Monday, March 8, 2010

BC Budget 2010: The Social Legacy of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

March 2010 - Media Release Re: BC Budget 2010

BC Association of Social Workers (BCASW)

In BC over the last decade, as we’ve gotten closer to the historic 2010 Olympics, the BC government has talked a lot about its “legacy” for our province. The most lasting and unexamined impacts of the 2010 Olympics are the social legacy that result from this epic event, whose real benefits and costs remain to be calculated. These are only a few of the impacts already being felt by the citizens of BC:

  • In spite of increased demands for child welfare services the Ministry of Children and Family Development will receive an increase of only 1.2%in 2010, with no increases in 2011 and 2012
  • Child protection re-organization, cuts to frontline and other positions are leaving far too many children and families at-risk and vulnerable and many do not receive the timely support and interventions they require
  • 15 social workers were laid off and 12 spiritual care directors were terminated by the Fraser Health Authority
  • Cuts to community Addiction and Mental Health Services, sexual abuse counselling and autism services for children leave many at-risk and hurting
  • The highest rate of child poverty for six years in a row, depriving a generation of young people the basic necessities, including food, housing and dignity
  • Cutting $10 million dollars of funding to community social services programs
  • Millions of dollars in cuts for gaming and lottery funding to community programs
  • School districts have shortfalls that are leading to school closures, overcrowding and more cuts to the quality of the education system for our young people
  • 800 teachers in Vancouver and more around the province have received layoff warning letters
  • Cuts to thousands of surgeries and other medically necessary health care services to make up the $360 million in savings the BC government wants
  • Increasing the cost of living to seniors living in care homes by raising care-home fees eight per cent in 2010 and 10 per cent in 2011, impacting 75% of seniors, leaving many seniors with only $275 per month for their personal needs
  • Amidst the loss of resource jobs, ongoing cuts and layoffs of the public service and the loss of community service jobs are leaving many families and communities economically fragile and lacking
  • The lowest minimum wage in Canada, with no increase in nine years, combined with one of the highest costs of living in the nation leave so many struggling financially
  • The drastically low rate of income assistance that dramatically impoverishes an increasing number of our most marginalized individuals, children and families
  • Thousands of individuals and families across BC are homeless, or at increased risk of homelessness due to insufficient affordable housing stocks

It is an insult to the families of BC to be told by the government that "this budget is about families and support for families." Social workers and others working on the frontlines know it is the most vulnerable citizens amongst us who have already felt immense impacts, negative and painful consequences as a result of bad public policy decision-making by the BC government over the past decade.

At this time of continuing economic fragility, it is time is to make real investments in social infrastructure, in communities. Crucial employment in the social and community services assist and support those who need it in times like these. The Olympic heroes and heroines who have inspired new and old generations of Canadians with their dedication, hard work and excellence demonstrate what is possible by investing funding, time and expertise in helping our citizens reach their highest potential to the benefit of our society.

Evidence-based social and public policy research has a well established baseline for predicting healthy outcomes and measures of a healthy society. These include: income, unemployment/employment and food security; employment and working conditions; housing; access to health care and a social safety net; early childhood and educational opportunities and experiences; gender and equality issues and social inclusion.

The BC Association of Social Workers urges the BC government to show progressive and enlightened leadership, based on best practices in social and public policy, built on a foundation of dignity and human rights for all of our citizens. Investing in the people of BC and in strengthening our social capital and infrastructure is the best way to build a strong and healthy British Columbia and a solid future for our province.

[This media release, written by Tracey Young RSW on behalf of BCASW, was forwarded to the media on March 2nd. ]

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Linda Korbin, MSW, RSW
Executive Director

BC ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS
402 - 1755 West Broadway
Vancouver BC V6J 4S5
T 604 730 9111/ F 604 730 9112
Toll free in BC 1 800 665 4747

lkorbin@bcasw.org
www.bcasw.org

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