BC Budget & Social Policy Forum

The 2022 Federation Social Policy Forum

Thank you to all those who attended The Federation’s 2022 Social Policy Forum. It was great to have participation from so many member organizations as well as our colleagues from the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth and various government ministries—the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. We had well over 100 people joining us on Zoom!

The Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) started the day by talking about the trends that the RCY office has been tracking related to child and youth mental health. Their team shared numerous reports like Skye’s Legacy: A Focus on Belonging and COVID-19 and the Impact on Children’s Mental Health.

They noted that our province does not have the resources for children and youth experiencing grief and trauma as a result of the toxic drug crisis and the COVID pandemic. Since parents, carers, and helpers are also struggling with the same grief and are becoming overwhelmed, they will also need attention because their mental health will have an impact on the young people they are supporting and caring for. You can view recordings of the RCY presentations and read a short transcript of the Q&A discussion on The Federation website.

In addition to the presentations from the RCY Office, Social Policy Forum participants took part in four breakout sessions working with colleagues and partners from across the province to identify gaps and strengths related to child and youth mental health, highlight opportunities, and commit to personal action.

Each year’s Social Policy Forum and the harvest of ideas and questions set the course for The Federation and inform our work and advocacy and this year will be no different. Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their wisdom and energy and drive for change.

BC Budget

February also saw the release of the latest provincial budget. As usual, The Federation was invited to, and attended, the budget lockup and we took notes on the details and changes related to the social care sector.

In all honesty, the budget did not go quite as far as we had hoped in terms of supports for kids in care, children with support needs, and sector sustainability. However, there were some important new investments in community social care and signs of good things to come.

  • Reconciliation: The creation of a Declaration Act Secretariat to help ensure that legislation is consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
  • Kids in Care: $35 million over the next 3 years to expand and improve supports for young people in care beyond their 19th birthday. The temporary housing and support arrangements provided in 2020 will be made permanent and a new rent supplement program will be introduced. And starting next year the Agreements with Young Adults program will be expanded and extended to the age of 27.
  • Children with Support Needs: $114 million to begin the transition to a provincial needs-based system (i.e., making supports available to a family regardless of whether their child has a diagnosis). Beginning in April 2022 costs of essential medical equipment and supplies for children with support needs will be fully covered.
  • Complex Care: Expanding the complex care housing model to 20 additional sites across BC through an investment of $164 million over 3 years.
  • Sexual Assault Centres: Re-established core funding for Sexual Assault centres across the province—$22 million over the next three years.

You can view the PDF budget analysis presentation that was made to Federation members as well as a recording of the member webinar on the Members page of The Federation website.

If you have any other questions or comments about the provincial budget, the Social Policy Forum, or the ongoing work of The Federation, please don’t hesitate to contact me or Rick.

Rebecca Ataya Lang
Associate Executive Director