On behalf of the Board Voice Board of Directors, I would like to thank all of our presenters and conference participants for making this year’s event truly memorable.
Our first presenters came from Understanding the Village. This experiential workshop is put on by four Aboriginal Elders and a Canadian. The journey begins at pre-contact and takes participants through 500 years of history ending in the present day. The learning in this workshop is emotional, and the participants gain insights and knowledge through participation. The generosity of the Elders in not only sharing their stories with us but also looking after our emotional needs. One of our participants stated that “love, respect, kindness and generosity – we need to build so much more of this in our communities, our organizations, our businesses, our government!” Board members from across the province had the opportunity to begin down the path of Reconciliation. To quote (former Justice now Senator) Murray Sinclair: “Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships. There are no shortcuts.” If you are interested in more information about Understanding the Village, please contact Michelle Staples at Social Planning Cowichan.
After several hours of Understanding the Village, we continued with our theme of Reconciliation. Our next speaker was Leslie Varley, the Executive Director of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres. Leslie’s presentation focused on how we can bring Reconciliation into our agencies. The first step is starting with self-reflection and figuring out beliefs and attitudes that are representative of colonial methodology. Throughout both presentations on Reconciliation, the presenters encouraged us to reach out to Aboriginal people to ask and (most) importantly listen to what they need. We also need to plan for Indigenous inclusion – if we don’t plan for it, we won’t have it. As we move to include more Aboriginal people in our organizations we will also need to change how we do business, our meeting formats and learn to be more inclusive. In her presentation, Leslie included some crucial Dos and Don’ts for including Aboriginal people in our agencies.
The Conference Committee invited politicians from all three political parties in BC to discuss their parties’ platform on Reconciliation. We heard from Adam Olsen from the BC Greens and Scott Fraser, the NDP Critic for Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. Both politicians demonstrated a passion for and understanding of the issues. One of the most important policy suggestions is for the Government of BC to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and commit to the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Our workshops this year comprised a variety of topics:
- The BC Council for Families presented their research after surveying over 3000 BC families in their “Let’s Talk BC Families.” Presentation will be added once we receive it.
- Dr. Steve Mathias talked about the new coordinated service model for youth called the BC Integrated Service Initiative for Youth being piloted across the province in 9 locations. Presentation will be added once we receive it. Presentation: BCISYI Presentation
- Joanna Walley from Vantage Point explored the difference between governance and management. Presentation: the-difference-between-governance-and-management
- Jody Paterson’s presentation, Getting Heard, showed us how we can get our agency’s stories out and heard by the right audiences. Presentation: getting-heard
Thank you to this year’s workshop presenters! We appreciated your time and expertise.
After our AGM on Saturday, we returned to our conference agenda. Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth led a discussion about social policy frameworks and how it might work. The panel members Doug McArthur from SFU, Rod Santiago, ED of Abbotsford Community Services, and Leslie Welin, Board Voice Board member and President of the board of directors of Clements Society grappled with the following questions:
- How would you describe the current state of affairs with respect to coordinated and integrated policy and service delivery at the provincial and local level?
- How would you describe a social policy framework? What elements do you think could or should be in it?
- From your perspective, what could a social policy framework contribute to the creation of healthier communities and better outcomes for people?
- What do you think are the challenges in creating more integrated policy and service delivery?
We had a lively discussion about how to we can move forward recognizing that the status quo is not working. One of the key points that emerged is that there is a framework within which provincial bureaucrats work and if that framework is to change it will need to come from the government.
The second part of the morning, also facilitated by Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth, was devoted to looking at some potential questions for the upcoming community consultations in 2017. Conference participants worked their way through answering the questions and also provided valuable feedback on the questions for Board Voice. We will be looking carefully at the information we gathered and making the necessary changes.
Annual General Meeting
We had our annual general meeting on Saturday morning. We had reports from our Chair, Treasurer and Chairs of our committees. We said goodbye to three board members: Rick Marshall, Lynn Malinsky and Terry Moist. We will miss working with them and we thank them for their dedicated service to our movement. The four new board members elected are: Brenda Benedict from Abbotsford Community Services, Terry Anne Boyles from Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Meghan Currie from The Bridge in Kelowna and David Rand from The Cridge in Victoria. We welcome our new board members, and we look forward to working with them.
Advocacy Committee Report – advocacy-committee-report-2016
Membership and Community Leads – members-and-community-leads-committee-report-to-2016-agm
Nominations and Governance – nominating-and-governance-committee-report
We have made a change in our Executive positions. We have combined the secretary with the treasurer position, so we will have an executive of three people. The Executive for 2016-17 is as follows:
Chair: Doug Hayman
Vice-Chair: Leslie Welin
Secretary-Treasurer: Craig East
We want to thank everyone for their enthusiastic participation in our conference and Annual General Meeting. We look forward to connecting with you over the next year and meeting again for our 8th Annual Conference and AGM.