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Posts Tagged "increase"

11Sep

Vancouver passes a culture plan for the next decade — with no major increase in funding | CBC News

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The City of Vancouver has passed a new arts and culture plan for the next 10 years that is bold in ambition, if not in funding. 

Entitled “Culture | Shift,” the plan aims for “blanketing the city in arts and culture” and prioritizes affordable and accessible spaces, cultural equity, accessibility, reconciliation and decolonization. 

The full report can be read here

But while there are dozens of recommendations in the report, the amount of additional money budgeted over the next four years is just $3.2 million and would leave cultural service funding as a smaller percentage of the city’s budget in 2023 than it was in 2010. 

“It seems like not a like a lot of money to me,” said Vancouver Coun. Adrianne Carr, who nonetheless voted in favour. “Is the amount of money being recommended sufficient?”

Cross-collaboration

Jessica Wadsworth, co-chair of the Vancouver Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, said “we wanted to make a reasonable request, but certainly we can ask for more.” 

The City of Vancouver wants to add 800,000 square feet of new cultural spaces over the next 10 years. (Boombox)

However, she applauded the overall plan — which came after months of consultation with hundreds of artistic groups — and said the lack of major funding increases was mitigated by the city’s commitment to move more efficiently across different departments. 

“The collaboration with urban planning, with people that do business with real estate and development … I think that collaboration is worth more than the dollars,” she said.  

The city hopes to build 800,000 square feet of cultural space in the next decade, including 400 spaces that double as housing. In addition, the report calls for a a music task force, as well a hired person within city hall to lead its music strategy.

But the committee was equally as excited around the decolonization and equity recommendations, which included developing Indigenous grant programs and increasing investment and leadership opportunities for Indigenous arts and culture. 

“If we articulate land acknowledgements, than we should decolonize arts and culture,” said Megan Lau, the committee’s other co-chair.

“If we say Vancouver values culture, we have to find a way for artists … of every type to make a living wage.”

Drummers who call themselves Star Child at the Squamish Nation 32nd Youth Pow Wow in West Vancouver on Sunday, July 14, 2019. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC) (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

‘Mission creep’

The plan was applauded by most councillors, who said it was a necessary step to ensure artists could continue to live in Vancouver. 

But Colleen Hardwick abstained from the vote, saying that while she had worked in the creative sector for over three decades, the plan was a sign of the city’s “mission creep.” 

“I’m supportive of the creative industries. I eat, live and breathe it. But I’m also very mindful … that we have to live within our means,” she said.

“We are continuing to ask for more and more on things that fall outside the scope of local government.”

However, all other councillors voted in favour. 

“This isn’t mission creep,” said Pete Fry. “This is how we build pride in our city. This is how we build the economy, [and]  how we build a city for everyone.” 

Vancouver’s new plan looks to “blanket the city in arts and culture,” with an emphasis on reconciliation, decolonizing, cultural equity and accessibility. (City of Vancouver )

23Aug

Rate increase coming to supportive recovery homes

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For the first time in 10 years, the daily rates for eligible income assistance clients living at registered or licensed residences are increasing.

Additionally, changes to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act will ensure that people living in supportive recovery homes throughout B.C. will be better protected and receive more personalized services and supports.

The new regulatory requirements for registered supportive recovery homes will include:

  • ensuring employees have necessary training, skills and qualifications;
  • providing program and policy information upfront to individuals and families so they can make informed choices about whether the service is right for them;
  • developing a personal service plan for each resident to help them reach their recovery goals; and
  • supporting individuals to safely transition and connect to ongoing services and supports in the community when leaving recovery homes.

“For far too long, people and their families have struggled to find safe, appropriate care during the most vulnerable times in their lives,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “These changes will help ensure the individual needs of people on a recovery journey are heard, understood and respected when seeking help from a supportive recovery home in B.C.”

Changes to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act for supportive recovery homes will come into effect in December 2019. 

Daily rate changes for eligible income assistance clients will take effect Oct. 1, 2019. Rates for registered mental health and substance use homes will increase from $30.90 to $35.90 per day, rates for licensed mental health homes will increase from $30.90 to $45 per day, and rates for licensed substance use homes will increase from $40 to $45 per day. The daily rate is paid on behalf of eligible people receiving income assistance directly to their mental health or substance use facility.

“A lot of the people supported by these facilities face additional and significant barriers as a result of poverty,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Rate increases are a step toward addressing the cost pressures that facility operators must manage, and these increases will ensure that our most vulnerable populations have access to the support they need, when they need it.”

To assist supportive recovery home operators in meeting the new regulatory requirements, the Province is partnering with the Community Action Initiative to provide one-time grant funding. Registered supportive recovery operators can apply for up to $4,000 per residence. Applications for these grants will be available this fall.  

Supportive recovery homes offer services like psychosocial supports, relapse prevention and coping skills, peer counselling, medication management, meal services and social opportunities to people with addiction challenges in a residential setting.

These regulatory changes and increase in daily rates are part of government’s actions outlined in A Pathway to Hope, B.C.’s roadmap for making the system of mental health and addictions care better for people by providing safe, quality supportive recovery services, no matter where a person lives in B.C.

Implementing the mental health and addictions strategy is a shared priority with the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quotes:

Scott Kolodychuk, operations manager, Trilogy House One

“People who turn to a supportive recovery home are often at the end of their rope — desperate for help wherever they can find it. These changes will help families find some peace of mind ensuring registered supportive recovery homes will keep people’s loved ones safe and offer consistent, high-quality care no matter where they are in B.C.”

Melinda Markey, provincial secretariat director, Community Action Initiative (CAI)

“Over the past year, CAI has convened dialogue between community stakeholders and the provincial government regarding regulatory changes that will impact supportive recovery home operators and the individuals and families who access their services. For many who access a supportive recovery assisted living residence, engaging with staff is often the first support they receive. Staff use a variety of tools to build and maintain relationships with program participants and will now be supported through training grants to increase their knowledge in several key areas. With the provincial grants, operators will have additional resources to ensure their recovery home employees have the necessary training and skills to be able to work effectively with people on their journey to recovery.”  

Susan Sanderson, executive director, Realistic Success Recovery Society

“Recovery home operators have been struggling to provide professional services without the financial recourses to adequately meet their obligations. This funding is essential for a strong and viable addiction recovery sector to meet the growing needs of our clients.”

Learn More:

Assisted Living Registry:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/accessing-health-care/assisted-living-registrar

Mental health and substance use residences:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/accessing-health-care/assisted-living-registrar/assisted-living-residences/mental-health-and-substance-use-assisted-living

Community Care and Assisted Living Act:
http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/ID/freeside/00_02075_01

22Jul

Surgeons in B.C. get fee increase for operations on obese patients

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Dr. Kathleen Ross, president of Doctors of B.C.


Custom Photography / PNG

Some B.C. surgeons who operate on extremely obese patients are being paid a 25 per cent surcharge because surgeries on such patients often take longer and are riskier.

The change came into effect a few months ago for some physicians and will soon kick in for more medical specialists.

It came about after a survey three years ago showed that obese patients were falling through cracks. All but a handful of the B.C. surgeons who responded said they had delayed or declined to perform elective surgery on patients with a body mass index, or BMI, higher than 38. Four in five surgeons said they had delayed or declined to perform surgery over concerns about complications in patients with a BMI of 30 to 34.

Some patients have accused physicians of being biased against them.

Doctors of B.C. and the Ministry of Health have been working to solve the problem. General surgeons and anesthesiologists were the first to negotiate surcharges meant to compensate for added risks and time involved in treating obese patients. Gynecologists/obstetricians are also expected to get a surcharge soon.

Dr. Kathleen Ross, the new president of Doctors of B.C., said the government didn’t come up with extra money. Instead, money was reallocated from what’s called the available amount given to sections of physicians. Within sections like anesthesiology, fees shrunk for some procedures to allow for the surcharge which is referred to as a “BMI modifier.”

Although obesity is typically defined as a BMI over 30, the premium only applies for operations on patients with a BMI over 35. Several other provinces offer surgeons a premium.

BMI is calculated based on a person’s height and weight. For example, a woman who is five-foot-eight and weighs 270 pounds would have a BMI of 41.0.


Body Mass Index Primer; Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine

“This is in recognition of the fact that in obese patients, there may be more complications and areas of the body are more difficult to access,” Ross said. “Operations are more technically complex.”

Dr. Stephen Kaye, an obstetrician/gynecologist, said obesity affects all of patient treatment, making the initial evaluation, the surgery and post-operative care more complex.

Obese patients can have higher rates of infections, require longer hospital stays and more hospital readmissions. It takes longer to prepare obese patients for surgery, including getting them in position on larger operating room tables. Getting them sedated takes longer, said Kaye, who is co-president of the Doctors of B.C. section of obstetrics and gynecologists.

“Specialized equipment and retractors are required in order to visualize and reach the surgical site,” he said. “When operating on the abdomen and pelvis, for example, the distance between the skin surface and the abdominal contents is increased by the thickness of the fat of the abdominal wall.

“These are high-risk patients and increasingly, the care of these patients is being concentrated in the hands of a fewer number of physicians who are willing to accept the patients and have the expertise or who work in hospitals that have greater resources to provide such care,” Kaye said.

In the case of a hysterectomy, for example, the $654 fee paid to a gynecologist/obstetrician would rise by $72 for every 15 minutes beyond the standard two hours. For anesthesiologists sedating hysterectomy patients, the fee would be billed at $38 minutes for every 15 minutes but the BMI modifier would add an extra $20 for every 15 minutes beyond the two-hour typical surgery time.

Some anesthesiologists and other surgical specialists are paid through contracts so their compensation would be structured differently.

Dr. Curtis Smecher, an anesthesiologist at Abbotsford Hospital and president of the B.C. Anesthesiologists Society, said that in the last round of negotiations, each section of physicians was given a pot of money to distribute for pressing needs and the BMI bonus was a high priority for doctors in his area.

“It’s a bit like shuffling deck chairs,” he said about the reallocation, adding that he won’t be surprised if orthopedic surgeons are next to seek the premium since surgeries like joint replacements are far more difficult in obese patients.

Anesthesiologists say their management of obese patients is more complex because of thicker necks, chests, and abdomens in such patients who often have sleep apnea and reduced lung and heart function, which can affect airway management and ventilation during anesthesia.

Physician services cost taxpayers almost $5 billion a year. Ross would not disclose how funds are being shuffled around to pay the premiums, but in the latest Physician Master Agreement with the government, there was also some shifting of funds to address disparities between physician groups. For example, cataract fees to ophthalmologists were reduced about 18 per cent, from $425 a year to $350.

[email protected]

Twitter; @MedicineMatters




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18Jun

B.C. measles immunization program off to good start, figures likely to increase

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A province-wide program designed to help individuals catch-up on their measles immunizations is off to a good start.


Eric Risberg/AP / ASSOCIATED PRESS

A provincewide program designed to help individuals catch-up on their measles immunizations is off to a good start.

According to B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, the program has offered 15,796 doses of measles-containing vaccine since its launch April 1 until May 30 to kids in kindergarten up to Grade 12.

A news release noted that figure was a preliminary total and is expected to increase when all records are collected from community pharmacists and care-providers.

During the first two months of the program:
• A total of 858 in-school clinics and 2,388 public health clinics were hosted throughout B.C.
• Immunization records for 566,106 students were reviewed.

Still another 230 in-school immunization clinics and more than 900 public health clinics are scheduled through the end of June.

The B.C. government expects to share details in the fall about how it will require students to report their immunization status.


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28Feb

Caregivers for B.C.’s most vulnerable get first pay increase in a decade

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Foster parents, adoptive caregivers, extended family members caring for children and Community Living BC (CLBC) home-share providers will each receive a boost in support payments – the first increase in 10 years – to make life more affordable and provide more support to some of B.C.’s most-vulnerable children and adults.

“Caregivers open their homes and hearts to children and adults who need their support,” said Premier John Horgan. “For 10 years, the cost of living has steadily increased while caregiver rates have stagnated. Our government is making different choices by increasing support rates for caregivers, to make life more affordable and build stronger, more inclusive communities.”

Budget 2019 provides approximately $64 million over three years to the Ministry of Children and Family Development and $45 million over three years to the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction to boost monthly caregiver rates.

“I have met with so many foster parents and family caregivers, especially grandmothers, who have been struggling to provide for the children in their care. Their stories resonated with me and I knew this was the right thing to do,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “The most important thing is that children are raised in a safe, loving home, and I am proud to be part of a government that is addressing a long-standing inequity for extended families, especially Indigenous families, and investing in the well-being of all children when they need it most.”

For family members caring for children through the Extended Family Program, support will nearly double and will be paid at the same rate as foster caregivers. This increase is part of government’s commitment to meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and addresses recommendations by Grand Chief Ed John.

“I am pleased the B.C. government is taking steps to address this key recommendation of my report, which identified the disparity between the caregiver rates and extended family rates as being a clear barrier to permanency for many children in care,” said Grand Chief Ed John. “Bringing these rates in line will undoubtedly lead to both an increase of permanent placements as well as an increased quality of care for children placed with extended family members. This is especially important for Indigenous children in care as it will result in greater opportunities for placements with extended family within their communities, thereby maintaining access to their culture and language.”

Budget 2019 will provide foster parents with an additional $179 each month to help cover basic necessities for children in their care, including food, shelter and clothing.

Eligible adoptive parents, many of them adding children with special needs and/or sibling groups to their families, will receive an additional $105 to $120 per month for post-adoption assistance to help meet increases in the costs of living.

“This announcement is a wonderful acknowledgement of the work that foster parents and other caregivers do to emotionally and financially support children and youth in B.C.,” said Russell Pohl, a long-time foster and adoptive parent. “It’s good to know that this government is looking out for us and valuing our contribution.”

Community Living BC home-share provider rates are based on the individual needs of the person in care. The $45 million in funding over three years is a 15% increase for the program. After 10 years without an increase in home-share provider funding, CLBC is updating the program rate structure to better align with the disability-related needs of each individual.

“Home-share promotes social inclusion and helps keep people with developmental disabilities connected to their communities,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Over the last year, we have engaged with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families to look closely at CLBC supports and plot a new vision for the next 10 years. This increase recognizes the important work of home-share providers. It is long overdue, well deserved and one more step in the work we are doing with the community to create a truly accessible and inclusive province.” 

CLBC will be working with home-share providers over the next few weeks to work through the details. The rate increases will vary under the new rate structure, but all home share providers will receive an increase over the next two years.

In 2018, CLBC engaged with home-share providers to find out how government can better support them in their vital work. The primary concern reported was low rates, which had not kept up with rising household costs and growing demand for the program.

Rate increases for Ministry of Children and Family Development caregivers will come into effect April 1, 2019.

For a breakdown of caregiver rate increases by caregiver type, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/maintenance_rate_increases_by_care_category.pdf

A backgrounder follows.


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1Feb

New labour market data to increase opportunities for people

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The Province and the Surrey Board of Trade are helping Surrey employers meet the city’s growing demand for skilled workers through a new labour market study that will increase employment opportunities for people and support Surrey’s vibrant local economy.

“As one of B.C.’s fastest growing cities, Surrey is planning now for tomorrow’s labour market needs,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Funding through WorkBC’s Community Employer Partnerships program will provide new labour market data that will have lasting impacts for Surrey employers, local businesses and skilled workers who are the foundation of a strong, sustainable local economy.”

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction provided $198,965 to the Surrey Board of Trade to conduct a comprehensive labour market study to determine Surrey’s current and anticipated labour market needs and identify skills shortages.

“The Surrey Board of Trade is honoured and pleased to have received close to $200,000 in funding from the B.C. government to deliver on a Surrey workforce strategy report — a current gap in Surrey’s marketplace,” said Anita Huberman, chief executive officer, Surrey Board of Trade. “This is proactive planning for the future of our Surrey businesses and for the skills and talent that they need to thrive in the economy.”

The study concludes on Sept. 27, 2019, and a summary report of key research findings will be made available to the public in October 2019.

Funding for this and other projects is provided through WorkBC’s Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP aims to increase employment opportunities for unemployed British Columbians through partnerships, research and innovative job-creation projects.

Quotes:

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology —

“B.C.’s economy is strong and people are benefiting from new jobs and investments in rapidly expanding communities like Surrey. This study will help governments and the business community understand the current and future needs of Surrey’s job market so they can support the labour force and drive economic growth into the future.”

Jagrup Brar, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood —

“There’s no question that people looking to develop, launch and build successful businesses in Surrey will benefit from the findings of this new labour market study. Local people looking to plan their careers and train for in-demand jobs will benefit from this information too. Surrey is known for its innovation in business and community building. I look forward to seeing the study’s positive impact on Surrey’s labour market.”

Quick Facts:

  • More than $15 million will be allocated in 39 CEP projects throughout B.C. in 2018-19.
  • Since the program began in 2012, 365 CEP projects have helped local communities, employers and people looking for work.
  • Surrey is the ninth largest city in Canada and the second largest in Metro Vancouver.
  • Between 2011 and 2016, Surrey’s workforce grew by 30,720.

Learn More:

Learn about how community employer partnerships are helping local communities: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships.aspx

Learn more about labour market partnerships: www.workbc.ca/Employment-Services/Community-and-Employer-Partnerships/Labour-Market-Partnerships.aspx

Learn more about the Surrey Board of Trade: https://businessinsurrey.com/


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25Jan

B.C. nurses approve new contract with pay increase, workload changes

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There are hundreds of nursing vacancies posted on the HealthMatch B.C. website, but not even the union knows how many more jobs need to be filled.


BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – MARCH 16: Nurses in the accident and emergency dept of Selly Oak Hospital work during a busy shift on March 16, 2010 in Birmingham, England. As the UK gears up for one of the most hotly contested general elections in recent history it is expected that that the economy, immigration, industry, the NHS and education are likely to form the basis of many of the debates. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 96847009,535205291


Christopher Furlong / Getty Images files

VICTORIA — Nurses in British Columbia will get a two per cent annual wage increase in a new three-year collective agreement.

Details of the deal between the Nurses’ Bargaining Association and the Health Employers’ Association of B.C. also include wage premiums if employers don’t meet staffing levels they have agreed to.

Starting on April 1, 2020, nurses will receive an additional $5 an hour if they are working short on a unit, department or program with 10 or fewer scheduled nurses.

There are other premiums as well for nurses who work in units that are understaffed and for those who agree to work a shift on short notice.

The agreement takes effect April 1 and expires March 31, 2022.

The B.C. Nurses’ Union says 54 per cent of the more than 21,000 ballots cast in a ratification vote supported the agreement, which was reached in November.

Related

“I believe we have negotiated an innovative contract that will make a positive impact on the working lives of our members and the patients in their care,” union president Christine Sorensen said in a statement on Friday. “However, nurses have sent a clear message to the government that they are skeptical real change will come.”

The union says a provincewide survey in 2017 showed staffing and workload were the biggest concerns for nurses in contract negotiations.

“Unsustainable workload coupled with a systemic nursing shortage has a direct impact on a nurse’s ability to provide safe patient care. Our members have spoken,” Sorensen said. “While more needs to be done, this contract is a step in the right direction.”

The Nurses’ Bargaining Association represents about 44,000 registered, psychiatric and licensed practical nurses in B.C.

The agreement also provides community nurses with improved mileage expenses.

As well, nurses will be paid for previously unpaid work at the ends of their shifts when they provide information to those replacing them.


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