A time for thanks and for looking forward

It’s that time of year when we focus on what matters most to us and when we reflect on where we’ve come from and where we want to go in the months ahead.

I expect 2018 will be a very busy year in which The Federation builds on new opportunities, strengthens relationships, and works even harder to create a strong and sustainable community social services sector in BC. We have a lot of work ahead of us. But we also have some new and exciting opportunities and I’m very much looking forward to what the new year will hold.

A change in season (and in attitudes)

Last month, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released their report on the budget consultations. The report devoted a large section to social services and used specific language from our own presentation to the committee when detailing the issues that should be addressed.

“Workers in this sector earn less than their counterparts in community health, and compared with wages in education and the public service, the disparity is even more pronounced. One way to improve service delivery is to support and appropriately compensate the people who deliver these services in recognition of the importance of their work.” – Report on the 2018 Budget Consultation, Pages 21-22

As we look forward to the February’s provincial budget (and beyond to collective bargaining in 2019), the statements made in the report are clear signals that our voice is being heard and, more importantly, listened to. Multiple recommendations were focused on child care, early childhood development, poverty reduction, income and disability assistance, support for kids in care, as well as labour and immigration (see pages 24-25 of the report).

This is the kind of opportunity we’ve been waiting for. And for that reason, I hope we see a large contingent of Federation members at the February Social Policy Forum. We’re bringing to the table colleagues and stakeholders—sector partners, unions, umbrella groups, government staff, and politicians—and together, we’re going to begin tackling some of those issues. (Seats are filling up quickly so register soon! The early-bird rate ends December 31st.)

What we’re looking forward to

And as much as The Federation has accomplished over the past year, our team has even more planned for 2018. I am particularly excited about the launch of our next Leadership 2020 cohort in January and the beginning of brand-new (and long-awaited) program for Leadership 2020 alumni and graduates.

We’ve also been working on other ways we can support our members. The Federation’s monthly Research Bulletins have re-launched, we’re kicking off a new Applied Promising Practices project, and we’re bringing back the Research to Practice network to get cutting-edge research, programs, and models onto the desks of your staff and volunteers.

Over the past few months, our staff team has also been doing outreach to better understand what else we can do to support our diverse membership. And we now have even more ideas that we look forward to sharing with you in the new year. (If you have additional feedback about what we can do to better serve and support our members, contact our Community Engagement Lead Kathy Powelson.)

Thank you

As the holidays approach, it’s hard not to notice the extra attention that is given to acts of caring and giving. But I want to take a moment to recognize the fact that people like you approach every day of the year with a caring and giving mindset. And I want to thank you for that one final time before 2017 comes to an end.

I want to thank The Federation Board for their leadership and guidance. I want to thank The Federation staff for their hard work over the past 12 months. And I want to thank you—our members—for your continued commitment to the vision of this Federation. It’s because of you that we continue to be altogether better.

Rick FitzZaland
Federation Executive Director