The Federation’s 2018 Annual Report

The past year was a very eventful and very significant one for The Federation. We began the year preparing for an important provincial election—partnering with Federation members on a series of editorials, creating a ‘get out the vote’ campaign with our partners, and meeting with parties and candidates. Then, in what seemed like no time, we shifted gears and began building and managing our relationship with the new BC government.

We had worked long and hard to prepare and position ourselves for that moment. There were many new opportunities to take advantage of and many important steps required to plot our course for the coming years.

The Federation board and I met with new ministers, we included them in Federation conferences, strengthened existing relationships with our civil servant colleagues, and made important connections with the new Ministry of Mental Health & Addictions as well as the Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction. The contributions of our membership and the efforts of our Board of Directors are what laid the groundwork for this new chapter. Their strength, experience, and passion got us to where we are today.

And I feel more confident than ever about The Federation’s position and our ability to speak out (and be listened to) about the things we care about most: sustainable funding, community engagement and collaboration, leadership development, improving services to children and youth in care, reconciliation, and the importance of a strong and compassionate community social services sector.

Read The Federation’s complete 2018 Annual Report here.


Introducing the Reconciliation Book Club

Next week at our June Conference in Penticton, we will be honouring National Aboriginal Day with the launch of The Federation’s Reconciliation Book Club!

Many of our members have expressed that reading works by Indigenous authors has been one of the best ways to enhance their knowledge and inspire the courage to act and make change. The Reconciliation Book Club is one way The Federation can celebrate the Indigenous people of Canada and also support the efforts of our members to live into reconciliation.

How it works

Starting in September 2018, The Reconciliation Book Club will meet every two months (via online webinar) to discuss a book from a list of titles chosen by our reconciliation action group members. Federation staff will participate and make available discussion questions, additional readings and resources, as well as author and publisher information.

You can see the first five books that have been selected, the webinar dates, as well as an additional recommended reading list (developed by the reconciliation action group members) on the new book club webpage here. And while you’re there, don’t forget to sign up to participate!

No matter where you are in your personal journey, we invite you to join us. All you have to do is show up and help us create a safe space for learning, asking questions, and being a little uncomfortable. In the words of one Federation member: “reconciliation requires working through discomfort to get to real change.”

How it began

The Federation’s reconciliation action group emerged out of our 2016 Social Policy Forum. A number of members decided to work together to (a) inform the ways The Federation incorporates reconciliation efforts into our activities and initiatives while also (b) creating a space for Federation members to talk about this important work in order to make reconciliation ‘a way of being.’

When some group members admitted they wanted to get involved but were unsure of where to start, their colleagues suggested simply reading the works of Indigenous authors. After a brief discussion about how The Federation could support these efforts, the Reconciliation Book Club quickly took shape. Its goal? To increase knowledge and understanding, to break down bias and assumptions, and to inspire personal action in support of reconciliation.

Get involved!

For the official launch in Penticton next week, The Federation is honoured to welcome award-winning author Monique Gray-Smith who will be joining us for a book signing.

We are very excited about this new opportunity to celebrate and learn with our members. To sign up for the book club go to

Rick FitzZaland
Federation Executive Director


Editorial on BC’s residential resources for youth in care

This week, Bernard Richard shared his worries about what he describes as a “lack of appropriate ministry oversight” when it comes to staffed residential resources.

In response, Minister Conroy has ordered a review of more than 800 children living in contracted agency homes in BC. The Federation has been engaging with the media and contributing to the public discourse.

Our Executive Director Rick FitzZaland has also penned an editorial on the issue appearing in the Times Colonist. An excerpt is included below.

Within an oft-neglected ministry, improving these staffed resources has often been the least important priority. And you can’t expect to fix a broken child-welfare system while pretending the most broken parts simply aren’t there — or aren’t needed anymore. That’s like trying to fix a flat tire by putting more air into the other three.

The ugly, painful truth is that prioritizing some parts of the child-welfare system over others is no different than saying some kids deserve better care and more protection than other kids.

– Times Colonist, June 15, 2018

Additional coverage:

B.C. closes third group home for children over staff-behaviour concern – Globe and Mail
B.C. is failing to screen staff who care for kids in group homes, warns children’s advocate – The Star
Youth group home closed over allegations gang connected staffer offered cocaine to child – CBC
B.C. child representative has ‘grave concerns’ about oversight of group homes – Prince George Citizen
Globe editorial: The B.C. government continues to fail vulnerable children – Globe and Mail

Last chance to register for the June Conference in Penticton

When you renewed your membership in March, we asked you to share information about the kinds of services you deliver. This information helps us coordinate our advocacy efforts, helps us target communications and requests for information, and it also helps us plan our three annual conferences.

The Federation’s next conference is just two weeks away and we’re incredibly excited about the diverse line-up of speakers that will be joining us. Each was chosen with intention and, all together, they will cover many of our members’ diverse interests, key issues, and services areas.

Caregivers, wages, recruitment, retention…

We are pleased to welcome BC’s Senior’s Advocate to speak about the work her office is doing to improve supports to older adults and caregivers. Senior’s services are facing challenges around recruitment and retention, wages, as well as capacity and sustainability—issues that are also being faced by those providing services for young people in care and for adults living with disabilities. This session will be of value to members supporting older adults and those facing similar issues in other service areas.

Youth in care, childcare, residential review…

The Federation is constantly engaged in improving the system of care for young people in care and that’s why are honoured to welcome MCFD Minister Katrine Conroy. She will speak about MCFD efforts to support young people, share information about BC’s new universal childcare program, and explain how her ministry is trying to work alongside and with First Nations and Indigenous communities across BC. Joining the Minister will be Assistant Deputy Minister Carolyn Kamper and Catherine Talbott, Executive Director of Strategic Initiates, to give a specific update on residential review.

Mental health, integrated services, and more…

Mental health supports are certainly top of mind for a lot of us and we have heard from many members interested in learning more about The Foundry service centres. Steve Mathias and Pamela Liversidge will be joined by Tanya Behardien, Executive Director of Big Sky (formerly PDCRS) to talk about the promise and potential of this model of practice. Rounding out this exciting and informative line-up of speakers will be updates from BC Housing and the BC’s Office of the Ombudsperson. Next week, I will share more details about our plans to celebrate National Indigenous Persons Day and other conference events.

Annual General Meeting

Following the conference will be The Federation’s Annual General Meeting. Among other things, I will provide an update on The Federation’s strategic plan and share with you the outcomes of the February Social Policy Forum and our next steps. The AGM will also see members elect a new President, Vice-President, and Regional Directors and include recognition of the outgoing board members who have served this organization so well over the past few years.

I hope to see you all in Penticton and I look forward to catching up at the networking reception hosted by Schmunk, Gatt, Smith & Associates on Thursday evening.

And don’t forget—online registration for the conference closes on Friday, June 8th so book your spot now! 

Rick FitzZaland
Federation Executive Director