Posts Tagged "BC"


Should B.C. have a ‘Silver Alert’ system for missing seniors?

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Kendra Mangione , CTV Vancouver

Published Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:15PM PDT

Last Updated Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:18PM PDT

A local man is continuing his push for a province-wide “Silver Alert” system five years after his father walked away, never to be seen again.

On the anniversary of the disappearance of Shin Noh, his son Sam is again calling for a program that would notify media and the public when a senior with Alzheimer’s or dementia wanders off.

The system he advocates for is similar to Amber Alerts sent out when children are missing.

While the program has yet to be officially implemented, a citizen-created alert system has been developed and is operating on social media.

A website set up by Sam Noh and other volunteers collects donations and raise awareness said the notifications are also sent out if a person has a developmental disability, autism or cognitive defect and has been determined to be at risk of harm because of their condition.

They are sent if the subject has been determined to be a missing person by police and has been gone less than 72 hours.

For now, alerts are only sent out for those missing in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, but the organizers intend to expand to the rest of the province in the future. They will only be sent in cases when public assistance could be critical in saving them from harm, the website said.

The BC Silver Alert system is based on software that scans feeds of local police forces for specific keywords. The software will flag the content and a volunteer will review it, post it online and send out an alert.

Noh said early notification can be crucial, as typically missing Alzheimer’s patients are found by members of the public.

“With an official Silver Alert program we can utilize better technology to quickly spread that word – highway billboard signs, media – but without even the Silver Alert there’s still other tools that we have in our community,” Noh said.

“With the City of Vancouver you can sign up for alerts to receive notification about garbage day pickup. So we have this technology. I would like for us to utilize it.”

BC Silver Alert co-founder and Coquitlam Search and Rescue search manager Michael Coyle said people with dementia are often found on the bus when it goes out of service, or when a restaurant closes, or in other similar situations. They’re rarely located by SAR groups, though officials are active and hopeful during their search efforts.

The cases where the missing person isn’t found stick with them, Coyle said.

“All SAR members I know have a list of names they remember, the people that they didn’t find, and for most of the rest of our lives, when someone finds remains in some location, mentally we’re going through our check list,” he said.

Shin Ik Noh
Shin Noh, a 64-year-old former pastor from Coquitlam, B.C., went missing in September 2013 and has never been found.

Pointing to legislation in other provinces in Canada, those behind BC Silver Alert say they want the notifications to be included in a system tested in B.C. in the spring called Alert Ready. The system sends text messages to smartphone users in event of tsunamis, but will later be expanded to include floods and fire warnings, the province’s public safety minister said.

There is an app being tested in other provinces called Community ASAP which could also have potential to notify residents of a specific area, and to allow them to report sightings to local authorities. Coyle said it will be tested locally in October.

The search for Shin Noh

Noh recalled the day his father disappeared, describing the experience of driving around to Shin’s usual spots as “surreal.”

The longer he searched, the more urgency he felt.

His family called the Coquitlam RCMP, and relatives, friends and neighbours combed the areas where they thought he may be.

“I’m truly grateful, but we sort of felt like we were still alone, that we had to come up with all these search and rescue strategies, so it was frustrating at that time,” he said.

“The search progressed very slowly.”

Coyle was involved in the search for Shin five years ago, and has helped search for several others in similar situations. He said every time SAR groups are alerted to a missing person with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they begin with a similar discussion about where to look.

“In an urban environment, there are just so many places where someone could go. People don’t notice the missing person, they don’t look unusual, they’re just walking along, they won’t be asking for help,” Coyle said.

“Normally for search and rescue we end up looking where people don’t go, in case the person gets stuck or trapped, which happens. So we end up in urban wilderness trails and things like that.”

With Shin’s case specifically, he said he remembers they didn’t have a direction of travel. They knew he walked a route every day, but at any point he may have missed a turn.

“Also because of how long it had been since he’d gone missing, our search area was quite big. He could have walked for hours in any direction.”

But because members of the public are statistically more likely to find missing persons with conditions such as dementia, Coyle said he felt frustrated that there was no system to alert the public early on.

Tips poured in, and there were confirmed sightings of his father, Noh said, but the family didn’t know about them for three days.

“I think if we had the Silver Alert or something similar… we may have been able to follow up with it a lot quicker and he may be home with us today,” Noh said.

Five years later, he said he’s surprised they never found his father’s remains, and that it’s hard not to have been able to give Shin a proper burial.

“I want our community to utilize technology to help current families that are dealing with this and to help future families, because the whole goal is I want to save them the devastation and the grief of what we went through.”

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson 

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Province releases What We Heard About Poverty in B.C. report

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Social Development and Poverty Reduction

British Columbia News

Province releases What We Heard About Poverty in B.C. report


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Researchers explore the potential of basic income in B.C.

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As part of the Province’s efforts to reduce poverty and prepare for the emerging economy, three distinguished researchers have been appointed to lead a B.C.-focused exploration of basic income.

This work relates to a commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between government and the B.C. Green Party caucus.

David Green, from the Vancouver School of Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), will chair the expert committee. Joining him will be Jonathan Rhys Kesselman, from the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University, and Lindsay Tedds, from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

The committee will oversee independent research to test the feasibility of a basic-income pilot in British Columbia. It will also look at how basic-income principles might be used to improve the existing income and social-support system. The committee will also consider the impact that advances in technology and automation, and other shifts, are predicted to have on the labour market over the next several decades.

The research will also include simulations that will look at how various basic-income models work with B.C.’s population. These will identify the potential impacts and financial implications of different approaches and economic conditions on B.C. citizens.

The committee will begin work this summer, assisted by researchers at the University of British Columbia.


Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction —

“The researchers will look at whether a basic income is a viable option to reduce poverty, build financial security, and increase inclusion and well-being. This is a complex area of study, and our government looks forward to learning more about how to enhance the income-support system, to achieve measurable and lasting improvements for people living in poverty.”

Andrew Weaver, B.C. Green caucus leader —

“Amidst trends like automation, part-time and contract work, the nature of our economy and the jobs within it are rapidly shifting. There is strong evidence that basic income can provide greater income security, while saving costs in other areas. We proposed exploring how basic income could work in B.C., because government should have a plan for the changes on the horizon. The panelists are highly qualified, knowledgeable and creative thinkers. I am excited to work with them on this innovative project.”

David Green, chair of the Basic Income Expert Committee and professor, Vancouver School of Economics, UBC —

“Much of my work centres on policies that can reduce inequality and create a more just society. I am pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to an in-depth examination of the implications and benefits of a basic income and enhanced income support structures here in B.C.”

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Province declares AccessAbility Week in B.C.

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Social Development and Poverty Reduction

British Columbia News

Province declares AccessAbility Week in B.C.


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Vancouver community centre installs signs for universal washrooms – BC

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The Vancouver Park Board has taken a big step toward making community centres more inclusive for transgender people.

Hillcrest Community Centre is the first in the city to receive new signage for universal washrooms and change rooms. It is part of a larger effort to make public spaces feels safer and more inclusive.

Over the course of the next year, signs will be changed at other community centres. Fitness and aquatic programs will also be revamped to be more transgender friendly.

“This is about making everybody feel comfortable at our community centres,” said Park Board chair John Coupar. “I am extremely proud to be a member of the Board that initiated these historic moves and to be the Chair of the Board now fulfilling our commitments.”

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Vancouver Park Board asking for input on universal washrooms and signage – BC

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As part of the plan to create safe, inclusive, and welcoming spaces for trans and gender variant people in Vancouver, the Board of Parks and Recreation will be asking for the public’s input on signage and options.

The Trans* and Gender Variant Working Group, (TGVWG), have put out a report and have made a number of recommendations including human resource training, program expansions and signage and literature. One part of the report recommends changing signs on washrooms and change rooms to make them universal spaces.


There are already a number of universal facilities in Vancouver park board facilities, and commissioner Trevor Loke says they just want to make sure everyone feels welcome and included.

“We think that the recommendation of universal washrooms is a good idea,” says Loke. “We will be using more inclusive language based on the BC Human Rights Code.”

Loke says they have had occasions where people have entered a washroom of the gender they identify with and have been told to get out, and it more extreme cases, have been beaten.

“Let’s instead just put a toilet or a wheelchair on that space to let people know anyone can use it,” says Loke.


The TGVWG has made a number of recommendations for signs for the bathrooms, but Loke says this should not be a big change for anyone.

“The BC Human Rights Code says people can already use the washroom of their choice,” he says.

“Trans-people do have the right to use the washroom.”

For more information on the report and to provide feedback, visit the TGVWG website.

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