Weekly Richmond PRC information round-up 2023

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Although a slow return to a new-normal is underway, the post-pandemic world remains an uncertain one. To help Richmond residents cope with constant changes, Richmond PRC member organizations continue to offer a mix of in-person and virtual services. We endeavour to keep everyone updated with weekly news and announcements from both service providers and government. And if you, or someone you know, would like to join the RPRC please browse our website for more information.

Monday December 18, 2023

​Seasons Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC)! The RPRC leadership wishes you all a Happy & Hopeful New Year!

This is our 24th and final Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

->Sign up for Richmond News Online (Thanks to Maria Rantanen)

The RPRC depends on local news for the Roundup, and much of it comes from the Richmond News. We thank the News for years of dependable news and hope readers will consider moving over to their new online version.

This from Acting Editor Maria Rantanen: ‘The Richmond News has gone fully digital and publishes stories throughout the day seven days a week at Richmond-News.com. Instead of a weekly print edition, we have a Daily Headline Newsletter that arrives in your inbox Monday to Saturday at 8 a.m. that includes all stories published at Richmond-News.com from the past 24 hours. In addition, we publish a curated Sunday Newsletter that highlights the most important stories of the week. We’d like you to help us spread the word about the daily headline newsletter. It is a free subscription and registration by email is simple. The newsletter will come directly to your inbox. To sign up for these newsletters, click here.

Affordable Housing News:

->Richmond activists challenge city council on affordable rental program (Thanks to Richmond News)

Housing and poverty activists are taking city council to task over the management of affordable housing in Richmond. On Dec 11th, the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition presented city council with hundreds of postcards, highlighting the need to scrutinize low-end market rental (LEMR) units, of which almost 3/4 are currently managed by private companies.

The group wants a registry and waitlist for all these units that are meant to be rented to low-income Richmond residents. De Whalen, RPRC president, said LEMR is like a “black box,” and notes she’s been told by social service agencies that their clients can’t get into these units.

“We don’t know who they’re being rented to,” Whalen told the Richmond News. Of these units, 345 are run by private management companies or the developers. RPRC claims they’ve called the management companies of the LEMR units and some rents were quoted higher than what the city says their maximum rental rates are supposed to be.

-> Letters: Seniors need help before big sports investment (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to a Richmond resident who has written to the Editor:

‘Congratulations, City of Richmond, for proposing a $520,000 upgrade to a baseball diamond. We have seniors in desperate need of affordable housing, respite care and, most importantly, a year’s waiting list for adult day programs for seniors to allow the many burnt-out caregivers a bit of a break in caring for their loved one. To think that if this money was better allocated to opening a day program in every community centre in Richmond – now that would be forward thinking.’

->First United Calls on Government to Stabilize Rent (Thanks to The Tyee)

For over 135 years, First United has provided direct services and supports to residents of the Downtown Eastside. Now, they have their sights on the province. The long-standing charity has engaged in a first-of-its-kind project in B.C., mapping where evictions are happening, to who, and what the impacts are. The results are informing a comprehensive law reform platform that First United will use to inform discussions with the B.C. government as they advocate for systems change.

“The conditions of the Downtown Eastside are a direct result of wider system failures,” says First United executive director Amanda Burrows. “As service providers in this community, we knew we had to come at this from a systemic level. By addressing the evidence and impacts of evictions, and creating solutions, we know this can benefit the community we serve.”

Law reform recommendations include:

  1. Requiring landlords to apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch with evidence before being able to evict a tenant;
  2. Requiring the RTB to treat evictions as a last resort at hearings, and to consider the impact of eviction including economic, physical, social and cultural impacts and the impacts on children;
  3. Implementing vacancy control by making the allowable annual rent increase apply to the unit, regardless of a change in tenants, and more

->Who is responsible for tent cities and homeless encampments in B.C.? (Thanks to Richmond News)

Recent events, including a violent attack, at homeless encampments and tent cities in B.C. have raised questions about who is responsible for them, and what is being done to help people experiencing homelessness in the province. On Monday, a man was shot at an encampment in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, while attempting to retrieve an item allegedly stolen by someone who resided there. A day later, the city of Prince George voted to create a centralized homeless camp in the Moccasin Flats area, to stop camps from spreading across the city due to public safety concerns.

The incidents raise the complicated questions of what rights are afforded to those experiencing homelessness, and who is responsible for their welfare. Here are some answers to those questions:

Is it illegal to be homeless in B.C.? No. There’s nothing in Canada’s Criminal Code that makes it a crime to be unhoused; the Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes protections for people in public spaces.

Why are homeless encampments and tent cities allowed? While many homeless encampments are in violation of municipal bylaws or trespassing acts, courts have ruled before that cities may not evict them without providing residents appropriate housing.

Do cities have a legal obligation to provide housing? According to Cooper, there are no specific laws that guarantee a right to housing in Canada.

What are the province and cities doing about it? Under B.C.’s Local Government Act, cities have a broad range of powers when it comes to housing — from zoning to property taxes — but not the ability to fund and build their own housing. Read the whole article.

Food Security News:

Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2022 (Thanks to PROOF Food Security Network)

Drawing on data for 55,000 households from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Income Survey (CIS) conducted in 2022, we found that from 2021 to 2022, the prevalence of household food insecurity in the ten provinces rose from 15.9% to 17.8%. In 2022, 2.7 million households, or 6.9 million people, including almost 1.8 million children under the age of 18, lived in households who experienced some level of food insecurity in the previous 12 months.

This increase follows three years of relatively stable levels of household food insecurity from 2019 to 2021 and brings the prevalence to the highest recorded in Canada’s 17-year history of monitoring.

Statistics Canada released food insecurity statistics based on the same data in May 2023. This report differs from their reporting by focusing primarily on household-level rather than individual-level statistics. It provides an in-depth exploration of food insecurity with additional descriptions and analyses of sociodemographic and economic characteristics and year-to-year change. Learn more.

Income Security News:

->Survey on the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and Updated DTC Tool

Disability Alliance of BC (DABC) has updated our Disability Tax Credit (DTC) online tool! The tool now more closely reflects the eligibility criteria and format of the updated DTC application.

This tool is designed to give your healthcare provider the information they need to fill out the DTC application. We are seeking feedback on the DTC application process as well as our updated online tool, in order to make more substantial changes to the tool next year. We are first seeking this feedback by asking people to complete an online survey. People who complete this survey by January 15 will be eligible to enter a random draw for a $50 gift card of your choice.

-> BC’s new labour protections for app-based workers (Thanks to CCPA)

Earlier in November, the BC government proposed legislative amendments for app-based gig workers in BC—potentially extending labour protections to ride-hailing app drivers like those working for Uber or Lyft, and food delivery workers for services like Uber Eats, SkipTheDishes or DoorDash, among others.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) analyzed how the proposed legislation measured up against our recommendations for equitable gig work that we submitted to the government’s public consultation. Our policy breakdown concludes that while this proposed legislation is a step in the right direction, it fails to ensure actual equity for app-based gig workers in BC.

One of the proposed legislation’s core shortcomings is its failure to extend the full set of employment rights to app-based workers. By giving these workers only some of the protections employees in other fields get, BC would decidedly place its app-based workforce in a second, lower-tier category of employment.

If we take into account the fact that BC’s app-based workforce is predominantly racialized, the shortcomings of these legislative amendments would undeniably contribute to perpetuating racism in the labour market. For the full analysis and in-depth breakdown of this new piece of legislation, visit policynote.ca/unfair-platform-work.

Health News:

-> Federal Government of Canada rolls-out of the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)

Media Release December 11, 2023 | The Government of Canada announced the details of the roll-out of the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), a significant milestone for the health and well-being of people in Canada. Once fully implemented, the CDCP will help ease financial barriers to accessing oral health care for up to nine million uninsured Canadian residents with an annual family income of less than $90,000.

The CDCP will be rolled out using a phased approach over the coming months, starting with seniors. Applications will first open for seniors aged 87 and above in December 2023, expanding in phases to those aged 77 to 86 in January 2024, followed by those aged 72 to 76 in February 2024, then those aged 70 to 71 in March 2024. Individuals in these age groups who may be eligible will receive letters inviting them to apply, with instructions on how to validate their eligibility and apply by telephone.

In May 2024, applications will shift to an online portal and will open for eligible seniors 65 and older. Persons with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and children under the age of 18 will be able to apply online starting June 2024. All remaining eligible Canadian residents between the ages of 18 and 64 will be able to apply online starting in 2025. Read more here:

->Drop-in appointments available for influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

Drop-in appointments are now available at VCH community clinics. Find times and locations online here.

Vaccines are also available in many participating pharmacies, and some primary care providers’ offices throughout the province. They remain free and are available for everyone six months and older, including enhanced influenza vaccines for seniors. To receive an invitation, register via Get Vaccinated.
Learn more

General Interest News:
->Too Many Non-profits, Too Many Problems? (Thanks to The Tyee)

Here is an interesting report on non-profits and issues around governments ability to ‘pass the buck,’ maintain the status quo, and take away non-profits’ ability to speak up to the entities that hold the purse strings.

Non-profits are generally viewed as positive forces in society. Or, at the very least, neutral. However, the 22 authors of “Situating the Non-profit Industrial Complex,” a new paper in the peer-reviewed journal Social Sciences, have documented the ways in which non-profits in the realms of housing, health, research and social services are structured in ways that can work against their altruistic aims.

The authors, many of whom work and live in the Vancouver area, argue in the report that non-profits are part of a tangled web of power that makes it hard for them to be held accountable and tackle the social issues they say they’re committed to solving.

Governments get to “shirk responsibility” for inequality and decreased social spending by instead funding non-profits in the community, say the authors. And as non-profits grow, they become focused on generating revenue to maintain operations, weakening their accountability to those they serve.

“We’re talking about non-profits hiding government austerity,” said Tyson Singh Kelsall in an interview with The Tyee. He is a PhD candidate in Simon Fraser University’s faculty of health sciences and one of many authors who is also employed as a frontline worker in the Downtown Eastside.

Government News

->City of Richmond Pop Up Sessions (Thanks to Sarah Erceg)

For Richmond service providers: The next Community Services Pop Up will take place on Thursday, January 11 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Brighouse Library.

If you are available for the January 11 pop up, please email Sarah at SErceg@richmond.ca to confirm your interest by Friday, December 22. With the holidays fast approaching, I’ll be confirming January attendance before City Hall’s closure (Dec 25, 2023 to Jan 1, 2024).

->BC government Poverty Reduction Strategy Update (Thanks to Min. SDPR)

The RPRC participated in this update through two Visioning sessions, and sent our observations and recommendations to the Ministry.
A What We Heard Report summarizing B.C.’s public engagement on poverty reduction is now available on the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (SDPR) website.

The What We Heard Report is not meant to be a complete or precise picture of the complex causes of poverty for all people, or the breadth of programs and supports B.C. offers. The voices represented in this report are helping us develop an update to the poverty reduction strategy that accounts for peoples lived and living experience and works toward breaking the cycle of poverty.

Monday December 4, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 23rd Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

RPRC Coalition Members News:

->Community Cookbook Book Club event Dec 7th (Thanks to RCFC and Cory Tymich)

RPRC member, Richmond Mental Health Consumers & Friends Society (RCFC) CFC will partner with the Richmond Public Library for a Community Cookbook Book Club event on December 7th. If you can, please come out to support us. It should be a fun night at the library. Register online.

->Low Cost/ No Cost Community Meals and Food Programs (Thanks to Richmond Food Bank and Vivian Chung)

Several Richmond faith communities and local service agencies such as RPRC member Richmond Food Bank offer free hot meals, covering six days a week. Click here for more details.

->Bidding until Dec 7th for Christmas Fund online auction (Thanks to RCRG)

Restaurant gift cards, BC Lions club seats and a Las Vegas getaway are up for grabs. RPRC member Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives’ (RCRG) annual Richmond Christmas Fund online auction has returned for its 4th year and is accepting bids on 200 items from now until Dec. 7. Items to bid on include Whistler and Las Vegas getaways, stays at the River Rock Casino Resort and Steveston Waterfront Hotel, BC Lions club seats and lunch at the B.C. legislature. Community members can also pick from golf packages, wine selections, gift cards for local restaurants, Canadian Tire and Superstore, self-care opportunities such as foot massages or manicures and pedicures, or a handmade Canucks wristlet.

Bidding will run until Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., and  community members can register and place their bids from any device. Winners will be notified by email.

->RPRC delegation goes to Richmond City Council on Dec 11th (Thanks to RPRC Housing committee)

Everyone is encouraged to attend City Hall on Monday December 11th when the RPRC will present our 1000 postcards on Low End Market Rental (LEMR) request for a LEMR Registry and a LEMR waitlist. If you haven’t signed one yet, you can download and send a postcard to City Hall. City Council starts at 7.00 pm sharp. The RPRC delegation is a ‘non-agenda item’ and will be at the end of the meeting, however, we will assemble in the lounge at 6.45 pm. We hope to see you there!

Food Security News:

->Charity is not a solution to food insecurity: How to feed the future (Thanks to CBC Radio News)

Inflation hiking up prices at the grocery store is a reality that everyone is living right now. Nearly two million Canadians had to make use of a food bank in March 2023 — just one month. Food banks in Ontario saw a nearly 40 % jump in use from April 2022 to April 2023, doubling the record for a single year increase. And globally, a U.N. report found that more than 258 million people faced food insecurity last year.

It’s not news to Evan Fraser, who has delivered many talks on global food insecurity, often pointing to what he calls a “shopping list of things that are going wrong.” Fraser, who is the director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, was recently appointed to the United Nations’ High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition.

“We have enough food, but it’s poorly distributed,” he said. “As a result, we live in that world of stuffed and starved, where both the number of hungry people and the number of people struggling with chronic illnesses linked to diet are both rising.”

Income Security News:

->Canada Workers Benefit (Thanks to Disability Alliance of BC)

The Canada Workers Benefit (CWB) is a refundable tax credit created by the CRA to help individuals and families that work and earn a low income. The CWB can be claimed each year on your tax return, as long as you are eligible. The CWB has a basic amount and a disability supplement.

What makes someone eligible? To be eligible for the CWB basic amount, you have to meet the following criteria:

  1. Earn working income
  2. Have your net income be below $33,015
  3. Be a resident of Canada throughout the year
  4. Be at least 19 years old on December 31st of the eligible tax year, or live with your spouse/common-law partner or your child

DABC has prepared a comprehensive blog post on the Canada Workers Benefit. You can also download an infographic on the CWB benefit.

->Unite Here Local 40 On Strike (Thanks to Unite Here workers)

This holiday season, we ask the public to continue to respect our boycott of these four Richmond hotels. Our members in Richmond remain on strikce at the Radisson Blu YVR Hotel and the Sheraton YVR Hotel. Our official boycott extends to the Marriott and Hilton YVR Hotels, sister properties of the Sheraton YVR and operated by the same company – Larco Hospitality.

Sheraton YVR workers are now in their 5th month on strike, fighting for living wages to support themselves and their families in Metro Vancouver. Radisson Blu YVR strikers, on strike for over 2 1/2 years, continue to fight One Day Longer for all of their coworkers to be recalled to their jobs and for a fair contract!

This Holiday season, DON’T CROSS A PICKET LINE! Unite Here workers Thank You for not hosting or attending events at:

  • Harold’s at Sheraton YVR Hotel
  • 75 West Coast Grill at Marriott YVR Hotel
  • Cavu at Hilton YVR Hotel
  • The Deck at Radisson Blu YVR Hotel

->Increasing need for subsidies in children’s sports (Thanks to Richmond News)

Sport has many benefits to children but the rising cost of living is putting pressure on many Richmond families to afford basic necessities, making enrolling a child in sports not an option. In 2023, 355 families in Richmond applied for a KidSport grant. The number of applicants in the city this year is 25 % more than in 2022. KidSport is a program that removes financial barriers to sports by providing grants to help cover the costs of registration fees so more children and youth can experience the joy of a season of sport.

“We are seeing a significant increase in grant applications in comparison to the past couple of years and donations are needed to ensure we can continue to meet the growing demand for support,” said Angela Crowther, KidSport BC’s director.“ We rely on donations from the public to ensure we can continue providing grants for kids in need.”

The City of Richmond also gives a grant to KidSport and in 2023 it was $20,000. Sport BC created the KidSport program in 1993 to help address the challenges many families face when registering their children in organized sport. To learn more about the campaign or donate, visit KidSport.ca/GiftofSport.

Child Care News:

->Access to $10 a day childcare (Thanks to $10 a Day Childcare)

$10 a Day Child Care Plan recently released a joint statement alongside BC Aboriginal Child Care Society, the Early Childhood Educators of BC and Métis Nation BC highlighting the need for families to have equitable and barrier-free access to quality, culturally responsive child care.

We can celebrate the success achieved so far in building a child care system, and for calling on governments to fast-track delivery of their $10aDay child care commitments. But right now, only 3% of families have access to a $10aDay child care program. Two of the biggest problems are inadequate wages and benefits for early childhood educators, and inadequate expansion funding and planning.

The BC and federal governments can solve both problems and – in a cost of living crisis – deliver immediate affordability relief to tens of thousands of BC families. Please join us in calling for the immediate expansion of $10aDay child care along with fair wages for educators by signing an open letter to federal politicians – ensuring that no families are left behind.

Also, send a letter to BC’s Premier, responsible Ministers and your own MLA telling them you support ECE wages of at least $30-$40/hour (and please share widely).

Health and Safety News:

->New suicide crisis helpline: 9-8-8 (Thanks to VCH Community Partners)

This week, the Government of Canada launched 9-8-8, Canada’s new three-digit suicide crisis helpline. This resource provides suicide prevention support for people who need it, when they need it most. 9-8-8 is available to call or text, in English and French, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, across Canada.

->Get vaccinated (Thanks to VCH Community Partners)
Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are available in many participating pharmacies, our community clinics, and some primary care providers’ offices throughout the province. They remain free and are available for everyone six months and older, including enhanced influenza vaccines for seniors. To receive an invitation, register via Get Vaccinated.

Government News:

->City Draft Accessibility Plan (Thanks to City of Richmond)

The City of Richmond invites you to complete the Let’s Talk Richmond survey to provide feedback on the Draft Richmond Accessibility Plan 2023-2033 at LetsTalkRichmond.ca/AccessibilityPlan2023. Please note that this engagement opportunity is open until Sunday, December 10 at 11:59pm.

Monday November 13, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 22nd Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

RPRC Members News:

->Richmond Christmas Fund Opens at Lansdowne Nov 15 (Thanks to RCRG)

n November 15, in a storefront next to ICBC, the Christmas Fund will open its doors for another holiday season, and keep them open for more days and longer hours than ever before. If you plan on accessing the Christmas Fund this year, this page covers everything you need to know, from eligibility criteria and required documentation, to our registration and distribution time.

We also encourage you to share the link – rcrg.org/ChristmasFundHelp – with anyone who might need support. We’re in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, and a lot of people are struggling. Many of them have never heard of the Christmas Fund. This year may be different, and it’s important they know the program is here for them.

The Lansdowne location will only be open to the public for Christmas Fund registration and distribution. If you’d like to stop by and make a donation – whether toys or cash – please contact us beforehand at 604-279-7035 or christmasadmin@rcrg.org.

You can also donate at the main RCRG office in the Richmond Caring Place, which is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. And of course, our online donation page is just a click away, and available 24/7.

->Let the City know your thoughts on Accessibility (Thanks to RCD and Ella Huang)

RCD is encouraging everyone to provide feedback on the new draft of Richmond Accessibility Plan 2023-2033 through an online survey through Let’s Talk Richmond, or to request a printed survey.

Go to the online survey and learn more of the draft Richmond Accessibility Plan 2023-2033. The deadline for feedback is Sunday, December 3, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.

->NewToBC Community Presentation at Brighouse Library (Thanks to Kelly Thoreson)

NewToBC will share the latest immigration statistics for Richmond and discuss immigrant settlement issues with library staff, city staff, community service organizations, and newcomers. The dialogues will be community-specific and will cover: current immigrant demographics; challenges and barriers faced by newcomers in host communities; settlement services and library and community services for newcomers in host communities; and promising practices and emerging trends in service delivery as well as service gaps and opportunities in host communities. Poster attached to this email.

Affordable Housing News:

->RPRC Postcard campaign to Mayor & Councillors underway! (Thanks to RPRC Housing Committee)

The RPRC is engaged in a postcard campaign and we encourage you to participate! It is to advocate for a central registry and central waitlist for the City’s Low End Market Rental (L.E.M.R.) program.

The LEMR postcard campaign is underway and the RPRC will present them at a delegation to City Council at the end of November. Please email info@richmondprc.org to get some cards for your clients/members. Or you can go to the RPRC website for the online version of the postcard.

->Churches fill in gaps to help unhoused Richmondites (Thanks to Richmond News)

Every week, seven to eight volunteers cook a hearty meal for 70 to 75 people living on Richmond’s streets. Church on Five volunteers pack them up and they’re delivered by an outreach worker to the street-entrenched homeless, living in tents and bushes through Richmond. “This is what it means to be a person of faith,” said Church on Five pastor Rachel Wilson. In 2015, when Church on Five started making the meals, about 25 were delivered to the unhoused. But with the increase in those without stable homes in Richmond, this has grown in number.

Not only does Church on Five make meals once a week, three other churches in Richmond and one restaurant makes sure Richmond’s homeless population gets good meals every day. This includes St. Albans, Gilmore Park United, St. Joseph the Worker and Richmond Presbyterian as well as Riverside Catering. Together, along with the Kehila Society, they make up the Richmond Food Aid Coalition, delivering food, care packages and other essentials to homeless people, filling in a gap that has been left empty by government agencies.

The issue of increasing homelessness came to the forefront two weeks ago when the latest homeless count numbers were released. Richmond had one of the highest percentage increases in homelessness in the Lower Mainland, with 162 people counted over two days in March. Those who help to feed the homeless say there’s a desperate need for more after-hours outreach workers in Richmond.

Richmond city council chambers were full to the brim Monday afternoon as council considered whether they should more aggressively tackle the homelessness issue in the city, a motion coming from Coun. Kash Heed. In the end, the vote was unanimous to ask city staff to come back in 45 days with a plan of action to deal with the immediate crisis.

De Whalen, president of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC) noted the city’s 2019-2029 strategy to deal with unhoused people has the goal of making homelessness in Richmond “rare, brief and non-recurring” by 2029. “You have less than six years, and this motion… may be bold enough to achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself,” she told city council. Read the story.

->Letters: Other cities doing more to address homelessness than Richmond (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thanks to RPRC member Donna Colpitts for this letter to the Editor! “I applaud Coun. Kash Heed for putting forward a motion calling for an immediate action plan to address the homelessness crisis in Richmond. It is clear from the 2023 official Homeless Count final report that the current strategy is not effective. The increase for all of Metro Vancouver was 32 per cent, in Richmond it was 91 per cent! The full report can be accessed on the HSABC (Homelessness Services Association of BC) website, which also highlights the fact that the majority of people experiencing homelessness are in their home community – they are not somehow being imported or drifting into our community. They grew up here and this is their home.

At a recent forum in Vancouver on homelessness and housing it also became clear that other municipalities are taking far more steps towards addressing this issue than Richmond is. It’s easy to say the provincial and federal governments are to blame, and we do need support from them, but if other municipalities are able to implement measures to combat the problem, then Richmond should also be able to do so.

This is an issue that should be important to everyone – the compassionate souls who feel pain at witnessing fellow human beings struggling to survive or sometimes dying on the streets, to the securely housed who feel it’s a threat to their safety, to those worried about their property values being impacted, to those who just are offended by the esthetics, it affects all of us.

This call for action is just a first step but it’s an important one. There was a large turnout at the general purposes meeting on Oct. 16 at Richmond City Hall.
People are paying attention and I truly hope our elected officials will make a real effort to take concrete steps towards a solution.”

->Council approves Alderbridge TMH lease extension ( Thanks to Richmond News)

An “outrageous” video showing people relieving themselves in public was abruptly cut off by the mayor of Richmond during Monday’s committee meeting. “Stop that video,” Mayor Malcolm Brodie told city staff. “That is a video – we don’t know who, we don’t know where, we don’t know what. It is really so outrageous that we’re going to cut it off.”

This was in the context of public feedback about extending the lease of the Alderbridge temporary modular building (TMH) to 2027. An online speaker, Italo Araujo, who said he was a building manager at one of the condo buildings near the TMH didn’t give any verbal information rather he just asked for the video to be played. Araujo was just one person who had signed up to speak about the lease renewal.

While some people spoke in favour of it, several nearby residents expressed their concerns around what they perceived as increased crime and drug use after the building opened in 2019. Some blamed people with substance-use issues for the increasing crime and “social disorder.” One delegate, Zach Segal, claimed a safe supply of drugs – which a few people with addictions receive instead of using increasingly toxic drugs sold on the street – and decriminalization have “wreaked havoc” on B.C. and Richmond. He said “flooding the streets” with safe supply and decriminalization “helps no one. People in addiction deserve treatment, recovery and therapy,” Segal said. “Any other solution simply manages their decline rather than encouraging full recovery.”

In fact, BC Coroners Service urgently called on the province last week to bring in more safe supply given the fact about six people die every day in B.C. of toxic drugs – 16 people have died in Richmond this year so far of poisoned drugs. The coroner has noted safe supply hasn’t been related to any deaths in the toxic drug crisis. Sheldon Starrett, a renter from the Lotus building across from the TMH, claimed “most problems” in the neighbourhood are tied to people with drug addictions. Starrett, who ran with Coun. Chak Au’s Richmond Community Coalition party in the last municipal election and is a wine specialist, said people living in condos are “broadbrushed” as “rich people with too much time on their hands. The vast majority of residents here are working people – we are law-abiding residents of the neighbourhood,” he said.

Richmond RCMP Chief Supt. Dave Chauhan, however, told city council at the meeting that there was a “downward trend” in calls for police service in the Alderbridge area between 2019 and 2022. In fact, call volume went from 1,940 in 2019 to 1,695 in 2022. Chauhan explained the top three calls are wellness checks, dealing with “unwanted persons” or to assist BC Ambulance or Richmond Fire-Rescue. Coun. Andy Hobbs commented that the “crime severity” didn’t sound like it was “on the most serious end of the spectrum of calls for service.”

Other delegates at the meeting included De Whalen, president of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC). In a submission to city council before the meeting, she noted, while the original plan was for the building to be temporary, “in the absence of anything else, this is where people end up staying.”
In a “well-oiled housing continuum” people would move from the street, into shelters, then supportive housing and then into permanent housing. “The gap in housing causes a backup where people in shelters cannot get into temporary supported housing because those in temporary supported housing have nowhere else to go,” RPRC said in its letter to city council.

In fact, unlike other delegates who wanted the removal of the TMH, RPRC asked city council to keep it far into the future. She added a planned 60-unit permanent supportive housing building that is supposed to open in 2027 won’t replace the 82 units at the current TMHs, the Alderbridge one and Aster Place near Costco. “It is vitally important that this type of housing remains open and operating as Richmond’s homeless and at-risk populations continue to grow,” reads the submission.

Michael Yang from Tapestry Church submitted a letter saying his congregation has worked with residents, made community gardens, shared meals and even held a karaoke night. “It reveals the particular social good that is available when these residents have a more permanent place to call home. They can welcome and entertain neighbours like us,” his letter stated. See the article.

Income Security News:

->Metro Vancouver Living Wage rises again to $25.68 (Thanks to CCPA)

How much money do you need to get by in BC nowadays? That’s the question our team at the CCPA-BC in partnership with Living Wages for Families BC set out to answer. CCPA’s latest calculations on the living wage in BC are out now, and they paint a grim picture. As rent and food prices have risen sharply in communities across the province, families in Metro Vancouver have to spend over $4,000 more than last year for the same basket of goods—and other communities are not far behind.

The rising cost of living is being felt throughout BC. For example: Greater Victoria’s living wage saw a 4.6% increase, and is now $25.40; Kelowna saw a staggering 7.5% increase, at $24.60; and in Prince George, the living wage is now $22.09, a 4.2% increase from last year. Metro Vancouver’s living wage has climbed to $25.68 per hour for 2023, going up 6.6% from 2022. Download the report to see the living wages across the province.

Government News:

-> Getting Fair PharmaCare Coverage – Medication Affordibility Resources
Fair PharmaCare (B.C.’s largest drug plan) helps B.C. families pay for eligible prescription drugs, dispensing fees and some medical supplies. Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) provides infographics with step-by-step instructions for individuals interested in learning how they can get equitable Pharmacare coverage – free of cost!

Getting access to affordable medication can improve the quality of life for thousands of clients/patients, help individuals save money, and reduce the burden on the healthcare system when patients are getting access to necessary medications. The step-by-step sharable PharmaCare inforgraphics are available in six different languages: English, 简体中文, 繁體中文, Tiếng Việt, Español, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ. For more information, visit the Fair PharmaCare website.

->Upcoming opportunities and events at MLA Kelly Greene’s office

MLA Greene’s office would like to inform you of various upcoming events, some for youth and some for all ages. Attached to this Roundup email are:

  • Youth Advisory Council poster
  • Dec 1 Senior’s Coffee time (we likely will be doing card-making!)
  • General volunteer poster to get involved in our community office during afternoons
  • Friday Nov 24 inclusive coffee poster

As well, we want to let you know that our office runs a periodic e-newsletter that you can sign up for! Here are two recent newsletters: No Room for Hate, and Back to School 2023. Our youth advisory council begins soon and details are here!

Monday October 23, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 21st Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

Local Agency News:

->Richmond Homeless Connect a Success! (Thanks to RHC planning committee)

Richmond Homeless Connect has been an annual event since 2009. They had a necessary hiatus during Covid, but came back after three years with their annual event on Thurs Oct 19th at St. Alban’s Anglican Church. Guests enjoyed a light breakfast then worked their way around all the tables offering information and referral services from local service agencies as well as direct services from specialist volunteers such as haircuts, foot care, flu shots and hearing tests. Guests took away basic needs items including hygiene kits, dental kits, and bags of snacks and fruits. Thanks to all of the volunteers that made this event a success!

BC Poverty Reduction Coalition News

->Here’s a Quick Way the BC Government Can Reduce Poverty

If the B.C. government wants to reduce poverty, it should start by raising social and disability assistance rates to the poverty line. That’s the top recommendation the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition made in its submission earlier this year to the government’s consultation on updating its poverty reduction plan.

“The current income assistance and disability rates are both still in what we would consider the deep poverty range, so not just below the poverty line but actually keeping people in deep poverty,” said Rowan Burdge, the coalition’s provincial director. The coalition is made up of “over 80 organizations, stakeholders and people with lived experience of poverty” and advocates for using public policy and law reform to end poverty, homelessness and inequality.

In its 15-page submission to the provincial government, the coalition showed that despite increases the province has made since 2017 to assistance rates, including a bump to the shelter rate in this year’s budget, people and families receiving them in 2022 still remained far below the poverty line.

Assistance rates vary depending on the size of a household and whether the government considers the person able to work. A single person considered employable, for example, would have total income of $12,177 a year, which is less than half what they would need to get out of poverty. A single parent with a disability and one child would receive about $30,000 a year, leaving them nearly $10,000 short of escaping poverty.

Affordable Housing News:

->Ladner non-market housing project to be much bigger (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

This may beg the question – where are Richmond’s non-market housing proposals?

More affordable housing units could be added to the second phase of an already-approved project in Ladner. Members of the Affordable Housing Societies made a presentation to Delta council on Oct. 17 to discuss a revised plan for the Evergreen Lane project. A formal application to the city has not been submitted, but council endorsement of the expansion was sought in order to secure funding as soon as possible from BC Housing.

The current development for seniors, families and inclusive housing for persons with intellectual disabilities is a two-phase, 198-unit project and received council’s final approval last year. The first phase is now under construction and includes 130 housing units in a four-storey apartment building, on the north portion of the site.

The approved second phase is for 68 family housing units in a 48-unit, four-storey apartment building and a 20-unit three-storey townhouse building on the south part of the site. Construction has not yet started on that phase. Read the article.

->Metro Vancouver Homeless Count 2023 report is in – Richmond fares badly

See page 19 of the full report for Richmond’s homeless numbers. Homelessness in Richmond has increased by 91% since the last homeless count in 2020, just prior to the Covid shutdown.

->Richmond Council unanimously votes for action on homeless crisis (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond city council chambers were full to the brim Monday afternoon as council considered whether they should more aggressively tackle the homelessness issue in the city. In the end, the vote was unanimous to ask city staff to come back in 45 days with a plan of action to deal with the immediate crisis.

Coun. Kash Heed put forward a motion asking staff to recommend a process to “immediately implement action plans to mitigate the homeless crisis.” He makes a distinction between homelessness – which a 2019-2029 strategy tackles with items such as supportive housing and drop-in centre – and the homeless, people who are currently living without adequate shelter.

De Whalen, president of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC) noted the 2019-2029 strategy has the goal of making homelessness in Richmond “rare, brief and non-recurring” by 2029. “You have less than six years, and this motion… may be bold enough to achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself,” she told city council.

Coun. Laura Gillanders noted that without a detox facility and a continuum of care for stabilization and housing after treatment, the chronically homeless won’t get better. She added people can call a number, get a detox bed in Vancouver after a month, and then five days later they’re back on the street. “I know from personal experience helping people there are huge gaps in the system that aren’t being addressed,” Gillanders said.

Other councillors commented on the motion saying there’s a need for an outreach worker and to have someone with “lived experience” on the city’s homelessness table. Coun. Michael Wolfe noted the strategic plan calls for someone with lived experience to be at the table, “when appropriate.” “I think it’s appropriate,” he added.

Currently, the homelessness table includes government agencies and service providers. The general manager of planning and development, Joe Erceg, told city council, if they wanted to change the composition of this table, they could ask city staff to review it.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie asked that the request include consulting with the ministers of mental health/addictions, housing and poverty reduction. Learn more.

->’Nobody feels safe in Richmond’: MLA Teresa Wat (Thanks to Richmond News)

Nobody feels safe in Richmond, BC United MLA Teresa Wat claimed in the provincial legislature this week. Wat seemed to blame it on the increase in homelessness, which has more than doubled since 2017. The latest homelessness count, released two weeks ago, showed the number of people without stable housing in Richmond rose by 91 per cent since 2020, one of the highest percentage increases in the Lower Mainland. “Nobody – nobody feels safe in Richmond anymore and yet, the NDP government MLAs remain completely silent. Not even a word,” Wat, the MLA for Richmond North Centre, said during Monday’s question period.

In response, however, Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said he didn’t receive this message when he met in September with Richmond city councillors at the Union of BC Municipalities’ conference. “They didn’t raise that everybody in the community is not feeling safe,” he said. “They did talk about people who are homeless and the fact that they need some more supports.” Kahlon said his government has brought in 514 units of affordable housing to Richmond over their two terms in office. “For a time here, we had a minister of housing on the other side who said ‘If you can’t afford it, just move,’” Kahlon added.

In 2020, the homelessness count found 85 people in Richmond without housing, but this rose to 162 in March 2023 when the latest count was done. In 2017, the number of homeless people was 70 in Richmond. Of the 162 homeless people in 2023, 80 were unsheltered, 32 were in warming centres, 46 were in shelters and four had no fixed address.

->It Can Work Here: Four Local Fixes for Affordable Housing (Thanks to The Tyee)

This story is by Brian Doucet, Canada Research Chair in urban change and social inclusion at University of Waterloo.

Cities like Vienna or Singapore are often referenced in news headlines proposing solutions for Canada’s housing crisis. But the arguments in favour of the strategies employed by these far-away cities often only skim the surface and can be easily dismissed with a response of “This will never work here.” There is a degree of truth to that: Vienna’s much-lauded affordable housing situation today is built on a legacy of more than 100 years of prioritizing social housing.

In Canada, social housing constitutes only 3.5 per cent of our supply, which is half the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development average. And a number so low, even Scotiabank is concerned. While foreign cities offer examples of how things can be different, it’s far more productive to look at what we’re already doing here in Canada. Fortunately, there are many Canadian examples that are shifting housing away from a speculative commodity, and towards a human right.

He spent much of the summer going across the country to learn about some of these solutions. Most are small and none are perfect (neither are the often-cited foreign examples, by the way). But they all offer pathways to a more socially just housing system. Here are four examples of Canadian initiatives we need to pay more attention to.

  1. Whistler Housing Authority: thinking beyond the market
  2. New Westminster: a provincial leader in protecting renters
  3. Burnaby: home of robust tenant protection policies
  4. Montreal: working to de-commodify housing

Transportation News:

->RCMP stands by road safety video, despite online backlash (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond RCMP is beyond astonished at the public’s reaction to a video regarding road safety awareness that was posted on Friday. As of Tuesday morning, the video reached about 5.7 million views and was ranked 18 on the global trending list of social media platform X.

Richmond RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dennis Hwang said he was “shocked” at the influx of comments and reactions from people about the road safety and awareness video that was made for social media. “What I’m quite shocked (about) is most of the negative comments are not even local, not even based here…they’re mostly from the United States, which I’m not even sure they know where we are located,” said Hwang. “Fall season is particularly bad for pedestrian safety, and pedestrian awareness and we have the most incidents of pedestrians getting struck in the fall months and that’s why we usually send out some safety tips.”

The video was created by a high school videographer and actors who volunteered their time to help get the safety message out to the public, explained Hwang. Hwang told the Richmond News the video was not funded by anyone despite a comment to the contrary on social media.

->Transit Woes – Metro Matters CBC Vancouver (Thanks to Justin McIlroy)

Everybody in Metro Vancouver loves transit. Richmond may love it a little less. You may think that’s not completely fair — but that’s the takeaway TransLink and Metro Vancouver mayors have before an important meeting next week. City councils were asked to vote on motions expressing support for the principles of the current plan, in advance of the upcoming Mayors’ Council meeting where priorities for planning these routes will be decided.

Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, Delta, and many more have affirmed they’re on board. But this week Richmond emphatically rejected the proposal for a rapid bus from Metrotown to Richmond Centre. Councillors argued the loss of car space wasn’t worth increased bus use, and didn’t like the idea of committing to TransLink’s regional plan without more local details. “It’s a bit of a waste of time. It’s not a local priority,” said Coun. Michael Wolfe. “We should be discussing the [routes] benefiting the majority of our residents and users, not half with another municipality.”

But the reality is most infrastructure works on a regional basis in Metro Vancouver, particularly TransLink. Still, there will be many people happy with the result, starting with the councillors who voted against the proposal. And mayors from smaller municipalities will likely be happy that Richmond opting out will increase the chances of their priorities moving closer to the front of the line.

As for Richmond? It will remain an Island — both when it comes to its geography, and its position within Metro Vancouver. “I don’t know what that does for us,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie at the end of the meeting. “It certainly doesn’t get us any farther. But it is what it is.”

->TransLink proposes temporary bus exchange in Steveston (Thanks to Richmond News)

TransLink is proposing that buses in Steveston terminate closer to Garry Point Park, creating a new “transit exchange.” Currently, five bus routes connect Steveston Village to other parts of Richmond. But TransLink is looking at a new temporary layout to address community concerns along Chatham Street, between First and Fourth avenues.

TransLink has been trying to secure an off-street area for a bus hub for several years, but this has proved to be “challenging” in Steveston Village, according to a city staff report. The new temporary location for the bus hub would be moved further west on Chatham, between Fourth and Sixth avenues. A temporary washroom for bus drivers is also proposed “in an architecturally pleasing manner” until a longer-term off-street transit exchange can be developed, according to city staff report. While the proposed new location for the transit hub will relocate parked buses away from Second Avenue, active bus stops will still be on Second Avenue for passenger drop off and pickup. Full story.

Provincial Government News:

->BC government legislation to limit Airbnb rentals (BC government media release)

The BC government introduced legislation this week to turn short-term rentals into homes that people can live in, and to better regulate the short-term rental market and properties on sites like Airbnb. “Anyone who’s looking for an affordable place to live knows how hard it is, and short-term rentals are making it even more challenging,” said Premier David Eby. “The number of short-term rentals in B.C. has ballooned in recent years, removing thousands of long-term homes from the market. That’s why we’re taking strong action to rein in profit-driven mini-hotel operators, create new enforcement tools and return homes to the people who need them.”

Right now, there are about 28,000 active short-term listings in BC, which is 20 percent more than a year ago. As British Columbians struggle to find housing, our government is doing what it can to make more homes for people.

There are three key areas in the proposed legislation

increasing fines for short term operators who don’t follow the rules and strengthening tools for local government,
returning short-term rentals to long-term homes, and
establishing provincial rules and enforcement.
a requirement for short-term rentals to have a business license on their listings on online platforms.

Federal Government News:

->No funding for Federal Disability Benefit until 2025 – Leadnow asks for Action

After passing the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) into law earlier this year, Leadnow is now hearing from allied groups that the CDB won’t be funded until 2025. This will mean another year without lifesaving support for the disability community. This is unacceptable.

Though the Canada Disability Benefit was promised by Justin Trudeau over 3 years ago, and passed unanimously in the House of Commons in June, the government has made no moves to honour its commitment to fund the bill with the urgency needed to address the disability poverty crisis. There is a narrow window as the government makes crucial funding decisions. Kamal Khera – the newly appointed Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities – and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will be deciding the fate of the CDB soon.

We need to showcase a groundswell of public support for funding the CDB with urgency – so the CDB doesn’t get caught behind red tape again. Will you sign our petition now calling on Chrystia Freeland and Kamal Khera to fund the Canada Disability Benefit now?

Tuesday October 10, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Happy Thanksgiving! While we have all enjoyed the weekend, let’s also think about the tragedy that has struck Israel and Gaza.

This is our 20th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

RPRC Members’ News:

->Flu Vaccine Clinic at the RCD Oct 12th from 11-3 pm (thanks to Ella Huang)

It is important to note that the flu vaccine is recommended annually because the influenza virus strains can change from year to year. Getting vaccinated each year is crucial to staying protected and reducing the spread of the flu; reducing severity of Illness; protecting vulnerable populations; preventing complications; herd immunity and decreasing economic impact. Register online to secure your spot; some drop-in spots are available.

->Richmond Cares Richmond Gives – Caretaker Hub updates (thanks to Carol Dickson)

Access the Community Resources you need. Are you a new caregiver or has your caregiving journey recently taken a turn? You may feel that you need help but are not sure how to access it.

As a family caregiver, it is so important to know how to access the resources you need. Learn about the steps you can take to ensure you don’t miss out on resources that can have a huge impact on your life and in the life of the person you are caring for. Click here to see the video, and visit the website for more about RCRG and the Caregiver Hub.

BC Poverty Reduction Plan Update News:

->BC’s Poverty Reduction Plan Leaves Behind the Most Vulnerable (Thanks to The Tyee)

Critics say the province’s targets haven’t been adequate. Are we doing enough? An update on B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy released Oct 5th, found the province still has nearly the highest rate of poverty in the country.

“We see in all our communities and hear from people on the ground that vulnerable people are still hurting,” said Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Sheila Malcolmson in an interview today. While B.C. has exceeded the targets it set five years ago for poverty reduction, she said it is clear there’s much more to do.

“The terribly increased cost of food and housing and the impact of global inflation have represented a real setback,” she said. “Both to make life more affordable, but also just to build back up that social safety net that had been so undermined when we formed government in 2017.”

This week’s update is the fourth annual report on “TogetherBC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy.” When the government launched the strategy in 2018, it set legislated targets of a 50 per cent drop in child poverty and a 25 per cent drop in overall poverty by 2024. At the time, researchers with the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives who had long advocated for a strategy said the targets were “not ambitious” and would leave many people in poverty even with the targets met.

Affordable Housing News:

->New measures could tackle struggles amid the housing crisis (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

Last week the federal government announced GST elimination to new purpose-built rentals. These new federal measures could be a big boost to helping Delta create more affordable housing options. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a series of initiatives to ease the burden on the middle class over the rising living costs amid global inflation.

Trudeau also called on provincial governments that currently impose the provincial portion of HST on rental housing to collaborate by matching the federal rebate for new rental housing. This approach could provide consistent relief and further drive down housing costs.

->The Secret to Real Affordability? Trust in Land (Thanks to The Tyee)

A complex experiment is saving co-ops and developing homes to be affordable. Permanently. In the Lougheed neighbourhood of Burnaby, there are two towers unlike the glassy skyscrapers sprouting up alongside the tracks of the SkyTrain.

They comprise a single housing co-op, a rarity in this landscape of condos, with 244 units available at below-market rents. Les Frederick has lived in one of the co-op’s two towers since 2008. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” he said. “The amenities are awesome.” On a rainy September afternoon, he’s wearing shorts and flip-flops as he strolls through the co-op greeting his neighbours. Frederick runs the pool, which is popular among residents. But for those who don’t swim, there’s also a gym, a billiards room and a workshop with power tools.

“Aside from the brotherhood and the family,” he said of co-op housing life, “the best part about it is that it’s cheaper.” Last year, he was paying just over $900 a month for his one-bedroom. There were studios for as low as $771 and two-bedrooms for $1,227. But that affordability was in jeopardy. From that cliff hanger… read the whole story.

Health Care News:

->Report on Long Term Care from Isobel Mackenzie (Thanks to BC Health Coalition)

B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie says private seniors homes underspent on patients compared to public facilities. A review of financial records from 2021 and 2022 shows that long-term care facilities operated by for-profit companies delivered 500,000 fewer care hours than they were funded for by the province. Here’s the full report.

Human Rights and Equity News:

->Climate Policy That Doesn’t Make Life Unaffordable (Thanks to The Tyee)

It’s unfair to ask lower-income Canadians to bear the brunt. The ongoing affordability crisis has brought into sharp focus the need for fairness and justice when it comes to the economic and societal transformations that will be required to achieve climate goals.

Governments do need to act on affordability. But backtracking on climate policies is not the answer. Putting off emission reductions and other necessary measures will only increase costs later and leave Canada’s economy ill-prepared for the rapidly changing global economy. At the same time, it is unfair to ask lower-income Canadians to bear the brunt of the net-zero transition. Millions of people are struggling to buy food and cover the rent. They should not be expected to pay more for necessities such as energy and transportation.
To avoid this outcome, governments need to modernize their approach to climate policy. This will require a fundamental shift in thinking. Rather than the traditional narrow focus on achieving emission reductions at the lowest cost to the economy, policies should also strive to improve equity. Learn more.

->Police + Social Workers Makes Life Worse for Unhoused People (Thanks to The Tyee)

Since 2009, Montreal has seen a proliferation of what are known as “mixed squads,” which generally involve a police officer working alongside a social worker or health worker to respond to situations in public spaces.

Some experts and police say these squads can help leave repression behind to provide support to marginalized people. But what happens when we pay attention to the perspectives of those who work on the frontlines with unhoused people?

Listening to these perspectives and bringing them into the public debate is the aim of a new report on mixed squads in Montreal. The Tyee contributed to the research. The perspectives of frontline workers couldn’t be clearer: far from being a form of support, mixed squads have further harmed unhoused people. See the article.

->What’s ahead for BC Gig workers – legislation (Thank to The Tyee)

As the latest round of consultations on protections for app-based drivers and food delivery workers in B.C. comes to an end, companies and workers are awaiting the government’s decision. But a document obtained under a freedom of information request and recent interviews suggest a possible direction.

In March 2022, Labour Minister Harry Bains met officials from Uber and the United Food and Commercial Workers union to talk about worker protections. Handwritten notes from the meeting, taken by deputy minister Trevor Hughes, set out Bain’s position then. “Workers of Uber should be covered by the ESA [Employment Standards Act] unless ruled otherwise,” the note summarizes Bain’s comments. “We are looking at the economy and precarious workers.”

The Employment Standards Act sets out minimum protections for workers on wages, paid sick days, severance and other benefits. Drivers for food delivery and ride-hailing services in B.C. are currently treated as independent contractors running their own businesses, not employees, and are not covered under the act.

->Living Wage discussion in City of Vancouver silenced (Thanks to the Tyee)

A complaint filed by the Vancouver mayor against Christine Boyle targeted her public comments about a living wage. The Vancouver city councillor says she spent $7,000 to defend herself against a code of conduct complaint that targeted her for speaking in support of city workers getting a living wage — and she fears the same tactic could be used to try to silence her again. The city’s integrity commissioner, Lisa Southern, cleared Coun. Christine Boyle of any wrongdoing in a decision on the complaint from Mayor Ken Sim.

“The whole experience was very chilling,” said Boyle, who is one of three opposition councillors on a council where the mayor and seven other councillors are members of the right-leaning ABC party. “And it made me quite nervous about commenting on other issues and decisions that have been made in camera and released publicly, like the disbanding of the Vancouver Economic Commission, which I disagree with.”

Boyle said she got advice from the city’s legal department before deciding to speak publicly about a council vote that had happened in camera in January. In camera meetings are not open to the public to allow councillors to discuss sensitive issues like financial or labour negotiations.

Local Government News:

->Celebrate Black History Month in October (Thanks to Kelly Thoreson and RPL)

You are invited to a presentation at the Richmond Public Library from BC Black History Awareness Society board director Fran Morrison, on the stories of early Black settlers here in BC, along with some more recent histories.

Her presentation shares stories of some of the earliest Black settlers to BC and more recent Black Histories, utilizing archival records, including images, genealogy records, newspapers, manuscripts, and books. This program is suitable for adults, teens, and older children accompanied by a caregiver. See details here: Black Histories of British Columbia: Stories, Realities, Legacies:

->City’s Homelessness Strategy (2019-2029) – 2022 update (Thanks to Richmond News)

To see the updated strategy, click on Homelessness Strategy report item 10 in the Council’s Agenda, then go to pages CNCL-72 to CNCL 96.

Editorial Note: There is not much content on the need for affordable housing. Working around the edges does little reduce poverty for Richmond residents. People are homeless because they have no housing – it’s in the word ‘homeless.’ Richmond’s homeless count increased 91% from what it was in 2020 (162 vs 85). Why is the City reluctant to work on the housing file?

Monday September 25, 2023

​Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 19th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

Housing News:

->Nowhere to grieve, says girlfriend of Moe, unhoused man who died in Richmond fire (Thanks to Richmond News)

“He was the love of my life.” Needless to say, Chey Lynn Moizer is in deep grief after her boyfriend, Moe, died in a tent fire under the Oak Street Bridge last week. On Monday morning, she was at the site, surveying the burnt remains of the site and trying to come to terms with her grief. But there is barely a moment for Moizer to grieve. She herself is without permanent housing and is sleeping on a chair at a friend’s place. “There’s nowhere I can go and sleep and let it all sink in,” she told the Richmond News.

Flowers and notes have been left at a makeshift memorial at the site where the tent burned. Moe had moved to the Oak Street Bridge area, just behind Costco, to be close to Moizer who was living for a short period of time in the new temporary modular building, Aster Place. Moizer wasn’t with Moe the night of the fire, and she wonders if she’d been there, if she could have helped. “If I was here with him when it happened, it wouldn’t have happened,” Moizer said. “I have to live with that.”

With homeless people being kicked off private properties, under the bridge is one of the places they can occupy. But it’s a dark and isolated spot where they “felt the darkness,” Moizer said, not a place to be living. “Trolls live under bridges,” she said. “There’s nothing good that can come from living under here.” Moizer remembers her boyfriend as being “smart and kind,” and that he loved kids. Whenever he saw kids approaching, he’d yell out “kids on the block” in case anyone was doing drugs – to protect the kids, she said. Moe was also protective of his friends, Moizer added, and especially of her.

Police were called to the scene around noon Sept 6th after Richmond Fire-Rescue discovered the body inside the tent after putting out the fire. Richmond RCMP say their initial investigation didn’t indicate the death was criminal in nature, but they are still awaiting results from BC Coroners Service.

->Prefab construction a solution to create more rental units? (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

A recent report from Metro Vancouver’s Regional Planning Committee outlined a couple of potential solutions to the rental housing crunch, by streamlining the delivery of rental units through pre-approved plans and off-site construction.

The report notes that the average number of months to complete an apartment project in B.C. is greater than most other provinces and has been trending upwards over the past decade. It currently requires 22 months of construction on average for an apartment project to complete, in addition to time required prior to start for planning approvals. Off-site construction, including prefabrication, building component parts off-site, panelized construction and modular construction, can reduce project delivery times, as well as reduce costs by 30 %, the report explains. Read the story.

->LEMR units ‘secured’ in Atmosphere hole in the ground (Thanks to Richmond News)

A large 800+ unit development in Richmond’s city centre — that is under creditor protection — could have a new building permit application into the city within the next couple of months. The city confirmed they are expecting a building permit application for the 800-plus-unit Atmosphere project that has been idle for almost two years. After funding for the project was cancelled early in the pandemic, construction at Atmosphere, on No. 3 Road and Alderbridge Way, ground to a halt and the building permits expired.

“Every time I drive by, I can see mine and other owners’ money just sitting in this giant hole,” said Joshua Chang, a pre-sale owner of the Atmosphere project, was one of several people at the project’s showroom on No. 3 Road on Monday morning hoping to have their concerns and voices heard about the development.

In its place is a giant gaping hole that many pre-sale owners can do nothing about except wait. The development plan includes an office tower and six residential towers with 824 units of housing, of which 112 will be market rentals and 38 affordable rental (LEMR) units.

-> Province announces permit backlog, secondary suite initiatives at Richmond event (Thanks to Richmond News)

Two initiatives to address the housing crisis, announced by the province on Monday, are intended to help build homes faster in B.C. B.C. Premier David Eby, Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon and Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, were in Richmond – at a plywood manufacturing plant on Vulcan Way – to announce a guide to help build secondary suites and a new tool that expedites permitting for housing as it pertains to provincial regulations.

The Single Housing Application Service (SHAS) is intended to clear permitting backlogs at the provincial level, reducing permit timelines by two months. The SHAS connects homebuilders to “navigators,” dedicated staff in the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, who guide applicants through all stages of permit applications, coordinating permitting decisions across ministries.

->UBCM questions Minister Ravi Kahlon about housing (Thanks to The Tyee)

The Annual conference of the Union of BC Municipalities had a lot of questions for BC elected officials. Will the province consider implementing rent control for individual units? What to do if companies won’t come to small towns to build housing? How to speak to homeowners worried that new highrises will transform their communities, from renters crowding roads to towering shade that could kill their tomatoes?

This week, these questions were asked by hundreds of mayors and city councillors from across the province as they packed a ballroom at the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Vancouver. They were eager to learn what relief might be coming from the province at a time when soaring rents, inflation and construction costs are hampering efforts to build and preserve affordable housing.

On the federal level, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau recently said that GST will no longer be applied to new rental construction. Also, communities that want to access federal financing for affordable housing projects need to loosen up their zoning. Learn more.

Food Security News:

->Richmond schools given funds for food programs (Thanks to Richmond News)

The Richmond School District has begun allocating funds for school food programs this fall. In April, the provincial government announced $214 million for the Feeding Futures program of which the Richmond School District was to receive $2.37 million. Funds will be used for buying food and hiring staff to coordinate meals and snacks for students.

David Sadler, spokesperson for the Richmond School District, said Richmond schools have received an “initial allocation” of funds for nutrition programs such as breakfast and lunch clubs and snack cupboards for students.“In implementing the funds, the focus will continue to be on enhancing and expanding nutrition support offerings across all schools, while ensuring the program delivery is stigma-free and flexible to meet the needs of students,” said Sadler. “This fall, the district will be engaging in a consultation process with partner groups including parents, guardians and students.”

Health News:

->Debunking Big Pharma’s Myths about Pharmacare (Thanks to The Tyee)

Federal Health Minister Mark Holland announced in August that the federal government intends to introduce pharmacare legislation in the fall. Now the battle lines are being drawn. One of the many virtues of pharmacare — a universal drug coverage plan — is that there will be a single bargaining agent looking for lower prices from the drug companies. Australia has a single buyer and has brand-name prices that are on average 29 per cent lower than Canada’s. That difference on Canadian annual sales of $17.4 billion translates into savings of about $5 billion.

Pharmaceutical and insurance industries that stand to lose profit through lower drug prices are not happy about pharmacare. They are speaking out and mobilizing their allies. Innovative Medicines Canada, the lobby group for Big Pharma, is pushing for a “fill in the gaps” model. That means providing coverage for people who don’t have drug insurance, but leaving the current system otherwise untouched.

Quebec already has “filled in the gaps.” However, it hasn’t achieved the solutions shown in countries with pharmacare. Quebec spends more per capita on drugs than other provinces. A greater percentage of people in Quebec (8.7 %) report spending more than $1,000 on prescription drugs in one year, compared to comparable countries with pharmacare (3%) or even the rest of Canada (4.8 %). See the full article.

Municipal News:

->Where is the City’s Women’s Advisory Committee? (Thanks to Richmond News)

Various advisory boards and committees in Richmond need volunteers. But one advisory group, despite an ask from city council three years ago, still hasn’t been set up. In fall of 2020, then-city councillor Kelly Greene asked city staff to look into setting up a women’s advisory committee, but, as yet, no information has come back to city council. In her motion, Greene noted women are under-represented in government as only 28 % of elected officials are female.

Furthermore, only 3.5 % of CEOs are women and 19 % of board and executive positions are held by women, Greene said in her original motion. “Implementing a Women’s Advisory Committee will benefit our entire community both for increasing civic political engagement and also increasing leadership opportunities for an underrepresented group,” she added. The motion was supported unanimously by city council.

The current committees, boards and commissions provide feedback to city council in areas ranging from arts, culture and heritage, to recreation, social development and environmental awareness. More than 60 positions are now open on 16 committees and boards for terms beginning in January.

The council-appointed roles are voluntary and committee sizes vary, as do the length of terms. For more information, including a list of vacancies, application guidelines and the application form, go to www.richmond.ca/advisory or call 604-276-4007.

->City’s Diversity Symposium registration now open (Thanks to City staff Peggy Chen)

The 2023 City of Richmond Diversity Symposium is a free, hybrid, week-long conference from Oct 23-27, 2023 for professionals, volunteers and community members interested in learning, sharing and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in their communities.

Virtual sessions will take place from October 23 to 27 over Zoom and an in-person theatrical performance and panel will take place on October 27 at the Richmond Cultural Centre. The theme for this year’s symposium is Resilience – the ability to adapt and evolve through adversity and change.

The Symposium is intended for professionals and volunteers from local governments, not-for-profit groups, social service organizations, private sector and academic institutions who are interested in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplaces and communities.

To learn more and to register, please go to www.richmond.ca/diversity, call 604-276-4104 or email Peggy Chen, Planner 2 (Inclusion).

->City of Richmond Youth Strategy 2022–2032 (Thanks to City staff Chris Duggan)

On July 24, 2023, Richmond City Council adopted a new Youth Strategy 2022–2032 to guide the City and community partners in supporting the unique needs of youth and young adults (13-24 years) in Richmond over the next ten years.

If you would like a hard copy or more information of the report, please email Chris Duggan, Acting Manager, Community Social Development or call 604-204-8621.

Saturday September 30, 2023

Greetings RPRC Members and Friends: This is a special edition with news from RPRC members only. We encourage you to support each other in our collective initiatives, fundraisers, and programs! Please see below.

->Richmond Mental Health Consumer & Friends Society 1HeartPeers Awards (Thanks to RCFC and Cory Tymich)

I am thrilled to announce that the nominations for the IHeartPeers Awards are now open until September 25, 2023. Please help us spread the word, putting up the attached poster and consider nominating a deserving Peer residing in Richmond, B.C.

What are the IHeartPeers Awards:

The IHeartPeers Awards recognizes Richmond residents who identify as peers within various communities, such as mental health, substance use, physical rehabilitation, disabilities, and other health challenges. These individuals have not only made progress in their personal journeys but have also made significant contributions to support and uplift their fellow peers.

Eligibility for the IHeartPeers Awards:

Meet the description above, and if they are winners, they can attend and accept their award at RCFC’s Annual General Meeting on October 16, 2023, from 6-8pm at Richmond Caring Place.

Benefits of the iHeartPeers Award include:

We are proud to offer a one-of-a-kind handmade award to recognize outstanding contributions to the community. The winner will receive public recognition and appreciation at RCFC’s Annual General Meeting on October 16, 2023. In addition, they will have opportunities to share their experiences and insights at RCFC events, workshops, and publications. To further support their community contributions, the winner will also receive a monetary honorarium of $100.

Who can nominate:

Anyone can make a nomination, including community members, supporters, staff and self-nomination. Please note that RCFC staff and Board members are not eligible for nomination.

To nominate or for more information, please visit http://bit.ly/iheartpeers (or scan the QR code in the poster). I have also attached a printable copy of the nomination form that can be completed by hand and a poster that can be displayed.

->RCD’s Together We Care Fundraising Dinner (Thanks to RCD and Ella Huang)

I’m reaching out to you to invite you and your family and friends to join our 2023 Together We Care Fundraising Dinner – A Night of Abundance on Friday October 20th at the Continental Seafood Restaurant. Click here to see event details and ticket order form.

This year’s fundraising dinner is particularly important to the RCD. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we urgently need to relocate our center temporarily to ensure the continued delivery of our essential programs and services. This interim relocation is vital to avoid any interruption in the support we provide to our participants, who rely on us for a wide range of services, including information and referral, skills development, peer support, and community engagement.

We welcome buying tickets and/or making a donation. Your contribution, no matter the size, will be greatly appreciated and will help us reach our fundraising goal.

->Volunteer Opportunities with the 2023 Richmond Christmas Fund (Thanks to RCRG and Ed Gavsie)
Here at RCRG, September is significant for a slightly different reason: it’s when Santa puts up his Elves Wanted sign, and officially kicks off another season of the Richmond Christmas Fund.

The first step, always, is building our team of volunteers, who will provide invaluable support as we work to distribute grocery vouchers, toys, books, and gift cards to nearly 3,000 of our neighbours in need. This year’s program will run from November 15 through December 9, at Lansdowne Centre, and there are many ways you can get involved.

Apply online.

Monday September 4, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Happy Labour Day! Please note a special article under Income Security about RPRC friends Unite Here Local 40 workers, who are currently on strike at the Richmond Sheraton.

This is our 18th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

RPRC Members News:

->Community Appreciation Week Sept 11-15 (Thanks to RCD)

Watch out for big savings at the RCD Community Appreciation Week!! These special offers are specifically brought on to thank our supporters who have contributed to and always support RCD. There are free gifts for every purchase and for every $20 purchase, you’ll get a lucky draw entry to win 2 tickets of our Fundraising Dinner on Oct. 20, 2023 at the Continental Seafood Restaurant!!

->Falls Prevention workshop Sept 12th (Thanks to RCRG)

We are thrilled to present a vital and informative seminar on Fall Prevention. Join us as we delve into essential strategies and practical tips to safeguard yourself and your loved ones from fall-related accidents. Led by experts in the field, this educational event aims to empower you with knowledge and preventive measures, ensuring a safe and secure environment for all. Reserve your spot now and let’s take proactive steps towards a safer future together!

  • Date: September 12 ( Tuesday)
  • Time: 2:00 -3:30pm
  • Venue: Room 294 The Caring Place , Richmond
  • Facilitator: Cindy Liu, Occupational Therapist, Vancouver Coastal Health

Food Security News:

->Food Safe course for managers (Thanks to Richmond Food Aid Delivery Coalition)

FoodSafe (Level 2) for Community Food Service Managers & Leadership

  • Date: Oct 18 (9 am – 4 pm) AND Oct 25 (9 am – noon) (2023)
  • Venue: 616 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
  • Cost: $110
  • RSVP
  • Questions: Email Karen

Health News:

->Advocacy for National Long-Term Care (LTC) Standards (Thanks to CCSMH)

The Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health (CCSMH) is devoting time to addressing new and emerging public policies that will impact the mental health of older adults. Some of our recent work includes:

  • Letters to the federal, provincial and territorial governments and opposition critics asking them about their intentions in supporting the implementation of the National Standards for Long-Term Care in their jurisdictions.
  • Steveston’s Garry Point Park was lit up in candlelight on Thursday evening to mourn lives lost to toxic drugs.
  • More than 1,400 purple flags fluttered in the wind during the vigil, each representing a person who died from toxic drugs this year

->Fair PharmaCare Coverage (Thanks to CEAN newsletter)

Fair PharmaCare (B.C.’s largest drug plan) helps B.C. families pay for eligible prescription drugs, dispensing fees and some medical supplies.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) provides infographics with step-by-step instructions for individuals interested in learning how they can get equitable Pharmacare coverage – free of cost!

Getting access to affordable medication can improve the quality of life for thousands of clients/patients, help individuals save money, and reduce the burden on the healthcare system when patients are getting access to necessary medications. The step-by-step sharable PharmaCare infographics are available in six different languages, provided here: English, 简体中文, 繁體中文, Tiếng Việt, Español, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ. For more information, visit the Fair PharmaCare website.

->Support and Accessibility to resources needed for toxic drug crisis (Thanks to Richmond News)

Steveston’s Garry Point Park was lit up in candlelight on the evening of August 31st to mourn lives lost to toxic drugs. More than 1,400 purple flags fluttered in the wind during the vigil, each representing a person who died from toxic drugs this year.

“It’s just heartbreaking. Every death is too many,” said organizer Debbie Tablotney. Tablotney’s son, Curtis, passed away from drug poisoning last December. The candlelight vigil, organized by Tablotney on behalf of Moms Stop the Harm, was held to commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day and mourn the lives lost to the toxic drug crisis.

So far in 2023, 1,455 people have passed away from toxic unregulated drugs according to data from B.C. Coroners Service. An average of 6.4 people died per day during July with a total of 198 deaths recorded. It is the highest number of deaths so far within the same time period. Last year, 1,361 people died within the first seven months.

Housing News:

-> Affordable Housing Has Become Unaffordable to Build (Thanks to The Tyee)

A ‘perfect storm’ of rising costs makes it hard to keep rents low, say non-profits. It took a year and four months between the Harmony housing project’s initial rejection and eventual approval by Surrey city council — the product of a hard-fought campaign in lead up to a fierce municipal election, with candidates throwing their support behind the project one by one.

City council never formally explained why they rejected Harmony at first, despite receiving hundreds of responses and thousands of signatures in support of the project, dwarfing the opposition. In a few interviews with media, councillors did express that neighbours were concerned about the building project’s height, despite its six-storey design being in line with the area’s plan.

But now, Uniti, a partnership of three non-profits, is finally going ahead with Harmony, which will offer 91 units of below-market housing at a time when Surrey says it needs them by the thousands. However, that delay of over a year comes at a time of rising construction costs and inflation. From an initial price tag of $36.6 million, the cost to build Harmony has ballooned to $57.5 million. Read the article.

->How BC Could Tax Soaring Property Values for the Public Good (Thanks to The Tyee)

Land wealth is fuelling inequality and rising housing costs. Here’s a solution from Alex Hemmingway, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) BC office. Property wealth has become a massive source of inequality in B.C. as home prices and rents have risen dramatically amid a severe housing crisis and shortage. A consequence of high prices has been an explosion of residential real estate wealth now totalling over $2.1 trillion in the province, a stock of wealth that remains only lightly taxed.

In less than two decades, just the increase in residential property wealth has amounted to a staggering $1.7 trillion. Even the most equally distributed segment of property wealth — owner-occupied principal residences — is highly concentrated. As of 2019, the top two-fifths of British Columbians (by net worth) held almost 80 per cent of principal residence asset values.

While the B.C. government has taken some worthwhile steps towards taxing the most expensive properties, these have only scratched the surface of the enormous property wealth gains in B.C. In this report, I examine provincial property tax policy options with three main aims:

  • to tackle extreme inequality in property wealth;
  • to raise provincial revenue for investment in public services and infrastructure including housing; and
  • to design tax policies that can also help directly lower housing prices and make real estate a less lucrative target for passive, non-productive investment.

The policy options examined here inevitably involve technical or political trade-offs, or both. There is no perfect property tax reform, but a range of options are worthy of consideration individually or in combination. To open up further political space for reform and bridge the conflicting interests at play, one promising possibility would be to convene a citizens’ assembly on land and property tax reform. Check out the report.

Transportation News:

-> Video: Richmond RCMP e-scoots around Steveston to educate riders (Thanks to Richmond News)

This issue was an important take-away form the RPRC’s Vision Zero pedestrian safety survey. We are pleased the local RCMP is doing some education!

Richmond RCMP has partnered with local student Justin Blais and ICBC to produce an educational video for people using e-scooters around the city. Richmond was selected as one of the cities to participate in B.C.’s three-year Electric Kick Scooter Pilot Project and, since July 2021, residents have been allowed to legally ride an e-scooter on some municipal streets and paved pathways, while adhering to provincial Motor Vehicle Act regulations and city bylaws.

It has, however, created some degree of friction and concern between the scooter users and pedestrians and motorists. As such, the RCMP has been conducting proactive education through social media, as well as in person. And to back that up, police produced a video to help get the e-scooter safety message out.

In the video posted to YouTube, a Richmond Mountie can be seen “scooting” around Steveston Village while offering advice on the rules and regulations for riders. Learn more.

Income Security News:

-> The Hotel Union Making Noise (Thanks to The Tyee)

Special thanks to Shaelyn Arnould who spoke on behalf of the RPRC at Richmond City Council in July about the need for more affordable rental housing. Please note this is an abbreviated article — click below for the full version.

On a hot morning in the dog days of summer, Nav Kaushal is dancing on the picket line. A portable speaker blasts bhangra — upbeat Punjabi tunes — mixed with the instrumental from Usher’s “Yeah!” Two security guards from a nearby hotel approach. One takes out an iPhone, squinting as an app measures just how loud the music is. “Do you need us to turn it down?” Kaushal asks with a smile. “Are you going to get us in trouble?” The security guard looks up. “You can actually turn it up a bit, if you want,” he responds.

This is day 51 of Unite Here Local 40’s strike against the Sheraton’s Airport Hotel in Richmond. And day one of new noise restrictions on the picket line. Workers were so loud on earlier days the employer sought a court injunction to stop them. It is the third time such an injunction has been filed against Unite Here Local 40, a union making noise in more ways than one. Local 40 represents roughly 5,500 workers across the province, most of them working in hospitality, food services and in airports. The vast majority are women, and many are people of colour.

Right now, many are also on strike. The union is representing striking staff at the Sheraton in Richmond. Another strike at the Radisson Blu hotel in Richmond has gone on for more than two years. Shaelyn Arnould, a striking barista who sits on the union’s bargaining committee, says it comes down to wages. Workers haven’t seen a raise since 2020, when their last collective agreement expired. Bargaining was put off after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. “I’m in a two-bedroom apartment with three people and I’m still spending half my monthly income just on rent and utilities alone,” Arnould said. “So me, I’m looking at my future in this hotel, and how do I have one if I’m stuck in this older apartment for the rest of my life?”

Provincial News:

->Public sector organizations must comply to Accessible BC Act (Thanks to DABC)

September 1 is the deadline for public sector organizations to comply with the Accessible BC Regulations. In May 2021, the BC Government passed into law the Accessible BC Act (ABCA). All public sector organizations were issued a one-year deadline to meet these three requirements by September 1, 2023, with the exception of the health authorities and some of the boards, agencies, tribunals and commissions, which have an extra year until September 1, 2024.

DABC provided our review on the new ABCA, outlining our six key concerns. Many of those concerns are still outstanding, and we continue to engage with the BC Government on ensuring that the implementation of the ABCA will be meaningful and create lasting, positive change in reducing barriers for people with disabilities in our province.

The public sector organizations that must meet these requirements are: Municipalities and regional districts, Post-Secondary education institutions, Public libraries, Municipal police departments, Francophone school districts, Independent schools, School districts, Health Authorities, and Public Sector board, agencies, tribunals, and commissions. See the statement.

-> Falls Prevention Assessment Sept 6th (Thanks to MLA Henry Yao)

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 20-30% of Canadian seniors suffer from falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of hospitalisation for adults over age 65. Most falls are predictable and preventable.

In response to the fall risk among seniors in Richmond, Gaia Cares will hold a free Fall Prevention Assessment on Saturday, September 16th 10am-12pm at our Constituency Office! The assessment will last 5-8 mins for participants over 55 years old. The scores will serve as a hint for participants on how to prepare his/her plan to avoid falls in future. There will also be fall prevention games and video booths to promote public awareness. No registration necessary.

  • Date: Saturday, September 16th Time: 10am – 12pm
  • Location: 149 – 6386 No. 3 Road, Richmond BC, V6Y 0L8 (Google Maps)

Federal News:

-> Building momentum: A Federal budget for now and the future (Thanks to CCPA)

For 24 years, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has been publishing our annual Alternative Federal Budget (AFB). The AFB is an exercise in imagination. Our purpose is to expand the collective imagination of what is possible, to instill hope in hard times, and to make crystal clear alternatives to the status quo.

And these alternatives aren’t just imagined. They are clearly articulated. We’ve put a price tag on them. And we’ve found realistic ways to pay for them. Poverty reduction issues explored are: Affordable housing, health equity, transit infrastructure, food security, childcare and income security, among others. Click here for the executive summary.

-> Comments to the Review Panel on the Financialization of Rental Housing (Thanks to Homeless Hub)

In June of this year, the Federal government’s first Housing Advocate, Marie-Josée Houle, submitted her written representations to the first national review panel to be held under the National Housing Strategy Act.

This panel is dealing with the urgent, nationwide issue of the financialization of rental housing, which refers to the purchase of rental housing by financial firms such as private equity funds, real estate investment trusts (REITs), or even public pension funds. These firms then manage the rental housing like any other financial asset, trying to generate maximum profits, with often disastrous impacts on the human rights of tenants.

Visit this blog to learn what this national review revealed about the financialization of housing and how it is negatively impacting our society.

Monday August 21, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 17th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates

RPRC Members’ News:

->RCRG job posting for Christmas Fund (Thanks to RCRG)

We’re hiring an Administrative Assistant for the Richmond Christmas Fund!

It’s a temporary, full-time position, running from September 11 through December 22. You can think of the role as an elf-of-all-trades, because it involves so much variety! First and foremost, you’ll support program delivery, as we work to distribute toys, grocery vouchers, and gift cards to thousands of our neighbours in need. You’ll also help recruit, screen, train, schedule, and manage the Christmas Fund’s brilliant team of 80+ volunteers.

Then there’s communication. Throughout the Christmas Fund season, we receive countless calls and emails. Sometimes, it’s community members asking how to register. Other times, it’s supporters asking how they can make a donation, or where they can drop off toys. Answering these inquiries in a timely manner will be a key part of your role. Click on the link above to apply.

->Grant helps Richmond charity connect better with clients (Thanks to Richmond News)

A Richmond charity has received $55,000 from the federal government to help make its digital system stronger and streamline services. With the funding, Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG) will buy new client management software for its Seniors Community Support Services and Richmond Christmas Fund programs, both of which have seen increased demand since the pandemic.

“We’re serving more clients now than we ever have,” said Ed Gavsie, RCRG’s president and CEO. “It became clear, during the pandemic, that our digital infrastructure was outdated, which was limiting our ability to expand program capacity.” Once implemented, the new software will help streamline RCRG’s client intake process, allowing people to access services more quickly. The software will also make it easier to track statistics and produce reports, all while maintaining client confidentiality.

Affordable Housing News:

->One Year With Habitat | Naveen and Nithya’s Story (Thanks to Habitat for Humanity)

In 2022, Naveen and his family took possession of a newly built two-bedroom Habitat home in Richmond. Now, one year later, they are thriving. Having an affordable home in the city they love, a community to support them, and an opportunity to save has changed their lives.
Read their story.

->Why Burnaby Decided to Develop Its Own Housing (Thanks to The Tyee)

Burnaby is diving into the deep end by becoming its own developer of affordable housing. This fall, the city is planning to launch its own municipal housing corporation called the Burnaby Housing Authority. The focus: housing that is “deeply affordable.”

Burnaby is aiming for units that rent at 20 per cent below the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s median for an area, which would put it at 50 per cent below market rents. For people in need of greater subsidy to afford a home, the rents could be even lower.

Since city staff began researching the potential of a municipal housing corporation two years ago, Mayor Mike Hurley said that it “doesn’t make any sense” to set up such an entity if it could only provide market-rate rentals. His government wanted to build housing that rents below that. “We know it’s been many, many years with really not very much — if any — rental housing built in our city,” he said during a briefing to media. “And for that, we’re playing catch up. But we’re getting there quickly now that we’re putting all our policies in place. We see this as an opportunity to move things along faster and in a more productive way.”

However, the authority does plan to develop some market rentals to help subsidize those below-market units. Options for non-market ownership are also on the table, such as equity co-ops and rent-to-own units.

In September, Burnaby plans to ask the provincial inspector of municipalities to approve the creation of a housing authority, with its incorporation to follow around November. After hiring staff and establishing strategic plans, the authority could begin its work by late 2024. Learn more.

->Housing experts, advocates, industry have unified message for government: Get more rentals built (Thanks to CBC News)

A coalition of housing experts, advocates and industry representatives is calling on the government to overhaul its policies to get more rental units built. This is from a new report titled A Multi-Sector Approach to Ending Canada’s Rental Housing Crisis, co-authored by Mike Moffatt, founding director of the PLACE Centre at the Smart Prosperity Institute, Tim Richter, president & CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, and Michael Brooks, head of REALPAC, a group that represents 130 real estate firms.

“A lot of the conversation is ‘Whose responsibility is it to solve this?’ And the answer should be ‘It’s everyone’s,'” Moffatt told CBC News. The report, being released Tuesday, makes a number of recommendations to address a dearth in rental units in Canada’s largest cities.

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), Canada needs to build 5.8 million new homes — including two million rental units — by 2030 in order to tackle housing affordability. The report notes that Canada’s renting population and the price of rentals have continued to increase in recent years.

One of the report’s key recommendations calls on the federal government to take on a leadership role and co-ordinate with provinces, territories and municipalities to ensure that more rental units are built. “This is too big for any one government or sector to handle alone and so we’re hoping the federal government will jump into a leadership role and meet us in the square to have this conversation,” Richter said.

Specifically, the report calls on Ottawa to create a national workforce strategy — in co-operation with other levels of government, trade unions and education institutions — to ensure Canada has enough skilled labour to build the number of units needed to meet the needs of renters.

Income Security News:

->BC Moves Closer to Gig Worker Protection Laws (Thanks to The Tyee)

British Columbia’s labour minister plans to soon pass new laws guaranteeing basic pay, rights and protections for tens of thousands of gig workers. Harry Bains’s office has launched a call for proposals that could see new requirements placed on companies like Uber, DoorDash and Lyft, whose drivers and delivery workers work without minimum pay, sick leave or other basic benefits.

Bains says new legislation may come as soon as this fall, following years of government promises and months of consultations. “The goal here is that these workers, like any other workers, they need basic protection when it comes to minimum wage, when it comes to health and safety, and how they are protected when they are injured at the workplace,” Bains said.

The particulars of how Bains accomplishes that will likely be a political and economic minefield for a provincial government trying to balance demands from organized labour and tech companies. Academics, companies and labour advocates have all proposed widely different versions on how to improve working conditions in the sector — and, most vitally, on who should pay for it. Read the whole story here: https://tinyurl.com/mspbr78c

->BC Shuts Down Its Fair Wage Watchdog (Thanks to The Tyee)

The B.C. government is shutting down a commission it created to improve pay for the province’s lowest-paid workers, despite the objections of labour leaders and the commission’s own members. Last week the provincial labour ministry quietly published the final report from the Fair Wages Commission, which examined the gap between the minimum wage and the “living wage” needed to cover basic costs for families.

The report’s biggest recommendation was that the commission should become a permanent, independent body to study and advise government ministries on how to address the prevalence of low-wage work. But the labour ministry rejected the call, saying in an unattributed statement Thursday that it “is not considering making the commission a permanent entity at this time.”

The commission was given three tasks: charting a path to increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, as the NDP had promised; making recommendations around workers who don’t get the minimum wage, such as some farm workers; and advising government on narrowing the large gap between the minimum wage and the salary people need to live in B.C.

In B.C., the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has calculated and published data on the living wage since 2008. The centre bases that wage on what two working people with two children would need to make to afford housing, food, transportation, childcare and other basic expenses.

In 2022, it calculated living wage for Metro Vancouver was $24.08 an hour — a record, and more than 40 per cent above the current minimum wage of $16.75. Anastasia French, the manager of Living Wages for BC, said that reflects the mounting cost of living and especially the cost of housing, which has grown even faster.

French had long awaited the publication of the commission’s third report, which has been in the works since 2018. French said she understands those delays but wishes the report had come out earlier. “It feels like a bit of a missed opportunity to develop plans, to figure out what we’re actually going to do to help low-wage workers make ends meet,” French said.

Health News:

->Vancouver Coastal Health & Fraser Health Media Release (Thanks to Deb Turner)

New Public Health guidance for landlords and stratas encourages removal of rules against air conditioning. Public Health at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Fraser Health have issued new guidance for landlords and managers of rental housing, and residential strata corporations providing strata housing in the Lower Mainland. The guidance is to encourage the removal of barriers that prevent residents from staying cool during heat events. For more information visit the Vancouver Coastal Health website .

Human Rights News:

->Anti-Racism questionnaire from Ministry of Attorney General

This is your opportunity to support the call for broad anti-racism legislation in BC. It is important to hear directly from racialized community members on their personal experience and concerns with systemic racism, to make sure that community needs are understood and reflected in the anti-racism legislation. The questionnaire takes 7-12 minutes to complete. It is available in 15 languages. The deadline to participate is Sept 30, 2023.

Contact the Engagement Team at the Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Branch at antiracism@gov.bc.ca for more details of associated grants, or if you have any questions or concerns.

Monday August 7, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Happy BC Day! This is our 16th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

RPRC Members’ News:

->Annual job fair at Lansdowne Centre (Thanks to RCD and Richmond News)

This year, RCD is partnering with WorkBC Richmond to host the fair where many Richmond employers will set up booths, speak to and receive applications from prospective hires on Aug. 11 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the mall’s Kiosk Court.

The event allows employees living with a disability or another barrier to employment to connect with employers. Many businesses and organizations including River Rock Casino, Richmond RCMP, UPS, the Hudson Group and Canada Post are looking to hire. People should bring their resumes to share with employers. While registration for the event is not required, it is recommended.

->Join RCD’s Outdoor Sports Club! (Thanks to RCD and Ella Huang)

Wednesdays starting August 9th to August 30th, RCD will be hosting Sports Club outdoors at the Richmond Olympic Oval. We will meet at the RCD and then transit together to the Oval. Activities include softball, speedminton, soccer, basketball, beach volleyball, and frisbee. Call the front desk at 604-232-2404 or email barton@rcdrichmond.org to register. Don’t forget to bring water, sunscreen, and a compass card!

->Join Us for a Morning of Facts & Snacks! (Thanks to RCRG and Jennifer DeWolfe)
Is your organization hungry for volunteers? As the busy fall season approaches, we have just the recipe to satisfy your appetite! On August 10, from 9:00am – 10:30am, RCRG is hosting a free breakfast for community organizations, where we’ll discuss the latest trends in volunteering, changes we’re seeing in volunteer availability and interests, and steps you can take to supercharge your recruitment strategy. RSVP to jdewolff@rcrg.org

->Richmond Community Foundation Grants Nearly $50,000 to Local Charities (Thanks to RCRG

Three service agency members of RPRC received grants from RCF. The Richmond Community Foundation has announced its 2023 grant recipients. In all, 11 charitable organizations will receive nearly $50,000 in funding, so they can carry out a variety of community initiatives. The largest grant, valued at $8,000, was awarded to Family Services of Greater Vancouver, who will partner with Aspire to run a food literacy and cooking skills program for adults with disabilities.

Six organizations received $5,000 grants.

Diabetes Canada and Zajac Ranch Society will use the funding to support their summer camps. The Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition is organizing a pedestrian road safety initiative, while the Richmond Centre for Disability will offer a new training program for youth volunteers, where they’ll develop skills to better support vulnerable community members.

Finally, grants to the Richmond Music School and The Sharing Farm will fund the purchase, respectively, of digital instruments and a garlic brusher

Affordable Housing News:

->Kudos to letter writer Kelvin Higo on countering NIMBYism (Thanks to Richmond News)

“I have followed the controversy about the proposed housing project located at 4831 Steveston Hwy for women and children and wish to add my perspective. I am a long time (over 70 years) resident of Steveston. I have always been proud of the fact that our area is welcoming to everyone including those across the housing spectrum.

If you consider “Steveston” as being bound by Williams Road to the north and No. 2 Road to the east, I count at least 10 housing co-operatives or senior’s housing projects within these boundaries. We also have two seniors independent living facilities in Maple Residence and Wisteria Place. In addition, we have an assisted living facility at Austin Harris Residence located at Trites and Moncton, operated by S.U.C.C.E.S.S, in partnership with CMHS, BCHMC and VCH. We also have several group homes and one housing facility for persons with disabilities.

I cannot think of another neighbourhood in Richmond that has this richness of housing stock. Soon we hope to have Lions Manor, an extended health facility, return to our neighbourhood after recently announced funding from the provincial government.

Having a variety of housing stock enriches our neighbourhoods and ensures that housing is not only for those with the financial means to purchase a single-family home or for that matter a condominium or townhouse. I encourage those 120 signatories to the petition to consider welcoming our new neighbours rather than putting up barriers.” Read more.

->Person without a home has incomparable water view! (Thanks to Richmond News)

Residents in Terra Nova are worried about a growing number of tents popping up around the neighbourhood. “It just seems crazy that here’s this guy who can live in arguably one of (the) nicest neighbourhoods in Richmond and get that incomparable water view. And he’s doing it for free. We (have) got to pay millions of dollars,” said local realtor and resident Faizal Tejani.

Tejani spotted a man collecting bikes and garbage in the area, and the emergence of several tents, almost two weeks ago in the quiet neighbourhood close to River Road. The man, and his companions, apparently built a path to the camps with driftwood.

When a Richmond News reporter visited the area, at least three tents could be seen along the dyke. The top of the third and largest tent was visible behind tall trees. Tejani told the News he respects his new neighbours and does not wish to be inconsiderate. However, he is concerned the presence of the tents could impact the value of nearby properties, as well as safety in the neighbourhood.
Read the whole story here: https://tinyurl.com/49tc3t6r

-> Supportive Housing Is Meant to Help Tenants Stay Housed. It’s Not Always Working (Thanks to The Tyee)

Note: This story is included as RPRC members are reporting that evictions from supportive housing are happening in Richmond as well.

Evictions for vulnerable tenants have repeatedly led to homelessness. When Dani Schroyen was evicted from Vancouver’s Hotel Canada in June, she ended up living in Cathedral Square, hoping to meet with outreach workers and get housing again. Then one night, all her belongings were set on fire.

“I walked away from there, devastated,” Schroyen said. When she spoke to The Tyee in early July, she was still hoping to meet with outreach workers and get another chance at being housed.

The Hotel Canada, an SRO in downtown Vancouver, is owned by the provincial government and operated as supportive housing by Atira Property Management. It’s a type of housing that is supposed to help people stay housed, with on-site staffing and other supports available to prevent a return to homelessness.

But data from BC Housing shows that since 2020, 813 residents have been evicted from supportive housing and 285 of those tenants ended up in homeless shelters or back on the street. For 525 of those evicted tenants, it does not have information about where people ended up. BC Housing funds a total of 14,500 supportive housing units across the province. Read the whole story and see BC Housing stats here: https://tinyurl.com/4ekukdna

Income Security News:

->Updated Government benefits charts via Disability Alliance of BC (Thanks to DABC)

The provincial government recently released an income assistance rate table, detailing current rates as well as the new rates. DABC has also updated 8 of their Help Sheets to reflect the new changes to income and disability assistance shelter rates and supplements.

The updated Help Sheets are as follows:

  • HS02 | The Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Application
  • HS03 | Checklist for the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Benefit
  • HS04 | Monthly Nutritional Supplement (MNS)
  • HS06 | The Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) Benefit
  • HS07 | Health Supplements for People with Disabilities
  • HS10 | People with Disabilities on Reserve: The PWD Designation
  • HS12A | Income Assistance Application Process for People with Disabilities
  • HS13 | Rate Amounts for PWD and PPMB Benefits

The rest of DABC’s Help Sheets and other DABC publications can be viewed and downloaded on the website.

Human Rights News

->Striking workers in Richmond have airport hotels ‘surrounded’ (Thanks to Richmond News)

The RPRC fully supports Unite Here local 40. We want the strike to be over and the workers to return to work. The best way for this to occur is to NOT patronize any of the three hotels in the story below.

The BC Labour Board has granted a union permission to extend its picket line for striking workers to sister hotels next door. The workers from the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, on Westminster Highway, represented by UNITE HERE Local 40, now have the right to picket outside of its non-union sister hotels next door – the Hilton Vancouver Airport and Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotels. All three hotels are operated by the same company, Larco Hospitality. See the story.

->Richmond City Hall raises Pride flag for first time (Thanks to Richmond News)

The City of Richmond raised the Progressive Pride flag at city hall on Monday and plans to have it up all week for Pride Week. This followed an appeal from the community this past winter to change the flag policy to allow different flags, for example, the Pride flag and Every Child Matters flag to be flown at city hall.

The Pride flag is hoisted on a flagpole next to the Ukrainian flag, which has been there since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of that country.
The first Pride Walk ever in Richmond was held on Saturday, July 29 in Steveston, organized by Richmond-Steveston MLA Kelly Greene. It was attended by several municipal politicians as well as B.C. Premier David Eby.

->Update: New Richmond rainbow crosswalk vandalized 3 times in 2 days (Thanks to Richmond News)

Homophobic comments and symbols have been spray-painted three times on a rainbow crosswalk that was just installed at Palmer Secondary on Tuesday. This comes during Pride Week, which is being celebrated across Richmond.

Photos submitted to the Richmond News show every corner of the crosswalk vandalized on Wednesday. However, a different set of graffiti could be seen on the sidewalk when a Richmond News reporter visited the scene. According to a witness, this is the third time the crosswalk was vandalized since its installation. David Sadler, Richmond School District spokesperson, confirmed that immediate action is being taken to remove the graffiti and repaint the crosswalk.

The school district has also arranged for additional security in the area.So far, Richmond RCMP has not identified any suspects for the vandalism.

“Despite the most of the schools being close for Summer holidays, our Youth Section team members have been in contact with the school providing necessary support and continue to conduct proactive patrols in the community,” said Sgt. Gurbir Mondair, Richmond RCMP spokesperson.

The Palmer secondary crosswalk is not the first to experience vandalism in the city. Last year, the rainbow crosswalk on Minoru Boulevard was spraypainted with an “X,” sparking disgust from the community.

Government News

Assisted Living:

->It’s Time to Act: A Review of Assisted Living in B.C. (Thanks to BC Seniors Advocate via BC Health Coalition)

The BC Seniors Advocate has released a review of assisted living and is calling on government to address the current confusing legislative landscape to protect seniors from significant rent and service fee increases, improve oversight and reporting, and address affordability challenges by increasing the number of publicly subsidized assisted living units.

The review identified a growing demand for publicly subsidized assisted living, however, the number of publicly subsidized units available have decreased by 15%. In fact, the only increase in the past five years has been in private pay assisted living units.

Many of the issues identified in this report were also part of an earlier report co-published by Health Employees Union, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the BC Health Coalition. Read the BC Seniors Advocate full report or watch the presentation.

Public Transit:
->Federal Government report permanent public transit funding feedback

Ottawa, Ontario, July 25, 2023—Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, released the report titled “Permanent, Integrated, and Locally Responsive: New Foundations for Public Transit Funding in Canada”.

The report outlines key feedback shared by participants across the country. Partners and stakeholders emphasized that there is a need for stable and predictable funding, and that communities want flexibility in delivering projects to ensure government investments address local and regional priorities, such as advancing climate action and improving access to new and affordable housing.

This feedback will help inform the Government of Canada’s approach to maintaining, upgrading and expanding public transit and active transportation networks in urban, rural, and Indigenous communities across Canada.

The Government of Canada is actively reviewing Canada’s continued infrastructure needs as it charts a course for future federal infrastructure programming. The government will provide an update on this work later this year, including the next steps on permanent public transit funding, as it works to launch the program in 2026-2027.

Monday July 24, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 15th Roundup for 2023, after a brief hiatus for yours truly. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

RPRC Members’ News:

->Seniors Community Connections Expands Its Reach (Thanks to RCRG)

Richmond Cares Richmond Gives (RCRG) is training a new group of Seniors Community Connections volunteers to learn about Richmond’s vast network of community resources for older adults. Soon, the volunteers will be experts on services related to housing and healthcare, transportation and recreation, food security and financial aid. And they won’t simply know that these resources exist; they’ll know how to access them.

Currently, appointments are only offered at our Richmond Caring Place office, but that’s about to change. Part of the reason we’re training new volunteers is that, in the coming months, we’ll be launching multiple Mobile Information & Referral Clinics.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in hosting a Seniors Community Connections clinic, we’d love to hear from you! We’re happy to go anywhere, from community centres and libraries to doctor’s offices and places of worship. To tell us more about your location, call 604-279-7020 or email cdickson@rcrg.org.

->Telus Internet for Good available via Richmond Centre for Disability (Thanks to Ella Huang)

TELUS Internet for Good is a program that provides people with disabilities in need with access to high-speed Internet starting at $10/month with no contract, cancellation or installation fees. RCD has a limited number of Internet for Good redemption codes that our members, who are on PWD or CPPD benefits, can use to sign up for the program. Call Ella at 604-232-2404 or email her for details and to get the redemption code.

Health News:

->Two more lives lost in Richmond due to toxic drugs (Thanks to Richmond News)

Another two people died in Richmond in June due to toxic drugs. This follows a trend with two people having died every month so far this year in Richmond, bringing the total to 12 lives lost. The BC Coroners Service released its statistics for June on Tuesday showing a total of 184 people died of drug poisonings across B.C., which equates to 6.1 people every day.

Of the deaths across the province, 81 % took place indoors – 47 % in private residences, 34 % in other types of housing such as shelters and single-occupancy residences. Eighteen per cent died outside. It has been more than seven years since the province declared a public health emergency because of the number of people dying of toxic drugs.

The province is slowly expanding its prescription safe supply program, which gives people using illicit substances the ability to access medical-grade opiates. The coroner noted there is “no indication that prescribed safer supply is contributing to unregulated drug deaths.” The coroners’ services also noted fentanyl was present in 84 % of drug toxicity deaths this year.

->Healthy Eating on a Budget (Thanks to Deb Turner)

The interCultural Online Health Network (iCON) is hosting a hybrid event “Healthy Eating on a Budget” in Cantonese, with Angelina Lam, Registered Dietitian, on Saturday, July 29, 2023 from 2.30-4.30 pm. Address is 438 Great Northern Way, Vancouver.

In this session, you will learn how to follow Canada’s Food Guide and incorporate Chinese cultural foods in a healthy eating pattern, and make affordable and healthy meals.

More information and registration: iconproject.org/event/healthy-eating-on-a-budget.

->New long-term care home coming to Richmond (Thanks to CEAN Newsletter)

More people in Richmond and the surrounding areas will have access to high-quality long-term care as Vancouver Coastal Health prepares to build a new care home with more than 150 beds.

“People in Richmond and across B.C. deserve good health care at every stage of life – and that’s why improving high-quality long-term care is a top priority for our government,” said Premier David Eby. “This new long-term care facility will be a vibrant new home for seniors in this fast-growing city, who will be able to age with dignity and receive the care they need in the community they know and love. This facility will also take pressure off our hospitals, freeing up beds for people recovering from illness or injury.”

Richmond Lions Manor-Fentiman will be a new eight-storey campus of care and will offer a total of 144 long-term care beds and 14 hospice beds. The project will enter the procurement phase with construction expected to begin in 2025 and be complete in 2028. Here’s the news release.

Human Rights News:

->Pride flag to fly at Richmond City Hall for first time (Thanks to Richmond News)

Two firsts are planned for Richmond this year to celebrate Pride Week – a progressive pride flag at city hall and a Pride Walk in Steveston. This will be the first time a pride flag will fly at Richmond City Hall – from July 31 to Aug. 6 – and comes on the heels of city council changing its flag policy earlier this year.

Furthermore, Richmond-Steveston MLA Kelly Greene is planning to host a “Pride Walk” on July 29 along the Steveston boardwalk – also the first of its kind in Richmond – starting in front of her office at Imperial Landing.

“Throughout my time living in Richmond and being in elected office, I have heard from residents that Richmond lacks a sense of belonging for many queer folks and Richmond needs to do better in recognizing our local 2SLGBTQIA+ (Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) community, from visibility to consultations relating to policy planning,” Greene said in her press release announcing the walk.

The News reported last year how a drag queen story hour in Hamilton was disrupted by protesters, some with rainbow swastikas, but in the end, attendees and city staff encircled the performer to protect them.

The city is organizing various events during pride week including story times, workshops, fitness classes and an improv performance. Read the story, and check out the full list of Pride Week events and activities.

->Boycott the Radisson Blu YVR (Thanks to Unite Here Local 40)

Dear Community Allies: Our STRIKE continues at Radisson Blu YVR (formerly Pacific Gateway hotel). The owners forced long-term staff, many of them mothers and grandmothers, out of their jobs during a public health crisis!

  • The hotel’s pandemic firings of 143 people (70% of its workers) disproportionately impacted women – racialized women in particular
  • The hotel terminated 90% of its predominantly female housekeeping staff
  • Women with 40+ years on the job were impacted by pandemic terminations

In response to the terminations, remaining workers went on STRIKE! Now the longest hotel strike in B.C. history, the workers continue to fight #OneDayLonger until the hotel agrees to rehire staff and agrees to a fair contract. Take action to support workers forced out of their jobs! Send a letter.

Affordable Housing News:

->More affordable housing to come (Thanks to Richmond News)

(Article quoted in part). The RPRC spoke in favour of an apartment proposal for women and children in at Steveston and Railway, which was approved by city council’s planning committee this week. An additional proposal for a Kiwanis seniors building was also approved by planning committee.

These two development applications were unanimously supported at Tuesday’s city council planning meeting – but the affordable housing proposal met with some opposition from nearby residents. Two people coming forward to speak against the first one, a 25-unit, three-storey apartment building proposed for Steveston Highway and Railway Avenue, raised concerns about parking and safety for children.

Deirdre Whalen, president of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition, spoke to the committee in favour of the proposed housing project, saying the people who move in “will finally have a safe and affordable place to call home and raise their children.” She noted there are 1,100 Richmond households on the BC Housing waitlist, indicating the need for affordable housing. “We know low-income housing allows families to thrive and become active members of the community,” Whalen said. “This housing will change these families’ lives forever.”

A 58-unit seniors’ apartment being proposed down the road, north of Francis Road on Railway Avenue, also got the nod from the planning committee. Half of the units are intended to be low-end market rentals (LEMR units), and half market will be rentals. The building will be run by the Kiwanis Senior Citizens Housing Society.

->BC Housing complex in Richmond could densify six-fold (Thanks to Richmond News)

The number of homes in a BC Housing complex in Richmond could expand six-fold. Rosewood Village at No. 2 and Blundell roads currently has 138 townhouse units on 9.1 acres that BC Housing wants to redevelop with 800-plus units.

Rosewood Village was built about 50 years ago, and long-term residents recount how they brought up their families there when there were two swimming pools – with lifeguards – and a community hall. The pools are now filled in and the community hall has been converted into an office.

When she was raising her children in Rosewood Village, it felt like a community with a lot of single mothers raising their children there, said Arlene Rolick. “We hung around together and looked after each other,” she said.

Currently, there seems to be a lot of vandalism and criminality, Rolick said, with police onsite almost every day. Some residents have suggested security cameras but have been told they can’t be installed because of privacy reasons. Rolick hopes, when redeveloped, it will provide housing for single mothers with children.

BC Housing started consulting with residents about a year ago, and in a recent city council planning meeting, city staff said they are expecting a development proposal to come before city council sometime over the next few months. Read the whole story here: https://tinyurl.com/bdcsrzu9

Income Security News:

-> Minimum wage workers can’t afford rent—something’s gotta change (Thanks to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)

CCPA writes: There is no province in Canada where workers can afford an apartment on minimum wage. That’s the finding from our latest bombshell report. Can’t Afford the Rent: Rental wages in Canada 2022, by CCPA National Office Senior Economist David Macdonald and CCPA Ontario Senior Researcher Ricardo Tranjan.

The report shows that the rental wage is significantly higher than the minimum wage in every province and every major city. The rental wage is defined as the amount renters need to earn in order to pay rent without spending too much of their income on housing.

Tuesday June 21, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 14th Roundup for 2023, a special edition in honour of National Indigenous People’s Day. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> June 21st National Indigenous Peoples Day (Thanks to First United Church newsletter)

National Indigenous Peoples Day is a time to reflect on the history of colonization and its impact on Indigenous peoples. By promoting understanding and respect, this day contributes to the ongoing journey of reconciliation, and building stronger relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
Support Local Indigenous Businesses
One way to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day is to support local Indigenous businesses. We’ve put together a list of just some of them:


Wolf Pack Apparel
Decolonial Clothing
Ay Lelum
LadyBear Designs
Three Sisters by Emma
Scott Wabano
Anishinaabe Bimishimo
Lesley Hampton
Copper Canoe Woman


Sisters Sage


Spirit Bear Coffee Company
Salmon and Bannock
Mr. Bannock


Raven Reads
Talaysay Tours


Iskwew Air
Skwachàys Lodge


Spirit Works

-> Bill C-22 – and the Canada Disability Benefit – just passed in the Senate!

After all but one of the amendments to the bill were approved by the House of Commons last week, the Senate voted yesterday to pass Bill C-22 and the Canada Disability Benefit. This is a historic moment for the disability community and brings the bill one step closer to becoming law, pending almost-certain approval by the Governor General.

-> Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (Thanks to George Pope)

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program helps lower-income people and families, including seniors, access fresh and nutritious foods from local farmers’ markets. The program not only improves nutrition and prevents chronic disease, but also strengthens community connections and reduces social isolation. In 2022, the program reached 4,091 seniors, up from 1,982 in 2021, and 10,152 households benefited, an increase from 6,684 households in 2021. The Richmond location is at the Kwantlen St. Farmers’ Market.

Community Partner: Family Services of Greater Vancouver – Healthiest Babies Program Richmond, Richmond Food Bank Society, Vancouver Coastal Health – Richmond Fall Prevention, William Cook Elementary School. Contact any of these organizations to register for the program.

See also, B.C. farmers’ markets online shopping options here.

Tuesday June 6, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 13th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

I’ve tried to order the articles as issues (eg. housing, health, childcare, etc). Let me know if this makes it easier to read. There is SO much information out there about poverty reduction issues and initiatives!

RPRC Member news and announcements

->SPEAK Survey is open until June 30th (Thanks to Athena Estremadura)

The RPRC is administering a survey to Richmond residents through to the end of June. Come in person to complete the Health SPEAK Survey and receive a $10 grocery card!

Do you live in one of these neighborhoods – Hamilton, Cambie, East Richmond, Shellmont, Broadmoor or Blundell ? Your feedback will help governments plan better services and programs! Simply walk-in to one of the weekly survey sessions to participate:

  • Every Tuesday from 9:00 am – 11:00 am at Brighouse Library at 7700 Minoru Gate OR
  • Every Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 pm at Ironwood Library 11688 Steveston Highway.

For more information or to set up a field trip for your organization’s clients, please email info@richmondprc.org.

-> Richmond Food Bank and Community Pantry Launch (Thanks to Vivian Chung)

This is an invitation to an Open House and Community Pantry Launch at the Richmond Food Bank on Friday, June 23rd from 12:00pm-2:00pm. The Community Pantry project is a project coordinated by members of the Food Action in Richmond (FAIR) committee; a peer led food advocacy and action committee of the Richmond Food Bank Society.

This will be an opportunity for you to meet many of the food security community partners working in collaboration with the food bank and the collective, tangible actions each of us are taking to feed the most vulnerable in our community. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to vivian@richmondfoodbank.org or call 604.271.5609.

->Richmond community cookbook fundraiser seeks print sponsor (Thanks to Richmond News)

A local mental health organization offering peer support to Richmondites has compiled a community recipe book for a fundraiser, and they’re hoping to find a print sponsor.

The cookbook is made up of around 35 recipes donated by peers at the Richmond Mental Health Consumer and Friends’ Society (RCFC) and other community members, and net proceeds from its sales will help support the RCFC.

Jennifer Campillo told the Richmond News her inspiration for the project came from her personal experience of being hospitalized. “I really didn’t like the food at (the) hospital. So when I got out of the hospital, I taught myself to cook and I got to feeling like, ‘Oh, I really enjoy cooking,’” said Campillo, adding that the idea also came naturally because RCFC had held cooking events before.

The cookbook also holds a deeper meaning than a regular fundraiser, as it celebrates the legacy and talents of those who will benefit from the funds. “If peers are empowered to share their recipes, and it’s part of the fundraiser, it’s an empowerment piece. So that’s why we’ve decided to do a cookbook,” Campillo explained.

The final product will be available for sale at RCFC’s Richmond office at 7671 Alderbridge Way or at Book Warehouse on West Broadway. To find out more and to offer your support to the project, please email jennifer.campillo@vch.ca.

->Never Used Printer FREE (Thanks to Kate Marchessault)

New RPRC member Kate Marchessault has unearthed a “never used” printer from her storage unit. Check it out – Epson Artisan 837 All-in-One printer: copies faxes, auto feeder, wireless, fast, and top quality printing especially for photos.

If an organization or individual could use this – free of course. Kate would be happy to deliver to your door, but would need someone to come and lift it out of the car as she uses a wheelchair/ scooter and can’t manage that. Contact info@richmondprc.org if you are interested.

General Richmond updates:


->New child care spaces open in Richmond city centre

The Hummingbird Child Care Centre in the Oval Village neighbourhood has finally opened, one year later than expected. Located at 6899 Pearson Way by River Road, the Centre will provide 37 new licensed child-care spaces for infants, toddlers and children up to school age.

The facility was originally expected to be ready by spring 2022, but experienced construction delays as well as supply and trade challenges after the pandemic, explained city spokesperson Clay Adams. It ended up being transferred to the city last December and will be operated by YMCA. “Such delays are not particularly unusual given the pandemic impact, although we anticipate these pressures will ease over time,” said Adams.

The facility will serve families with children ranging from newborn to school entry-age, and it will be available to support families with siblings of different ages. Richmond currently has 620 licensed child-care spaces in city-owned facilities, including the 37 spaces at the new Hummingbird facility. Between 2017 and 2022, 2,535 new child-care spaces were created in Richmond including almost 1,000 for infants and toddlers under three years old.

However, the spaces available only cover 35.6 per cent of the children age birth to twelve years old in Richmond. There are currently 8,337 child-care spaces in Richmond, which is 78 per cent of the city’s target to provide 10,710 licensed child-care spaces by 2031.


->Richmond condo development stalls due to ‘rising interest rates’ (Thanks to Richmond News)

Wondering if the 40 + ‘secured LEMR units’ will ever be built? Thind Properties has halted its Minoru Square project and is returning the 20 per cent deposit to the pre-sale buyers. The developer is blaming the rising interest rates – among other things – for putting the brakes on a 400-unit condo project in the centre of Richmond.

Pre-sale buyers of Minoru Square were told this week the developer has “paused” the project and will return their 20 per cent deposit. Minoru Square, being built by Thind Properties at Minoru Boulevard and Lansdowne Road, was due to be an 11-floor, residential development with more than 400 units.

The development included studio suites starting at $534,900 to two bedrooms and a den from $839,900. Introduced to the market last year, the development was set to complete in 2025.“Due to unforeseen circumstances, rising interest rates, and development challenges, we have made the hard decision to pause the project at this time,” wrote Thind in a letter to the buyers on May 26. More here.

->Capstan single-family lots earmarked for condos, hotel (Thanks to Richmond News)

Four single-family lots in Capstan – that were part of a land swap with the City of Richmond for the Richmond Ice Centre – could be developed into a condo building and a hotel. . The residential tower will have 163 market units and 27 affordable housing units.

The four lots on Patterson Road just west of Garden City Road were owned by the City of Richmond. In 2019, they were sold to Coastone, whose director was Peter She at the time, for $13.5 million, despite being assessed at $28.6 million. However, as part of the deal, the city acquired the Richmond Ice Centre, for $32 million, about $20 million below its assessed value.

The affordable units – under the low-end market rental program – will comprise two studio apartments, 10 one-bedroom apartments, nine two-bedroom and six three-bedroom apartments. Age restrictions aren’t allowed in these affordable units. According to city staff, the developer has been talking with SUCCESS, a non-profit, to manage the affordable units. Check out the article.

->Province sets housing targets in many cities (Thanks to Justin McElroy & Metro Matters)

The province put forward its long-awaited list of municipalities that will be given explicit targets for how much housing to build, with a mix of responses from mayors and councillors who are now forced to work proactively with Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon or face yet-to-be-explained consequences, sometime in early 2024.

While speculating on why different municipalities made the list is certainly fun, we’ll note that it’s been a while since David Eby first started talking about this concept … and there’s still no concrete action that has taken place as a result. Click to keep reading.

->Struggling senior homeowners encouraged to consider property tax deferral (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie is urging senior homeowners struggling with the rising costs of living and aging to consider deferring their 2023 property taxes.

The BC Property Tax Deferral Program allows homeowners 55-plus to defer all or some of their annual property taxes. The Province pays the tax to the local government on behalf of the senior homeowner and the deferred taxes are repaid to the Province when the home is sold.

“Eight out of 10 seniors in B.C. are homeowners with modest or low incomes and are finding it very hard to keep up with rising costs. Almost half of B.C. seniors live on an income that is less than minimum wage,” said Mackenzie. “Seniors who defer their property taxes can put as much as $500 per month back in their pocket to help pay for the costs of aging such as medications, mobility aids, personal care support and other activities of daily living which are vital for people as they get older.”

In the Monitoring Seniors Services 2022 Report, the Office of the Seniors Advocate found that homeowners deferred a total of $307 million in property taxes in 2021/22 – 61,394 were renewals and 6,989 were new users.

->Disability Alliance of BC on illegal rent increases )Thanks to DABC newsletter)

DABC has been informed that some landlords are trying to prematurely raise rents of their tenants who are PWD clients in anticipation of the shelter rate increase that will take effect in July 2023 for the August 2023 cheque issue.

DABC would like to remind PWD clients of their rights as a tenant: The maximum rent increase for 2023 is 2%, it is illegal for a landlord to increase a tenant’s rent above this. Landlords are also obligated to provide 3 month’s notice of a rent increase. Rent can only be increased once every 12 months.

If you encounter any issues with this and need more information, please reach out to the Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre for assistance and/or advocacy.

->Richmond receives $9.1M federal funding to build affordable rental housing in Steveston (Thanks to Richmond News)

The funding will cover the construction costs of a three-story, 25-unit affordable housing project on City owned land at Steveston Highway and Railway Avenue. The project will provide 10 two-bedroom units and 15 studios to low-income women and women with children who face challenges in finding housing.

If the rezoning application – to turn the land from single-family use to multi-family use – is approved by the city council in the fall, the project is set to be completed and open doors to tenants in late 2024.

“We had announced the initial plan to do this with the city just a few weeks ago. And very quickly, the Rapid Housing Initiative has been put into place, and we’re seeing a plan already in place to build,” said Parm Bains, MP for Steveston-Richmond East.

BC Housing has promised to cover the $7.2 million operational costs, and Turning Point Housing Society, a not-for-profit providing housing and counselling services, will manage the building and its tenants once it’s built. The rent of the affordable units will not exceed 30 per cent of the tenant’s income, according to the city.


-> It feels like my son was murdered (Thanks to Maria Rantanen and Richmond News)

Some days it feels like my son, Michael, was murdered. He bought something to consume, it was poisoned by someone up the chain of production, and now he is dead. And, every day, six or seven more people are dying like he did, and yet the coroner continues to call these deaths “accidental.” Michael was just shy of his 26th birthday when he died of a drug poisoning.

He had possibly 50 years of life on this planet robbed from him because those in power don’t have the guts to give people addicted to what are deemed illegal substances clean, safe products.

If British Columbians were suddenly dying from poisoned alcohol or tainted nicotine or adulterated medications, there would be hell to pay for suppliers. But because some people choose to use substances that aren’t on the list of socially acceptable drugs, they rely on criminals to get their unregulated products in an unregulated market.

On Mother’s Day, I spent some time at a tree planted in my son’s memory. Beside me were my two other sons, who will spend the rest of their lives mourning the loss of their older brother.

This article is part of an in-depth, province-wide journalistic effort by Glacier Media to examine the scope, costs and toll of the opioid and toxic drug crisis in British Columbia – a public health emergency that has taken at least 11,807 lives since 2016.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911. If you need help with substance abuse, call the B.C. government’s alcohol and drug information and referral service at 1-800-663-1441. It’s available 24 hours a day.

Income security:
->Airport hotel workers in Richmond issue strike notice (Thanks to Richmond News)

The RPRC supports members of Unite Here Local 40. Employees at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport, on Westminster Highway will be in a legal strike position as of Monday afternoon. This comes after 88 % of the hotel’s staff – including housekeepers, banquet servers, front desk agents and the hotel’s Starbucks food service workers – voted in favour of strike on May 20. According to the union, most staff at the hotel earn less than Vancouver’s living wage of $24.08 an hour.

“The Sheraton YVR workers are seeking similar compensation for their service and dedication to the hotel’s success,” said the union in a press release. “Workers also want the hotel industry standard for banquet gratuity transparency to ensure tips are being correctly distributed, and for a guarantee that guest rooms will be cleaned daily.”

One of the workers, Shaelyn Arnould, a Starbucks food service worker who has been at the hotel for five years, spoke of her “frustration.”

“Sheraton is a top destination for people landing at YVR airport and is known to be one of the largest and busiest hotels in the lower mainland,” said Arnould. “We are approximately $5 per hour behind other similar hotels in the Vancouver area – that’s up to a 30% wage difference.”


->$1.1M bike lane in east Richmond nearing completion (Thanks to Richmond News)

A multi-use pathway in east Richmond’s Hamilton neighbourhood is nearing completion. The City of Richmond began work on the $1.1 million bike/pedestrian pathway on Westminster Highway, between Smith Crescent and Fraserside Gate, in the fall of 2022.The pathway includes a 1.8 metre-wide bike lane and a 1.5 metre-wide walkway along the north side of Westminster Highway.

A curb will separate the multi-use pathway from the main road. In 2022, residents in the area were concerned about driveway access, on-street parking and vehicle speeds on Westminster Highway when construction began. City staff and contractors made some minor alterations to address these concerns, according to a February Public Works and Transportation staff report. The Westminster Highway bike and pedestrian lane project is expected to be completed by this summer.

->Controversial Steveston bike lane is back at Council (Thanks to Richmond News)

Another Richmond city council meeting has been called to deal with a proposed bike lane on Steveston Highway. Instead of it being dealt with on June 12 as originally planned, an extra committee meeting – followed by an extra city council meeting where a final decision could be made – has been called for this Wednesday, June 7th at 4.00 pm.

In a 5-4 vote, city council rejected to increase the bike lane funding in order to launch construction of the three-phased, three-metre-wide multi-use pathway that would run on the south side of Steveston Highway from Railway Avenue to Shell Road. Concerns cited by city councillors were air quality and the safety of reducing lane widths on the busy street. Rather, the suggestion was to move the project to Williams Road, which is already a dedicated bike road.
However, the $5.5 million in project funding from TransLink and the province can’t be transferred to that location.

The estimated cost of the Steveston multi-use bike/pedestrian project came out about $2.5 million more than expected after the city called for construction bids, but last week, this extra cost was voted down by city council. Learn more.

->HUB Richmond asking for support for Steveston Highway MUP Project (Thanks to HUB Richmond)

HUB Richmond is a group of bike-riding Richmondites that support the Steveston Highway Multi-Use Path project. Richmond City Council is meeting this Wednesday, June 7th to discuss it again.

This project is building a new protected multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians along Steveston Highway between Railway Ave and Shell Rd, with an eventual extension to the Steveston Interchange and the Massey Tunnel Replacement. However, the project has recently come under fire due to a variety of concerns, including cost, and is at risk of being cancelled.

We need you to show your support, by attending the council meeting at 4.00 pm on June 7th or emailing in your comments to cityclerk@richmond.ca.

Other Government news:

->City seeks input on Social Development Strategy (Thanks to Dorothy Jo)

The City of Richmond is updating its Social Development Strategy and is seeking input from those who live and work in Richmond on how we can build a more inclusive and thriving community. The updated Strategy will provide an overarching framework for the City and its partners to address the social needs of Richmond’s diverse population over the next 10 years. How to share feedback:

Online – Visit www.LetsTalkRichmond.ca/Social-Dev-Strategy to learn more and complete a survey. The deadline to submit online is Sunday, July 2 at 11:59 p.m.
In-person – Connect with Community Ambassadors who will be at various pop-up locations throughout Richmond.
Printed copies of the survey, available in English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, will be available at the pop-ups as well as community centres.

For more information, email SocialPlanning@richmond.ca.

Monday May 22, 2023

​Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 12th Roundup for 2023, a special edition as some of the events are coming up quickly. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

May is Child Care month and Care Givers month! Take some time to thank those people in our lives that take care of our children, our friends and our elders.

->Apply for Ethel Tibbets scholarship! (Thanks to Richmond Community Foundation)

The application intake period for the 2023 Ethel Tibbits Scholarship is now open until May 31, 2023. This scholarship is awarded annually to Richmond women seeking to further their career prospects, so they can better support their families. The scholarship can be used for both tuition and course materials, whether you’re participating in a training program, or taking classes to upgrade your skills or credentials.

Please see the poster. We will begin our social media promotion next week as well, if you are able to like and share, we would be most grateful.

->Emergency Preparedness Event June 5th (Thanks to RCRG)

Join RCRG on June 5th from 3-4.30 pm Richmond Caring Place for an exciting and educational event, the Preparedness Party in a Box!
Sponsored by the Richmond BC Alert campaign, this event is designed to equip Canadians with the knowledge and resources they need to prepare for natural disasters and emergencies. Canada’s diverse geography and climate make it susceptible to a range of natural hazards, but only one in ten Canadians have taken steps to protect their homes.

With interactive games, prizes, refreshments, and expert resources, our event will help you learn about the risks in your region and take action to mitigate them. Don’t miss this opportunity to protect yourself, your home, and your community! Call 604.279.7099 or email for free registration at caregivernavigator@rcrg.org.

->Invasive species removal event May 27th (Thanks to MLA Henry Yao)

Henry Yao, MLA, Richmond South Centre is hosting an Invasive Species Removal event on Saturday, May 27th 9:00am – 11:00am at Garden City Park. We are partnering with the City of Richmond for professional advice and equipment, and St John Ambulance for first aid. All are welcome! Please sign up if interested.

->Info Sessions available from Canada Revenue Agency (Thanks to Laurie Amigo, CRA)

Here is some information about the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) and Benefits Outreach Program.

Benefits and credits can make a big difference to people in your community. The CRA’s CVITP and Benefits Outreach Program can help people, and the organizations that serve them, learn about the benefits of tax-filing, including what benefits and credits they may be eligible for, and the supports available to help with completing an income tax and benefits return.

I would be pleased to offer a free information session to your organization about the benefits and credits that your clients could be eligible to receive. Please note that we can now offer in-person information sessions as well as virtual information sessions.

List of information sessions available:

  • General Benefits and Credits Presentation
  • Newcomers Benefits and Credits Presentation
  • Persons with Disabilities Presentation
  • Benefits & Credits for Family Caregivers Presentation
  • Indigenous Peoples Benefits and Credits Presentation
  • Benefits and Credits for adults 65 +
  • Post-Secondary Students Presentation
  • International Students Presentation
  • Scam Awareness Presentation

Please feel free to contact Laurie at Outreach.BC2@cra-arc.gc.ca if you are interested in a session and we can organize a time that is convenient for your organization.

->Making Life More Affordable and Supporting the Middle Class (Thanks to Government of Canada)

I stumbled across this a while ago. Although it deals with filing taxes and federal Budget 2023, the contents apply all year round. See: https://www.budget.canada.ca/2023/report-rapport/chap1-en.html#m3

->Free courses offered by Recovery College YVR (Thanks to CEAN Newsletter)

On May 2, the Government of British Columbia, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) of North and West Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) launched Recovery College YVR (RC YVR), a community learning centre offering free courses to address transitional gaps across the mental health and substance use system.

RC is based on a thriving community mental health model from the United Kingdom that offers various virtual and in-person workshops, groups, webinars, educational events, and community connection points to enhance mental health literacy, provide peer-to-peer support and aid in developing meaningful personal goals. The YVR RC is the 17th location in Canada.

Visit the website to learn more about this initiative.

Monday May 15, 2023

​Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 11th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

->Participate in the SPEAK Health survey (Thanks to Athena Estremadura and RASC network)

VCH and BCCDC have asked the RPRC to administer a health survey called ‘SPEAK’ in Richmond. The purpose of this SPEAK survey is to collect data on social determinants of health (housing, food, income, etc) in order to adapt services and/ or increase services to meet community needs.

The survey is taking place all over BC. Our RASC (Richmond Advocacy & Support Committee) is doing the survey in Richmond. We are looking for participants to complete the survey. You can drop in or send an email to info@richmondprc.org. Here is the info on the SPEAK health survey:

Dates: Every Tuesday through May and June
Time: 9.00 to 11.30 am
Location: Brighouse Public Library (7700 Minoru Gate, 2nd floor Computer Lab)

->Support the RCD’s Krispy Crème fundraiser (Thanks to Ella Huang)

Order your Krispy Kreme doughnuts now and pick up from RCD on Thursday May 25th – last day! To thank you for supporting RCD take home 1.59 kg of Jasmine rice as a gift for every 2 boxes of doughnuts. Don’t miss out on this good deal!

Fill out the form or call Anne at 604.232.2404 if interested.

->Community Shred-a-thon May 27th (Thanks to RCD and Ella Huang)

Prevent identity theft by shredding your important documents! Saturday May 27th from 10-2 at Lansdowne Centre Mall (SW corner by Canada Line). All proceeds are donated to the RCD to support services and programs for people with disabilities.

->Vision Zero to make Delta roads safer (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

The RPRC Vision Zero project report and recommendation to engage in a Vision Zero process was presented to Richmond City Council in March. It was sent for a staff report with no timeframes on when it will come back to Council.

On the other hand, Delta Council at its Committee of the Whole meeting on May 2 heard a presentation from a consultant and Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord on the next steps for Delta to formulate its own Vision Zero strategy, aimed at eliminating all traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries by making communities safer for all modes of transportation.

Several cities such as Vancouver, Surrey and Toronto have already adopted their own Vision Zero strategies in recent years.

Some of the stats presented included 65 per cent of all collisions are occurring at intersections while heavy trucks, despite accounting for just three per cent of vehicular traffic, account for 12 per cent of accidents involving someone being killed or seriously injured. Vision Zero will hopefully reduce that number, as well as improve connections to schools and community services and address the needs of older adults and vulnerable road users.

The city of Delta is to develop a holistic and strategic road safety approach, which includes stakeholders and community partners. The city has begun undertaking community outreach and engagement and will put together a special stakeholder group. A new plan is to be approved for implementation by 2024. See the story.

->Two-thirds of Richmond kids still waiting for child care spaces (Thanks to Richmond News)

May is Child Care Month, dedicated to celebrating early childhood educators and child care providers. Richmond got 627 more child-care spaces within the year, but the current supply only covers one-third of the children in Richmond.

The City of Richmond recently wrapped up its 2017-2022 Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy with a final update, boasting “significant progress” such as reaching 78 per cent of its 10-year plan to provide more than 10,000 licensed child-care spaces in the city, and the opening of early childhood and development hubs last year. Since the strategy was put in place in 2017, the city saw a 44-per-cent increase in child care spaces with a total of 2,535 new spaces, including almost 1,000 for infants and toddlers under the age of three.

The city is in the process of creating a new 10-year strategy for child care initiatives and activities in Richmond, which will involve consultation with local families, child care providers and the broader community. Learn more.

->BC Eviction Mapping Project report (Thanks to First United Church Vancouver)

Today is the launch of the BC Eviction Mapping project—the first of its kind in the province.

Since June 2022, First United been gathering data through a BC Eviction Survey as part of the BC Eviction Mapping project, led by Dr. Sarah Marsden, Director of Systems Change and Legal. The aim is to make BC tenant protections stronger by providing evidence that forms the basis of a law reform platform.

The interactive map and Interim Report are now available to view on our website. Take a look to see where evictions are happening across BC, who is being evicted, and what the impacts are.

Trends emerged from the data that can be categorized into four themes:

  • Prevalence of “Landlord’s Use” evictions
  • Homelessness after eviction
  • Neighbourhood displacement after eviction
  • Prevalence of informal evictions


->Average rents in Metro increased in May (Thanks to Richmond News)

Average prices have increased this month over last. Metro Vancouverites hoping for a reprieve from sky-high rental prices won’t catch a break this month. The average price for an unfurnished, one-bedroom rental unit in the region has climbed to $2,318, up $55 from $2,263 in May, according to liv.rent’s latest report. Since May 2022, the average rent for an unfurnished, one-bedroom unit in Metro Vancouver has increased by $302.

Rental prices in the region saw two consecutive price declines in February and March but the top five priciest markets were located in the Lower Mainland. Costs increased in April, climbing by $55 to $2,208. Liv.rent says that the rising rental prices have coincided with the beginning of the busy summer renting season. See the article for all the neighbourhood stats.

->Housing advocate launches class-action lawsuit against BC Housing (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

A social housing advocate from Delta, who has recently launched a class-action lawsuit against BC Housing, says she’s disappointed an audit of the government operator made public by the provincial government only examined one partner provider — that of Atira Women’s Resource Society.
Elizabeth Zbitnoff says she was hoping for more to come out of Monday’s release of the Ernst and Young forensic audit. “As soon as I watched the media release, I said to myself, ‘What about the rest of the non-profits? From my understanding, that’s what the forensic audit was supposed to be on, not just Atira. I’m not surprised to see they kept it limited — just my honest opinion,” said Zbitnoff.

The Ladner resident says the findings of conflict of interest between Atira and former BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay “goes to the bigger problem” — that being systemic mismanagement of social housing units, including her own. Glacier Media reached out to BC Housing for comment but did not hear back by publication.

Zbitnoff is one of a dwindling number of residents of Ladner Willows, a townhouse complex that provides subsidized housing to low and moderate income-earning people, as well as those with disabilities. The reason why it’s a dwindling number is because the 40-unit complex fell into disrepair, she told Glacier Media. Read more of this story here:

->Join us to mark 2 YEARS ON STRIKE! (Thanks to Unite Here Local 40)

Show your support for striking Pacific Gateway Hotel workers in Richmond as they continue to fight to save their jobs & for a fair contract!
Thursday, May 25th at 5pm at Pacific Gateway Hotel, 3500 Cessna Drive, Richmond

Check out the Facebook event!

->Letters: Steves deserves to be recognized (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

His commitment to farming and agriculture should be acknowledged. Isn’t about time that Harold Steves, who created the Agriculture Land Reserve, were truly honoured for his work?

He has recently retired as a Richmond councillor and it is high time the government and the farming community honoured him in a significant way.
Perhaps the Delta Farmers’ Institute and local MLAs should lobby for the B.C. Government to give Harold his well-deserved recognition.

->There’s a Better Way to Deliver Primary Health Care (Thanks to The Tyee)

Community health centres offer one-stop access to care and supports, say proponents. Karen Lundgren says the community health centre where she works in downtown Victoria is the kind of place she’d want to receive medical care.“It’s the best way to do health care,” Lundgren said. “I would love to go to my family doctor and have access to a physio there, counselling there, you know like a one-stop shop. It’s not the norm and it needs to be.”

Lundgren is the manager of the nursing team at Victoria Cool Aid Society’s community health centre and she runs the organization’s outreach sites and mobile health clinic. A non-profit that also provides housing and runs a dental clinic, Cool Aid targets its services to people who are impacted by poverty, colonization, stigma and homelessness. The health clinic is one of 31 members of the BC Association of Community Health Centres. Other clinics in the association serve various populations, with some specializing in caring for Indigenous people, immigrants or seniors, or on a particular neighbourhood or region.

Some of the other community health centres operating in the province include ones run by REACH and RISE in Vancouver, the Community First Health Co-op in Nelson and half a dozen across the Gulf Islands. There’s a move towards funding community health centres through the government’s primary care networks of providers and clinicians who come together to plan for and deliver all of the primary care needs of a community.

->Mayors calling on Feds for permanent public transit fund (Thanks to Richmond News)

Metro Vancouver mayors are flying to Ottawa next week to call on the federal government to expedite a $3-billion permanent public transit fund, claiming higher immigration rates will put more pressure on TransLink’s infrastructure needs.

The funding is scheduled to start in 2026, but Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West, chair of the Mayors’ Council, says the funds will be needed next year.
Since TransLink serves about 2.6 million people, representing about seven per cent of Canada’s population, a representative cut of the annual fund would be $205 million. TransLink says the funding plan will:

  • more than double bus service over 2022 levels;
  • add up to nine new traffic-separated Bus Rapid Transit lines;
  • make improvements to the region’s major road network;
  • increase HandyDART service by 60 per cent and provide 24-hour service;
  • begin planning for a rapid transit solution to the North Shore (Metrotown to Park Royal);
  • build the Burnaby Mountain Gondola to Simon Fraser University;
  • extend SkyTrain to the University of British Columbia;
  • increase SeaBus service start and end times to match SkyTrain’s service hours; and,
  • expand cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

Keep reading.

->Here’s how much wealth the richest 1% in Canada have (Thanks to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – CCPA)

This is an excerpt from a blog post by CCPA economist Alex Hemingway:

I’ve just crunched the numbers on wealth inequality in Canada, and the statistics are shocking. The richest 1% now control one quarter of the country’s wealth. The 87 richest families on average each have more than the 12 million Canadians at the bottom of the economic ladder combined.

The country needs a wealth tax. My research shows that the positive impacts could be significant—if we tax wealth over $10 million annually, even at rates between 1% and 3%, it would raise more than $32 billion per year. That’s enough to pay for universal pharmaceutical coverage, free tuition for post-secondary education, 100,000 affordable homes per year and a major increase in public transit investment combined. Read more in my blog post here.

A wealth tax is both practical and hugely popular with Canadians—89% support it, including 83% of Conservative voters. The challenge is that the wealthy have been able to largely keep it off the federal policy agenda. But with increased awareness and pressure, policymakers may feel compelled to act. Please help us spread the word.

Tuesday April 25, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 10th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

Please note, yours truly will be out of province for a week so this Roundup will have to suffice! Back on May 3rd.

->Job posting for Richmond Family Place (Thanks to Valerie Allen and Ruth Taverner)

Richmond Family Place is currently looking for a part time Early Years Bridging Project Outreach Worker. It is a part-time contract position that would be ideal for someone who may be looking for an opportunity for Canadian work experience or looking to re-enter the work force. We are hoping to recruit someone who can speak either Ukrainian or Mandarin, although we will consider candidates with other languages skills.

Please see the job description, attached to this email. But please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions regarding this role. Valerie Allen (she/her) Ph: 604-278-4336 Mon-Thurs from 9-1.

->RCD Community Support Skills Training (Thanks to Ella and Ian at RCD)

SIX FREE workshops to support volunteering with vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, children with special needs and seniors. Everyone is welcome to join! Click here for workshop schedule. To register: Complete the Registration Form and return to Ian Yeung For enquiry: Call Ian at 604-232-2404.

-> Benefits Finder – great resource during tax time (Thanks to Deb Turner)

The Benefits Finder is a tool that can help you find Benefits and Services that you may be eligible to receive from federal, provincial or other sources. It asks a few questions and uses your answers to search. It does not collect or track your information. The more questions you answer, the more customized and accurate your results will be.

-> Pretty purple flags in Richmond mark an ugly reality (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond News editor Eve Edmonds has her say on the recent anniversary of the B.C. government declaring opioid use a public health emergency.
It’s a pretty sight: a field of small purple flags standing a foot off the ground, it looks a bit like a meadow of lupine. Too bad every one of those 2,272 purple flags represents the ugly reality of addic­tion and drug poisoning.

Last Friday a group of heartbroken family members and their supporters gathered in front of the Brighouse library to mark the seventh anniversary since the provincial government declared deaths due to opioid use a public health emergency.

Since then, an additional 11,171 men, women and children have been killed, some say murdered, in B.C. as a result of this toxic plague. We used to call these deaths drug over­doses, but that implies a user decided to take more than they should have, like some­one on a drinking binge. That may have been the case for some, but many were taking exactly what they normally take. They just didn’t realize their supply was laced with, oh let’s say, an ele­phant tranquilizer. In other words, the user didn’t overdose any more than if the beer they were drink­ing was spiked with arsenic.

-> Update to Tertiary Mental Health Substance Use program (Thanks to CEAN)

Several clients and family members took part in a focus group, interview or a talking circle as part of a review of the mandate for Tertiary Mental Health and Substance Use program at VCH. Your input directly informed changes to the mandate, including:

  • Expanding the eligibility criteria to include clients who may also be struggling with drugs or alcohol, along with severe, long-lasting mental illness
  • Including consultation with families and community teams when TMHSU care teams decide clients have met their care goals and are ready to transition to community
  • Using clear, simple language to describe the mandate
  • Including a description of Tertiary care in the mandate
  • Using positive, inclusive language to describe admission criteria, and
  • Clarifying the referral pathway into Tertiary services.

See the report.

-> Twelve more Foundry centres to support young people in B.C. (Thanks to CEAN)

Young people and families will have faster, easier access to mental-health and addiction services and primary care with the expansion of Foundry centres to more communities throughout the province.

Through Budget 2023, government will add 12 new Foundry centres to provide young people aged 12-24 and their families and caregivers free and confidential services to fit their unique needs. Supports include mental-health and addiction counselling, physical and sexual health care, peer support and social services. Read more.

-> Youth mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic: Conversations with young people (Thanks to VCH)

Review an excellent report by the McCreary Centre Society and funded by VCH, honing in on experiences and solutions proposed by BC youth.

-> Social prescribing could ease the burden on family doctors (Thanks to CBC News)

Suggestion of non-medical treatment shifts focus from, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ to ‘What matters to you? When a Toronto doctor sent out a tweet earlier this year of the prescription she’d just handed to a patient, she had no idea the impact it would have.

“Puppy of choice,” it said, “with walks twice daily and lots of love.” It was a real prescription, written on her prescription pad, handed to a patient experiencing feelings of loneliness.

Thousands of people liked it, shared it and left their own comments, many asking if they could be Dr. Iris Gorfinkel’s patient, too. In the end, it reached more than 700,000 people. “I think the reason that it struck such a raw chord is because people saw themselves in it,” Gorfinkel said.

The family doctor, who’s been practising for more than 20 years, says she’s been doing some form of what’s now known as social prescribing since her earliest working days — suggesting non-medical treatments for patients who come to her with symptoms that suggest loneliness or isolation.

Monday April 17, 2023

​Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 9th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

->Richmond rally mourns lives lost to drug poisoning (Thanks to Richmond News)

Thousands of purple flags and ribbons representing victims of the toxic drug crisis covered a large field outside Richmond library. “My brother, on Dec. 14, passed away. He was one of two men in Richmond on that day. And just like many other men, he died while playing PlayStation in his bedroom,” said Trevor Tablotney. Tablotney was one of the many Richmond residents and local politicians who gathered outside the Richmond Cultural Centre on Friday morning to commemorate all the lives lost to the toxic drug crisis and demand action.

A total of 2,272 purple flags were placed on the field to acknowledge the number of overdose deaths in B.C. last year. April 14, 2023 marks the seventh anniversary since the B.C. government declared the overdose and drug poisoning crisis a public health emergency.

“This is not a crisis that’s only felt in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, it’s being felt in Richmond, with 28 deaths last year alone, and across the province and across Canada,” organizer Debbie Tablotney told attendees.“These people had families and friends that loved them, and they did not deserve to die.”
Tablotney lost her son Curtis to a drug poisoning last December. Many other community members joined her, carrying photos of their loved ones who suffered the same fate. Agnes Thompson was one of them. She knew Tablotney’s three sons when they attended a preschool she worked at, and she also lost her eldest grandson, Tristan Coatta, in 2021. Coatta was a photographer.

->A Week of Celebration, Gratitude and Recognition (Thanks to RCRG)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That’s right: April 16 to 22 is National Volunteer Week! At RCRG, we’re busy preparing for the 2023 Volunteers Are Stars Awards, happening this Wednesday, April 19, at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. It’s the first time in three years the event will be held in person, and we can’t wait to be together again with friends, partners, and fellow community members, celebrating Richmond’s best and brightest volunteers. There’s still time to purchase tickets, and we’d love for you to join us!

->Free Event “Why is #MentalHealth Trending? (Thanks to Cory Tymich and RCFC)

Here is a free relevant upcoming event (May 3) from SPU Public Square that may be of interest. Deep Dive, “Why is #MentalHealth Trending?

->Free Community Education event May 4th (Thanks to Cory Tymich and RCFC)

RCFC is inviting all to Richmond Mental Health Film Committee’s FREE community education event. Although we had to go virtual for our 2020 event, we had such great feedback from our attendees that we thought we would offer another online! This event will be held on May 4th as part of Mental Health Week (May 1st- May 7th). Learn more and register via the link above.

As for the May 4th event, Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, here is what our presenter had to say: “Mindfulness brings with it the wisdom and insight to distinguish and navigate the currents of life – to know what draws us away from anguish and towards wellbeing. It is a powerful self-care tool that can help us shift from a state of unaware reactiveness to one of wise and compassionate responsiveness, from moment-to-moment.​” Please also see the poster.

->Richmond Food Bank thanks Volunteers (Thanks to Richmond News)

The Richmond Food Bank is celebrating its 40th anniversary and the biggest applause goes to its volunteers. Hajira Hussain, executive director of the Richmond Food Bank, said all the work the Richmond Food Bank has done since its inception is due to volunteers that have stepped up.

“No matter how the need increases, the volunteers and our community have stepped up to meet that need, or to meet that demand,” said Hussain. “They are what keeps us going and how we are able to serve the growing number of people that are coming to the food bank for grocery assistance.”

The Richmond Food Bank started on March 6, 1983 by serving 20 families and is now serving 1,200 households. Hussain told the Richmond News the need has also increased 56 per cent from before the pandemic. “A lot of people who never expected to be here, but are finding themselves accessing the food bank just because it’s been harder to make ends meet,” she said. “We’re lucky to have so many volunteers every day coming in to provide for the community.”

With National Volunteer Week coming up, Hussain said they will be showing their appreciation to the volunteers with several social events including a barbecue potluck. “I don’t think we can function even one single day without our volunteers. Because of them, we get our energy and motivation to go that extra mile.”


Enjoy delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts and support RCD!! The RCD Krispy Kreme Fundraiser is back, pre-order your box of doughnuts ($16 per dozen, tax included) and pick up on Thursday (fourth day) of every week in May – May 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th. Return the Order Form to Anne by every Monday for Thursday order in the same week. By Mail: RCD, 842-5300 No. 3 Road, Richmond, BC V6X 2X9 Or fax to: 604-232-2415. For additional info, please call 604-232-2404 or visit www.rcdrichmond.org.

->Roses Angels gives to local non-profits (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond’s Rose’s Angels 10th annual event is once again helping vulnerable people through care package donations in the community. Rose’s Angels, under the umbrella of the Kehila Society of Richmond, received donations from the local community and donated care packages to 13 not-for-profit organizations this year.

More than 7,000 packages have been donated to organizations since 2012 in honour of Rose Lewin and Babs Cohen, Courtney Cohen’s grandmothers. Cohen, co-founder of Rose’s Angels and Lynne Fader, co-executive director of the Kehila Society of Richmond, created the “passion project” together.

Items in the packages include hygiene products, grocery gift cards, food and scarves. For more information about Rose’s Angels or to make a donation, contact Cohen or Fader at The Kehila Society of Richmond on 604-241-9270 or email RosesAngelsEvent@gmail.com. Read the story.

->Richmond Cares Richmond Gives Caregivers event May 18th

The Caregivers Connect Celebration is a special event during our Family Caregiver Month Awareness in May. This event offers caregivers an opportunity to enjoy fun and reflective activities, including a short somatic (body-centered) dialogue session and accessible mindful movement class. This event is virtual, so anyone in B.C. (and beyond!) can join.

When: Thursday May 18, 10:30am – 12pm PST
Where: Zoom
Register and Save your Spot!

->Richmond’s rental scooter pilot project completes one year (Thanks to Richmond News)

Four abandoned e-scooters and an e-scooter-involved collision was reported last year by the RCMP. Richmond officials said their pilot rental scooter program has had “little effect on policing resources.” May will mark the one-year anniversary of the launch of the City of Richmond’s e-scooter pilot project, the first e-scooter rental program in Metro Vancouver.

However, earlier this month, Paris, which has been a pioneer in this urban transportation option, voted in a referendum to ban rental e-scooters, over concerns about them clogging sidewalks, causing traffic accidents and injuries, and reducing the use of public transportation.

Although there have been complaints around e-scooters in Richmond, particularly those used for food delivery, Richmond officials said the Lime rental program “appears to have had little effect on policing resources. And we are hopeful this will be the trend for the future,” wrote Ian Henderson, Richmond RCMP spokesperson, in an email to the Richmond News.

->Costs of densifying your single-family home neighbourhood (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

With the B.C. government prepared to impose provincewide zoning regulations to densify single-family detached home neighbourhoods, Metro Vancouver is launching a study that may help answer the cost of doing so.

Eric Aderneck, Metro Vancouver’s senior planner in the regional planning and housing services division, will help shed light on the costs of providing infrastructure and services to different forms of housing. When a neighbourhood densifies, it must factor in sewer and road maintenance and expanded needs of a larger population, such as police, fire and community services. The question, according to some mayors, is, who will pay for this and how feasible is such a plan?

Aderneck’s study, according to his report to Metro Vancouver’s regional planning board April 14, “will explore the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ municipal and regional infrastructure/servicing capital and operating costs (i.e. roads, water, sanitary, sewerage, park, as well as other local government services such as recreation, policing, fire, etc.) for different residential forms, densities, and locations of housing.” See the article.

->R.A.G. exhibition questions housing affordability (Thanks to Richmond News)

“Why do we feel like we need to own homes?” This is a question Toronto-based artist Amy Ching-Yan Lam is asking people at Richmond Art Gallery’s latest exhibition. Lam, who has been a practicing artist since 2006, is hosting her first gallery exhibition in Richmond titled “A Small But Comfy House” from April 22 to June 11. Featured at the exhibition are artworks, a book and an animated video of a famous Pekingese dog named Looty that was taken from China’s Summer Palace by British troops at the end of the Second Opium War.

A new series of sculptures created by Lam in collaboration with HaeAhn Woo Kwon will also be on display. Both these elements of the exhibition represent the housing crisis in Canada while making the connection to the “larger history of colonial activities and enterprises,” according to Lam. She has always had childhood dreams of financial stability and a “small but comfy house and maybe a dog,” but the reality is far from those dreams.

->Join the conversation with the Human Library! (Thanks to Kelly Thoreson)

Human Library: yourlibrary.bibliocommons.com/events/6410fbe981da764500c39b63

Date: Sunday, April 23, Time: 1:00-4:00pm Location: Richmond Public Library, Brighouse branch (100 – 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond, BC)
Registration: Drop-in on a first-come, first-served basis until “last call” at 3:30pm
Audience: Teens, Adults, Seniors

Description: Join the conversation at Richmond Public Library’s first-ever Human Library! The Human Library is a non-profit organization that began with its first event in Denmark in 2000. It has established itself as a global learning platform with an initiative to create safe spaces for dialogue between human Books and their readers.
The conversations between Books and readers can not only help challenge prejudices and stereotypes but also contribute more broadly to greater cohesion across social, ethnic, and religious divisions. During a Human Library event, readers will see a variety of available Book titles and will be able to select one to “borrow” for a 20-minute reading slot. Readers and Books will then have a one-on-one conversation where Books will introduce themselves and readers will then have the opportunity to ask questions.

->Improve community programs, services and facilities! (Thanks to City staff Donna Lee)

The City of Richmond is seeking focus group participants to help improve community programs, services and facilities, including parks, recreation, arts, culture, heritage and library services. Residents are invited to discuss what prevents them from participating in programs and services and to help generate ideas for what might make it easier for more people in the community to participate.

Focus groups are being held April 25, 26 and 27th. Time commitment: 1½ to 2 hour discussion at an in-person meeting. Visit www.LetsTalkRichmond.ca/NeedsAssessment and check out the poster for meeting dates, times and contact information.

->Job Opportunity – Community Ambassador (Thanks to City staff Dorothy Jo)

The City is embarking on a new Social Development Strategy. The consultant team for this project, Modus, is seeking to hire Community Ambassadors who can help host events and learn from community members as part of creating the new Social Development Strategy.

The deadline to apply is April 28, 2023. For more information, please contact Kiera Vandeborne, Engagement Specialist, MODUS Planning, Design and Engagement Inc. at Kiera@thinkmodus.ca.

->CCPA survey data shows extent and impacts of ‘gig economy’

The rise of the “gig economy” and on-demand work through online platforms like Uber and Skip the Dishes has ignited public debate about precarious work and what makes a “good job.”

We all know that precarious work existed long before Uber and is not limited to the gig economy. But government efforts to develop an effective precarious work strategy for BC—as promised in the 2020 election—are hampered by the lack of data on the scale and impacts of precarious work. Statistics Canada simply does not collect the regular, timely data on many important dimensions of precarious employment that are needed to understand the security and quality of jobs in today’s labour market or track any changes over time.

So CCPA embarked on their own data collection project to gather new evidence on the scale and unequal impacts of precarious work in our province. Our pilot BC Precarity Survey was completed by over 3,000 workers aged 25 to 65 from across BC in the late fall of 2019. It provides a unique snapshot of the provincial labour market at a time of historically low unemployment and relative labour market strength just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

You can read more about the findings from the pilot BC Precarity Survey in our new report, “But is it a good job?” The upshot? We found that precarious work is a widespread problem in BC, contributing to socio-economic and racial inequalities and putting strain on families and communities across the province. Also visit: https://www.policynote.ca/precarity.

Monday April 3, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 8th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

->Empowering Seniors & Caregivers: Online Interview (Thanks to RCRG and Carol Dickson)
Working with seniors and their caregivers is a fulfilling and challenging job that requires devotion and empathy. In an interview with Carol Dickson, Manager of Seniors Community Support Services at RCRG, we gained insights into the importance of building relationships with seniors and their caregivers, understanding their needs, and providing appropriate support.

->Atmosphere project at Alderbridge is stalled (Thanks to Richmond News)

The Atmosphere project on No. 3 Road stalled in 2020 and is now just a hole in the ground. The RPRC notes that this ‘hole in the ground’ has a number of L.E.M.R. (low end market rental) units that the City refers to as ‘secured’ affordable housing units.

The financier of the condo project Atmosphere, under creditor protection, on No. 3 Road and Alderbridge Way, is asking the courts to make the owners pay back $191 million. Atmosphere was supposed to be an 824-unit condo development with retails shops, office and underground parking.

After demolition and excavation of the site, construction ground to a halt in 2020. Building permits expired a year later. The Atmosphere property is owned by a numbered company, but the lawsuit claims its beneficial owner is Alderbridge Way Limited Partnership. The property is described in court documents as “an excavated and shored hole in the ground.”

The $191 million Romspen Investment Corp. is demanding the original loan they gave to Atmosphere of $143 million as well as interest, which is accruing at about $1.6 million every month. They are also asking the court to order Alderbridge Way to sell the property. Romspen claims, in its civil suit filed in BC Supreme Court in February, Alderbridge Way has breached its contract and defaulted on its obligations. Read the whole story.

->16 more affordable rentals on Westminster Highway (Thanks to Richmond News)

Rentals for low-income families will be clustered on two floors in a new Richmond development. But none of the units – even the one three-bedroom unit – will be even a thousand square feet in size. The largest apartment, a three-bedroom unit, will be 980 square feet. The affordable rental units will be clustered on the fourth and seventh floors of the 15-storey condo building on Westminster Highway, just east of No. 3 Road. The owner, a numbered company whose director is Chi Qiu Zhang, has signed a memorandum-of-understanding with SUCCESS to manage the units.

Last year, city council passed a new policy requiring new developments in City Centre to have 15 % affordable housing units. This building, however, is grandfathered into the previous policy and only 10 % of the floor area is dedicated for affordable rentals. See the article.

->Richmond under Construction – Second in a Series (Thanks to Maria Rantanen)

Twelve residential towers are planned at the south end of Richmond Centre. The first tower at Richmond Centre is being built as the shopping mall’s south end is transformed into a residential/retail complex. The former Sears has been demolished and the parking structure will soon be gone as well.

The developer, Cadillac-Fairview, is demolishing a total of about 260,000 square feet of the mall, which includes the Sears building. However, the plan includes building more retail along No. 3 Road. When fully built out, there will be 2,200 residential units in 12 towers at the south end of the mall. This will include 150 affordable rental units and 200 market rentals, amounting to about 10 % of the total square footage. More here.

->Mark your calendar for Faces of Richmond! (Thanks to Jimmy Ho)

During BC Seniors Week, an art project and celebration of seniors, called Faces of Richmond will be held in June at the Minoru Centre for Active Living Seniors Centre. Faces of Richmond is a celebration of the seniors in our Richmond community. Jimmy reports, We first start with an interview to record the life stories or fond memories that these Seniors want to share.

Next, we will get local artists to paint portraits of the senior participants using photographs taken during the interview. Combining the portrait and interview, we will create an audio-visual art exhibition for the public. After the exhibition is over, the artists will give the portrait to their respective seniors as a gift.

->Join the City’s Poverty Reduction Table (Thanks to City staff Olivia Boguslaw)

The City is currently seeking a resident with lived and/or living experience to participate on the Community Poverty Reduction and Prevention Table. The purpose of the Table is to help advance actions identified in the 2021 – 2031 Collaborative Action Plan to Reduce and Prevent Poverty in Richmond. The resident Table member will be asked to share their expertise by:

  • Attending approximately six – 1.5 hour meetings annually;
  • Preparing for meetings by reviewing the meeting materials; and
  • Participating in discussions, sharing insights and feedback on new initiatives to advance actions in the 2021 – 2031 Collaborative Action Plan to Reduce and Prevent Poverty in Richmond.

Honorariums are provided to recognize the contributions of resident Table members. Table meetings are held bi-monthly on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. online through Zoom. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16. Interested residents should connect with Olivia Boguslaw at 604.276.4000 ext. 3032 or OBoguslaw@richmond.ca to informally discuss the position.

->City’s Poverty Reduction Table project proposal (Thanks to Richmond News)

City staff is encouraging councillors to authorize a grant application of $50,000 with the UBCM Poverty Reduction Planning and Action Program to help fund poverty reduction projects.

Proposed projects include developing a pilot program offering peer-to-peer resource navigation at multiple Richmond libraries, according to the city staff report.

“The main goals of the project are to offer navigation supports that address identified needs in the community; to provide vulnerable residents with increased access to community resources outside of the City Centre area and traditional service hours; and to promote greater social inclusion by expanding peer and community-based networks,” reads the report.

->7 ideas to end cycles of poverty in B.C. communities (Thanks to TriCities Dispatch and Cory Tymich)

We’ll have to work together to build more accessible and equitable financial systems, these experts say. The Tri-Cities Dispatch is publishing stories about financial literacy and inequality in B.C., in partnership with The Discourse. In response to a community survey, B.C. residents said they want to better understand the barriers that some people face in accessing financial institutions and resources, and where solutions exist.

Jerry Buckland is a professor of economics and international development at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg. Guy Dauncey is a Ladysmith-based author who is working to publish a book called The Economics of Kindness, about ways all of us can help build an economic system that works for everyone and for the environment.

The article focuses on 7 ideas to end cycles of poverty. They are:

  • End the myth that low-income people are bad with money
  • Recognize how personal and systemic traumas perpetuate poverty
  • Support community organizations that build bridges to financial access
  • Build a stronger social safety net
  • Reform banking regulations
  • Push local credit unions to lead the way
  • Support co-operative models for housing and business ownership

->Federal Budget puts predatory lenders in their place (Thanks to BC ACORN)
Great NEWS! After years of its Fair Banking Campaign, ACORN members had a huge win when the Federal Government announced in the Budget 2023 that it will introduce changes to the Criminal Code by lowering the criminal rate of interest from the equivalent of 47% to 35% Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This change will cover payday loan lenders such as Money Mart and iCash. The government has also committed to launch consultations to see if it can be further reduced.

This will help working class people save millions of dollars. BUT we need to keep the pressure on to: a) ensure all fees are included in the rate and b) fair credit alternatives are created through programs like postal banking.

->TransLink annual fare increase takes effect in July (Thanks to Richmond News)

“TransLink’s annually scheduled fare increase helps pay for the growing cost of transit and is less than half the rate of inflation,” a spokesperson for TransLink tells V.I.A. in an emailed statement. “We continue to have some of the lowest fares of any major transit agency in Canada.”
The fare increase equates to 5 to 10 cents per trip for the majority of customers and is capped as part of TransLink’s Safe Restart agreement with the province to keep fare increases low.

Single-trip tickets using cash or a Compass card will go up $0.05 for one zone, $0.10 for two zones, and $0.15 for three zones. Meanwhile, day passes will see an increase of $0.25, and monthly passes are set to go up $2.35 for one zone, $3.15 for two zones, and $4.25 for three zones.

->National Seniors’ Council Public Consultation on Aging at Home (Thanks to Federal government)

The National Seniors Council (NSC) has launched a public consultation that is intended to “inform measures to support Canadians to age at home in dignity”. This consultation is open to all Canadians – older adults, caregivers, those who have experience or expertise in working with older adults, and individuals representing the diverse voices in our communities.

The consultation is open for public comments from Monday, March 20 until Friday, April 14, 2023 only and invites people to share their views and their lived experiences on this issue.

The focus of the consultation is to receive comment from: Older adults, Caregivers (family/friends), Health, social, and community care and service providers or volunteers, Groups working with or representing older adults, persons with disabilities, 2SLGBTQI+ communities, newcomers, cultural communities, official language minority communities, Indigenous communities, etc., Researchers and academics, and All other interested Canadians and organizations.

Take part in the consultation online, or send an email to receive a printable form to mail by April 10th.

-> Lifeguard subsidy program – applications open (Thanks to City staff Dorothy Jo)

Aquatics is excited to launch the Instructor/Lifeguard Subsidy Program effective immediately! This subsidy program targets youth and adult residents (13+ years) who are experiencing financial hardship, and who are interested in a career or position as an Instructor/Lifeguard.

To qualify, applicants need to complete an ILSP application form and drop off at any City of Richmond recreation facility, the Richmond Cultural Centre, the Public Works Yard or Richmond City Hall.

Becoming an Instructor/Lifeguard requires extensive training and successful completion of several courses in lifesaving, lifeguarding, first aid and swimming instruction. The Instructor/Lifeguard Subsidy Program will subsidize eligible Richmond resident applicants up to90 per cent of the total course fees. Eligible Courses include:
· BrBronze Medallion, Bronze Cross, Standard First Aid & CPR-C/AED, National Lifeguard Pool, National Lifeguard Waterpark, Swim for Life Instructor, Lifesaving Instructor.

In addition to applicants meeting eligibility requirements, the ILSP will also include an interview to determine suitability and commitment to completing all of the required courses. Aquatic staff will monitor the successful applicants throughout their participation in the program and all graduates will have the opportunity to interview for an Instructor/Lifeguard position with the City of Richmond.

This initiative will be offered until December 31, 2023 or until program funds are fully allocated to applicants. This may be extended following a review of the program. To learn more about this program visit www.richmond.ca/aquatics or check out the FAQ. You may also contact Donna Hand, Aquatic Supervisor, at aquatics@richmond.ca or 604-238-8017 for more program information or questions on how to support the launching of this program, including registration.

->City’s Diversity Symposium seeks presenters (Thanks to City staff Dorothy Jo)

The City of Richmond Diversity Symposium is a free conference for professionals, volunteers and community members interested in learning, sharing and advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in their communities. The Diversity Symposium aims to equip participants with the knowledge, skills and tools to build diverse, equitable and inclusive communities.

This year’s symposium is happening from October 23 to 27, 2023. Virtual sessions will take place from October 23 to 27 and an in-person session will be happening on October 27. We are seeking presentation proposals for the virtual sessions of the 2023 Diversity Symposium.

The theme for this year’s symposium is Resilience – the ability to adapt and evolve through adversity and change. We are looking for proposals that focus on building resilient communities through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion, including emerging topics and trends, best practices and innovative ideas, or thought-provoking conversations.
The deadline for submission is Monday, May 8, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. PST. For more information, please visit the website.

Monday March 20, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 7th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.->Together Again, Celebrating Richmond’s Volunteers (RCRG) (Thanks to Ed Gavsie)

Please welcome RCRG as the newest organizational member to the RPRC! And their annual event Volunteers Are Stars is back. Really back! That’s right: for the first time in three years, Richmond’s largest celebration of volunteerism will be held in person.

On April 19, during National Volunteer Week, we hope you’ll join us at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel, as we recognize our community’s most passionate, dedicated, and inspiring volunteers. Come on Wednesday, April 19 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm to the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. 7551 Westminster Highway. Tickets are $75 each, and just $50 for RCRG members! Purchase them directly through the website.

On a special note, the RPRC network called Richmond Advocacy & Support Committee, or RASC, is nominated for the Constellation Award! See all the nominees.

>Free Income Tax Clinics in Richmond (Thanks to Benjamin Yong)

Thanks to our community partners for again offering free income tax clinics in Richmond. Here they are, all in one place on the RPRC website. You can also check out other local information!

Richmond charities get almost $50K in funding (Thanks to Richmond News)

Eleven Richmond charities recently received a total of almost $50,000 in funding from the Richmond Community Foundation (RCF) to carry out community initiatives. Family Services of Greater Vancouver received the largest grant at $8,000, which will fund a food literacy and cooking skills program for adults with disability held in partnership with Aspire.

Grants of $5,000 were awarded to six charities for different purposes, including summer camps for Diabetes Canada and Zajac Ranch Society, and purchases of digital instruments and a garlic brusher for Richmond Music School and The Sharing Farm respectively.

The Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition, on the other hand, will use the funding for a pedestrian road safety initiative while Richmond Centre Disability has plans for a new youth volunteers training program to help them better support vulnerable community members. Funding also went to Pathways Clubhouse, Rabbitats Rescue Society, Relay Education and the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre.

The grants were funded by eight of RCF’s forever funds, which were created by philanthropic people, businesses and groups to give back to the community. “We’re pleased we were able to support such a diverse range of community projects,” said Ed Gavsie, RCF executive director. “This year’s grant recipients illustrate the strength and vibrancy of Richmond’s charitable sector, and their initiatives in areas like food security, public safety, and inclusive recreation will benefit countless residents.”

->Richmond gets $9.1 million for ‘deeply affordable’ housing (Thanks to Richmond News)

The City of Richmond is receiving $9.1 million in federal funding to build 18 “deeply affordable” homes for vulnerable people. The Minister of Housing Ahmed Hussen was at Richmond City Hall on March 13th to make the announcement, explaining the money is coming from the Rapid Housing Initiative, a $4 billion federal housing fund that began during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To qualify for this funding, cities need to build the homes within 18 months. “Today is the beginning of hopefully more investments,” Hussen said. “As we get creative and deepen our partnership, we can find ways to bring federal housing dollars to help the most vulnerable in our community” Hussen said safe and affordable housing allows people, especially the most vulnerable, to “pursue your dreams.”

A recent housing study, based on statistics from 2016, noted 25 % of all households in Richmond were spending more than 30 % of their income on housing. Furthermore, the study noted 6,140 households in Richmond were in “extreme core housing need,” meaning they were spending more than 50 % of their income on housing. From 2006 to 2016, the cost to rent rose 4.5 times faster than household incomes.

Where the 18 homes will be built and other details are still being worked out but should be announced within a month, Mayor Malcolm Brodie told the Richmond News. More here: https://tinyurl.com/mppb8vud

->BC Budget 2023 Highlights

  • Budget highlights pertaining to poverty reduction include:
  • Free contraceptives as of April 1st
  • Rent supplement increase of $125/ month for IA and PWD recipients
  • Increased earnings threshold for PWD recipients
  • School meals program funding
  • $400 Rent tax credit for low-income renters starting in 2024
  • Climate action tax credit for low-income earners, starting July, up to $900 per family
  • New funding for mental health and addictions services

Read the media release.

->Share your input on reducing poverty at a virtual town hall (Thanks to BC Government)

This is to notify you about the public engagement to update B.C.’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. Townhall dates have now been announced. We encourage anyone with an interest in poverty reduction to share their views in a virtual regional townhall meeting, including those with lived and living experience of poverty.

These sessions are held on Zoom. Please register for the townhall session closest to where you are located. Times listed are Pacific Standard Time (PST). Registering ensures we have the right amount of notetakers and facilitators for each session.

You can also visit engage.gov.bc.ca/povertyreduction. B.C.’s public engagement on poverty reduction is open until April 14, 2023.

Accessibility supports: Accessibility supports, including CART Live Captioning Services and American Sign Language interpretation will be provided at all sessions. Please send an email if you require these accommodations (to ensure we set up breakout rooms appropriately) or other accommodations (such as language interpretation, childcare, transportation costs or other expenses required to access this event) so we can ensure everyone can fully participate and collaborate in our sessions.

->Opinion Piece on the BC Budget and School Funding (Thanks to The Tyee)

When the provincial budget dropped Feb. 28, many were surprised and disappointed to see that the province’s increased spending on social issues like housing, mental health and addictions treatment, and jobs training did not translate into more money for public schools.

The Education Ministry’s budget did increase by nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars, $625 million of that earmarked specifically for public schools — a “clearly sizable” budget increase of nearly 10 per cent over the 2022 budget, says John Malcolmson, a former research analyst for the BC Teachers’ Federation and CUPE.

But the majority of the new funding is already spoken for in terms of new costs school districts need to cover, not to mention high inflation on existing costs. Check out the whole interview.

->COVID-19 and flu vaccine clinic for kids open in Richmond (Thanks to Richmond News)

The clinic is open for children from six months to 11 years old and older children with special needs. Children can get these vaccinations at the Richmond pediatric outreach clinic at 8100 Granville Ave. throughout March and April.

In addition to a flu vaccine, VCH also recommends everyone five years and older receive their COVID-19 booster even if they’ve already been infected with the virus “as the combination of infection and vaccination provides the strongest protection.”

At this time, VCH isn’t recommending children six months to four years receive a COVID-19 booster. The Richmond clinic accepts drop-ins on a first-come, first-served basis between 9:15 a.m. and 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates: March 16-17, 24-26, 31 and April 1-2, 6, 14-16, 21-23, 27-28. Click to book a vaccination appointment.

->98 modular homes that offer people autonomy to be demolished (Thanks to The Tyee)

Could this happen to the 80 Richmond TMH units?

What is the future of the 98 studio units of temporary modular housing at Larwill Place in downtown Vancouver? This housing is for people who have been or are at risk of being unhoused. Residents are now being moved into different social housing because the city wants to put office towers on the site. The two buildings are supposed to be empty by Aug. 1. The ‘temporary’ part of temporary modular housing is the land lease, not the buildings — which are designed to last three decades.

BC Housing was asked what would happen to the Larwill modules, the response was a statement that read, in part, “BC Housing, MPA Society and Vancouver Coastal Health have always been prepared to vacate the Larwill Place project site by the end of the lease agreement. We are still determining the best use for these specific housing modules, and further information will be made public once plans have been finalized.” Learn more.

->Register to give input to BC Budget 2024 (Thanks to MLA Kelly Greene)

On behalf of the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, MLA Kelly Greene has asked our office to inform you about the provincial Budget 2024 Consultation. At this time, the Committee is inviting registration for presenting to the Committee. We would appreciate your assistance in encouraging participation from Richmond groups and Richmond leaders, including stakeholders supporting Richmond-Steveston community members.

British Columbians interested in presenting to the Committee are asked to complete a request form by Thursday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m. (Pacific) through this link or by calling the Parliamentary Committees Office at 250-356-2933 (toll-free in BC at 1-877-428-8337).

The Committee will be holding several public hearings to hear from British Columbians about their priorities for the next provincial budget. Public hearings are anticipated to take place in late May and June and will be a mix of in-person and virtual (video/teleconference) meetings. The Committee expects to hold in-person meetings in Richmond (please continue to check the Budget website for date and time). Additional opportunities to participate will also be available beginning in late May.

Monday February 27, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 5th Roundup for 2023. This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

->Apply for $500 Housing Benefit (Thanks to Richmond News)

Lower-income renters have until March 31, 2023 to apply for one-time $500 housing benefit, which aims to help lower-income renters with the cost of rent. The Government of Canada launched the benefit in December, and more than half a million Canadians have applied. In order to be eligible, applicants must:

  • be a resident of Canada in 2022 for tax purposes;
  • have a principal residence in Canada;
  • an adjusted net income in 2021 of $35,000 or less for families, or
  • for single individuals, an adjusted net income $20,000 or less; and,
  • pay at least 30 % of their adjusted family net income towards rent in 2022

Applicants must only apply for themselves, and do not need to receive other housing benefits to be eligible. Applications can be submitted through Canada Revenue Agency’s My Account.

->Volunteers needed to survey Richmond seniors (Thanks to Richmond News)

More than 29,000 seniors will be surveyed in B.C. in 294 care homes. All seniors at publicly funded long-term care homes are being surveyed about their quality of life. The surveys are being done by the Office of the Seniors Advocate. Seniors at one Richmond care home have already been interviewed, but volunteers are needed this spring to speak to seniors at five more facilities The survey was first done in 2016/17, but in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors advocate felt it was important to reassess how seniors are doing at long-term care facilities and what can be done to make their lives better.

Volunteers are being asked to commit a minimum of 40 hours of surveying – they will be provided with all the necessary training. The interviews will take place in Richmond in March, April and early May. Anyone interested can apply to volunteer to survey seniors at care homes can find information here.​ Check out the full results from the 2016/17 survey.

->BC Rental Protection Fund developed (Thanks to BC Non-Profit Housing Association)

A new $500-million fund will be managed by B.C.’s community housing organizations to help deliver safe, affordable, and culturally supportive housing for individuals and families across B.C. The newly developed Rental Protection Fund will enable non-profits to purchase and manage residential buildings to secure their affordability forever. This investment will lay the groundwork for better long-term livability, equity, and affordability in B.C.

The Fund will be jointly managed and distributed through a non-profit society created by the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA), BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), and the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC). See the story.

->New extreme weather shelter for women opening in Delta (Thanks to Delta Optimist)

A new extreme weather shelter is opening at the Crossroads Church in North Delta. The shelter will support women and children seeking emergency overnight accommodation during extreme weather events. An information report to city council notes that the need for a women-only shelter was identified by various community partners and supported by members of the Delta Opposes Violence Everywhere community planning table.

It’s a joint initiative of community partners, including the Homelessness Services Association of BC (HSABC) and City of Delta to expand emergency shelter resources in the city. The new shelter will receive operational funding from BC Housing and will be managed by WINGS Fellowship Ministries. Delta is providing seed funding of $10,000 to assist in setting up the shelter.

A previous report to council notes that the seasonal nature of the EWS program also means that homeless people in Delta may be left without overnight accommodation during extreme weather events between April and September, unless they are able to access a 24/7 permanent shelter elsewhere in Metro Vancouver. Learn more.

->More Rental Housing coming to Richmond (Thanks to Richmond News)

City Council is meeting Monday February 27th to decide on three housing agreements that, if approved, would secure 156 low-end market rental (LEMR) affordable housing units, 120 market rental housing units and 17 market rental units. Read the city staff report.

The developer, Polygon Homes, is looking to develop two six-storey, mid-rise towers with 100 % rental housing. One stand-alone affordable housing building will have 156 LEMR units while the other rental building with 120 market rental units. The proposed development is in the area of Cambie and Sexsmith. SUCCESS is working with the developer to acquire and operate the 156 LEMR units.

->Another 200 YVR food service workers join union (Thanks to Richmond News)

The RRPC is a long-time supporter of UNITE Here local 40. More than 200 food service industry workers at Vancouver International Airport – cooks, dishwashers, servers, cashiers, and bartenders – who work for SSP Canada at YVR – voted last week to join UNITE Here Local 40 Local 40.

The workers serve the travelling public at outlets such as Monks Bar and Grill, Dirty Apron, Sal y Limon, Banh Shop, Freshii, and Thai Hang, among others. The company SSP is one of several multinational operators contracted by the Vancouver Airport Authority to operate food service outlets inside the terminals.

The new union members will join nearly 350 other food service workers at YVR already represented by the union. According to the union, contracted airport food service workers are not covered by the YVR Living Wage announced in 2022, with many of them earning well below the Metro Vancouver living wage of $24.08 per hour.
“We congratulate the 200 SSP workers who took the brave step to stand up and join our union so they can bargain for a better standard that all YVR airport workers deserve,” said Zailda Chan, president of Local 40.

The union also represents airline catering workers, who led a strike action at Gate Gourmet in 2022 and won the biggest wage increases in years for those food service workers. Following that victory, the majority of Gate Gourmet workers will be making close to $25/hour by this summer.

>Share your feedback on City’s Youth Strategy (Thanks to City of Richmond)

Are you between 13 to 24 years old, a parent/guardian, work with youth, or represent a youth-serving organization? If you live, or work with youth in Richmond, we’d love to hear from you. The Draft Youth Strategy was created with the input from extensive public and stakeholder engagement and work by City staff. Once approved by Council, the Youth Strategy will provide the City, and others working with youth, with an important framework to support and meet the unique needs of youth aged 13-24 in Richmond through to 2032.

How to Share Feedback:

✅ Visit LetsTalkRichmond.ca to review the draft strategy and complete the online survey.
✅ If you are 19 to 24 years old, join us at a Social Night on Wednesday, March 22*
✅ Connect with the City’s roaming street teams that will be engaging with youth at various locations throughout Richmond.

->Give feedback on a Community Wayfinding Strategy (Thanks to City of Richmond)

The City of Richmond is seeking public input as it creates a Community Wayfinding Strategy to help residents and visitors navigate through Richmond with ease—by foot, on wheels or via public transit. Wayfinding connects people to their surroundings and helps them find their way—for example, through directional signage and visual landmarks. Wayfinding can also promote attractions, places of special interest and the best routes for moving through the city.

From now until Sunday, March 26, 2023, there will be a number of opportunities to share feedback, both online and in person.

  • Online: review information and complete the online survey
  • In person: drop by one of two pop-up events

We encourage you to be part of this unique project that will positively affect residents and visitors in the years ahead..

->BC Pledges a Big Budget Boost to Protect Workers’ Rights (Thanks to The Tyee)

On February 23rd, Labour Minister Harry Bains announced $11.9 million in new money for the branch over the next three years, part of a response to a backlog of cases that have left many employees waiting months or years for help. That would mean a roughly 22 % budget increase for the branch this fiscal year.

Bains says it is part of a larger project to revitalize the branch after deep cuts during the previous BC Liberal government. Since 2017, when the NDP government was elected, the branch’s annual funding has risen from $7.9 million to more than $14 million, and its staffing has grown from 98 full-time equivalents to about 142.

Bains says officers are being encouraged to pivot from a complaint-based model to one based on investigations. “I think it’s clearly going in the right direction,” Bains said in a previous interview with The Tyee.

->Opinion Piece -The Time Has Come for a Bolder BC Budget (Thanks to The Tyee)

The province will unveil new spending priorities next week. Here are areas that need a big push. British Columbia is facing big social and environmental challenges ahead of Budget 2023: sky high rents, health care under enormous strain, a toxic drugs crisis, climate disruption and the need to build and rebuild crucial but eroded public services (to name a few).

The good news is that B.C. has more than enough fiscal and economic capacity to increase critical public investments to address these crises, even with a possible recession on the horizon. Grocery prices and tighter budgets lead many to community shared agriculture programs. Here’s why it’s worth the investment.

The province is closing out the current fiscal year (2022-23) with a multibillion-dollar budget surplus, much of which could be used to pre-fund priority investments under the new premier. While the province’s most recent projections show modest deficits in the following two years, a closer look reveals that these are far more than offset by an estimated $14 billion in “fiscal padding” that is tucked away in the budget over that same period. Click for the article.

Monday February 13, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 4th Roundup for 2023. Happy Valentine’s Day! This email is filled with information from our RPRC organization members and allies, local news, and all levels of government. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> Richmond Women’s Resource Centre Fundraiser Mar 4th (Thanks to Tammi Belfer)

Please support the RWRC’s 2023 International Women’s Day Celebration and Auction. Together, we can keep our doors open for another year with this fundraiser. Our sponsors are Lipont Place, Turning Point, Crystal Clear Advertising, Vancouver Premier College, and Tourism Richmond, as well as singer-songwriter, Cherelle Jardine’s musical performance. Call 604.279.7060 for tickets.

->RPRC’s Vision Zero project and our own Athena Estremadura gets media attention! (Thanks to Richmond News)

A pedestrian safety project has received feedback from Richmond residents and aims to persuade the city to become “Vision Zero.” Vision Zero is a worldwide initiative highlighting the importance of proper road safety measures, emphasizing zero serious injuries, disabilities, and deaths on the road.

The project, collaborating with Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC), is gathering data to present to the City of Richmond in strategizing a safe road solution for all. The RPRC is involved because it believes that people in poverty are more likely to be a victim of on the roads, given the fact they’re walking the streets more than others. While the city is working on infrastructure and pushing policies that improve road safety, Athena Estremadura, project coordinator of Vision Zero for Richmond, believes more can be done.

“Vancouver And Burnaby are Vision Zero cities; they are committed to that movement, but Richmond is not,” Estremadura said, “When you have the Vision Zero commitment, you are recognizing that causes of all car accidents should be preventable.”

Vision Zero’s pedestrian safety survey will share the perspectives from organizations such as the food bank, Richmond Women’s Resource Centre, and Richmond Centre for Disability, as their members are less likely to drive and be more vulnerable on the street.

->FSGV invites you to a Black History Month event Feb 15th (Thanks to Bilquis Hirani)


Douglas College, New Westminster Room N2201 @ 700 Royal Ave on February 15 from 6:30 – 8 pm

See poster. Join in for a panel discussion & film screening catered event: food served starting at 6 pm!

->Nominations open for Multiculturalism & Anti-Racism Awards (Thanks to Maylen Crespo)

The nomination process for the awards is now open. We hope you will share this information with your contacts and communities and encourage individuals or organizations to apply. Anyone interested in submitting a nomination can do so on the BC Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Awards page.
The business, organizational, and individual award categories are as follows:

  • Intercultural Trust Award (2 awards): Provided to an outstanding organization or individual for their work in building intercultural trust and understanding and/or reducing racism and hate between communities.
  • Breaking Barriers Award (2 awards): Provided to an outstanding organization or individual for their work in tackling systemic or institutional racism and reducing barriers for marginalized communities.
  • Emerging Leader Award (1 award): Provided to an outstanding youth/young adult, age 15-30, for their work in building intercultural trust, tackling racism or reducing barriers for marginalized communities. Award provided with a $5,000 grant to be given to an organization of the youth’s choice.

->SUCCESS to operate affordable housing units in Capstan area (Thanks to Richmond News)

SUCCESS is the preferred non-profit to operate 156 affordable housing units being built by Polygon in the Capstan area. A housing agreement between the city and Polygon is on the agenda for next week’s planning meeting, and it outlines the rents and square footage of the affordable units that make up 10 per cent of the floor area of the entire development. According to the housing agreement going to planning next week, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been secured with SUCCESS which will “acquire” the affordable housing units and operate them.

There will be 33 three-bedroom units (980 square feet in size), which will rent for $1,489 a month. There will also be 45 two-bedroom apartments (741 square feet renting for $1,218 a month), 60 one-bedroom apartments and 18 400-square-foot studio apartments. The housing agreement being proposed also includes maximum incomes for those moving into the affordable units. They range from $34,600 for studio apartments to $58,050 for three-bedroom apartments. Read the whole story.

->Invitation to participate in the development of the Richmond Accessibility Plan (2023–2028)

The City of Richmond is developing the Richmond Accessibility Plan (2023–2028). The Plan is intended to guide the City’s work to advance accessibility in the community, in collaboration with community organizations and residents. Community members with disabilities, their families and caregivers are invited to participate in one of the upcoming focus groups that will help shape the new accessibility plan. Please join us and share your ideas on how the City can identify, prevent and remove barriers for people with disabilities in the community.

Accessibility: The City of Richmond strives to host events that are accessible and inclusive for everyone. American Sign Language interpretation and closed captioning will be provided. If you have any other accessibility needs that we can accommodate, please let us know when you register.

Pre-registration is required for all sessions. Register by emailing tracy@happycities.com and include your name, the session you would like to participate in as well as any accessibility needs, we can accommodate for you. Details for each session are below:

  • Focus Group #1
    Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2023
    Time: 10:00-11:30am
    Where: Launch Pad Classroom, Brighouse Library, 100-7700 Minoru Gate
    Pre-registration is required.

The Launch Pad Classroom is an accessible space and accessible parking is available onsite at the Brighouse Library. Parents with young children are welcome to attend; however, no childminding is provided on site.

  • Focus Group #2
    Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2023
    Time: 6:30-8:00pm
    Where: Online, via Zoom. Pre-registration is required to receive Zoom meeting link.
  • Focus Group #3
    Date: Tue, Feb 28, 2023
    Time: 6:30-8:00 pm
    Where: Online, via Zoom. Pre-registration is required to receive Zoom meeting link.Your input will help to further accessibility in the community so that everyone—of all backgrounds, ages and abilities—feels included in the Richmond spaces where they live, work, play, share, and learn. Please feel free to reply to the email address above any questions you may have.

->BC becomes only province to provide 100% rent bank coverage (Thanks to Karina Reid)

Rent Banks are administered by non-profits in many communities in BC. Unfortunately, Richmond does not have a rent bank. Do we need one?

BC Rent Bank is a project of the Vancity Community Foundation, funded by the BC government (see this news release to learn more.)

Rent banks offer interest-free loans to help low-to-moderate income renters who are struggling to pay rent and/or essential utilities (gas/hydro). The maximum loan amount is up to $3500. Repayment terms are from 6 month to 36 months. Terms of agreement are set by rent banks themselves. This is a loan program. Applicants will need to demonstrate they have the financial ability to pay regular monthly expenses and the monthly loan repayment, and if eligible. Apply here.

->Richmond Public Library is hosting a Human Library event! (Thanks to Kelly Thoreson)

Kelly writes, Richmond Public Library is hosting a Human Library® event on Sunday, April 23, and we are in the process of recruiting volunteers to participate as Books. We are trying to reach community members with a diverse range of life experiences, and I am hoping you are able to help share our brief application form with your networks or contacts you think may be interested in this unique opportunity. I know you are well-connected in the community and may be able to support us with reaching folks with valuable stories to share that we may have otherwise missed, either through individual referrals or by sharing this information with the RPRC newsletter.

I have included further information below, but please feel free to reach out with any further questions. You can also reach our planning team directly at rplhumanlibrary@yourlibrary.ca – please feel free to share this email address with anyone who is interested as well.

->B.C. announces new funding program for accessible taxis (Thanks to CBC News)

The B.C. government announced new funding Wednesday for taxi companies to make their fleets more accessible for people with disabilities. Around $3 million of funding will be available under the Passenger Transportation Accessibility Program, according to the ministry of transportation and infrastructure.
It will provide rebates to eligible taxi owner-operators for costs associated with maintaining their wheelchair-accessible taxis. “This is going to make getting around more equitable for people requiring the use of a wheelchair or living with other mobility challenges,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming at a news conference.

The province says it will launch three more funding streams for accessible transportation over the next two years. It says the accessibility program will be funded using revenue from the per-trip fee implemented in September 2019, to help offset the regulatory costs and impacts of enabling ride-hailing operations.

->Volunteer opportunity in MLA’s office (Thanks to Amy Li)

Volunteer for the Richmond South Centre Constituency Office of Henry Yao, MLA

  • Looking for volunteers to support our community. Join the team as a regular volunteer or help out with special events or projects.
  • Sign up at forms.gle/v11RzN7soguuQxsN6.
  • The first volunteer orientation to meet one another will be on Saturday, February 18, 2023 1:00pm – 2:30pm. Additional details will be sent out at a later date.
  • Any questions, please contact the Richmond South Centre Constituency Office at Henry.Yao.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

Monday January 30, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 3rd Roundup for 2023. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

-> RWRC’s International Women’s Day Celebration (Thanks to Tammi Belfer)

Please join us at the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre’s International Women’s Day Celebration and Auction. The silent auction is live Feb 18th to March 18th!
Theme: “Emerge with us! Let’s Crack the code together to innovate for a gender-equal future.”
Date: Saturday, March 4th, 2023
Time: 2 – 4 pm
Location: Lipont Gallery 4211 No. 3 Rd (south of Cambie)

Enjoy and expect:
An exhilarating atmosphere with artwork of emerging women artists!
Our famous Silent Auction!
Support Women’s Centre programs – Hot Ink, Work Ready and others!
Light refreshments
Tickets $50

Please purchase tickets through this link.

-> Caregiver Hub program starts up (Thanks to Richmond News and RCRG)

A new support group program is being launched for male caregiver volunteers to exchange information and experience next month. The Richmond Family & Friend Caregiver Hub program, operated by Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG), is starting a new monthly support group for male caregivers who provide unpaid care to older adults starting Feb. 17. The program’s free sessions are open for caregivers who are friends or family members as well.

While Carol Dickson, manager of RCRG’s Senior Community Support Services, said both genders take on the responsibility of caring for the elderly, male caregivers may experience unique and unexpected challenges. The support group aims to provide a safe space for them to connect and learn from peers, she explained. “Often you learn from other caregivers what works,” Dickson said, “So you are there to support others when they are having a tough time and celebrate when things go right.”

Dickson said some male caregivers may not attend workshops but actively seek information. She added this group can be an “essential outlet” for male caregivers, and serves as a reminder that “they are not alone.” The support group will meet on the third Friday of every month. To register for the Male Caregiver Support Group, or to request more information, call 604-279-7099 or email caregivernavigator@rcrg.org. You can also visit the Caregiver Hub online by clicking here for a full list of services, workshops and events.

->Celebrate Black History in February at the Library (Thanks to Richmond News)

Brighouse library will be showing three different documentaries over two weekends for Black History Month. The free screenings, to be shown in the Launchpad area, will be available from Feb. 4 to 5 and Feb. 18 to 19. John Ware Reclaimed, in which filmmaker Cheryl Foggo re-examines John Ware, a Black cowboy who settled in Alberta, will be shown during the first weekend from Feb. 4 to 5.

The second weekend, from Feb. 18 to 19, will feature Ice Breakers, a short documentary about the history of a Black hockey league in Atlantic Canada, as well as True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball, a story about three young athletes pursuing dreams of playing in the NBA.

The library’s Each One, Teach One Book Club will also be reading Chelene Knight’s Junie, which explores the complex mother-daughter relationships and offers a glimpse into Vancouver’s former Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood.

-> Seeking Members for Richmond Partner and Family Advisory Committee for MHSU

The Richmond Mental Health and Substance Use Partner and Family Advisory Committee (Richmond PFAC) is currently recruiting people with lived and living experience of mental health and/or substance use, as well as family members, to join the committee.

The goal of the Richmond PFAC is to represent the diverse voices of clients and families within Richmond Mental Health and Substance Use. The group fosters a collaborative environment between patients and families and advocates for teamwork and responsiveness in improving access to services and quality of care. Learn more.

->City invites residents to explore meaning of homelessness (Thanks to Community Social Engagement)

Richmond residents are invited to come together for a two-part, in-person community conversation about the circumstance of homelessness in Richmond. We will explore the meaning of home and the meaning of homelessness. Together we will talk about what contributes to homelessness, share our hopes for the future, and generate ideas for how we can create a more connected, inclusive community. Registration is required to attend (and will be accepted up to the day prior to the session.).

Note: This conversation was originally presented in June 2022 and was so popular that we are holding it again. It will follow the same format and topics of discussion. Seating is limited, so if you participated in June, please do not register again.

Part 1 sessions:

  • Wed., February 8, 2023 (5:30 to 7:30pm)
  • Sat., February 11, 2023 (11:00am to 1:00pm

Part 2 session:

  • Wed., February 15, 2023 (5:30 to 7:30pm)

Visit LetsTalkRichmond.ca for more information and to register.

->2023 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver (March 7-8, 2023): Call for Volunteers

The 2023 Homeless Count team is recruiting qualified volunteers for the 2023 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver. The Count will take place throughout the region inside shelters during the evening of Tuesday, March 7, 2023 and on streets throughout the day and evening of Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

By volunteering for the Count, you are helping to gather valuable information used by governments, service providers, community groups, and funders so they can plan for appropriate programs to address homelessness and measure progress in reducing homelessness.

To complete the application form and for more information, visit the website.

->Richmond housing market and the foreign buyers ban (Thanks to Richmond News)

It has only been a few weeks since the ban kicked in, but it’s unlikely to affect the local market, according to a Richmond realtor. Canada’s ban on foreign homebuyers is only a few weeks old, but it’s unlikely to have an effect on the housing market, in Richmond at least.

That’s the opinion of Richmond realtor Johnson Lai, who said B.C.’s much more established speculation and vacancy tax and the pandemic all but killed off foreign interest in local property.

Lai, who has worked for Macdonald Realty in Richmond for four years, said he used to deal with a very small percentage of offshore buyers prior to covid in 2020, when global travel restrictions halted such sales activity. But he added that, even before the pandemic, the introduction of the province’s speculation tax – two per cent of a property’s assessed value for foreign homeowners – scared off most foreign interest in Richmond’s real estate market. “It has only been a few weeks (since Canada’s ban) and right now we’re not seeing a lot of changes to the market,” Lai told the Richmond News. “For the past few years, because of covid, we didn’t have many foreigners coming into the market, but (the market) was still red hot.”

->City seeking public input on revamping older playgrounds (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond residents are being asked for feedback on the revamping of three of the city’s older playgrounds. The City is this year planning to makeover Heather Dolphin Neighbourhood Park at 9260 Dolphin Ave., Great West Cannery Park at 12691 No. 2 Rd. and Odlinwood Neighbourhood Park at 10811 Shepherd Dr. The parks were constructed in the 1990s and may need to be brought up to date for safety reasons.

Richmond residents can provide feedback on LetsTalkRichmond.ca, and their thoughts will be taken into consideration for the future design of the selected playgrounds. The survey ends on Sunday, Feb. 12.

->Where are your inflation dollars going? (Thanks to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives)

What’s driving inflation in Canada? Between 2020 and 2022, business prices increased by a whopping 19 per cent in the country on average. Where did those dollars go?
CCPA senior economist David Macdonald breaks down the numbers using new data which shows that, of every dollar spent on higher prices in the last two years, 47 cents was converted into corporate profits in four industries—led by mining, oil and gas extraction. Corporate profits are eating up the vast majority of the extra inflation dollars, far-outpacing increased labour costs or other expenses.

As politicians, central banks, and technocrats work to end inflation by triggering and economic slowdown, understanding the source of increased prices is key. The data is clear—the largest driver of inflation is corporate profits. Read the whole report.

-> Homelessness Community Action Grants (Thanks to Henry Yao, Richmond MLA)

Indigenous organizations and other groups that work with people facing homelessness throughout British Columbia are encouraged to apply for the Province’s Homelessness Community Action Grants.

The Homelessness Community Action Grants support community-based projects, partnerships, research and other collaborative efforts to respond to gaps in the system of services and supports for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Chosen projects build on local resources and knowledge about homelessness and its causes, increase public awareness and support, and respond to gaps in services for people experiencing homelessness.

See the news release, and for information about the program and how to apply go to:

Monday January 9, 2023

​Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

This is our 2nd Roundup for 2023. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

->Community Services Pop-Up at Brighouse Library Jan 12th (Thanks to Sarah Stern and Scott Newcombe)

The second Community Services Pop Up is just around the corner on Thursday, January 12th, 2023, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. We would appreciate your support in spreading the word. Please share this promotional postcard through your networks.

->Save the Date for Women’s Centre Fundraiser March 4, 2023 (Thanks to Jasmine Law)

Our hope for 2023, is that it will be a year shared with you! We have so much to celebrate: A brand new year together, no longer apart. A brand new year for Richmond Women’s Resource Centre (RWRC) to uplift women and build community.

Please Save the Date of Saturday, March 4th, 2023 from 2-4 pm for RWRC’s International Women’s Day Celebration and Auction. Invite your closest friends to enjoy light refreshments in a fun loving and modern locale, surrounded by the artwork of emerging women artists at Lipont Gallery on No. 3 Road across from Aberdeen Canada Line Station. Also, please watch for our RWRC Online Auction from February 18th, 2023 to March 18th, 2023. We are accepting donations for the online auction now until February 15th, 2023.

->Family Services ‘Nobody’s Perfect ‘Parenting Program (Thanks to Bilquis Hirani)

A FREE program for caregivers of children ages 0 to 6 (childminding provided) starting Jan 30th.
Questions and registration: Call 604 279 7100 or email richceds@fsgv.ca. Also see the poster.
MEET with other parents of young children
SHARE questions, concerns, and ideas about parenthood
LEARN about child development, safety, health, and behaviour
DISCUSS real-life parenting situations
DISCOVER positive ways of parenting

->City of Richmond budget includes Poverty Reduction Planner (Thanks to City Director of Finance Mike Ching)

Here is an email received to the RPRC inbox from the City of Richmond: “Thank you for submitting your comments on the proposed Consolidated 5 Year Financial Plan (2023-2027) during the comment period from December 13, 2022 to January 8, 2023.

The proposed 2023 operating budget includes funding for a new Community Social Development Planner 2 (Poverty Reduction) position. This position will lead poverty reduction and prevention initiatives and work collaboratively with the community to advance the actions outlined in the 2021-2031 Collaborative Action Plan to Reduce and Prevent Poverty in Richmond.”

->Special Awareness Events Calendar for 2023 (Thanks to Cory Tymich)

Please see attached to this email, Charity Village’s special awareness events acknowledged by the Canadian non-profits calendar. It is chockfull of special days for celebration and commemoration that may be useful to your organization.

->New halal grocer to replace Steveston 7 Eleven store (Thanks to Richmond News)

A new business is taking over Steveston’s old 7 Eleven location. Hayat Supermarket, a halal butcher and grocery store, will soon be opening on Steveston Hwy and No. 1 Road. According to its Instagram account, it is set to welcome community members this spring.

The 7 Eleven store had closed down in 2022. It was one of the oldest 7 Elevens in the city and community members were saddened by its closing. A petition by a McMath student to keep the store open garnered more than 600 signatures. As of now, no opening date has been confirmed for Hayat Supermarket

->Richmond Canada Line disruptions due to construction (Thanks to Richmond News)

More Canada Line service disruptions are coming for Richmond as construction continues for the new Capstan Station. Service will be ending four hours earlier at 9:30 p.m. from Mondays to Fridays between Bridgeport and Richmond-Brighouse stations for five weeks starting on Jan. 16. Regular service is expected to resume Saturday, Feb. 18.

The service disruptions are a safety measure as crews are set to install escalators and station roofs with a large crane. Extra bus service will be available between Bridgeport and Richmond-Brighouse stations and will run approximately every 10 minutes, stopping at every impacted station. According to TransLink, Capstan Station is still on track to open later this year.

->TransLink to donate bikes left in storage parkades (Thanks to Richmond News)

TransLink has bike parkades at stations across Metro Vancouver for convenient storage but those who have been using it as a long-term solution to Vancouver’s space issue won’t be able to do so for much longer. TransLink, in partnership with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, announced this week that bicycles left abandoned or discarded in bike parkades will be removed and donated to charity.

The clear-out is intended to free up space before the busy spring and summer months and long-term storage is prohibited so customers can use the spots for same-day use. The bikes that have not been reported stolen will be donated to the PEDAL Society’s Pedals for the People Program, a non-profit organization that provides bikes to Metro Vancouver residents in need of affordable transportation. Details here.

->New B.C. regulations raise minimum age for hazardous work (Thanks to CBC News)

New B.C. rules that came into force Jan. 1 increase the minimum age for young people allowed to perform hazardous work. Employees need to be at least 18 for most hazardous tasks, including tree falling and logging, using a chainsaw, working underground, or work with exposure to certain harmful substances, according to the amendment to the Employment Standards Act.

The minimum age is 16 for work in construction, silviculture, forest firefighting, and for jobs from heights that require fall protection. “Work experience can be a rewarding and exciting opportunity for young workers … I certainly believe it should never compromise their safety,” B.C.’s Labour Minister Harry Bains said on CBC’s Early Edition Monday. Bains said B.C. was behind many other jurisdictions across the world in allowing youth to perform potentially dangerous work.

->Watch for tax credits in your bank account this month (Thanks to Richmond News)

Bigger tax credits are on the way this month for low and moderate income-earning individuals and families in B.C. The provincial government, which is sitting on $5.7 billion of surplus tax revenue, will return some of that in the form of what it calls an enhanced “BC Affordability Credit,” which will be added to the Climate Action Tax Credit this month, according to a government statement Jan. 5.

A family with 2021 net adjusted income of less than $43,051 (or single people who reported less than $36,901) will receive an additional $164 per adult (from $48.38) and $41 per child (from $14.13). The extra credit is gradually reduced to zero once the income threshold reaches $150,051 for a family of two, or $79,376 for an individual (family thresholds move up and down with more or fewer children and are lowered for single parents). Read the story, and check out the full details on the government’s website.

->What’s it cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Metro Vancouver? (Thanks to Richmond News)

December’s reprieve from increasing rental costs in Canada’s priciest market hasn’t carried into the new year. Metro Vancouver rental prices for an unfurnished one-bedroom unit have increased in January 2023, rising $30 from $2,227 to $2,257, according to Liv.rent’s latest rent report.

The five most expensive cities in Canada in which to rent are located in B.C. this January, with West Vancouver taking the top spot this month with its one-bedroom, unfurnished units averaging $2,844. North Vancouver isn’t far behind in second, with its units averaging $2,576 rent this month. The third-most expensive market in the country this month is the city of Vancouver, with one-bedroom, unfurnished units averaging $2,488 per month in rent. In the fourth spot, Burnaby’s apartments averaged $2,394 in January.

Richmond rounded out the top five priciest markets in Canada, with units averaging $2,195 to ring in the new year. See average listing rental price by type for Metro Vancouver.

->What Does Our $78-Billion Federal Housing Program Really Fix? (Thanks to The Tyee)

How can Canada possibly spend five years and tens of billions to fix the housing crisis, but still have no idea if it’s working? That’s the question raised in a recent report by the federal auditor general. Canada’s government is in the process of spending $78.5 billion — about $5,000 per family — to fix housing. But it can’t show that money is having any demonstrably positive effect — not in reaching the goal of cutting homelessness in half and not in reaching the goal of supplying hundreds of thousands of housing units for lower income Canadians.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. takes the bulk of the auditor’s heat as CMHC leads the so-called “National Housing Strategy.” But that strategy also identifies roles for Employment and Social Development Canada and Infrastructure Canada. The audit identifies a severe lack of co-ordination between the departments as a major source of the problem.

The report is particularly scathing when examining the nation’s Reaching Home program that supplies funding to 62 Canadian municipalities experiencing ever more serious problems of homelessness. Learn more in the Tyee’s fascinating article.

->Anti-Racism & Diversity Training on Feb 24th (Thanks to MLA Kelly Greene)

The BC Government is funding anti-racism and diversity training by Zoom on February 24, 2023. Please share this post from LinkedIn with your networks.

->Apply for a grant with the Community Services Recovery Fund (Thanks to Richmond Community Foundation)

The Richmond Community Foundation is pleased to announce the Community Services Recovery Fund will be open for applications on January 6, 2023.

The Community Services Recovery Fund is a one-time, $400 million investment by the Government of Canada to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize. This investment will strengthen the sector as it supports recovery in communities from coast to coast to coast.
This fund is a collaboration between the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada, and United Way Centraide Canada to provide funding to community service organizations, including non-profit organizations, Indigenous Governing Bodies, and registered charities located in Canada.

Now more than ever, charities and non-profits are playing a key role in addressing persistent and complex social problems faced by all Canadians. The Community Services Recovery Fund responds to what charities and non-profits need right now and supports organizations as they adapt to the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

Monday January 2, 2023

Greetings to members and friends of the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition (RPRC):

Happy New Year! This is our 1st Roundup for 2023. If you have some news, just send it to info@richmondprc.org ​​and we will endeavour to spread the word among our members and associates.

Best Wishes for 2023 from Unite Here!

Unite Here Local 40 sends their best wishes for 2023 to
the Richmond Poverty Reduction Coalition. The card (see attached) is made from a picture of our last rally at Pacific Gateway Hotel (Richmond), where workers have been on strike for over a year. Thanks for supporting them!

->Here’s how TransLink’s changes will affect your bus route (Thanks to Richmond News)

Locals will see some significant changes across the Metro Vancouver transportation network in the new year. TransLink has announced numerous service changes for bus routes across the Lower Mainland, which will come into effect on Jan. 2, 2023

TransLink is also implementing “small service adjustments” on 14 routes to provide increased service at peak travel times and to reduce overcrowding. This will also mean that slower times of the day will see reduced service. Changes affecting Richmond are: 410 Richmond-Brighouse Station / 22nd St. Station.

->That was 2022: Richmond city council had a busy year (Thanks to Richmond News)

Richmond city hall was busy in 2022. In addition to the municipal election when two new councillors were elected, city council approved several big developments. But land-use wasn’t the only issue on the table – city council also decided to revisit its flag policy after neither a pride flag nor a Every Child Matters flag were flown this year.

Taxes are going up – as they do every year – but city council voted a substantial increase this year, compared to last. And, finally, developers could end up paying more in fees to build in Richmond, something that one Richmond developer says will be passed on to homebuyers. Read the story.

->Food Banks Canada 2022 Report

As the 2022 Hunger Count report points out, the past year has seen historic inflation for basic necessities like food, fuel and housing, while the invasion of Ukraine has to led to massive disruptions in supply chains, the global food supply, and global economics.

What does this all mean for people living in Canada? Groceries are more expensive, gas is more costly, basic necessities are taking more of our incomes, housing is harder to afford, and governments are reluctant to offer the assistance that was available at the height of the pandemic.

While all people in Canada have felt the pinch in one way or another, it is clear that some groups are being particularly affected more than others. As the data plainly shows, longstanding fissures in our social safety net are being exposed in the midst of this economic turmoil.

Food banks are seeing an increasing number of seniors and people living on fixed incomes walk through their doors. People who are employed (or who were recently employed) are turning to food banks more often because their incomes are still too low, even with a job. Students who may have had enough budgeted for their previous academic years are now being forced to turn to their local food banks as well.

What the number of food bank visits showed us this year is that no one is safe from these economic challenges. What the data also shows us is that while food insecurity can affect anyone, this past year’s economic climate has exposed and further entrenched the deep poverty that existed before the current economic downturn.

->Renters need better legal protection – and more respect (Thanks to the Globe & Mail)

For the first time in decades, buying a house is no longer looking like a sure path to financial security for Canadians. The combination of rising interest rates and flatlining real estate markets have squeezed the wallets of prospective buyers – and squeezed them into the rental market. The ranks of renters, while still in the minority, are growing three times as fast as those of homeowners. And those renters may not be who you think.

For one, the rise of the rental nation is not just a big-city phenomenon. The growth of renters in smaller cities outpaced larger urban centres over the last decade, according to census data highlighted by a report from Royal Bank this month. And the rental nation is getting older: Boomers were the single-fastest growing group of tenants nationwide. “We expect these demographic and behavioural trends to continue fuelling demand for rental housing in the years ahead,” the report states.

The rising number of renters underscores the need to change flimsy legal and financial protections – and to change how we think about lifetime tenants. For a long time in Canada, home ownership was a signal of financial well-being and success. By extension, renters were the poor or at least those who hadn’t yet gotten financial traction in life. That narrative was never completely true. And it’s now become increasingly disconnected from reality.

Rapidly rising rents in urban cores means that hefty household incomes are needed to secure a lease. In Vancouver, according to apartment search site Zumper, the median cost for a two-bedroom is $3,500 a month – likely requiring a tenant making at least $120,000, if landlords are looking for people who won’t be spending more than 35 per cent of income on rental payments. Learn more.