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Budget 2009: Making

ourselves heard
A toolkit for effective community engagement

July 2009
To the members of the Federation of Community Social Services

Re: Projected budget cuts


The recession that we all saw coming is now upon is, prompting the provincial
government to take the unusual and unsettling step of revising the budget for 2009-10 in
September. Significant cuts to funding are expected, with the potential for even deeper
cuts in the spring.
With so many of our member agencies already weak from years of insufficient
funding, this is a dire turn of events for our sector. We are urging members to take action
immediately to bring public and political attention to the good community work we do
and the serious impact that will be felt if the services we provide have to be reduced any
further.
We asked you in the run-up to the provincial election to join us in participating in a
consistent, province-wide strategy to highlight concerns and profile the important work of
your agency to politicians and the public. Now the need for action is all the more pressing.
We need to tell the stories of the vital role our sector plays in the health of our
communities, and the efficient, high-quality supports and service we provide for building
social infrastructure.
This package is a revised and updated version of the Election 2009 toolkit you
received from the Federation in the spring. Now more than ever, it’s so important to be
out there in the public eye with a consistent, persistent message focused on the work we
do and the diverse people we serve. Both the public and politicians need clear reminders
that social services provide the foundation for building strong, self-reliant citizens, now
and into the future.
We know you’re busy. But this is an issue of utmost urgency if we hope to prevent the
kind of cuts that we know will profoundly hinder our agencies’ ability to help people.
Please work with us in getting our voices heard by taking the time to meet with your MLAs
and speak to key groups in your community about the impact of budget cuts. We’ll also be
organizing regular conference calls for agencies wanting help in developing story ideas
for media use.
We look forward to your participation in this essential campaign.

Sincerely,

Nanette Taylor, President

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Budget 2009 Toolkit

W e hope you will find this toolkit useful for raising awareness in your
community about the challenges our sector is facing and the excellent work
that we do in providing vital services to all ages of British Columbians. Now
more than ever, we need to get the word out about the importance of the work we
do.

In the following pages, you’ll find:

• A brief summary of the Federation strategy in the run-up to the September


2009 provincial budget.
• Key messages you can use for your communications with media, the
community and provincial election candidates.
• An extensive backgrounder with facts and figures that will help you make a
strong case for the importance of a healthy social-service sector.
• A “how-to” guide to help you engage with your MLA and other key provincial
politicians.
• A “how-to” guide for connecting with the media, including tips on identifying
a good story from your organization to take to the media, and contact
information.
• A sample press release, letter to government, and newspaper opinion piece.

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Provincial Budget Strategy

Broad Strategy

T he Federation sees Provincial budgets as an opportunity to profile to


politicians and the public the importance of the community social services
sector to the vitality and well being of B.C.’s communities and people. This will
be accomplished through a steady, province-wide process engaging member
agencies in all communities, centred on key messages and profiling local agency
programs, stories and issues.

Provincial Level

At the provincial level, the Federation will do five key things:

1. Develop a budget package for members with key messages, background


information and toolbox material to assist in dealing with the media.
2. Stay abreast of issues at the provincial level and ensure members have the
latest information.
3. Coordinate with BC networks and organizations to amplify our messages.
4. Send letters to and meet with the Ministers, government officials and media
regarding pertinent issues facing the sector.
5. Work with MCFD in considering approaches for finding $3.6 million in
savings in the community sector.

Local Level

At the local level, we are asking agencies to get involved in helping to take our
message to the province by doing the following:

1. Use this toolkit to create your own anecdotes for media use, public
speaking, letters, etc infused with the stories of your agency. What is it that
the politicians and the public need to pay attention to in your area?
2. Meet in person with your local MLA and other provincial candidates so they
know the issues, challenges and successes of your agency.
3. Look for opportunities to tell your story in the community prior to the
budget. This could be at service club meetings, community events, or
through the media (See article in the toolkit from Peach Arch ED David
Young).
4. Keep the Federation informed on local issues and relevant events during
this time, and aware of media interest you attract.
5. Seek out allies and spokespeople in the community who can take your
message to tables and organizations that you don’t have access to.

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Key Messages
Provincial Budget – September 2009

H ere are some key messages for Federation members to build on when you’re
speaking to MLAs, the media, or opinion leaders in your community about
challenges the sector is facing. (Please
Please note that further facts and statistics
related to these messages are included in the package.)

You won’t need every message every time. Select the ones that you think will have
the most resonance with your agency and community, then develop specific
examples from your agency’s work that help make your point. Bring the points to
life for your listener by talking about how they actually play out in your day-to-
day operations.

• Now more than ever, we must strengthen our social services to prepare for
increased demand for services. B.C.’s investment in social services has not kept
up with the demand for services - demand that we know will increase over the
next 36 months as the true impact of the global recession hits home. Our social
service providers will need greater capacity to help our citizens weather these
tough times.

• The slumping economy is hitting our communities hard. hard Income assistance
cases in B.C. have increased 13 per cent from a year ago, and the number of
people receiving federal employment insurance has skyrocketed. Men and
women are losing their jobs and families are under increasing amounts of stress.
Social services exist to help people during such times in their lives. Eight years
of provincial effort to reduce welfare rolls through job training and work
placement will be for nothing if working families stressed by a flagging economy
can’t find the help they need to hang on.

• Investing in the social infrastructure of our communities


commun ities is a smart
business decision.
decision Whether as a major employer, a contributor to the provincial
economy, or a change agent in the lives of tens of thousands of British
Columbians seeking help and support, the social services sector provides
exceptional value for every dollar invested. Some quick facts:
o Prevention pays off. Every dollar invested in early childhood
development, for instance, saves $7 in downstream costs. Available
childcare contributes to business productivity. Keeping one child out
of state care saves thousands of tax dollars each year.
o The social services sector employs more than 65,000 people, making it
a substantive contributor to B.C.’s economy.

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o The health and social services sector is B.C.’s second largest employer
and contributes six per cent annually to B.C.’s GDP, comparable to the
construction industry.
o More than 80 per cent of workers in the sector are women. An
investment in social services is an investment in the lives of working
women.

• Social services hold our communities together.


together. Look deeper into the factors
determining a community’s success, and you’ll find a vast network of agencies
quietly supporting people of all ages to live healthier, happier lives. Social
services help people retrain and find employment; work to keep families
together by strengthening parents’ ability to care for and protect their
children; assist in finding housing, food and shelter; counsel abused or
abandoned children and youth; support adults and children living with
disabling conditions such as autism, schizophrenia or fetal alcohol syndrome;
help youth learn how to live independently and productively; support senior
citizens in being able to stay their own homes. We need to tell our stories.

• The vital work of the education and health sectors cannot


cannot be accomplished
without an effective social services sector. Whether it’s a school breakfast
program, a service that supports senior citizens in transitioning from hospital
to home, or youth services to keep teens in school, the work of all three sectors
is tightly linked. Stress level, community connection, early childhood
environment and poverty are recognized around the world as far more
significant predictors of people’s health as adults than medical conditions or
lifestyle. An impoverished childhood, for instance, is a more potent predictor of
the incidence of cardiovascular disease or diabetes than later life circumstance
or lifestyle choices.

• We want B.C.’s children to grow up in the best place in the world. Yet for
the fifth year in a row, B.C. continues to have the highest rate of child poverty
in Canada. We must invest now in the social infrastructure to ensure future
generations grow up in a strong and prosperous province. Social services form
a web of support and caring throughout our communities that deserves to be
recognized and supported at all levels as a key component of community
health and well-being.

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Myth Busters

Inaccurate theories have a way of getting circulated and ending up being


considered “truths,” even though no evidence backs up the claim. Here are a few of
the most common ones for the social-services and not-for-profit sectors. Please
raise these myths when talking to politicians and the public, so that they can be
debunked once and for all.

Myth #1 – There are too many agencies

You’ve heard the argument: If the sector could amalgamate into fewer
agencies, we’d save on administrative costs and find other efficiencies. We know of
no study suggesting the optimum number of service providers for any specific
population, or anything that suggests that a number of small agencies are less
efficient than, say, a massive government structure or private company. The
community social services sector pays attention to efficiencies, as would be
expected of a sector that has to work very hard for its funding.
Advantages of having a number of smaller agencies include: choice for
consumers; a broader base of volunteers creating community capital; ability to
accommodate different cultures and populations.

Myth #2 – Agencies are


are holding onto unearned revenue and surplus

The issue of unearned revenue vs. surplus continues to be confusing in the


province. Unearned revenue is traditionally considered to be monies received for
programming that did not occur. (An agency receives money to staff a program,
but can’t recruit staff so is not able to fully deliver the service, for example). The
contracts with agencies typically address this scenario and funds are either
returned to the funder or reallocated – by agreement with the funder– to the
delivery of other services. There are not millions of dollars in unearned revenues
sitting in the sector agencies.
Surplus results when agencies create efficiencies over the course of the year
through various means and still deliver the agreed-upon service. In some regions,
agencies can retain a surplus of up to 5 per cent of their total budget, with surplus
beyond either this amount either returned to the funder or negotiated back into
the budget for other purposes.
Developing financial capacity to meet contingencies is a prudent accounting
practice – and an expectation of auditors. Few agencies accrue large sums through
retaining legitimate surpluses.

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Myth #3 – Social services are a drain on the economy

Social services do not ‘produce wealth’ like the business sector does, but they
help produce conditions that allow businesses to thrive in a stable society. Social
service agencies create social capital, a term the World Bank describes as “not just
the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them
together."
But even when compared to the business sector, B.C.’s social services sector
stands out. It employs 65,000 people and is a significant contributor to the
economy. Salaries and wages are generally spent in the communities where they
are earned.
Social services also save money. Home support services allow seniors to live
in their own homes. Programs to assist those with disabilities help them engage in
the workforce. Family interventions prevent children from going into care.
Services to troubled youth keep them from further trouble as adults.

Myth #4 – Social service agencies don’t know how to run a business

Most of B.C.’s community based social services agencies have been accredited
by one of two large international accreditation bodies, and face on-going
accreditation surveys every three years. Agencies must meet strict standards with
respect to business and program management. Given rising demand in times of
shrinking resources, most boards and executive directors have become extremely
adept at managing their funding carefully.

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Did you know….?
Facts and findings on social health in BC and Canada

B.C. and Canada must do more to help British Columbians in need

• British Columbia had the highest child poverty rate in Canada for the fifth year in
a row, with 16 per cent of children in this province living below the poverty line.
(CTV, Report on Child Poverty, 2009)
• Aboriginal and recently immigrated children have a poverty rate of 49 per cent.
(First Call, 2009)
• Young children living in persistent poverty are twice as likely as their peers to
have lower IQ levels and behavioural problems. (Reaching for the Top)
• Low-income families in B.C. have increased 13.3 per cent since 2001.
• Unemployment in BC is up 68 per cent over the past year. Income Assistance cases
among adults able to work rose by nearly 50 per cent; personal bankruptcies, up
78 per cent; Employment Insurance caseload, up 114 per cent (Stats Canada)
• EI benefits in B.C. are up 6.2 per cent as of May 2009. (Statistics Canada, May 2009)
• 103,000 fewer British Columbians had full-time jobs in May compared to a year
ago. (First Call, 2009)
• The richest earners in Canada now earn 13 times more in annual income than the
poorest group, compared to nine times more in 1989. (First Call)
• Canada tied for last among OECD countries evaluated in a 2008 UNICEF report on
proposed child care standards. Canada met only one of the 10 benchmarks.
• Among 29 OECD nations, Canada ranks 21st in child well-being, including mental
health. (Reach for the Top)
• 41 per cent of parents in a recent B.C. study said that cost was a significant barrier
to their child’s involvement in out-of-school activities. (United Way, 2007)

Social support builds strong, connected citizens and communities

• Single mothers receiving higher levels of social support are more nurturing
toward their children, less isolated, and less likely to report feeling overwhelmed.
(Fostering Family Resiliency, 2008)
• Strengthening coping skills in mothers reduces behavioural problems in their
children, while strong coping skills of parents overall are correlated with fewer
financial problems and reduced risk of cognitive/behavioural problems among
their children. (Fostering Family Resiliency 2008)
• Children who have had early childhood education programs experience benefits
that persist throughout their lives, including better school performance and lower
juvenile crime rates. (Reaching for the Top)
• Just knowing support is there if you need it increases family resiliency as much as
actually receiving the services. (Fostering Family Resiliency 2008)

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• Experiences from conception to age six have the most important influence of any
time in the life cycle on the connecting and sculpting of the brain’s neurons.
(Reaching for the Top)
• Every $1 invested in early childhood development is worth $3-$18 later in life and
has been proven to lead to:
 higher intelligence scores,
 higher and timelier school enrolment,
 less grade repetition and a lower dropout rate, and
 higher school completion.

• Protective factors such as family, school and cultural connectedness can help
vulnerable youth overcome negative experiences and make healthier choices.
(McCreary Centre Society, Adolescent Health Survey, 2008)
• Young people who are connected, valued, and engaged are less likely to become
involved in risky behaviours and more likely to be resilient and involved in their
communities. (McCreary Adolescent Health Survey III, 2003)
• Parents who take part in frequent joint activities with their children protect their
children from externalizing behaviour problems and juvenile delinquency.
(Fostering Family Resiliency 2008)
• Children with learning disabilities who have encouraging adult mentors in their
lives have been proven to be much better adapted than those without such
support. (Fostering Family Resiliency 2008)
• Family Resource Programs and other community initiatives support parents and
other caregivers to provide developmentally encouraging environments for
children. (First Call, 2009)

B.C.’s children and families need our help

• Surrey Food bank has seen an increase of 1,000 people a day in 2009. More than
40 per cent are children and babies. (CTV Report on Child Poverty, April 2009)
• Twenty-five per cent of B.C. girls and 14 per cent of boys have been physically or
sexually abused. (McCreary Centre, Adolescent Health Survey)
• Youth reporting physical abuse rose two per cent to 17 per cent in the last five
years. Figures on youth reporting sexual abuse (8 per cent) and both physical and
sexual abuse (5 per cent) showed no change. (McCreary, Adolescent Health
Survey, 2008)
• More than a fifth of B.C. youth have challenging home lives due to factors such as
moving three or more times a year, being in foster care in the previous year,
running away, or worrying about violence or drug/alcohol use in their home
environment.
• Youth who have been sexually abused, have a disability or chronic illness, or are
and gay, lesbian or bisexual are particularly vulnerable to be physically assaulted
by their partner. (McCreary, Adolescent Health Survey 2008)
• Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth in Canada. Aboriginal
youth are 5-6 times more likely to commit suicide than other youth. (BC Partners
for Mental Health and Addictions, 2006). Gay and lesbian youth are six times more
likely to commit suicide than straight youth. (McCreary Centre Society, 2003)
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• Adolescents who report seriously considering suicide have declined in the last 15
years, but more than one in five females and one in 10 males still report having
deliberately self harmed themselves, although not for suicidal reasons. (McCreary
Adolescent Health Survey 2008)
• Almost a fifth of abused teens have substance abuse problems. (McCreary
Adolescent Health Survey)
• B.C. youth from unstable, challenging homes are more than twice as likely as
youth from stable homes to experience problems with substance abuse and to
have been involved in a violent incident in the past year. Boys from unstable
homes are five times more likely to have attempted suicide in the previous year,
and girls are four times more likely.
• A third of children in foster care in BC struggle with mental illness and
behavioural issues. (Representative for Children and Youth, 2007)
• Children under 18 account for 21 per cent of all Canadian physical assaults, and 61
per cent of all sexual assaults.
• The sum is worse than the parts: Four or more risk factors in a child’s life
disproportionately increase their difficulties ten-fold.

Healthy families matter

• Positive parenting, high-quality child care and nurturing neighbourhoods help


mitigate effects of low socio-economic status. (Reaching for the Top)
• Children and youth who have had a healthy start to life - through access to
affordable healthy foods, education programs and affordable, community-based
physical education programs - are more likely to be successful at school and go
on to enter the job market and be successful in their chosen profession. (Reaching
for the Top)
• Youth with health conditions or disability are at higher risk for poor health,
emotional distress, suicide, abuse, smoking and substance use than youth without
disabilities or chronic health conditions. (McCreary Adolescent Healthy Survey III,
2003).
• Children who have had the benefit of early childhood education programs
experience benefits that persist throughout their lives, including better school
performance and lower juvenile crime rates. (Reaching for the Top)
• Across all ages and all child problems, family dysfunction (as measured by
problem-solving ability, communication, affective response and behavioural
control) and maternal depression are the most important determinants of poor
outcome for children. (Human Resources Development Canada: Understanding
Contribution of Multiple Risk Factors on Child Development, 1998)
• More than a fifth of BC children live in single-parent families.
• Among single families, 43 per cent are low income (CTV Report on Child Poverty,
April 2009)
• The number of children living on welfare has jumped almost nine per cent in the
first half of 2009. A single employable parent with two children receives no more
than $660 a month on income assistance for rent. (First Call, 2009)
• Average rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Vancouver is $1, 071. (Canada Rentals)
• The Standing Committee on Health found low income was the “largest barrier to
participation in both unorganized and organized sports” and that this was
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“particularly true for First Nations and Inuit children.” Of more than 500 First
Nations schools, just half have a gym. (First Call, 2009)
• Almost 10,000 BC children are being raised by their grandparents.
• Children of parents experiencing depression are twice as likely as their peers to
have problems in their lives - aggressive behaviour, emotional problems, conduct
disorder, hyperactivity, and trouble at school. (HRDC)
• Positive parenting practice reduces the odds of a child having to repeat a grade by
52 per cent. It also reduces the risk of an emotional disorder by 41 per cent, and
the risk of conduct disorder by 25 per cent. (HRDC)

extraordinary
B.C.’s aboriginal youth in particular face ex traordinary challenges

• While aboriginals make up 10 per cent of B.C.’s total youth population, they
account for 54 per cent of youth involved in a street lifestyle.
• Infant mortality rates and injury deaths of aboriginal children in Canada rank
among developing nations. (First Call, 2009)
• Living conditions for aboriginal Canadians are comparable to developing
countries, with a communicable-disease rate that’s 10-12 times above the national
average and 40 per cent of housing deemed inadequate shelter.
• Of 410 aboriginal youth surveyed who were living on the street:
 42 per cent had been in foster care
 30 per cent of males and 23 per cent of females had been sexually exploited
 One in three had been pregnant or had caused a pregnancy.
 Over 40 per cent had first run away at age 12 or younger; one in three had been
kicked out by age 12.
 47 per cent had gone hungry at home because they or their parents didn’t have
enough money for food.
 One in four had experienced racism within the last month
 More than 40 per cent of youth who reported living in tents, on the street, in hotels
or in shelters continued to attend school.
 Almost a third of females and 18 per cent of males had attempted suicide at least
once during the previous year.

People with special needs must be supported


*All figures except as noted from The Daily, Statistics Canada 2008

• Some 200,000 Canadian families have a child with disabilities.


• Three out of five families with a child with a disability report their employment
was affected by their child's condition and reported feeling stressed with balancing
responsibilities of childcare, activities and work.
• Nearly three-quarters of parents reported that hiring extra help wasn’t an option
because it was too expensive.
• A fifth of families using childcare reported having been refused childcare services
or programs at some point, including daycare centres.
• Systemic and attitudinal barriers to finding work leave many adults with
developmental disabilities living in poverty on income. (BCACL, 2009)
• Families of children and youth with special needs face lengthy waitlists for
assessment, required to qualify for specific programs/services.

Investing in our social infrastructure is an investment in the future


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• The health and social assistance sector is B.C.’s second largest employer,
employing more than 217,400 people. Of these an estimated 65,000 are in social
services. (B.C. Stats/Stats Canada)
• The sector’s share of the provincial GDP is six per cent, comparable in size to the
construction industry, and is expected to triple over the next five years.
• Nationally, the non-profit sector (minus hospitals and post-secondary institutions)
generates more value-added economic activity than the accommodation and food
services industry, more than twice that of agriculture, and more than three times
that of the auto-making industry
• More than 80 per cent of the social service sector’s workforce is female, so support
for the sector gives value to the work of women.

Find the studies on-


on-line:
• First Call http://www.campaign2000.ca/C2000ReportCardFINALNov10th08.pdf
• Family Violence in Canada, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-224-x/85-224-x2005000-eng.pdf
• McCreary Centre, Moving Upstream http://www.mcs.bc.ca/pdf/Moving_Upstream_Websmall.pdf
• McCreary Centre, Building Resilience http://www.mcs.bc.ca/pdf/vulnerable_youth_report.pdf
• McCreary Centre, Youth Health Trends http://www.mcs.bc.ca/pdf/AHS-Trends-2005-report.pdf
• Reaching for the Top http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/alt_formats/hpb-dgps/pdf/child-enfant/2007-advisor-
conseillere/advisor-conseillere-eng.pdf
• Understanding the contribution of multiple risk factors on child development, HRDC - e-mail
jodypaterson@shaw.ca for a copy of the report
• BC Association for Community Living http://www.bcacl.org/social_policy_positions/index.cfm
• The Daily, Statistics Canada, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/start-debut-eng.html
• CTV, BC’s Shame, Report on Child Poverty in BC,
http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090330/BC_Shame_Hub_090330/20090330/?hub=Brit
ishColumbiaHome
• Aboriginal Peoples Survey, Statistics Canada, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/cgi-
bin/imdb/p2SV.pl?Function=getSurvey&SDDS=3250&lang=en&db=imdb&adm=8&dis=2
• Labour Market Outcomes of Persons with Disabilities in BC, http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/

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Connecting with Your MLA

T
he important work of the social-services sector is something that all levels of
government in Canada share an interest in. But social services are primarily
the mandate of the provincial government. That means that potential changes
to any provincial budget - particularly with expectations of cuts this fall and
next spring - are a strong signal that you should be informing your MLA and other key
elected officials about any issues and challenges facing your agency and clients.
These are difficult times, and the province has made it clear that there will be cuts to
many programs. While some cutting appears inevitable in these times of recession, it’s
vital to our sector that we act now to ensure our politicians are aware of the good
community work we’re doing and of the impact that a decade of “hold-the-line” funding
has already had on our ability to deliver services. We elect and pay our 77 MLAs in B.C.
specifically to ensure our communities’ interests are represented in decisions of
government, so keep your MLA informed, now and into the future.
We’ve put together an alphabetical contact listing for all B.C. MLAs, and their cabinet
posts where applicable. If you’re not sure who your MLA is, find your riding in the listing
first.
MLAs are busy people and may need up to a month’s notice to schedule a meeting
with you (particularly if they’re cabinet ministers), so you’ll want to act immediately to set
up fall meetings to address any immediate issues, as well as detail the impact you’d
anticipate if there is another round of cuts in the spring of 2010.
Here are some tips to consider when presenting to your MLA:
• Assemble key people for the meeting - the executive director, the board chair,
a front-line worker, even a former client who can talk about the positive impact
on his/her life of your services.
• Know what you want to talk about: Identify the most critical 3-4 key messages
that you want to bring to your MLA’s attention.
• Keep presentations brief and informal - no PowerPoint! Ideally, aim for a
conversation rather than a presentation, because your MLA may have ideas for
you around working more effectively with the province.
• Clearly identify what you want your MLA to do for you. Don’t just tell them
about your problems - come with ideas, strategies and efficiencies.
• Bring a one-page summary of your issues to leave behind.
• Consider a joint presentation with other agencies in your community facing
similar challenges. This is both respectful of the MLA’s time and an indicator of
the scope of the challenge (i.e., much bigger than one agency).
• Meet with all key politicians in your riding, regardless of party affiliation.
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• Make a plan to meet with your MLA on an ongoing basis, at least once a year.

The following MLAs are previous members of the Select Standing Committee on
Children and Youth. All government committees were dissolved in April 2009 as part of
the end of the legislative session, but these MLAs are still more aware of the issues and
connected to the government process than other elected officials. If your MLA is on this
list, consider a joint presentation from child/youth-serving agencies to raise their
awareness of the particular issues facing children and youth in your community.

Ron Cantelon (chair) John Les


Nicholas Simons (deputy chair) Dennis MacKay
Jagrup Brar Claude Richmond
Maurine Karagianis Val Roddick
Leonard Krog John Rustad

And these MLAs are members of Treasury Board, a committee of cabinet ministers
that reviews all government spending decisions:
Colin Hansen (chair) Blair Lekstrom
Shirley Bond (Vice chair) Ron Cantelon
Stephanie Cadieux Steve Thomson
Ida Chong

One final note: The official Opposition party in B.C. is the NDP. A well-armed
Opposition politician can be very effective in getting the attention of government and the
media. Meet regularly with New Democrat or Independent MLAs in your area to keep
them informed about your work and the challenges faced by your agency and clients.
Here are some key names in the NDP caucus:

Leader of the Opposition:


Opposition Carole James

NDP “shadow cabinet” MLAs:


 Maurine Karagianis,
Karagianis Children and Family Development
 Bruce Ralston,
Ralston Finance
 Robin Austin,
Austin Education, Early Learning and Literacy
 Jagrup Brar,
Brar Healthy Living and Sport
 Shane Simpson,
Simpson Housing and Social Development
 Adrian Dix,
Dix Health
 Mike Farnworth,
Farnworth Public Safety and Solicitor General
 Bob Simpson
Simpson, Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

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Alphabetical listing of B.C. MLAs

NOTE: For e-mail correspondence, all e-mail addresses of MLAs follow the same
format: firstname.lastname.mla@leg.bc.ca
Example: George.Abbott.MLA@leg.bc.ca, Robin.Austin.MLA@leg.bc.ca, etc

• George Abbott, Shuswap - Minister of Aboriginal Relations - 250-833-7414


• Robin Austin, Skeena
Skeena - NDP - 250-638-7906
• Harry Bains, Surrey-
Surrey- Newton - NDP - 604-597-8248
• Bill Barisoff, Penticton-
Penticton-Okanagan Valley - Lib - 250-487-4400
• Donna Barnett, Cariboo-
Cariboo- Chilcotin - Lib - 250-305-3800
• Patrick Bell, Prince George-
George-Mackenzie,
Mackenzie Forests - 250-612-4194
• Bill Bennett,
Bennett, East Kootenay - Community/Rural Development -250-417-6022
• Dawn Black, New Westminster, NDP - 250-387-3655
• Iain Black, Port Moody-
Moody- Westwood,
Westwood Small Business - 604-933-2312
• Harry Bloy, Burquitlam,
Burquitlam Lib -604-933-2077
• Shirley Bond, Prince George-
George- Mt Robson,
Robson Transportation - 250-612-4181
• Jagrup Brar, Surrey-
Surrey- Panorama Ridge - NDP - 604-501-8227
• Stephanie Cadieux, Surrey-
Surrey- Panorama, Lib - 250-952-7653
• Gordon Campbell, Vancouver-
Vancouver- Point Grey - Premier - 604-660-3202
• Ron Cantelon, Nanaimo Parksville - Lib -250-729-7041
• Ida Chong, Oak Bay-
Bay- Gordon Head - Healthy Living and Sport - 250-472-8528
• Raj Chouhan, Burnaby-
Burnaby-Edmonds - NDP -604-520-2756
• Murray Coell, Saanich North and the Islands, Labour - 250-655-5711
• Rich Coleman, Fort Langley-
Langley- Aldergrove,
Aldergrove Housing and Social Development -604-
607-6200
• Katrine Conroy, West Kootenay-
Kootenay- Boundary - NDP -250-304-2783
• Gary Coons, North Coast - NDP -250-624-7734
• Kathy Corrigan, Burnaby-
Burnaby- Deer Lake, Lib - 250-387-3655
• Marc Dalton, Maple Ridge-
Ridge- Mission, Lib - 1 866 370-6203
• Mike de Jong, Abbotsford-
Abbotsford- Mt Lehman - Attorney General -604-870-5486
• Adrian Dix, Vancouver Kingsway - NDP - 604-660-0314
• Doug Donaldson, Stikine,
Stikine NDP - 250-842-2200

16
• Mable Elmore, Vancouver Kensington,
Kensington NDP - 604-775-1033
• Kevin Falcon, Surrey-
Surrey- Cloverdale - Health Services -604-576-3792
• Mike Farnworth, Port Coquitlam-
Coquitlam- Burke Mountain - NDP -604-927-2088
• Rob Fleming, Victoria-
Victoria-Hillside - NDP -250-360-2023
• Eric Foster, Vernon-
Vernon-Monashee,
Monashee Lib - 250-356-9574
• Scott Fraser, Alberni-
Alberni-Qualicum - NDP -250- 720-4515
• Guy Gentner, Delta North - NDP - 604-597-1488
• Sue Hammell, Surrey-
Surrey- Green Timbers - NDP- 604-586-2791
• Colin Hansen, Vancouver Quilchena - Finance -604-664-0748
• Randy Hawes, Maple Ridge-
Ridge- Mission,
Mission Lib -604-820-6203
• Dave Hayer, Surrey-
Surrey- Tinehead,
Tinehead Lib -604-501-3201
• Kash Heed, Vancouver-
Vancouver-Fraserview, Solicitor General - 604-775-2246
• Spencer Herbert, Vancouver-
Vancouver- Burrard - NDP -0604-660-7307
• Gordon Hogg, Surrey-
Surrey- White Rock - Lib -604-542-3930
• John Horgan, Malahat-
Malahat- Juan de Fuca - NDP -250-391-2801
• Douglas Horne, Coquitlam-
Coquitlam- Burke Mountain, Lib - 1 800 691-9185
• R ob Howard, Richmond Centre, Lib - 604 775-0754
• Vicki Huntington, Delta South,
South Independent - 604 940-7924
• Carole James, Victoria-
Victoria-Beacon Hill - Leader of New Democrats -250-952-4211
• Maurine Karagianis, Esquimalt-
Esquimalt-Metchosin - NDP - 250-479-8326
• Leonard Krog, Nanaimo
Nanaimo - NDP -250-714-0630
• Kevin Krueger, Kamloops-
Kamloops - North Thompson,
Thompson Tourism - 250-314-6031
• Jenny Kwan, Vancouver-
Vancouver- Mt. Pleasant - NDP -604-775-0790
• Terry Lake, Kamloops North Thompson,
Thompson Lib - 250 356-3078
• Harry Lali, Yale-
Yale- Lillooet - NDP -250-378-4802
• Richard Lee,
Lee, Burnaby North,
North Lib -604-775-0778
• Blair Lekstrom, Peace River South - Lib -250-784-1330
• John Les, Chilliwack-
Chilliwack- Sumas,
Sumas Lib - 604-702-5214
• Norm Letnik, Kelowna Lake Country,
Country Lib - 250 765-8516
• Margaret MacDiarmid, Vancouver Fairview, Education - 604 660-7061
• Norm Macdonald, Columbia River-
River- Revelstoke - NDP -250-344-4816

17
• Joan McIntyre, West Van-
Van- Sea to Sky, Lib - 604 981-0045
• Mary McNeil, Vancouver-
Vancouver- False Creek, Lib - 250 952-7634
• Don McRae, Comox Valley, Lib - 250 703-2422
• Michelle Mungall, Nelson Creston,
Creston NDP - 1 877 388-4498
• Barry Penner, Chilliwack-
Chilliwack- Kent - Environment -604-858-6202
• Pat Pimm, Peace River North, Lib - 250 263-0101
• Mary Polak, Langley,
Langley MCFD -604-514-8206
• Lana Popham, Saanich South, NDP - 250 387-3655
• Bruce Ralston, Surrey-
Surrey-Whalley - NDP -604-586-2740
• Linda Reid, Richmond East,
East Minister of State, Childcare - 604-775-0891
• Bill Routley, Cowichan Valley, NDP - 1 877 715-0127
• Doug Routley, Cowichan-
Cowichan- Ladysmith - NDP -250- 746-8770
• John Rustad, Prince George-
George- Omineca - Lib -250-964-5650
• Michael Sather, Maple
Maple Ridge-
Ridge- Pitt Meadows - NDP -604-476-9823
• Nicholas Simons, Powell River-
River- Sunshine Coast - NDP -604-485-1249
• Bob Simpson, Cariboo North - NDP - 250-991-0296
• Shane Simpson, Vancouver-
Vancouver- Hastings - NDP -604-775-2277
• John Slater, Boundary-
Boundary- Similkameen,
Similkameen Lib - 250 495-4909
• Ben Stewart, Westside-
Westside- Kelowna, Citizens’ Services - 250 768-8426
• Moira Stilwell, Vancouver-
Vancouver- Langara, Advanced Education - 250 356-2771
• Ralph Sultan, West Vancouver-
Vancouver-Capilano - Lib - 604-981-0050
• Steve Thomson, Kelowna-
Kelowna- Mission, Agriculture - 250 712-3620
• Diane Thorne, Coquitlam-
Coquitlam- Maillardville,
Maillardville NDP -604-933-2001
• Jane Thornthwaite, North Vancouver-
Vancouver- Seymour,
Seymour Lib - 604 775-0803
• Claire Trevena, North Island,
Island NDP -250-287-5100
• John van Dongen, Abbotsford-
Abbotsford-Clayburn - 604-870-5945
• Naomi Yamamoto, North Vancouver-
Vancouver- Lonsdale,
Lonsdale, Lib - 604 981-0033
• John Yap, Richmond-
Richmond- Steveston,
Steveston Lib -604-241-8452

18
Organizing a Letter-
Letter-Writing Campaign

E ffective communication is one of the most important tools we have when it comes
to raising awareness among the public and our politicians about issues in the
social-services sector.
You know so much more than the public does about the important work of the sector.
A well-written letter - whether to government or to the editor of your local newspaper for
publication - can go a long way toward educating community leaders, decision-makers
and the public overall about the challenges, successes, disappointments and complexities
the social-services sector deals with on a daily basis.
B.C. is announcing a new provincial budget, and letter-writing campaigns can be an
effective way of informing your community (through letters to the editor) and provincial
representatives (through letters to local politicians and key people in government) about
the issues that your agency or your clients are facing.
Here’s a how-to for organizing a letter-writing campaign, whether through letters to
the editor or directed at the provincial government:

Letters to the editor

All newspapers in B.C. invite readers to submit letters to the editor, on any subject.
Newspapers typically receive dozens of such letters each day and will typically publish
just 20 per cent of them. So you may have to be persistent to get a letter printed, and
you’ll certainly want to craft a well-written and brief letter to boost your chances of
getting published.
To conduct a letter-writing campaign, you’ll need to tap into people you know to
participate. You’ll want a wide variety of letter-writers participating: Agency staff, board
members, allies in the community, clients who believe in the importance of your services,
business people, and so on. Diversity demonstrates a broad base of community support.
Newspapers won’t want to participate knowingly in a letter-writing campaign, so
you’ll need to make sure that letters build on a single theme but are not identical or
repetitive. Writers are also expected to put their name to a letter - most papers won’t
publish anonymous letters. So go ahead and provide people with the necessary
background to write an informed letter, but please be sure not to write the letter for them!
Some tips:
 First, settle on a single topic for your letter. You’re much more likely to get your
letter published if you keep it under the maximum word length required by the
paper (generally 250-300 words), so have a key focus and avoid trying to cram in
too much information. If you can keep your letter even shorter, that also increases
your chances.
 Submit it by e-mail to whatever e-mail address is listed in your local paper for
letters to the editor. Ensure your name, address and contact numbers are included
in case the editor has questions. The paper won’t publish your phone number or
address.

19
 In general, watch for issues to arise in the news that give you a timely entry point
for your letter. Newspapers are most likely to be interested in your letter about
the importance of quality child/youth services, for instance, in the wake of a news
story highlighting a failure in the system.
 Think about what you want the reader to feel or do as a result of reading your
letter. What actions do you hope will come out of your letter?
 Newspapers don’t accept third-party letters for publication, so forget the “Open
Letter to Gordon Campbell” or similar approaches, because you won’t get
published. Address your letter to the editor, and whenever possible, reference it to
a news story, editorial, column or letter that has already appeared in the paper.
 If you’ve got too much to say to be able to say it in 300 words, consider writing an
opinion piece if your local paper takes such submissions.

Letters to government
 Again, shorter is better - strive for a one-page letter.
 Send a “real” letter rather than an e-mail - one on paper, in other words.
 Identify the problem you want to highlight, but also identify potential solutions.
Don’t just complain - offer your ideas for resolving the issue.
 Be respectful and friendly, but never apologetic or overly deferential.
 Stay away from form letters. As with letters to the editor, it’s far more effective if
100 individuals express their individual viewpoints in separate letters than if your
supporters submit 100 form letters saying the same thing or hand in a petition
with 100 signatures.
 Target the letter to somebody specific in government who has the most direct
responsibility for the issue you’re raising (Use the government directory at
www.gov.bc.ca to browse for names of department directors, ADMs and DMs.
 ALWAYS double-check the spelling of all names and titles.
 Use the CC (carbon copy) method to expand the reach of your letter. Address it to
a specific person but also CC it to their supervisor, the deputy minister of the
relevant ministry, and the minister. You’ll mail separate copies of the letter to
each of them, listing all of their names at the bottom of the letter so that they all
see who you’ve included.
 Don’t just write letters when you’re unhappy - consider sending government a
thank-you letter once in a while when they’ve been helpful or have
supported/funded an important initiative. We all love hearing feedback that we’re
doing a good job!
 You’ll most likely receive correspondence back from someone - be sure to mine it
for anything relevant that might be useful in a follow-up letter later on (e.g. “Dear
Minister X: You noted in your letter of Dec. 12 that your government would be
addressing the issue of operational sustainability in your January caucus meeting.
I’m writing for further information on the outcome of that meeting……”)

20
Working with the media: Tips for a
positive experience

1. Develop a relationship
relationship with the media long before you need them. Do a
little digging to identify the key reporters and editors in an organization
that have an interest in the area you work in, and take them out for coffee
to talk about story ideas, expectations, time lines and other things you’ll
need to know.

2. Figure out the stories that you need to tell about your organization.
organization
What are your priorities for getting media attention? Which staff or clients
in your organization best personify the stories you want to tell?

3. Remember that every contact with someone in the media is potentially


“on the record.” Don’t talk about things that you don’t want to see in print.
Unless you have a solid trust developed over time and experience with a
specific reporter, don’t believe any assurances that your comments won’t be
for publication.

4. Be sure you’re available when the media calls.


calls If you’re going to send out
a press release, have a contact number at the bottom and make sure you
return any media calls promptly. You may only get one chance!

5. If the media calls first, take some time to collect your thoughts.
thoughts When a
call comes out of the blue, tell the media person you’re in a meeting and
will call them back in 10 minutes. Spend the time collecting your thoughts
and jotting down the key messages that you’ll be emphasizing, then return
the call.

6. Don’t expect that media coverage will end up exactly how you wanted.
The media are going to take the information you provide and pick and
choose what is used. If details, specific dates for a story to run, or exact
information are essential to your story, consider buying an ad, or writing
your own 800-word piece for the Opinion pages.

7. Don’t sweat the small stuff.stuff If the reporter gets a few minor points wrong,
write a friendly e-mail thanking them for the story and noting the errors so
they’re not repeated next time. If the errors are significant enough to be
worrying, ask for a correction – first from the reporter, then from the editor
if you still aren’t satisfied. Writing a letter to the editor is also a good way
to correct minor errors, and gives you another opportunity to reiterate your
key messages.

21
Media contacts – BC
Community newspapers: Find contact information for your local newspaper at
the following Web site:
http://www.bccommunitynews.com/files/member_papers.html

Provincial media:

Vancouver Sun
sunnewstips@png.canwest.com
dbramham@png.canwest.com (columnist Daphne Bramham)
vpalmer@direct.ca (columnist Vaughn Palmer)

Vancouver Province
tabtips@png.canwest.com
msmyth@direct.ca (columnist Mike Smyth)
jthompson@png.canwest.com (columnist Joey Thompson)

Victoria Times Colonist


localnews@tc.canwest.com
letters/opinion: letters@tc.canwest.com

Globe and Mail, BC section


jhunter@globeandmail.com (Justine Hunter)
rmatas@globeandmail.com (Robert Matas)
gmason@globeandmail.com (Gary Mason, B.C. columnist)

CKNW Radio
604-331-2832
nwnews@cknw.com

BCTV (Global)
7850 Enterprise Street
Burnaby, BC V5A 1V7
Main number: 604-420-2288
News: globalnews.bc@globaltv.com
Local programming: viewercontact.bc@globaltv.com

CTV British Columbia


News tips, story ideas, and press releases bcassign@ctv.ca

The Tyee (online) - editor@thetyee.ca

22
CBC (many shows)
All Points West
allpointswest@cbc.ca

BC Almanac

Toll Free:
1-800-825-5950
almanac@vancouver.cbc.ca

Day break North:

Phone:
(250) 562-6701

daybreaknorth@cbc.ca

Daybreak South:

Phone:
(250) 861-3781

daybreaksouth@cbc.ca

Early edition:

Phone:
(604) 662-6118

Laura_palmer@cbc.ca

On the coast:

Phone:
(604) 662-6777, onthecoast@cbc.ca

On the Island:

Phone
(250) 360-2227

victoria@cbc.ca

23
EXAMPLE -PRESS
RELEASE
Dec. 17, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Federation urges less talk, more action on Hughes Report Headline clearly
states the point
The pace of meaningful change for B.C.’s most vulnerable children
must speed up significantly to bring the important recommendations of the
2006 Hughes report to life, says the province’s largest coalition of child, youth First paragraph goes
and family services. straight into key point,
identifies timeliness
The Federation of Child and Family Services works closely with the
Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Representative for Children and Youth, Mary
Ellen Turpel-Lafond, and other ministries to bring about positive change for B.C.’s at-risk children.
More than 115 community service organizations around the province belong to the federation.

Federation board president Nanette Taylor welcomed Turpel-Lafond’s Details of


report this week urging immediate action on all aspects of the B.C. Child event/issue are laid
and Youth Review (dubbed the Hughes report after its author, retired out succinctly and
justice Ted Hughes). “We echo the concerns of the Representative about include at least one
whether the ministry’s current plan has the necessary focus, funding and quote from
commitment behind it to achieve the changes we all desire,” said Taylor. somebody connected
to issue/agency
But the province is to be applauded for establishing the Office of the
Representative for Children and Youth, added Taylor, and for adopting Jordan’s Principle, a “first
responder” strategy to prevent aboriginal children from falling through funding cracks created by
federal and provincial jurisdictional issues.

“We hope the Representative’s report will be received by government in a positive manner,
because it focuses our attention on important goals,” said Jennifer Charlesworth, federation
executive director. “Mary Ellen and her team have significant expertise to share. In these
challenging economic times, when the vulnerabilities of children and families increase, we must
make every effort to mobilize our strengths and talents to serve B.C.’s children, youth and
families.”

Charlesworth notes five key concerns in Turpel-Lafond’s report:


 The need for external evaluation ensuring services/strategies are effective;
 Lack of oversight and performance measures for increasingly autonomous regions;
 Lack of progress on the aboriginal agenda;
 Three to five years lag before systems are in place improving service, decision-making
 The province’s decision to eliminate the position of Provincial Director of Child Welfare, which
could impact quality and consistency of services to children.

“Our agencies have considerable expertise and commitment to children and families. We
want to join forces with everyone concerned to see
‘30’indicates end the intent of the Hughes Report fulfilled,” says Press release does not exceed one page. If
of publishable info. needed, add info with a ‘backgrounder’
Charlesworth. “But we must get on with this
Put contact info
below that, and be important work. We can’t leave B.C.’s children waiting any longer.”
sure contact is
AVAILABLE for 30
all media calls. Contact: Jennifer Charlesworth jenniferatfcfs@shaw.ca 250-
250 - 480-
480 -7387
A caring response in these economic times
EXAMPLE-
Published: January 22, 2009, Peace Arch News OPINION PIECE
Author: David Young, ED of Peace Arch Community Services

What a difference a year makes.


Last January, Canada was enjoying a buoyant economy with strong indicators
of even better prospects. The great challenge faced by governments at all levels
was how to deal with the growing surplus.
Debates about tax cuts, spending priorities, tax sharing and equalization
payments took place, as we sought to take greatest advantage of our hard-earned
prosperity.
All of this occurred within a context in which child poverty reached its highest
level ever in Canada; in which affordable housing remained a dream for many; in
which people with disabilities struggled to obtain support; in which many
continued to live in Third World conditions.
Today it is clear Canada, like the rest of this planet, will be impacted by the
downturn. What is not clear is how deep the impact will be, nor for how long.
There is now common understanding our federal government – and perhaps
our provincial government – will introduce a deficit budget. This is generally
accepted as a positive step that fulfills government’s role to mitigate the impact
and stimulate economic growth.
However, there remains debate over how government can best intervene.
Interestingly, the discourse is focused much on the same issues at the
forefront during better times: tax cuts; spending priorities; tax sharing and
equalization payments. Our context hasn’t changed – child poverty, homelessness
and disability remain.
As a nation, we were unable to address these and other social issues during
positive economic times. It is now just as important these challenges are in a
debate that is largely focused on tax cuts, infrastructure spending and industry
bailouts. Canada needs a strategy that not only protects and creates jobs, but also
protects and builds community.
First, build social infrastructure that addresses long-standing community
issues. We are a compassionate and caring society. Any budgets should include
proposals for development of social infrastructure.
During a downturn, public projects have a degree of greater affordability.
Spending on housing, homeless shelters and addiction-treatment centres need to
be considered, alongside roads, bridges and port facilities.
Second, expand programs that mitigate the social impacts of an economic
downturn.

25
It is clear we must address adjustments to the employment-insurance
program, as well as spending on job retraining and education. At the same time,
we must spend on relationship, addiction and debt-counselling programs.
As well, increased unemployment tends to have affect on the marginally
employed – such as people with disabilities or the working poor. This, in turn, will
put more pressure on social programs designed to support them.
This is a time for increased social spending, not reductions. The non-profit
sector in B.C. contributes $6 billion to the economy. It is a key economic driver and
employer. Increased spending will have both a social and economic impact.
Third, promote opportunities to provide comfort and support to others.
We must consider how we can respond to friends, neighbours and relatives
experiencing job loss or business failure. These events can result in isolation,
fractured relationships, loss of self-esteem, discouragement and depression.
We need to be aware of the challenges faced, plan for and create space in our
busy lives to offer support.
Community leaders need to convene opportunities to create peer support and
neighbourhood building activities.
An economic strategy focused on job creation and protection, coupled with
social strategy, will better respond to the range of impacts that are being felt.
And, at the same time, it will build a stronger Canada for the future.

26
EXAMPLE - February 13, 2009
LETTER TO
Federation of Child and Family Services
GOVERNMENT nd
2 Floor 526 Michigan St.
Victoria, B.C. V8V 1S2

Honourable Gordon Campbell,


PO Box 9041 Stn Prov Govt,
Victoria, B.C.

Dear Premier,
State key point of the
These are treacherous times for British Columbians, and for a letter right at outset
government grappling with unprecedented economic turmoil. The
Federation of Child and Family Services would like to work with you in
creating jobs and stabilizing B.C. families through investments in our province’s social
infrastructure.

Like you, our members are very concerned about the state of the
economy, and the impact the downturn will have on our communities and Include stats and
the thousands of people we serve each year. We are already hearing anecdotes to bring
stories from agencies of children being left at the door of emergency point home
youth shelters because their parents have lost their jobs and
accommodations.

Our organization represents more than 100 of B.C.’s community-based social services agencies,
delivering services to children and families in need, employment support, help for seniors and
people with disabilities, and many other critically important services. We believe community-based
social services can be not only a generator of jobs during this period and a vital support for British
Columbians during the economic downturn, but is well-placed to
lead small capital projects that will benefit the province’s social Clearly state your plan
infrastructure now and into the future. and say exactly what you
intend to do. Think about
The community social services sector can quickly mobilize human
things from the point of
resources to provide British Columbians with the support they’ll
view of government, and
need to weather these difficult times. Our volunteer boards
use their language and
include some of the best and brightest minds in B.C., giving us the
concerns to make your
capability to coordinate the development, construction and
management of new facilities in our communities - housing for the case.
hardest-to-house; community centres; childcare facilities.

We can develop training programs quickly through our working partnership with B.C. post-
secondary institutions, and find people jobs. Our sector has the potential to provide large numbers
of low-cost, entry level jobs that prepare people for more skilled work. Meanwhile, the community
work we do will support people in getting back on their feet - and staying there.

As you know, a strong social services sector delivers substantial downstream savings for
government. Keeping a child out of the care of the state saves thousands of dollars each year, and
tens of thousands more in related social costs. Catching a troubled youth before she or he falls
costs a fraction of what gets spent over a potential lifetime of poor health, addiction, criminal
activity and domestic problems.

27
The Liberals under your leadership have rightly placed a high value on health and education.
Neither can be successful in the absence of social health, however. A school breakfast program,
counselling for an abused child, a service that brokers
residential care for senior citizens and frees up acute-care Give praise where praise is
beds along the way - whatever the example, social services due. Pay attention to issues
are clearly essential aspects of any successful health and of concern to government,
education strategy. and build your case around
them.
The Federation was a participant in the British Columbia
Economic Summit, and listened with interest to the presentations. We urge you to continue to
provide powerful and progressive leadership for economic recovery by embracing ‘triple bottom
line’ strategies in B.C.’s recovery plans and infrastructure spending.

Your administration has already shown leadership on two of the triple-bottom-line elements:
Strong business thinking and green strategies. We ask you to lead again by putting increased focus
on social health as the third aspect of visionary planning.

We have the tools to help you invest in our province’s social infrastructure, and sufficient feet on
the ground to make things happen quickly. We understand the social economy, and have an
extensive community network. Our agencies are poised to be agents of change at the community
level.

Premier, we believe that investing in B.C.’s community social service sector is sound business
practice. Please work with our volunteer governors and dedicated staff in caring for the people of
British Columbia. We would very much appreciate to
opportunity to discuss these issues in more depth with you and Make a specific “ask” -
ask that you contact Federation executive director Dr. Jennifer what do you want to
Charlesworth to set up a meeting time for further discussion. happen as a result of this
letter?

Sincerely,

Nanette Taylor
President, Federation of Child and Family Services

c.c. Hon. Tom Christensen


Hon. Rich Coleman
Hon. Shirley Bond
Hon. George Abbott
Hon. Linda Reid
Hon. Colin Hansen

Promoting Excellence in Child and Family Services since 1982

526 Michigan St., Victoria, BC V8V 1S2


Telephone: (250) 480-
480-7387 Fax: (250) 480
480-
80-7396
E-Mail fcfs@shaw.ca

28
EXAMPLE-
LETTER TO
GOVERNMENT

Hon. Tom Christensen


British Columbia Legislature
Victoria, B.C.

February 06, 2009

Dear Honourable Minister Christensen, Sent to the person you have


determined most needs to see it
RE: BOARD VOICE of the Community-
based Social Services Sector

We are writing to introduce ourselves to you and to Clear statement of


purpose at outset
seek a meeting with you in the near future to tell you
more about who we are and how we hope to contribute
to excellence in the delivery of social services in this province.

The undersigned represent an emerging organization from across British


Columbia, currently called “Board Voice”. We are volunteers representing agency
boards from across the spectrum of social services and we are in the process of
creating an avenue for volunteer governors to champion the
importance of social services in this province. We will be Quick and clear
using our ‘voice’ to speak with governments, the general summary of the
public and employees about directions and issues of issue at hand in 2-3
paragraphs at the
concern to this sector. most

Our vision is straightforward: A clear and effective


effective voice
for volunteer community-
community -based boards supporting high-
high-quality social
services and strong, vibrant communities.

We believe the important work that our agencies provide across the province
doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. While crucial to the well being of B.C
residents and communities and to the outcomes for both the health and education
sectors, much of its work flies ‘under the radar’. From child care to youth justice,
early intervention to adult developmental services, family support to child and
youth mental health, food banks to housing services and much more, the threads
of support woven through our communities are a fundamental strength of towns
and cities across the province.

29
Your advice is important to us as we begin to build this Acknowledgment of
organization, because we believe it important to develop a challenges or
mature relationship with government, capable of effectively problems relevant to
bringing the community voice to your attention. We ask you issue from recipient’s
point of view
to consider the added value of having community members
involved in governing these services and the implications for
responsible governance as our agencies are pressed to deal
with increased demand for supports from children, youth and families and
corresponding workload pressures, a result of the economic downturn.

Although we recognize that you will soon be leaving the government and your role
as Minister of Community and Social Services, we would value your advice now,
perhaps more than ever. You have a well-earned reputation for responsive
leadership and we would be honoured to have
the opportunity to access your wisdom prior to Close on optimistic note. Tone of
letter overall is pleasant and respectful
your departure. We look forward to discussing
areas of mutual interest and concern to the
Ministry and our member agencies.

Representatives of Board Voice would be able to meet with you on February 20th,
either before or after your presentation at the General Meeting of the Federation
of Child and Family Services or at some other time of your choosing.
Please contact Anthony Ostler at: 604 643 7647 or by email at:
anthony_ostler@canaccord.com to arrange a time at your earliest convenience.

We look forward to speaking with you.

Respectfully,

On behalf of the Leadership Group

Anthony Ostler: Board President – Family Services of Greater Vancouver


Gord Adams: Chair – North Okanagan Youth & Family Services Society
Caroline Moore: Board member - Child and Family Counselling Association of
Greater Victoria
Dave Stigant: Chair – Penticton & District Community Resources Society
Paul Barnett: Chair – Provincial Association of Residential and Community
Agencies
Carol Matusicky: Board member – Burnaby Family Life
Fred Taylor: Chair – Sunshine Coast Community Services
Dave Duncan: Chair – PLEA Community Services Society
John Neilson: Chair – Developmental Disabilities Association

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