Sustainable revenue for Indigenous artists from work experience project

Local Indigenous artists and production trainees creating collectible items are benefiting from a government-funded skills training and work experience project.

“This project encourages artists, while adding a great training element,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “It illustrates government’s commitment and priorities to work collaboratively to increase opportunities for Indigenous peoples through new economic partnerships, skills training and employment.”

Through this project, Stó:lō Nation is training participants in computer-aided light manufacturing, such as laser etching, embroidery, heat transferring and printing, and helping them develop skills in warehousing operations, while supporting artists in sharing their designs on products.

Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction, toured of the facilities and attended an artist open house at the new Stó:lō Interpretive Centre today.

“Art is an important part of Indigenous cultures, and this project supports local artists as they continue to share their own stories through their work,” Elmore said. “The project participants are also gaining new skills, which will lead to greater opportunities.”

Through Nations Creations, a social enterprise created by the Stó:lō Nation, eight participants are receiving training in producing a wide range of gift items, including prints, bags, bookmarks, glassware, jewelry and clothing, which features artwork by local artists. They are also gaining warehousing experience by filling orders and shipping products to stores across Western Canada, and furthering their learning through on-the-job experience with White Feather Manufacturing and Monaque Native Crafts.

A second group of up to 12 people will begin training in August.

Artists who work with Nations Creations are paid a royalty for each item sold with their design, rather than a flat fee. This provides a more sustainable income over time for the artists.

Theresa Harris, one of the people who participated in last year’s project, said, “The Nations Creations program gave me the confidence to pursue a new career, instead of sticking to a job that was unreliable. New training has shown me I can do more and be successful. I was able to successfully gain employment with a large building-supply chain where I am able to put my new skills to work.”

Jared Deck, whose “Mother Eagle” design was featured on last year’s Orange T-Shirt Day shirt, said, “I’ve been doing artwork since around 2003. When the opportunity at Nations Creations arose, I thought it was a good opportunity and I had some designs that I decided to submit.”

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has committed $606,000 in funding for this project through the Job Creation Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) program. CEP funds projects that increase employability levels and share labour market information.

Caregivers hold rally to call for end of “Project Guardian”

June 16 Project Guardian RallyVancouver – As the world marks International Domestic Workers Day today, local caregivers held a rally to intensify their call to end a government program that targets and criminalizes caregivers hired under the Live-in Caregiver and Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).  The groups also reiterated the need to grant caregivers open work permits and permanent residency upon arrival.

 

“Canada likes to pride itself as being a leader in the area of human rights.  The reality however is that it treats TFWs, especially foreign caregivers, as disposable workers deprived of many basic labour rights.  Worse, it criminalizes them through programs like ‘Project Guardian’,” says Jane Ordinario, Migrante-BC Coordinator.

 

According to Ordinario, Canada Border Services Agency is conducting raids and deportations of caregivers found to be violating their work permits under “Project Guardian” and other initiatives like it.

 

“These programs are a waste of tax payers money.  Foreign caregivers are not criminals.  The raids are often heavy-handed and very intimidating and the caregivers are not told about their legal rights during the process,” she added.

 

According to the West Coast Domestic Workers Association Executive Director, Natalie Drolet, Canada should grant the TFW caregivers open work permits and permanent residency upon arrival.

 

“It is unjust to tie a worker to one employer at one address.  It leaves them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation because in many cases, the caregivers are afraid to leave their jobs because of the onerous process of obtaining a new work permit for a new employer,” said Drolet, whose association has been helping caregivers facing deportation because of Project Guardian.

 

Local MLA Mable Elmore, Opposition Spokesperson for TFWs and Immigration also said more needed to be done to protect migrant worker rights.

 

“Provincial legislation is needed to ensure that migrant workers are genuinely able to access and exercise their full legal rights, especially when they face abuse or exploitation due to unscrupulous recruitment agencies, immigration consultants or employers,”  said Elmore.

 

“It’s also important that as a nation, we show the willingness to protect and promote the rights and welfare of all workers, especially migrant workers.  And a first step towards that is the ratification of this international convention recognizing the rights of Domestic Workers, she said referring to the International Labour Organization’s Convention 189 (C189).

 

C189 was passed at the 100th meeting of the ILO in 2012 on June 16th and since then, the day is recognized as International Domestic Workers Day.

 

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Help General Brock Elementary get a new play space

 

A small community school in my riding needs your help.

General Brock Elementary is one of only 5 schools across BC – and the only one from Vancouver – selected to be a finalist for a BCAA Play Here Grant.

The final grant recipient is chosen based on the number of votes a school receives.  To vote for General Brock, just click the link below:

https://www.bcaaplayhere.com/space/d9e702db-1ba8-5e44-af5f-9859b11dd927

You can vote for them daily from each of your social media accounts.

Thank you for your support and hopefully together, we can help give the students and local children a much-needed new play space at General Brock.

 

Happy 118th Philippine Independence Day

PID with John Horgan 2016

Philippine Independence Day at Memorial South Park in East Vancouver with Leader John Horgan, MLA Raj Chouhan and friends.

New Democrat Leader John Horgan and Vancouver-Kensington MLA Mable Elmore issued the following statement on the annual Philippine Independence Day celebrations on behalf of the B.C. New Democrats:

“As Filipinos celebrate the 118th Anniversary of Philippine  Independence Day, we join them in marking this great occasion. The Filipino people have shown remarkable courage, fortitude and capacity for hard work and enriching communities all over the world,” said Horgan.

Said MLA Mable Elmore: “Canada in particular is now home to a large community of Filipinos who have put down roots, established thriving communities and are proud to call themselves Filipino-Canadians.

“On this occasion, we extend congratulations and warm wishes to the Filipino-Canadian community as it celebrates this important event. Canada is home to a vibrant Filipino-Canadian community. However, steps still need to be taken to fully integrate Filipino newcomers. It is vitally important that we support the return to a model of permanent immigration to allow all Filipino workers to contribute and participate fully in building our province and country.

“Alongside this, we also need to look at improving the recognition of foreign credentials to ensure all immigrants are able to contribute and benefit in being part of Canadian society.

“Filipino culture, language and traditions continue to make our multicultural society richer and more diverse. On behalf of the New Democrat Caucus we extend our best wishes to everyone for a happy Philippine Independence Day!”

“Maligayang Araw ng Kalayaan!

Mabuhay ang Filipino-Canadian community!