September Report from the Chair

smile-chairHello all,

Board Voice continues to make rather surprising headway on the Social Policy Framework (SPF) front, all while laying plans for our 5th Annual Board Voice conference November 28/29.

Let me begin this update by thanking so many of our members for reaching out to municipal councils, MLAs, and local boards to talk about the SPF.  Something as substantive and significant as a SPF will require broad provincial support, so this work is critical and appreciated by our board of directors. We can make a difference!


Since the last update in July we’ve had many meetings and some new supporters to the call for a SPF. Most recently the municipality of Fernie passed a resolution of support thanks to Craig East’s outreach.

We continue to reach out to other sectors about the SFP. I met with VPD Supt. Dean Robinson recently and he was very interested in the concept. Victoria Police Chief Frank Elsner will be on a panel at our conference speaking to the idea of an SFP along with Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade and Dr. Michael Prince, Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at UVic.

We requested a meeting with BC’s Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond and met at her office on September 18. Regrettably she was detained, but we had an excellent meeting with her senior staff. Her office is keenly interested in our work and Mary Ellen has agreed to be one of the keynote speakers at our November conference.

The Federation of Community Social Services of BC has signed onto the call, as has the BC Association of Social Workers.

Board Voice Vice-Chair Leslie Welin and I met with Duncan Mayor Phil Kent to discuss the resolution going to UBCM. It appears the resolution is in a block of recommended resolutions that we expect to pass quite handily. We hoped to make a presentation at UBCM and missed the cut; however, the indefatigable Leslie arranged to have the Duncan council members distribute information pamphlets to 1000 attendees, so we will be there in spirit.

Kim Baird, past elected Chief of the Tswwassen First Nation recently introduced me via email to Jody Wilson-Rabould, the Regional Chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations, as she knows Board Voice is interested in discussing the idea of a SPF with Aboriginal stakeholders. I look forward to meeting her in person. We will also soon meet with Paul Lacerte E.D. of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres.

Our request for a meeting with the Minister of Health Terry Lake has yet to bear fruit, however, I did have a very long and engaging discussion with Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton.  We understand that Minister Stephanie Cadieux would like to speak to the Board Voice conference and we’re hoping we can make that work for her schedule.

I met recently Janet Austin, the new Chair of the Vancouver Board of Trade, and CEO of the Vancouver YWCA to talk about our progress. She will also be a keynote speaker at the upcoming conference. Finally, we met with the folks form Decoda, the provincial literacy society, who pledged to get the word out to their 1000+ members.

The release of the Simon Fraser University Report commissioned last year by Board Voice, Making the Case: a Social Policy Framework for BC, has provided all of us with national and international perspectives on this topic.

We have had three large pieces of mainstream media recently which you can view via the links below.

Vancouver Sun: Social Service Agencies Call for Policy Framework

Prince George TV on City Council endorsing the call

And CBC Radio’s Early Edition on the release of the SFU report.

Board Connectivity & Skills Development

The Community Boards in Action program officially ended with a report to the Vancouver Foundation which sponsored the program. We are in discussions with Foundation officials about how their funding processes might more effectively support an organization like Board Voice, which does not fit into the existing funding categories very well.  We look forward to working with them into the future.

Our board is very proud of the community boards who created inter-board activities in their communities.  One of our members from 100 Mile House wrote us a note the other day saying: “This is so exciting.  Our goal is to offer 2 workshops a year. Thank you for the Community Boards in Action funding which has acted as the initiative to help our non-profit Boards come together.” Much of the activity spawned by Community Boards in Action was actually funded locally. While we wait for funding from foundations, check out your local resources and find new ways to support your boards and your communities.

With our heads down, pushing for each individual win, it is easy to feel we are not making progress. But we have accomplished some astonishing wins over the last while. For an organization of our size, it is remarkable that we have inspired a pan-provincial conversation on this topic, and among many players who do not normally engage in this discussion.

We have accomplished a lot, and I think there is more yet to come. Kudos to you all.