Over the past month, the BC government has been soliciting feedback, ideas, and priorities for our province’s economic recovery. The discussion paper, Building BC’s Recovery, Together, asked key questions like:
- What do we need to do together to strengthen and improve our health care system?
- What is the top priority for you personally when it comes to improving your quality of life?
- What would most help improve your work life or work prospects?
- Are we on the right track? Do you see your concerns and needs reflected in this approach?
Last week, The Federation submitted our official response to the discussion paper laying out two central recommendations that we believe need to be prioritized.
- That the provincial government ensures reconciliation is truly and structurally at the heart of our economic recovery.
- That the provincial government prioritizes investments in BC’s community social services sector as part of the economic recovery.
You can read an excerpt from our response paper below. The entire submission can be viewed here.
While this crisis has demonstrated the importance of a strong social care system, it has also laid bare some of the gaps in the system that still exist. The fact that social services have been more urgently needed than ever does not mean the inequities and barriers that challenge our sector have magically disappeared. In many ways, our province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been a shining example of how to handle a crisis. But BC’s social services sector has been in crisis for decades.
Ours is a sector that has to fight tooth and nail to provide basic supervision and training for people who work with traumatized children. Ours is a sector where losing one contract means organizations are faced with the prospect of having to close their doors for good. In spite of all these barriers and risks, BC’s social services sector accomplished remarkable things over the past few months in unprecedented conditions. But issues related to wage gaps, funding structures, and procurement continue to cause stress and, if not addressed, could weaken this essential sector at a time when it is most needed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made apparent the strength and potential of BC’s social services sector but it has also exposed the frailty and vulnerability of this essential sector in ways that are hard to ignore. As you consider the goals and priorities for this recovery, we urge you to (1) ensure reconciliation is truly and structurally at the heart of this recovery and to (2) include BC’s community social services sector as a key partner in achieving those goals.