COMMUNICATIONS  PLAN   Ministry  of  Labour,  Citizens’  Services  and  Open  Government  –  GCPE   Family  day   Purpose:  Inform

 the  public  about  Ministry  progress  and  consultation  towards  creating  Family  Day   as  a  statutory  holiday  in  the  third  week  of  February.   Background/Context/Environmental  scan:     In  her  leadership  platform  Premier  Christy  Clark  committed  to  begin  a  discussion  with  British   Columbians,  particularly  with  the  business  community,  about  celebrating  Family  Day  on  the  third   Monday  in  February.     In  British  Columbia,  families  have  a  long  stretch  between  New  Year’s  Day  and  the  Easter  break   without  a  long  weekend  –  111  days  this  year.    The  Family  First  agenda  recognizes  that  two  of  the   keys  to  strong  families  are  a  thriving  economy  that  supports  good  jobs  and  families  having  quality   time  together.    Celebrating  Family  Day  on  the  third  Monday  in  February  would  provide  an   opportunity  for  families  to  spend  some  quality  time  together  during  this  long  stretch.   Alberta,  Saskatchewan  and  Ontario  celebrate  Family  Day  on  the  third  Monday  in  February  as  a   statutory  holiday.    Manitoba  and  Prince  Edward  Island  also  provide  a  statutory  holiday  on  this  day,   although  it  is  not  called  Family  Day  in  these  provinces.       British  Columbia  has  nine  existing  statutory  holidays:    the  number  of  statutory  holidays  varies   across  the  country.    Six  other  jurisdictions  have  nine,  the  most  common  number.    Nova  Scotia  has   the  lowest  at  five.  Saskatchewan  has  the  highest  at  ten.    On  a  statutory  holiday,  eligible  employees   are  entitled  to  the  day  off  with  their  regular  pay,  or  to  additional  pay  at  premium  rates  for  all  hours   worked.       Since  the  platform  was  released  in  January  2011,  there  have  been  some  events  that  have  shaped  the   economic  environment  around  Family  Day.    The  extinguishing  of  the  HST  and  the  weakening  and   nervousness  around  the  global  economy  may  result  in  a  profound  impact  on  businesses  and   workers.     The  business  community  has  recently  raised  concerns  with  the  Ministry  citing  costs  to  employers   and  its  negative  impact  on  the  economy  and  job  creation.    The  Canadian  Federation  of  Independent   Business  (CIFB)  recently  surveyed  its  members.    62%  of  1,495  respondents  indicated  that   government  should  not  introduce  a  new  statutory  holiday,  citing  concerns  such  as  lost   sales/revenue,  higher  wage  costs  and  lost  production.    Only  13%  indicated  that  the  new  holiday   would  have  no  impact  on  them.    The  CFIB  submits  that  the  holiday  will  cost  $1,135  in  wages  alone   for  the  average  small  employer,  defined  as  a  business  with  five  employees  earning  BC’s  average   wage.   Estimate  of  the  Economic  Impact:  

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Applying  a  formula  developed  by  BMO  Capital  Markets  and  that  was  first  used  in  Ontario  when  it   introduced  a  Family  Day  in  2007;  the  Ministry’s  rough  estimate  is  that  a  new  statutory  holiday   could  result  in  reduced  economic  activity  in  the  range  of  about  $198  million  (i.e.,  the  equivalent  of   approximately  0.1  per  cent  of  provincial  Gross  Domestic  Product).   In  addition,  a  February  holiday  would  have  a  direct  fiscal  impact  on  government.    The  Public  Sector   Employers’  Council  Secretariat  has  estimated  this  to  be  approximately  $28  million  in  additional   wage/salary  and  benefit  costs  for  employers  in  the  broad  public  sector  (0.12%  of  the  public  sector   compensation  base  of  $22.9  billion).   Current  Economy:   The  Ministry  of  Finance  has  advised  that  Government  is  monitoring  the  current  situation  in  the   United  States  and  Europe  very  carefully,  as  recent  economic  events  in  those  regions  are  of  concern.     While  British  Columbia  is  not  immune  to  economic  events  abroad,  it  has  weathered  the  recession  of   2008/009  better  than  most  other  provinces.    Government  expects  that  B.C.’s  competitiveness  will   keep  it  in  good  stead  going  forward  and  is  committed  to  the  objective  of  a  balanced  budget  in   2013/2014.       On  September  8th,  the  Ministry  of  Finance  released  the  first  quarterly  report,  which  indicated  that   the  return  to  the  two-­‐tax  PST/GST  system  will  result  in  bigger  deficits  than  forecast  in  Budget  2011:     o deficits  of  $2,778  million  in  2011/12,  and;     o $805  million  in  2012/13.       The  first  quarterly  update  also  projects  a  deficit  of  $458  million  in  2013/14  that  will  need  to  be   closed  if  government  is  to  balance  its  budget  by  that  year.     Communication  Objectives:  
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Potential  Challenges:  

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Key  Audiences:   Media   Public        

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Messaging:   We  are  acting  on  the  Premier’s  commitment  to  begin  a  discussion  with  British  Columbians   about  celebrating  the  third  week  of  February  as  Family  Day.   That  is  why  we  will  be  beginning  consultations  with  the  business  and  labour  communities,  and   listening  to  people  to  find  out  what  Family  Day  could  look  like.   We  have  been  looking  at  establishing  Family  Day  through  the  lens  of  the  current  economic   climate.   The  Ministry  has  received  some  correspondence  from  the  business  community  which  raised   concerns  about  potential  financial  impacts  of  an  additional  statutory  holiday.   Recent  economic  turmoil  in  Europe  and  the  U.S.,  along  with  the  financial  implications  of   extinguishing  the  HST  will  certainly  challenge  the  business  community,  and  we  need  to  ensure   their  success  and  protect  jobs  for  British  Columbians.     We  recognize  there  is  a  long  stretch  between  New  Year’s  Day  and  the  Easter  break  without  a   long  weekend  –  111  days  this  year,  and  one  of  the  keys  of  our  Families  First  agenda  is  to  keep   families  strong  and  that  is  accomplished  by  spending  quality  time  together.   There  may  be  other  benefits  as  well  to  creating  a  new  statutory  holiday,  such  as  increased   tourism  and  increased  productivity  from  a  well  rested  work  force.   We  will  be  considering  all  these  elements  when  we  discuss  Family  Day  with  stakeholders  and   the  public.   At  this  point  we  cannot  commit  to  a  timeline  on  when  Family  Day  will  be  implemented  as  there   are  still  many  factors  we  have  to  evaluate.   Strategic  Approach:  

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Materials:   Issues  Note   Key  Messages   Consultation  notice/plan  from  Ministry       DETAILED  ROLL-­OUT  TIMELINE  

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Sign-­‐off:   _________________   David  Greer   Communications  Director   Labour,  Citizens’  Services  and  Open  Government   Sept  8,  2011      

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