With our heads down in the daily rush to advocate for the sector, we sometime slip right by major wins. So let’s pause for a moment and celebrate the unanimous endorsement of a call for a made in BC Social Policy Framework (SPF) at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM). Yay!
This conversation really is moving into the mainstream, with more people, in and out of our sector, aware of it and actively debating the merits of such an approach to social policy.
We have further to go to leverage the UBCM endorsement and actually get a SPF on the government agenda, but we want and need to acknowledge the progress to which so many of you have contributed.
UBCM unanimously passed the resolution signed by 20 municipalities calling on the Premier to begin a consultation with British Columbians to initiate the development of a social policy framework that will set out key policy directions, values, priorities, roles and expectations, and guide the creation of public policy to meet our social needs now and into the future.
The actual resolution is found on page 180 of the Resolution book. It was put forward by Duncan, Nelson, Burnaby, North Vancouver District, Vancouver and endorsed by the Association of Kootenay & Boundary Local Governments.
The results are shown in the Disposition Book on page 6.
We will now work with the policy folks at UBCM to promote this call with the provincial government.
On September 26 Doug and I presented the SPF to the BC CEO Network and were very pleased when they voted there and then to endorse the call.
After a lengthy interview with Vancouver Sun Columnist Don Cayo, I was pleased to see his article run on September 26. This put the discussion in front of the business crowd, – a sector we don’t often get to address and which is crucial to moving this agenda forward. The Burnaby Board of Trade just recently passed a resolution of support, joining the Surrey Board of Trade. Our efforts are bearing fruit.
As well as contacting the Premier’s office and members of her cabinet, we hope to persuade the broader Liberal Caucus to consider this idea. We have sent each of them a letter outlining some of the key ideas about the SPF and offering to brief them.
On October 14, Caroline Bonesky (of Family Services of Greater Vancouver) and I presented the concept of a SPF to the Select Standing Committee on Finance. They seemed interested and asked some good questions. It is hard to know how much impact these have, but, as Caroline so eloquently put it, we need to be in there otherwise we leave it all to the professional lobbyists making plugs for contracts and tax reductions!
June Preston, Dawn Hemingway and Paul Jenkinson have all been working to build support among BC’s social Workers for the SPF concept. The BC Association of Social Workers has endorsed the call for a SPF a number of months ago. Dawn authored an article for the fall issue of BCASW’s newsletter Perspectives ( BCASW Perspectives Autumn 2014 page 14) and June, Dawn, Paul and I presented a workshop on the SPF at the BCASW annual conference on October 18th. Social Workers are on the front line of many of the issues a SPF would help address and we find strong support for the concept among them.
On another advocacy front, we have been consumed over the past couple of weeks with discussions about the BC Government’s proposed changes to the Societies Act. We were very alarmed at the new language in section 99 that would allow any interested party to apply to the courts to have the activities of a society declared “not in the public interest”. We worked with the West Coast Environmental Law Society to get the story out. We’ve had 232 hits on the web page we put together and 56 societies—including Board Voice—signed the letter sent to the government.
Skills & Connectivity
Much of our efforts towards skills development and connectivity have been directed towards putting together our 5th annual Board Voice Conference: Woven Together – Economic Development and Social Policy, November 28/29 in Richmond B.C.. We are excited about the lineup of speakers, which includes Janet Austin, John Horgan, and Stephanie Cadieux. A representative from the Representative for Children and Youth will also speak.
A Saturday morning panel discussion on a Social Policy Framework for B.C., with Frank Elsner, Chief of Police Victoria; Dr. Michael Prince, Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy at UVic; and Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, will be followed by an Open Space conversation with all conference participants.
Conference Workshops will include:
- Collective Impact – A Structured System for Collaborative Action.
- Social Innovation – Tracking Social Issues at Their Roots
- Legal Pitfalls for Boards of Social Benefit Organizations – Martha Rans, Lawyer
- The Business of Social Services by Tim Beachy
- Next Steps for the Social Benefit Sector in BC and Canada – Lawrie Portigal, Volunteer BC and Lorraine Copas, SPARC BC
- Investing in Community – Literally – Rupert Downing, Victoria Community Social Planning Council
You can find detailed information about the conference by clicking on the link at www.boardvoice.ca. Join us at the conference and at the celebratory banquet on Friday November 28. Hope to see you there!