancouver Sun: At least 681 youths are homeless according to Metro Vancouver count

The Globe and Mail: Metro Vancouver finds nearly 700 homeless youths in the Lower Mainland

Global News: Nearly 700 homeless youth in Metro Vancouver, according to new study