Highlights from Mandate Letters for British Columbia Cabinet Members
November 28, 2020
Earlier this week, British Columbia Premier John Horgan announced his new cabinet and the mandate letters for each minister, minister of state, and parliamentary secretary.
The mandate letters from the Premier provide a framework for what Ministers are expected to accomplish, including specific policy objectives and challenges to be addressed.
Each letter includes wording about focusing on commitments in the platform document as well as five foundational principles:
- Putting people first
- Lasting and meaningful reconciliation
- Equity and anti-racism
- A better future through fighting climate change
- A strong, sustainable economy that works for everyone
A number of letters include priorities of interest to the Canadian library and information management community:
- Work with Indigenous communities and the BC First Nations Justice Council to advance the First Nations Justice Strategy and to improve access to culturally appropriate justice, including continuing to establish Indigenous Justice Centres across the province.
- Support the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation to deliver the action plan required under DRIPA to build strong relationships based on recognition and implementation of the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples protected in Canada’s constitution.
- Lead government’s efforts to address homelessness by implementing a homelessness strategy
Parliamentary Secretary – Anti-Racism Initiatives: Rachna Singh
- Conduct a full review of anti-racism laws in other jurisdictions and launch a stakeholder consultation to inform the introduction of a new Anti-Racism Act that better serves everyone in B.C.
- Work with B.C.’s new Human Rights Commissioner and other stakeholders to introduce legislation that will help reduce systemic discrimination and pave the way for race-based data collection essential to modernizing sectors like policing, health care and education.
Advanced Education, Skills and Training: Anne Kang
- Work with post-secondary institutions to support students to succeed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.
- With support from the Minister of Health, lead work to launch B.C.’s second medical school to expand our healthcare workforce.
- Expand the B.C. Access Grant program by increasing eligibility to reduce barriers and make sure more people are able to access the skills they need for the jobs of the future.
- Create an additional 2,000 new tech-relevant spaces in public post-secondary institutions.
- Keep student fee increases low by strengthening the existing Tuition Fee Limit Policy to make sure institutions are not increasing fees beyond the prescribed limits.
- With support from the Minister of Children and Family Development, lead work to expand tuition waivers to all former youth in care, regardless of age.
- Conduct a funding review of post-secondary education operating grants to make sure public post-secondary institutions have the resources they need to support economic recovery and student success.
- Work to expand on the investment that our economic recovery plan, StrongerBC, is making in scholarships for people pursuing online courses to re-skill for the digital economy.
- Support the work of the Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation to invest in innovation clusters, with a focus on emerging industries where B.C. companies have developed the early lead – such as life sciences, emergency management technology, engineered wood, clean tech, artificial intelligence, and quantum and virtual reality technologies.
- Support the work of the Minister of State for Child Care to implement and enhance the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy.
Children and Family Development: Mitzi Dean
- Continue to work with Indigenous partners and the federal government to reform the child welfare system, including implementing the new federal Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families and the principles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and continuing to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care
- Improve support for families of children with special needs, ensuring that the new Child and Youth with Special Needs framework is designed to serve the needs of a broad range of families.
- Work with the Minister of Education and the Minister of State for Child Care to integrate child care into the broader learning environment by developing a strategy to move delivery of child care into the Ministry of Education by 2023.
- Support the Minister of State for Child Care and the Minister of Education to work toward providing universal access to before and after school care, prioritizing care on school grounds so parents know their children are safe at one place for the full work day.
- Support the work of the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions to continue addressing mental health concerns early by rolling out new mental health and addictions care initiatives for children and youth, and ensure these programs are aligned with and support the work of the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
- Support the work of the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training to expand tuition waivers to all former youth in care, regardless of age.
Minister of State for Child Care: Katrina Chen
- Work with the Minister of Education and the Minister of Children and Family Development to integrate child care into the broader learning environment by developing a strategy to move delivery of child care into the Ministry of Education by 2023.
- Enshrine the concept of universal child care in legislation to protect the principles of affordable, accessible, inclusive and quality child care.
- Continue to implement Childcare BC, our government’s ten-year plan to provide universal, affordable, accessible, quality and inclusive child care to every family that wants or needs it, with the goal of no family paying more than $10 a day for licensed childcare when fully implemented.
- Continue to improve the affordability of child care, including by working closely with the federal government to expand the number of $10 a day child care spaces across British Columbia.
- Continue to expand the number and availability of child care spaces, including by developing a capital plan and modular strategy for child care, and by working with the Minister of Finance to ensure that whenever government builds a new school, hospital or other project, child care is considered.
- With support from the Minister of Education and Minister of Children and Family Development, lead work toward providing universal access to before and after school care, prioritizing care on school grounds so parents know their children are safe at one place for the full work day.
- With support from the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, lead work to implement and enhance the Early Care and Learning Recruitment and Retention Strategy, including expanding our successful ECE wage enhancement program to ensure that Early Childhood Educators are a well-supported profession, just like other professionals who work in B.C.’s education system.
Citizens’ Services: Lisa Beare
- Lead work to deliver high-speed connectivity throughout the province until all regions are connected to the high-speed network.
- Continue to expand the use of cross-government data to increase evidence-based decision making and better inform public policy, and assume responsibility for BC Stats.
- Support innovation, including in the B.C. tech sector, through open data initiatives.
- Continue to improve government’s public sector data security and privacy practices to ensure that British Columbians’ personal information is safeguarded.
- Continue to improve how procurement processes deliver benefits for people and businesses in communities across the province.
- Support the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Anti-Racism Initiatives in the collection, housing and analysis of race-based data which will be essential to modernizing sectors like policing, health care and education.
Education: Jennifer Whiteside
- Ensure quality public education continues to be delivered during and after the COVID-19 pandemic through implementation of appropriate guidelines to ensure safety.
- Support COVID-19 recovery by fast-tracking improvements to online and remote learning, including investing in more computers and tablets, more training for teachers and support staff, and new ways to improve social e-learning to promote group interactions between students and teachers.
- Work with the Minister of Children and Family Development and the Minister of State for Child Care to integrate child care into the broader learning environment by developing a strategy to move delivery of child care into the Ministry of Education by 2023.
- Support the Minister of State for Child Care and the Minister of Children and Family Development to work toward providing universal access to before and after school care, prioritizing care on school grounds so parents know their children are safe at one place for the full work day.
- With support from the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, lead work to put more Indigenous languages into B.C.’s curriculum.
- Build on investments into mental health supports for students and staff to better support children and youth with special needs and their families, so everyone involved in our kids’ learning gets the help they need.
- To help make sure students are properly fed for learning, work with school districts to create more local school meal programs based on district data and priorities, and work with the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries to integrate Feed BC into this plan so that districts can include locally grown food.
- Continue to take the pressure off parents to fundraise while giving students safe, accessible playgrounds by expanding our government’s Playground Fund to more schools.
- Deliver targeted investments to help make sure students have the classroom supplies they need to succeed, so parents and teachers don’t have to pay the full cost out-of-pocket.
- Support the work of the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions to provide dedicated mental health teams in school districts.
Finance: Selina Robinson
- With support from the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism, lead efforts to support increased IBPOC (Indigenous, Black and People of Colour) representation within government and set targets for IBPOC representation in the public sector.
- Enhance the Treasury Board capital review process to ensure that public projects deliver on the priorities of government, including ensuring that projects are assessed based on their ability to, where possible, provide opportunities to create new child care spaces, use mass timber, include Community Benefit Agreements and assist in meeting our CleanBC targets.
Parliamentary Secretary – Gender Equity: Grace Lore
- Ensure our government’s commitment to gender equality is reflected in our budgets, policies and programs.
- With support from the Minister of Labour, lead work to close the gender pay gap by continuing to address systemic discrimination in the workplace and moving closer to equal pay for equal work through new pay transparency legislation.
Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation: Murray Rankin
- In collaboration with Indigenous partners, deliver the action plan required under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act to build strong relationships based on recognition and implementation of the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples protected in Canada’s constitution.
- Bring forward for cabinet consideration a plan to create a dedicated Secretariat by the end of 2021 to coordinate government’s reconciliation efforts and to ensure new legislation and policies are consistent with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
- Improve our government’s relationships with Indigenous peoples by moving from shortterm transactional arrangements to long-term agreements that recognize and support reconciliation, self-determination and economic independence.
- Facilitate partnership with First Nations around key decisions on regional land and resource use allocation through evolving shared decision making, building on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, to provide a clear, stable and sustainable path for everyone to work together.
- Extend our support for cultural preservation and revitalization by funding key projects designed to preserve and respect Indigenous cultures, including the retention and revitalization of First Nations languages.
- Expand our government’s support for Aboriginal Friendship Centres that serve the needs of local Indigenous communities while playing a vital role in connecting urban Indigenous peoples from across the province to their home communities.
- With support from the Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing, lead work to bring the federal government to the table to match our funding to build much-needed housing for Indigenous peoples both on and off reserve.
- Support the work of the Minister of Education to put more Indigenous languages into B.C.’s curriculum.
- Support the work of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to reflect Indigenous peoples’ history and cultures in provincial parks and wilderness areas.
Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
Parliamentary Secretary – Technology and Innovation: Brenda Bailey
- Develop an intellectual property strategy to support more innovation and commercialization by B.C. companies, including a First Patent Program.
- Help more people from underrepresented groups get their first job in the tech sector, while simultaneously helping B.C.-based tech companies hire and grow, by increasing the number of Innovator Skills Initiative Grants and prioritizing placements for women, Indigenous people, people of colour and others currently underrepresented in B.C.’s tech sector.
Labour: Harry Bains
- Continue a collaborative approach in working with representatives of workers and employers to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people and businesses.
- Continue working with the federal government on a paid sick leave program to protect workers and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
- Create new consultative mechanisms to engage employer and worker representatives in consideration of any changes proposed to workplace legislation to ensure the widest possible support.
- Once the minimum wage reaches $15.20 per hour in June 2021, provide predictability for employers and workers by tying the minimum wage to the rate of inflation.
- Ensure that every worker has the right to join a union and bargain for fair working conditions.
- Support the work of the Minister of Advanced Education to restore the compulsory trades system to improve safety and give more workers a path to apprenticeship completion.
- Support the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity’s work to close the gender pay gap by addressing systemic discrimination in the workplace and through new pay transparency legislation.
Parliamentary Secretary – New Economy: Adam Walker
- Work with labour and business organizations to develop a precarious work strategy that reflects modern workplaces’ diverse needs and unique situations.
- As part of the precarious work strategy, propose employment standards targeted to precarious and gig economy workers, and investigate the feasibility of a government-backed collective benefit fund and access to a voluntary pooled-capital pension plan for workers who do not otherwise have coverage.
Mental Health and Addictions: Sheila Malcolmson
- With support from the Minister of Children and Family Development, lead work to continue our government’s commitment to addressing mental health problems early by rolling out new mental health and addictions care initiatives for children and youth.
- With support from the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, lead work to invest more in community-based mental health and social services so there are more trained front-line workers to help people in crisis, and free up police to focus on more serious crimes.
- Support the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General and interested municipalities to expand the successful ‘situation table’ model that connects front-line workers from different health, safety, and social service sectors to identify and help vulnerable people.
- Support the work of the Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness, including those living in encampments.
Municipal Affairs: Josie Osborne
- Improve local communities’ ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by launching the new Strengthening Community Fund to enable local governments to apply for funding to help them tackle street disorder, cleanliness and public safety, and improve their ability to respond to challenges posed to businesses and neighbourhoods by homelessness.
- Work with cabinet colleagues to redouble our government’s efforts to streamline foreign credential assessments processed by various regulatory bodies and health-related colleges to make sure immigrants can more easily strengthen their language skills and access job opportunities in their field of training.
- Work with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure to support economic recovery in communities across B.C. by continuing to build important infrastructure projects, including through StrongerBC and the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
Public Safety and Solicitor General: Mike Farnworth
- Take concrete steps to evaluate the recommendations of the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act and, with the assistance of the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, bring forward recommendations to address systemic racism, create dedicated hate crime units within local police forces, and review training and procedures related to ‘wellness checks’.
- Work with the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and the Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing to fast track the move toward decriminalization by working with police chiefs to push Ottawa to decriminalize simple possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use. In the absence of prompt federal action, develop a made-in-B.C. solution that will help save lives.
- Support the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions to invest in community-based mental health and social services so there are more trained front-line workers to help people in crisis, and free up police to focus on more serious crimes.
- Work with the Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and interested municipalities to expand the successful ‘situation table’ model that connects front-line workers from different health, safety, and social service sectors to identify and help vulnerable people.
- Support the work of the Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity to develop an action plan to end gender-based violence, including minimum standards for sexual assault response, more training for police, crown council and justices, and core funding for sexual assault centres.
Social Development and Poverty Reduction: Nicholas Simons
- Build on our government’s Poverty Reduction Plan, TogetherBC, and the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Basic Income to determine the best approach and path forward to reducing poverty long-term and providing opportunities for jobs and skills training.
- Continue to work with people across the province to develop and introduce comprehensive accessibility legislation in Spring 2021 to open doors to opportunity and participation.
- With support from the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, lead work to increase food security for people in need by expanding government support to food banks and developing program partnerships with food producers, grocery stores and not-for-profits to develop discounted food market, food recovery and food redistribution programs.
- Build on the work of so many around the province to make B.C. a global leader in the fight to end period poverty by creating a multi-sectoral Period Poverty Task Force to develop a comprehensive, long-term response to period poverty in B.C.
- Continue work on the Reimagining Community Inclusion Initiative to improve services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Parliamentary Secretary – Accessibility: Dan Coulter
- Engage with advocates, communities and businesses to ensure the new accessibility legislation is effective and well-understood.
- Work with the Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing to ensure the next iteration of the BC Building Code includes changes that will make new buildings more accessible for all people.
Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport: Melanie Mark
- Support the creation of dedicated arts and culture spaces by using capital funding through our new Recovery Investment Fund to expand our government’s Arts Infrastructure Program to help communities build new cultural spaces and renovate existing ones.
- Continue the redevelopment of the Royal BC Museum.
- Work with the Minister of State for Trade to continue the development of the Chinese Canadian Museum.
- Start work to create a first-of-its-kind museum to document the history, art and contributions of South Asian people in BC.
- Honour the Japanese-Canadian community by providing lasting recognition of the traumatic internment of more than 22,000 Japanese-Canadians during World War II in libraries, communities and at the BC Legislature.
- Provide provincial funding to support the redevelopment of the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, delivering a new state-of-the-art community centre along with hundreds of new child care spaces.