Posts Tagged "Board"


OPINION | The Surrey Board of Trade shouldn’t help anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. build his brand: Opinion | CBC News

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Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been spreading lies about the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations for years, claiming they make kids sick and that there’s a vast government conspiracy to cover it up.

But despite this record, Kennedy has been invited by the Surrey Board of Trade — which referred to him as a “visionary” — to speak at its fall environment and business awards events. 

Anita Huberman, chair of the Surrey Board of Trade, has defended the invitation, noting that Kennedy “will not be speaking on his vaccination position” and will only be addressing the issue of green business. But giving him a platform and calling him a visionary positions him as an expert and normalizes his views in general. 

While his conclusions on climate change, for example, are consistent with those of the scientific community, his expressions on other matters such as vaccination show a remarkably limited understanding of science and critical thinking. Just as a broken clock is right twice a day, Kennedy has been right a few times, but is very wrong on this critically important issue. 

Amplification of non-experts

Giving a platform to people like Kennedy feeds society’s mistrust in authority and this has led nonexperts to be viewed as truth-telling crusaders battling against the evils of the so-called Deep State and Big Pharma. I am no expert in, and will give no opinion on Cape Cod real estate; in the same way, I ask Kennedy to reassess his own understanding of accepted facts in the science of immunization. 

And with so many actual experts in green business, the Surrey Board of Trade can do much better than Kennedy.

It doesn’t suffice to suggest that Kennedy’s anti-vaccinations views are just his personal opinions, and as such, we can’t fault him for those. Saying the Beatles are better than the Rolling Stones is an opinion. But the efficacy and safety of vaccinations are facts. 

We need to support the truth and not give space to those who wish to undo it, much as we do not tolerate those who claim the Holocaust never happened,  or that people should be killed because of whom they love, or that adults should be able to exploit children.

Huberman has granted that Kennedy’s “position on anti-vaccination” is “unfortunate,” but this is a mischaracterization. His position is a deliberate one, and it’s wrong. Kennedy’s own family has disavowed his propaganda efforts. So too must the Surrey Board of Trade.

This is not an issue of censorship. No one is suggesting that Kennedy should be silenced by the state; simply that he should not be given a greater stage to build his profile. Much as my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins, one’s right to freedom of speech ends at the point that it violates the rights of our most vulnerable, such as children who cannot be vaccinated and rely on herd immunity. 

Vaccination rates must reach 96 per cent for herd immunity against measles to be effective. But MMR vaccine levels among children in the Fraser Health Authority, which includes Surrey, have dropped to 83 per cent as of 2018. Indeed, the World Health Organization has listed vaccine hesitancy as one of the top global health risks in 2019. 

It is against this backdrop that Kennedy has been invited to speak. It is thanks to rhetoric like his that we have seen increased hesitancy, decreased immunization rates, and the return of deadly diseases that were previously eradicated. The Board of Trade must also be aware that one of Kennedy’s business activities includes acting as the chair of the board of Children’s Health Defense, an organization that propagates anti-science nonsense

As an alternative, I suggest that the Surrey Board of Trade invite Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of the Fraser Health Authority, to discuss the social and economic harms of vaccine hesitancy, which can include disability costs, leave time for parents to care for sick children, and a health care system spending valuable resources treating previously eradicated diseases and educating against anti-vaccination lies. 

A good business should be ethical and responsible. Kennedy does not reflect these values. Allowing him to build on his brand as a trustworthy activist literally threatens the health of our children. His invitation to speak by the Surrey Board of Trade must be rescinded.

This column is part of CBC’s Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read our FAQ.

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School board to vote tonight on fate of French immersion at Kitsilano school

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The fate of the French immersion program at Henry Hudson Elementary School will be decided at a Vancouver School Board meeting tonight. 

Trustees will vote on a motion to phase out the program, which would make this year’s kindergarten class the last to accept enrolment.

Many parents are worried about losing the French immersion program. 

“It’s been very stressful for families and our children,” said Josh Paterson, a parent on the school’s advisory council. 

“Some parents have had to think carefully about whether or not they should be looking at other schools, which threatens the existing program here and creates a stress in their life,” Paterson said.

Parent Josh Paterson said the kids at Hudson don’t want to be torn from their school or lose their French immersion program. (Radio-Canada)

The phase-out was one of several options recommended in a recent report to deal with the school being over capacity. There is not enough classroom space to accommodate the English program as well as French immersion. 

There are many families that get turned away every year.– Glyn Lewis, Canadian Parents for French

Adrian Keough, director of instruction for the VSB, said under the School Act of B.C., the board must provide education in English as a priority.

“We’re are at a point now where we cannot continue to enrol French immersion, and accept all of the English students who want to take the English program in that school,” Keough said. 

“We’ve taken away the staff room, we’ve taken away computer rooms, we’ve added portables. All trying to mitigate the situation,” he said. 

Keough said the school board remains committed to French immersion and added about 100 seats across the district last year. 

High demand for French immersion

Glyn Lewis, B.C.’s executive director of Canadian Parents for French, said accessibility of French immersion is already a major issue, especially in downtown Vancouver and Kitsilano.

“To cut a French immersion program in a neighbourhood, in a part of the city where there’s already very long wait lists, makes no sense,” Lewis said. 

“There are many families that get turned away every year,” he said. 

Originally, the report recommended moving the seats to Lord Strathcona Elementary School in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. 

However, feedback indicated that “very few” parents at Hudson would choose to enrol their children at Strathcona as an alternative due to an additional 25 to 35 minute commute.

Parent Joanne Garrie hopes her youngest daughter will be able to attend French immersion at Henry Hudson school, alongside her two older daughters. (Radio-Canada)

Joanne Garrie has two daughters who attend Hudson in French immersion. She hopes her youngest daughter can do the same. 

She said providing a place to learn French is important to her and her family, and they’ve built their community around the program and it’s current location. 

“My daughter, who started French in Grade 1, she says, ‘I found my passion, this is where I love learning is in French.’ I can’t take that away from her now. That would be very destructive,” Garrie said.  

The school board meeting begins at 7 p.m. PT. 

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North Vancouver doctor’s painful ambulance ride led to ketamine on board

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Paramedic Specialist Ryan Stefani holds ketamine, shown here ready to be used as a nose spray. In a recent paramedic trial, used intranasally, the drug reduced patient pain significantly. Photo: Courtesy of BCEHS


Gary Andolfatto spent four hours hobbling nine kilometres on one leg over snowy forest trails, using his bike as a crutch, after breaking his leg four years ago in a cycling mishap.

When Andolfatto, an emergency room doctor at Lions Gate Hospital, was discovered by Lynn Canyon park rangers and loaded into an ambulance, his immediate need was pain control.

Andolfatto was shocked when the paramedic riding in the back with him could only offer nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas.

“He told me how frustrating it was that it is all primary care paramedics are permitted to give since they aren’t trained or permitted to inject drugs or give opioids,” said Andolfatto.

“I was ashamed, and felt so humbled that I didn’t realize what their limitations were and how bad it must be for them and their patients in serious pain. It really struck a chord and it gave me the impetus to do something that would be a game changer. Maybe I was meant to break my leg that day.”

Dr. Gary Andolfatto, ketamine researcher and emergency room physician at Lions Gate Hospital.

Some innovators jot down the kernels for good ideas on napkins. While lying on a stretcher, with a broken left femur, Andolfatto conceived a research study that would involve paramedics spraying low doses of ketamine — a non-opioid, but still a controlled substance — into the nostrils of patients.

Unlike opioids like fentanyl, ketamine doesn’t suppress respiration so it is considered much safer.

“With low-dose ketamine, the risk of doing serious harm is zero,” said Andolfatto. “There are many reasons why it makes sense for this to be used more widely in an ambulance setting. On the other hand, laughing gas (delivered through a mask) requires a certain amount of co-operation (inhalation) from patients.”

Laughing gas is also not as effective as ketamine for controlling pain, added Andolfatto.

The research Andolfatto envisioned that day was recently published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

Now primary and advanced care paramedics with B.C. Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) are enthusiastically starting to deliver intranasal ketamine. Critical care paramedics with advanced training have been using intravenous ketamine on patients since 2008 but 70 per cent of the more than 4,000 paramedics in B.C. are at the primary care level and not permitted to do so.

The research led by Andolfatto has paved the way for use of a drug that is economical ($10 a dose), effective, safe and delivered quickly without needles, said Joe Acker, director of clinical and professional practice at BCEHS.

But before ketamine can be widely used by paramedics the provincial government will have to change statutes pertaining to the scope of practice of primary care paramedics as it is a controlled substance, said Acker. Health Canada will also have to give its approval.

BCEHS also has some challenging logistical issues to work on to prevent theft of ketamine by patients, paramedics or others. Biometric safes for storage and audits — similar to what hospitals have done to prevent drug diversion — are two of the strategies being implemented. 

“The onus is now on us to do our due diligence,” Acker said, adding that paramedics have for too long been hampered when it comes to relieving pain experienced. In rural areas, such transports may take hours and when paramedics witness such pain, it can be traumatizing, “opening huge moral wounds for paramedics frustrated that they cannot offer more.”

The study involved 120 patients who were transferred by ambulance to Surrey Memorial Hospital between November 2017 and May 2018. Patients were randomized to receive either a ketamine nasal spray or a placebo of saline solution. Those who got ketamine, along with nitrous oxide, reported having a significant reduction in pain after 15 minutes. A majority of patients who got ketamine said they felt dizziness and a feeling of unreality, but their levels of comfort were higher than those who received a placebo spray into the nostrils.

“We now have the science to show us that it can be used effectively and safely by primary care paramedics,” Andolfatto said. “Now it’s time to allow primary care paramedics to start using it and doing the quality assurance piece to ensure it provides a real benefit, is financially feasible and won’t potentially be abused.”

The $26,000 study involved researchers from UBC, Lions Gate Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital, and BCEHS. It was funded by the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and the B.C. Emergency Medicine Network.

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Twitter: @MedicineMatters

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Joyce Murray tapped as new Treasury Board President in latest Trudeau shuffle

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OTTAWA – Longtime Liberal MP Joyce Murray has been tapped by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to join cabinet as the new Treasury Board President and Minister of Digital Government.

Trudeau appointed the Vancouver-Quadra, B.C. MP and one-time leadership contender to the role in a single-person shuffle at Rideau Hall on Monday.

This is Trudeau’s third shuffle in as many months. Murray has held the position as parliamentary secretary to the Treasury Board throughout the current government’s mandate.

“Murray will help advance the priorities of the Government of Canada and deliver its commitments to Canadians,” the PMO said in a statement about her cabinet appointment.

She will take on overseeing the federal public service and intergovernmental spending as part of the Treasury Board file. This position also touches on the management of government departments.

Murray was first elected to represent her current riding in a 2008 by-election. Prior to federal politics, Murray was a B.C. cabinet minister.

Speaking with reporters following her swearing-in ceremony, Murray said that despite the turnover in who leads the Treasury Board, work at the department has continued.

“There’s a lot to do and I am going to be focused on … continuing and completing the agenda that has been set out and building on the really good work of previous Treasury Board presidents,” Murray said.

Adding a woman allowed Trudeau to maintain gender balance while filling the vacancy left by Jane Philpott’s resignation from cabinet. Philpott resigned earlier this month saying she had lost confidence in the way the government was handling the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

Since Philpott resigned, Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility Minister Carla Qualtrough had been temporarily acting in the Treasury Board position.

This slight front bench rejigging follows February’s cabinet shuffle in which Trudeau filled the vacancy left by Jody Wilson-Raybould when she resigned from veterans affairs after allegations emerged that she felt pressured by senior PMO officials to interfere in a criminal prosecution against the Quebec engineering giant.

In February’s shuffle, Trudeau moved around three existing cabinet ministers, giving one — Maryam Monsef — an additional portfolio to cover off all cabinet responsibilities.

Philpott had only been in the Treasury Board positon for a few months. She was shuffled into that role in January, in response to Scott Brison’s departure. It was that shuffle that saw Wilson-Raybould replaced as justice minister and attorney general by David Lametti. During that visit to Rideau Hall, Trudeau shuffled three ministers into new roles, and appointed two rookies.

Trudeau’s former top adviser Gerald Butts cited the January shuffle as the flashpoint for the months-long ongoing SNC-Lavalin controversy, citing, as Trudeau has put it, an “erosion of trust” between Wilson-Raybould and the PMO after they sought to shuffle her into Philpott’s old job as Indigenous services minister and she turned it down.

During her post-shuffle media availability, Murray acknowledged that it has been a “challenging few weeks,” but said the caucus is united and she does not have any outstanding questions about the scandal.

In a statement to her constituents earlier this month, Murray offered her perspective on the SNC-Lavalin affair, saying she had “absolute confidence” in Trudeau and the work the Liberal government is doing.

Murray has at times been outspoken and critical about some key Trudeau policy moves. She had been pushing for electoral reform since her leadership bid — which she lost to Trudeau — and said it was “difficult” to see that it was a promise the Liberals would not be following through on. She has also said that cabinet’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain expansion disappointing, and has voiced concerns from her constituents that tax dollars are being spent to purchase the project from Kinder Morgan.

In her personal life, Murray and her husband have been seized with assisting one of their sons who was seriously injured in a fall while honeymooning in Cancun.

“I am happy to say that he is healing well, he is in great spirits. He is still in Vancouver General Hospital but we hope that he will be home soon for convalesces and eventually rehabilitation of his injuries,” she said.

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Community Living BC welcomes new board members

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Jake Spencer Anthony

Anthony is a professional actor, self-advocate and acting instructor with City of Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services. He has been an advocate for persons with disabilities for over a decade, teaching Burnaby’s only fully inclusive theatre class for people of all diverse abilities since 2013. Previously, he worked as a media arts correspondent for posAbilities Association of BC. He has served on the boards and committees of non-profit organizations, such as Inclusion BC, Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, and Kickstart Disability Arts and Culture. He also sat on the City of Burnaby Access Advisory Committee and is a member of the TransLink Access Transit Users’ Advisory Committee. Anthony attended the William Davis Centre for Actors’ Study at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts.

Katherine Bright

Bright is a consultant, executive and board director with two decades of experience in working with privately held enterprises, non-profit organizations, public companies and Crown corporations. She has taught courses across the globe in areas of strategy, succession planning, organizational development, governance and business growth. Starting with a career in social work, her roots are in community and child services. Throughout her career, she has continued her commitment to public policy, governance and stewardship. In addition to running her consulting practice, she serves in a federal appointment as the vice-chair of the Pacific Pilotage Authority board of directors and as an independent director on a private family enterprise board. Bright holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Puget Sound and a master of business administration from the University of British Columbia.

Nelson Jake Chan

Chan is the chief financial officer for the Capital Regional District, Capital Regional Hospital District and Capital Region Housing Corporation. He has extensive experience in strategic investment and business transformation in both public and private sectors. He serves on the boards of the Government Finance Officers Associations of B.C. and Royal Roads University. He holds a master of business administration from Florida Metropolitan University and a bachelor of commerce from McMaster University. Chan is a chartered professional accountant and certified management accountant in Ontario and British Columbia.

Marnie B. Larson

Larson is the chief executive officer at StarGarden Corporation, responsible for operations in Canada, the U.S. and New Zealand. She has over 20 years of experience in the software industry, specializing in human capital management, human resources, payroll and time and attendance software solutions. Active in her community, she serves on the board of the Better Business Bureau Lower Mainland and served on the boards of Wired Woman and the Simon Fraser University (SFU) MBA Alumni Association. Larson holds a bachelor of commerce from the University of British Columbia and a master of business administration from SFU Beedie Graduate School of Business.

Julia Louise Payson

Payson is the executive director of Canadian Mental Health Association (Vernon and District Branch), where she works with a team to improve mental health for all. Previously, she was secretariat director of the Community Action Initiative and executive director of the John Howard Society of British Columbia. She is a board director for the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, where she promotes safe and affordable housing throughout the province. She has worked internationally in emergency medical aid in Sudan, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea. Payson volunteers as a board consultant with Vantage Point and as a board development committee member for the BC SPCA. She holds a bachelor of arts from the University of British Columbia.

Simon Andrew Philp

Philp is a market vice-president of commercial banking, leading teams on Vancouver Island and throughout the B.C. central interior, northern B.C. and the Yukon for CIBC. He has spent over 20 years in financial services working with private and public companies, public sector entities, First Nations governments and non-profit organizations. Philp has served on a number of boards, most recently as a co-chair of the governance board for the unification of the B.C. accounting profession. He has volunteered as a representative and board member for technology industry organizations, universities, business associations, arts groups and land trusts in both Canada and the U.S. Philp obtained his CFP and CMA (now CPA) designation.

Patricia (Patti) Ann Sullivan

Sullivan is a management advisor and chairs the Capital Regional District Arts Advisory Council. She began her career in child care with children and youth with developmental challenges in Montreal, followed by a move to Lynn Lake as director of a youth centre. She has worked in executive roles in community health, youth development services, social housing and business development. Sullivan served on the boards of Volunteer Victoria and the British Columbia Association for Living Mindfully. She served as board chair of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Child and Family Services of Central Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and as a member on the Canadian Pharmacists Association and Canadian Mental Health Association boards in Manitoba. She is a YWCA Woman of Distinction (business and professional). Appointed complaints review commissioner by the Law Society of Manitoba, she served as the first non-lawyer chair of its Complaints Investigations Committee. Sullivan holds a bachelor of arts from the University of Winnipeg.

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Vancouver Park Board approves $35K for trans programs in community centres

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In their first committee meeting since the municipal election, Vancouver Park Board commissioners voted unanimously to approve $35,000 in funding for new trans and gender diverse programs in the city’s community centres.

The funding will help the Queer Arts Festival develop arts workshops, staff training and appoint a representative to advise staff on implementing inclusive programming.

The board’s decision came the night before the transgender community marks its International Day of Remembrance on Tuesday. 

SD Holman, Queer Arts Festival artistic director, says the funding will be used to make community centres more welcoming for transgender people.

“For gender non-conforming people, gender diverse folks, going into parks and pools and change rooms is very dangerous, can be humiliating and really really very difficult,” Holman said.

One of the festival’s initiatives proposes to play videos created by trans artists in the common areas of community centres.

“We do everything at the Roundhouse [Community Centre] in the downtown,” said Holman. “Being able to get gender diverse, two spirit and trans art and videos that are going to be played much further out in Vancouver where you wouldn’t necessarily see that is going to be a very important piece of art.”

The Park Board’s trans, gender diverse and two-spirit inclusion (TGD2S) advisory committee was created in 2014 to increase accessibility to parks and community centres for trans people.

Since then, the board has appointed a steering committee to advise on TGD2S specific programming and in 2016 hired two TGD2S facilitators to train staff.

In 2018, new park board pilot programs have included a TGD2S weight room at the Britannia fitness centre, a teen Pride pool party at the Templeton Park Pool and queer and trans youth drop-ins at the West End Community Centre.

Commissioner John Irwin hopes the funding will continue to support trans and queer young people who are at higher risk of substance abuse and suicide.

“Hopefully, it’ll add to the empathy and support in the wider community,” Irwin said.

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Nova Scotia says it won’t appeal accessibility ruling by human rights board – Halifax

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The province says it won’t appeal a Nova Scotia human rights ruling that it discriminated against people in wheelchairs by failing to enforce a regulation requiring restaurants to have accessible bathrooms.

The independent board of inquiry said in a decision released in September that the province did not regulate food safety provisions on accessible washrooms in restaurants with patios.

READ: ‘Accessible washrooms should include everyone’: N.S. human rights inquiry begins

Chairwoman Gail Gatchalian ordered the Environment Department to interpret, administer and enforce the regulations as they appear.

The Justice Department says it will fast track an action plan to ensure the human rights decision is implemented in a timely fashion.

WATCH: Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Advisory Board holds inaugural meeting in Halifax

It will be developed in collaboration with the disability community and the restaurant industry.

The department says its effort will be supported by the newly established Accessibility Directorate and the Nova Scotia Accessibility Advisory Board.

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Park board to test out liquor sales at two Vancouver beaches

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The Vancouver park board decided Monday to allow alcohol sales at two Vancouver beach concessions as part of a two-year pilot project.


Want a cold beer on a Vancouver beach in the summer sunshine?

You can next year, but only at roped-off areas at two Vancouver beach concessions.

On Monday, the Vancouver park board approved a concession strategy which includes a two-year pilot to allow liquor sales at the English Bay and Kitsilano Beach concessions from May to September. 

“This is the first step,” said commissioner Sarah Kirby-Yung.

It’s a bold step because it’s the first for the park board but “not that bold because it’s already happening,” she added, referring to people drinking alcohol on the sly in parks and beaches, despite public consumption carrying a $230 fine.

The park system needs to evolve with the rise of condo-dwellers who use parks as their backyards, said Kirby-Yung. “We need to give people the ability to enjoy their city.”

The two-location pilot will allow the park board to assess the feasibility of offering booze at other concessions in the next three to five years.

Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon expressed trepidation over the accessibility of liquor in public spaces, “especially at beaches (with) hot sun and alcohol.” But, he said, “it’s certainly worth a trial to see how it would go.”

There has been a growing chorus of calls from the public and politicians to loosen liquor regulations in public spaces and fix Vancouver’s reputation as a “no fun city.”

A survey found that 79 per cent of respondents were in favour of the sale of alcohol beverages at concessions, according to a park board report on its concession strategy. Sixteen per cent disagreed.

Park board general manager Malcolm Bromley said the issue is “polarizing” and the two-year trial duration is to make sure the park board gets it right. “We are in it for the long run,” he said.

The locations were chosen because the concessions already have restaurant operators — Cactus Restaurants Ltd. at English Bay and The Boathouse at Kitsilano Beach — best-suited to get the program up and running, said staff.

The pilot will be conducted beer-garden style. A section of beach at English Bay adjacent to the public walkway would be roped off, while a temporary small patio would be created outside the existing concession at Kitsilano Beach.

Some commissioners expressed concern that creating cordoned-off areas for alcohol-drinkers would encroach on public space.

Park board staff estimated liquor sales could boost sales by 30 to 50 per cent.

The proposal for the pilot was part of a broader concession strategy approved by the park board Monday.

The park board has 13 concession sites which are contracted to third-party operators who get paid a percentage of sales. In recent years, the park board earned between $500,000 to $800,000 a year from the concessions.

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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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