Recommendations for next year’s provincial budget
Each year, The Federation makes a submission and presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services—the committee that makes recommendations to the Legislative Assembly for the next provincial budget.
Last month, the committee released its Report on the Budget 2023 Consultations. While there are not a great number of recommendations in the social services section (see page 93), the report includes Federation’s recommendations regarding funding inequity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous agencies and our recommendation regarding stable funding for community social services (which includes administrative and compensation funding).
It also addresses some significant issues that The Federation and our members have long been advocating for are included: increased supports for children in care; increased access to support for children and youth with support needs; increased funding and support for seniors centers; a review of policy and administration of income and disability assistance; more stable funding for social services.
Among others, the committee recommended that the provincial government:
- Increase access to long-term counselling for children and youth who experience all types of abuse-induced trauma. (#143)
- Develop targeted measured outcomes in mental health; and a plan to improve mental health and address addictions, the plan can include education to increase awareness, reduce barriers and stigma while also increasing access to counselling and treatment. (#144)
- Identify and fund programming for identity-based counselling and mental health support services that are intersectional, culturally safe and LGBTQ2SAI+ focused. (#145)
- Improve and increase supports for children and youth in care, including by facilitating the jurisdictional transition of child welfare to Indigenous communities, and improving supports to kinship caregivers. (#199)
- Ensure any changes to services for children and youth with support needs are fully funded to provide appropriate resources and eliminate waitlists. (#200)
- Provide increased, predictable, multi-year funding to the community social services sector, including administrative funding and supports to address compensation challenges. (#202)
- Expand social service delivery and the continuum of care to improve response to mental health, addictions, and other complex social issues. (#203)
Another thing that stands out to me is the number of recommendations outside of the social services section of the report that are essentially social care measures. These include things like schools contributing to food security, improving transportation to rural, remote, and Indigenous communities, the importance of non-police community interventions in mental health crises, and the need to review dental coverage for people receiving Persons with Disabilities support.
This is a good report that makes me hopeful for next year’s provincial budget. Especially since this is an all-party committee that is required to submit a report that has unanimous support from all committee members. That is an important piece to consider when you read the report’s contents—there are many recommendations that would not have been included in previous all-party reports. You can read the full report and all of the recommendations for next year’s budget here.
I would like to acknowledge the 9 Federation members who took the time to make presentations to the committee during the consultation period. Combined with the many submissions by our sector partners, BC’s community social services sector was well represented and some key social care issues were put front and center.
If you have any questions about the report or our engagement with the government or the issues The Federation is working to address on your behalf, please reach out. We are always available.
Rick FitzZaland, Executive Director