Grants to increase safety, connect people to services

Hon. Sheila Malcolmson

People in Nanaimo who are at risk of harm or victimization will benefit from a $30,000 grant to create a community-based team of front-line workers to deliver better, faster access to services.

"We want to see all people, particularly those who are vulnerable and high risk, receive the right support and services they need, when they need them," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "By investing in creating these teams in communities throughout the province, we're helping front-line workers rapidly connect with people in crisis, while freeing up police to focus on serious and organized criminal activity."

The teams, known as "situation tables," are made up of representatives from health, public safety and social service agencies. They proactively identify vulnerable individuals or families who have a significant probability of criminal offending or experiencing harm or victimization, and rapidly connect them to services before they experience a negative or traumatic event.

Funding is provided by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Office of Crime Reduction and Gang Outreach. The office has invested more than $1.1 million since 2017 to develop new tables or enhance existing ones, with another $240,000 to provide funding to seven more communities this year.

There are currently 10 situation tables operating in B.C., with work underway on 11 more.

Erin Hemmens, councillor, City of Nanaimo - "The recently endorsed Health and Housing Action Plan calls upon all partners providing services in Nanaimo to work together in new ways. The situation table model does just that: by bringing together front-line workers from various agencies and not-for-profits with RCMP, we'll ensure our responses to people in crisis are appropriately tailored to individual needs. The City of Nanaimo welcomes this collaboration and opportunity."

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan - "This new tool will enable greater collaboration among services providers so people at risk can get the help they need quickly and safely. Our government is listening to the needs of people and investing in solutions that will benefit the vulnerable and marginalized."

Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions - "To better connect vulnerable people with the services that can prevent crisis, crime and disorder, situation tables problem solve one case at a time, so at-risk individuals get the help they need. In 2019, 54% of situation table cases were transferred from police to social services, so police could focus on criminals instead."

Advanced Forestry Skills Training program set for Nanaimo

Up to 24 British Columbians will get skills and training to prepare them for jobs in the forest industry on Vancouver Island.

"From timber cruising to wildlife management to forest operations, these advanced forestry skills will open doors to better opportunities and help British Columbians build the foundation for well-paying jobs and long-term success," said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction."

This is a new Community and Employer Partnership (CEP) project from the Government of British Columbia.

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing almost $775,000 to Stillwater Consulting Ltd. to deliver skills and certification courses in two intakes of its Advanced Forestry Skills Training program in Nanaimo.

During the project, participants will receive 16 weeks of occupational and employability skills training, three weeks of on-the-job work experience with local employers and two weeks of followup support to assist in their job search.

In addition to other learned skills, participants will be able to earn four different industry certificates: Occupational First Aid - Level 3, Basic Chainsaw Operator, Basic Fire Suppression and Safety - Fire Entrapment Avoidance, and Pesticide Applicator - Agriculture General. Past graduates of the program have gone on to become junior forestry technicians, wildland firefighters, equipment operators, silviculture surveyors and recreation trail builders.

Funding for this project is provided through the Project-Based Labour Market Training stream of WorkBC's CEP. CEP aims to increase employment and work experience opportunities for unemployed British Columbians through local community partnerships, shared information, technology and innovative practices.

"We are supporting people through the pandemic by investing in programs proven to help people get ahead," said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. "I loved hearing the inspiring success stories from a class that we funded last year in Nanaimo. We're continuing this work so that more people can get the skills, training and work experience needed to get a good job close to home."

Full-time, classroom and online learning for this project starts on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. Project activities run through to July 2, 2021.

"The Advanced Forestry Skills Training program is becoming recognized around the province as the benchmark in forestry training," said Jody McInnes, president and senior project manager, Stillwater Consulting Ltd. "Stillwater is excited to be able to provide students with the technical skills, certifications and practical experience sought out by employers in the forest sector. In this unprecedented time, many people are evaluating their career goals in search of safe and meaningful work. The experiential training style of this program enables students to explore a wide range of job opportunities while gaining practical skills favoured for working in the outdoors."

Anyone interested in the second intake, which runs from May 17, to Oct. 8, 2021, or other employment and training opportunities, can contact their local WorkBC centre.

More than $15 million will be invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2020-21.

Learn More:

Learn how CEPs are helping local communities:

Learn about how WorkBC can help find British Columbians jobs that are right for them:

Find your local WorkBC centre:

Stillwater Consulting Ltd.:

$190 average ICBC refund coming for drivers

John Horgan has more moey for British Columbians – drivers will get a partial refund on their car insurance, with the rebates coming from money ICBC saved during the pandemic.

The rebate will come out to an average of $190 per driver, but could be as high as $400.

Horgan said the one-time rebate, which should begin rolling out by cheque in mid-March, is drawn from net savings of $600 million ICBC has seen during the pandemic. As people continue to work from home and socialize less, there have been fewer cars on the road and fewer crashes over the past year.

The rebates are available to those who held policies from April 1 to Sept. 30. A full policy would lead to a full rebate, with partial coverage leading to a partial rebate.

$25,000 grant for Nanaimo Crisis Care Society

Nanaimo’s Crisis Care Society is among a number of substance recovery organizations on Vancouver Island getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from the B.C. government.

The funding supports local services responding the overdose crisis, which has worsened due to the pandemic. The Nanaimo Centre will get $25,000.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson said overdose and COVID-19 emergencies have created unparalleled challenges for British Columbians, especially those with substance use disorders. The organizations getting the funding offer in-person services and bed-based treatments.

More training for health care assistants in Nanaimo

Hon. Sheila Malcolmson, MLA

0121 – More training opportunities for health care assistants at Vancouver Island University will strengthen the level of care for people in long-term care and assisted living residences, says Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson.

“Caring for our seniors is such vital work, and we’re determined to support workers doing these important jobs,” said Malcolmson. “This program will prepare more people for in-demand careers in our region, building our system of care as we recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

The government is creating 72 new seats in the health care assistant program at VIU, some of 600 new seats being created at public post-secondary institutions across the province, as part of the Health Career Access Program, for a total investment of $8.4 million.

Participants in the program will work in long-term care or assisted living residences as health care support workers, while completing courses to become health care assistants.

Health care assistants provide personal care for seniors, people with disabilities, and people with acute or chronic illnesses in hospitals, long-term care homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and in the community.

This investment is part of B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan, to help people, businesses and communities recover and come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared. B.C.’s total provincial response to the COVID-19 pandemic exceeds $8.25 billion.

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Community-led projects boosted with gaming grants

0122  – People in 29 communities throughout the province will benefit from capital project funding for the health and social services sector, search and rescue operations, and arts and recreation facilities, through Community Gaming Grants.

"The pandemic has highlighted the important role our community organizations fulfill, and their ability to provide direct support for people in communities has been vital," said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. "Whether it's helping local food banks or connecting people through technology and mobile services, we are here to support British Columbians through this difficult time and create stronger, more resilient communities."

Fifty-three not-for-profits are receiving a total of $5 million in capital project grants this year to make upgrades to community facilities and infrastructure, and update technology and equipment to improve their program delivery. Examples of the projects receiving funding include:

* Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Society in Nanaimo received $60,000 for two vehicles that will support the organization's mobile outreach team and to purchase case-management software for its programs.

* Avalanche Canada in Revelstoke received $185,000 for a renovation of its office space to support COVID-19 safety protocols.

* Dixon Transition Society in Burnaby received $124,000 to purchase a minivan, school bus and playground equipment for current clients and a future child care facility.

* Denman Island Community Education Society received nearly $88,000 for the construction of an outdoor covered space to deliver a range of recreational programming.

* Dawson Creek Society for Community Living received $250,000 for the construction of a building extension to support increased demand for programs and services.

Since 2017, the capital project sector has helped 285 not-for-profit organizations in 92 communities buy equipment and make renovations essential to their operations. 

"The BC Association for Charitable Gaming (BCACG) is pleased to see $5 million in support pumped into many provincially based not-for-profits at this critical time," said Caroline Miller, chair, BCACG. "These much-needed injections of major capital funding will make all the difference to all the successful applicants. We applaud the provincial government and the gaming branch for their dedication to this critical, ongoing funding of projects that will assist in COVID-19 recovery programs for many groups."

This capital funding is in addition to funding provided to six different sectors for programming. The funding totals $135 million annually and supports nearly 5,000 non-for-profit organizations to deliver services to people throughout British Columbia.

The full list of capital project sector recipients is available here:

For more information on how Community Gaming Grants are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: