MLA Report: March 2016

Mike Bernier, MLA Peace River South

March has been another busy month but it was great to get to spend two weeks in the riding over the spring break.

During the break I got to spend the day in Tumbler Ridge where I had coffee with many constituents at Action Play and joined the children at the Library for the spring break program.

I was also pleased to present a cheque for $10,000 to the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Association and the Grizzly Valley ATV Club for a joint collaboration of the clubs for trail clearing and trails signs. This work and signage will help promote the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark trail system for locals and visitors alike. I also spent the weekend in Chetwynd at the Chetwynd Trade Fair, it was great to get out and see so many of my constituents this past couple weeks.

BC Rural Dividend

Applications for the first year of funding under the BC Rural Dividend will be accepted from April 4 to May 31. The three-year Dividend will help rural communities with populations under 25,000 diversify and strengthen their economies. Local governments, not-for-profit organizations and First Nations are all eligible to apply.

Child Care Subsidy

Child support payments will no longer impact eligibility for parents already receiving or applying for child care subsidies. These changes will have an immediate impact for approximately 900 existing families, either by making them newly eligible to receive subsidies, or by increasing the amount of subsidy they receive. The monthly subsidy is intended to support low-income families with the costs of child care. The amount families receive depends on the family’s income and size, the ages of the children and the type of child care provided. The maximum rate a family can receive per child is $750 per month.

School Enhancement Program

Our government is helping to extend the life of BC schools with an investment of $40 million in the School Enhancement Program to help school districts repair, upgrade and improve their facilities.
School districts throughout BC will be notified about how they can apply for funding under this program. Projects will be chosen based on need, priority and supporting student learning and must cost more than $100,000. All projects must be mostly completed by March 31, 2017.

Wildfire Laws

Our government has announced new provisions and increased fines aimed specifically at people who interfere with firefighting efforts in BC. As a result, fines for 19 violations under the Wildfire Act and for seven violations under Wildfire Regulation will be increased significantly.

Legislation supports seniors and vulnerable adults

Our government has introduced amendments to the Community Care and Assisted Living Act that will mean better care options for seniors and added protection for those in assisted-living residences.
These amendments will make life easier for seniors, allowing seniors to remain in assisted-living facilities longer.

We are currently holding our Spring Session until the middle of May so, while I will be in Victoria a great deal during that time, I am going to make sure I am available for constituents via telephone, email or Facebook Please contact Cindy at the office (250-782-3430) to arrange a time if you would like to meet.