Message from the Minister and
I have the honour to submit the Ministry of Community Services' Annual Service Plan Report for 2005/06. This report highlights our recent achievements as we move toward the goals of the government and the ministry.
June 16, 2006 marks the first anniversary of the ministry's formation. We are building on the solid foundation laid by previous ministers — and earlier configurations of the ministry — as we continue to work collaboratively with local governments, inner-city residents, communities in transition and seniors' and women's organizations. In the past year, two projects the ministry has been involved in — the New Deal for Cities and Communities and the Bylaw Dispute Adjudication System — were named as finalists in the 2nd Annual Premier's Innovation and Excellence Awards.
The Government's Five Great Goals continue to be a beacon for the ministry as we work towards leading the world in sustainable environmental management; building the best system of support for persons with disabilities, those with special needs, children at risk, and seniors; leading the way in healthy living; and, creating more jobs per capita than anywhere else in Canada. Our ministry's support is evident in our mandate and our priorities as we partner with local and federal governments, other ministries, and non-profit and private sector organizations to build strong, resilient communities, support seniors and women, and provide employment opportunities for women and youth at risk.
Our mandate is to promote sustainable and liveable communities that provide healthy and safe places for British Columbians, and I am proud of our successes to date. Our commitment to local governments was most emphatically reinforced when Premier Campbell announced the doubling of Small Community Protection and Regional District Basic grants from $27 million to $54 million at the September 2005 Union of BC Municipalities meeting in Vancouver. As well, last year we allocated $80 million for safe drinking water and waste-water management projects to be implemented by local governments across the province over the next three years.
British Columbia's commitment to urban development agreements continues. Under the Vancouver Agreement, a new Building Opportunities With Business Inner City Society was established in the past year to bring economic development and jobs to the Vancouver Downtown Eastside by connecting business, community and government. Also, Measuring Up: A Guide for Accessible Cities was launched. This guide helps communities determine how to be more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities. Public consultation towards a Victoria Agreement has included discussions with more than 400 people, leading to consensus around economic, social and environmental priorities.
We are collaborating with other government ministries and federal/provincial/territorial forums to promote and foster effective linkages and working relationships to ensure that seniors' and women's issues are highlighted and considered in public policy and program design. The ministry also provides support to the Premier's Council on Aging and Seniors' Issues. Its mandate is to examine how to best support seniors to continue as actively contributing members of society, and how to support their independence and health. Recommendations to government are expected in November 2006. We are building effective relationships with senior-serving organizations and have supported key initiatives that celebrate positive aging and raise awareness for seniors and organizations that serve them.
Several programs were announced in 2005/06 to enhance services for women. The Empowered to Work program offers mentoring support to more than 400 women in four different programs. Our Community Action for Women's Safety program supported 53 organizations in more than 70 communities to raise awareness about violence against women. Additional violence awareness funding expanded the award-winning Respectful Relationships program for adolescents, offered in nine school districts. Funding to the BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses made possible the expansion of the Violence is Preventable project to 25 school districts.
The 2005/06 Ministry of Community Services Annual Service Plan Report compares the actual results to the expected results identified in the ministry's 2005/06 – 2007/08 Service Plan Update. I am accountable for those results as reported.
Minister of Community Services and
Minister Responsible for Seniors' and Women's Issues
June 30, 2006