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March 16, 2015
In This Issue
The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in B.C.

B.C. government unveils new plan to transition residents back into the workforce

The Province announced a new plan that will help integrate single parents on welfare back into the workforce this week. The new $24.5-million program will cover tuition, daycare, medical and transportation costs as parents train for and start a new job.

Currently, people on income assistance or disability are required to give up government support payments and take out student loans if they wish to take trades training or post-secondary classes. With the new program, the Province will pay for 12 months of tuition if the program is one of B.C.’s 60 ‘in-demand’ occupations, which include: carpentry, welding, office support work, retail, cooking, social work, early childhood education, heavy equipment operation, security, plumbing, marriage counselling and baking.

The program has been praised by service groups and the opposition NDP as a step toward lifting some families out of poverty. Currently there are approximately 16,000 single parent families on income and disability assistance in B.C. Approximately 90 per cent of these parents are female.

Building on this initiative; to further support lower income residents, the provincial government also announced this week a raise to the minimum wage from $10.20 to $10.45, with future increases aligning to the provincial Consumer Price Index.

Vancouver Police and Fire Chiefs lend support to transit referendum

Metro Vancouver police and fire chiefs spoke out in favour of the ‘yes’ vote in the pending transit plebiscite. They advocate increased transit services would lead to faster response times, fewer crashes and decreased drunk driving. According to the city’s first responders, although there are obvious costs associated with voting yes, maintaining the system also costs taxpayers because of increased costs for emergency services combatting current levels of congestion.


Rural advisory council members announced

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Hon.Steve Thomson and Parliamentary Secretary Donna Barnett announced the members of the Province’s new Rural Advisory Council this week.The list is composed of 14 individuals from different areas of the province. The council will meet quarterly to provide advice on rural economic development.


Legislative Watch

Legislative Watch is published while the BC Legislature is in session, as a report on events that are shaping B.C. politics.

4th Session, 40th Parliament: Week of March 9-13, 2015

Previous Legislative Watch reports can by viewed here.