“We welcome the increased funding for the Ministry for Children and Family Development announced in today’s budget. Our union, and especially our frontline members, have worked hard to convince government that a significant increase is crucial for the ministry. Their concerns were detailed in the BCGEU report Choose Children, and these efforts have paid off. Additional frontline social workers, and support staff, will improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in crisis who rely on these services. However, the province still needs to increase wages in this sector to prevent skilled social workers from moving to provinces that pay considerably more,” said BCGEU president Stephanie Smith.
“We are disappointed there has not been a similar investment of new resources for other ministries which have faced more than a decade of frozen and shrinking budgets. Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge criticized the provincial government for failing to fund the justice system following courtroom delays due to staffing shortages. This budget does nothing to address these very real problems. The justice system is just one of many branches of government that need additional resources to carry out the important work they do,” said Smith.
“In the Throne Speech the government indicated it would modernize community care and assisted living. Last month the B.C.’s Seniors Advocate said services are not keeping pace with the province’s aging population, in particular cost-effective home support services that allow seniors to remain in their homes. Today’s budget does not provide the funding that is needed. We owe it to our seniors to provide services they need to live independently,” said Smith.
“This government’s tax policies have left it unable to fund critical services. B.C. has the leanest public service in the country. In many cases it is too lean and continues to shrink relative to population growth. A commission on tax competitiveness, announced today, should include tax fairness to increase revenues in its terms of reference. We also call on the government to anticipate the federal legalization of marijuana and prepare to use the existing liquor distribution and retail system to create new revenue to pay for public services,” said Smith.
For more information: Evan Stewart, BCGEU Communications 604-220-3095.