The content here is from the mandate letters issued June 12, 2015. Considered together, they give strong indications of where this government sees its priorities.
As Community Social Services agencies constantly looking for innovation, it is good to pull up out of the trees and have a look from the 30,000 foot level. We gain perspective on overall direction and may see opportunities when considering cross-ministerial initiatives.
Board Voice has been advocating for a province-wide Social Policy Framework (SPF) for about two years now. These mandate letters, along with throne speeches and the BC Liberal party platform, collectively form an implicit SPF without the consultation, formal structure or measures of success.
Credit should be given to Premier Clark for publically stating her yearly goals. However they raise many questions:
- What is the overall social policy direction implied by the letters?
- Do we citizens agree with the social direction?
- Have the goals of the first two sets of mandate letters been met?
- Have they been reported out?
- Could a more cohesive and structured approach like a SPF deliver better value to the taxpayer—and better outcomes for those in need of assistance?
I’ve tried to list those pieces that seem relevant to our sector, but have likely missed some. In addition, I have added links to referenced documents where available.
(Note: the government locks the PDF version of these letters so they had to be hand typed—a colossal waste of time for a purpose that eludes me. There may be errors. Check against the originals here.)
On to the content of the letters. Two overarching directives were sent to all the ministries:
- Balance your ministerial budget to control spending and ensure an overall balanced budget for the Province.
- Ensuring BC government services are easily accessed by our citizens and businesses.
To individual ministers, in the order provided on the government website:
Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing
Review results of the community consultation on Riverview Lands and make recommendations to Cabinet on potential options.
Continue to implement Housing Matters to ensure citizens are able to find housing that meets their needs across British Columbia.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Work with the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills to increase the number of First Nations participating in apprenticeship and skills training programs to ensure economic prosperity includes first Nations members.
Work with the Ministries of Justice, Health and Children and Family Development to implement Violence Free BC.
Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education
Continue to implement the commitments and actions contained in BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, including the commitment to re-engineer funding for post-secondary training spaces, ensuring that 25 percent of provincial funding is directed to the top 100 in-demand occupations.
Work with the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services on the development of a ten year skills plan for BC’s Technology Sector as part of our government’s overall technology strategy.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development
Continue implementation of the Early Years Strategy ensuring that families and children receive the supports they need to succeed.
Continue to lead a cross-ministerial working group with Health and Education on the effectiveness and coordination of the provision of autism services for children and youth in BC and make recommendations to Cabinet on potential changes by March 31, 2016.
Implement with the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation the recent changes that will remove barriers for single parents from developing their skills and returning to the workforce and by March 31, 2016 report to cabinet on further opportunities for improvement.
Continue to work with the federal government on issues impacting child protection in First Nations communities.
Continue working with the Ministries of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and Justice as well as the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence to implement the provincial Violence-Free BC initiative.
Work with Parliamentary Secretary Jane Thornthwaite on improving youth mental health through the BC Friends for Life program.
Lead a working group with the Ministries of Health and Education to review and define Child and Youth Mental Health services in the province and make recommendations to Cabinet by June 30, 2016 on potential improvements.
Review and recommend to Cabinet changes to the existing adoption process to increase the number and timeliness of adoptions and other permanent placements of young people in British Columbia.
Review and recommend to Cabinet changes to the current foster parent system in the province.
Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
Work with the Ministry of Natural Gas Development to ensure communities facing growth due to LNG development are provided support to manage and mitigate the impacts of significant economic development and population growth.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education
Continue to work with Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Advanced Education to successfully implement BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint that will provide BC students better prospects for long term job security in our growing economy.
Work with the Ministries of Health and Children and Family Development to review and define Child and Youth Mental Health services in the province and make recommendations to Cabinet by June 30, 2016 on potential improvements.
Continue to support our government’s initiatives to erase bullying.
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review
Work with Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and BC Hydro to ensure First Nations have the ability to participate in economic development opportunities arising from the construction of the Site C dam.
Terry Lake, Minister of Health
Complete consultation and implementation of policy papers flowing from “Setting Priorities for BC Health Care.”
Ensure renewal of the balance of the provincial mental health plan, Healthy Minds, Healthy People.
Work with the Ministries of Children and Family Development and Education to review and define Child and Youth Mental Health services in the province and make recommendations to Cabinet by June 30, 2016 on potential improvements.
Provide an update for Cabinet on the status of the addiction space expansion that was committed [to] in the Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow by December 31, 2015.
Provide an update to Cabinet on the status on the Strong Economy, Secure Tomorrow commitment to double the number of hospices spaces in the province by 2020.
Undertake a review of dementia care and provide options to Cabinet to improve patient and health care worker safety.
Work with Parliamentary Secretary Daryl Plecas and the Senior’s Advocate to provide an update to Cabinet on senior’s care improvements in the province by December 31, 2015.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour
Continue to work with Ministries of Education and Advanced Education to implement the commitments and actions contained in BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice
Working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, support the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence, #saysomething program and Violence Free BC.
Review and make recommendations to Cabinet on ways to better enforce interjurisdictional support orders.
Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
Continue to grow and support the Social Innovation sector in our Province.
Manage the budget of Community Living BC to ensure both fiscal discipline and maximum service delivery to individuals.
Work with partner ministries and the disability community to implement Accessibility 2024 and report out annually on the progress made in moving BC forward as an accessible province.
Launch the following in September 2015 and provide cabinet with an update on these important initiatives by March 31st 2016:
- The new Family Maintenance Exemption
- Policy changes for families with children on income assistance
- Single Parent Employment Initiative
Continue to look for opportunities to modernize and improve income assistance and disability assistance policies and programs.
Work with Labour Market Priorities Board to identify opportunities to support BC Employment and Assistance clients in developing their skills and securing long-term employment.
Conduct an evaluation of the Employment Program of BC to ensure it continues to support BC’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and identify improvements that will better assist unemployed and underemployed British Colombians in gaining long-term employment.
Amrik Virk, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services
Work with the Ministries of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Advanced Education on the development of a 10-year skills plan for BC’s Technology Sector.