It is interesting to me how the pandemic has increased access. Two recent examples of this are how people who would not normally attend the ASPECT Conference were able to this year and how, this past summer, I was able to chat with the Premier about how employment service providers are helping the economy throughout the pandemic. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to "attend" the swearing-in of the new provincial cabinet and it was a first for me as well as a fascinating experience. I was interested to see the faces of the new cabinet ministers and watch the process unfold.
In our advocacy work, there are three provincial ministries with whom I spend the bulk of my time working: Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Advanced Education and Skills Training, and Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation (formerly called Ministry of Jobs, Trade & Technology). All three have new ministers and what is of particular note, there is a new Parliamentary Secretary position for Skills Training. Also, there are Parliamentary Secretaries for Technology and Innovation, for Accessibility, and for Community Development and Non-Profits. To be clear, these Parliamentary Secretary positions could have existed before, but they were not on my advocacy radar so I may be mistaken in my assertion that they are new.
With a new group of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to whom to introduce ASPECT members, it feels very much like the excitement I have on the first day of school. So many opportunities before us to tell the story of the work our members are doing in communities throughout the province. It's an exciting time!
The following is the information from the BC Government website with the links to mandate letters. On behalf of ASPECT members, I will be introducing ourselves in the coming weeks.
Honourable Anne Kang: Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training
Honourable Nicholas Simons: Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction
Honourable Ravi Kahlon: Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
Andrew Mercier, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training
Brenda Bailey, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation
Dan Coulter, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility
Niki Sharma, MLA: Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits
ASPECT BC CEO