Click here to find info on COVID-19

Recognizing Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s legacy of passion and commitment

Serving this province for more than ten years as the Independent Representative for Children and Youth, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has moved mountains.

She gave a face and voice to BC’s most vulnerable children by telling their stories. At the same time, Mary Ellen rooted out many of the systemic issues that hurt children and youth in care. Her reports were thorough and contained meaningful recommendations.

She challenged government and the public to deal with some very difficult findings. Many of her reports highlighted the unique situation of First Nations, Aboriginal and Métis children and youth in BC. Every one of her reports drew all of our attention to the needs of children in care, as well as those who are leaving care.

Mary Ellen treated the BCGEU and our members with respect in her efforts to speak for those who are voiceless. She was always eager to hear from frontline staff and attended several BCGEU community forums. She helped bring to light staffing shortages and workload issues that affected our members’ ability to advocate for the children in their care.

She exemplified what an independent officer of the legislature should be: committed, caring and diligent.

We’re hopeful that this government, and future governments, will build on the work that she pioneered. There is still much to be done and we need the government to approve a new replacement as soon as possible.

On behalf of all BCGEU members, I’d like to thank Mary Ellen for her service and the legacy of passion and commitment to our province’s most vulnerable that she leaves behind.


Stephanie Smith

BCGEU President