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BCGEU statement of solidarity with B.C. First Nations

by ahnationtalk on June 4, 2015470 Views

BCGEU statement of solidarity with B.C. First Nations
June 2, 2015

The BCGEU stands in solidarity with B.C.’s First Nations and in opposition to recent provincial and federal government decisions to cut funding for Aboriginal Services and programs. The BCGEU also welcomes the groundbreaking publication of the Truth and Reconciliatation Commission report, and seconds the call for a national reconciliation process to be based on action, not just words.

In March 2015, the provincial government ceased direct funding to Indigenous Approaches organizations. This funding helped provide grass roots programming directly to Aboriginal clients in their communities, and helped to address the need for preventative measures to improve the lives of First Nations communities and families. The programs were run and developed with the help of the Aboriginal Children and Families Chiefs’ Coalition and Indigenous Approaches organizations.

More recently, the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), B.C. Region, announced funding cuts to the First Nations Social Development Society (FNSDS). The FNSDS provides vital services to First Nations across B.C., yet its staff will be made redundant due to these funding changes.

From June 30, programs offering income assistance clarification, and training and adjudication for persons with disabilities will cease, with programs being outsourced to an unnamed third party service provider. From September 30, on-reserve income assistance support for all 203 First Nations in B.C. will cease.

The BCGEU stands with B.C. First Nations in opposition to these changes. They go against the spirit of reconciliation.

BCGEU is proud to represent British Columbia’s child, youth and family workers who work with and support the most vulnerable in our province, including Aboriginal families.

BCGEU members work at Aboriginal Services community-based agencies. Social workers and administrative workers at the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry for Social Development and Social Innovation have Aboriginal families in the caseloads.

BCGEU members do what they can to improve lives and futures of Aboriginal children, youth and families, services and supports are being regularly compromised by severe staffing shortages in all these agencies and ministries.

They are being compromised because of

Lack of resources and constant funding cuts – $44million cut to MCFD since 2008, before inflation;
Excessive caseloads – less than 1 in 5 frontline workers have caseloads consistent with best practice;
Severe staffing shortages;
Dangerous occupational health and safety risks;
Inadequate training, including cultural sensitivity training.

These are the key findings from the BCGEU Choose Children report that was published in November 2014 based on the input of over 3,400 frontline workers in MCFD, MSDSI and in Community-based social service agencies. Government responded the same day by hiring 200 frontline workers – still not enough – but failed to move on other recommendations.

The BCGEU Choose Children campaign is now reaching out to specific Aboriginal agencies. Meetings with Aboriginal Service members have already identified similar systemic challenges to providing crucial services to beleaguered Aboriginal families and communities. BCGEU will be publishing an annex to the Choose Children report in fall 2015 summarizing our findings.

The BCGEU and the child, youth and family workers it represents are committed to doing what we can to improve the lives and offer hope to B.C.’s First Nations. The time is long overdue to address poverty and destitution that faces too many Aboriginal communities.

BCGEU Aboriginal Services outreach meetings – Choose Children campaign


When: June 3, 2015, 5pm-7pm

Where: BCGEU Victoria Area Office, 2994 Douglas St.,Victoria

Fraser Valley

When: June 9, 2015, 5pm-7pm

Where: BCGEU Fraser Valley Area Office, 8555-198A St., Langley


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