Just because summer is upon us doesn’t mean things are slowing down. In fact, these past several weeks have been non-stop busy, but extremely rewarding and successful.
At the end of April I brought forward a unique legislation proposal for a new private act to provide Millar College of the Bible with the authority to grant degrees in theology in B.C.
The Saskatchewan-based institution has been operating at the Sunnybrae Bible Camp in Tappen, but this new legislation will allow the college to provide important degree-granting status to the associate and baccalaureate level in B.C.
I was very pleased to be able to bring this act forward, as degree-granting status will provide another opportunity for advanced education in our province, as well as inject an economic boost and attract new residents and visitors to our beautiful region. Currently, there are 73 students enrolled at Millar College for this fall.
More good news for B.C.’s education system that will directly benefit students was the recent redirection of $25 million in administrative savings from school districts.
These funds will allow districts to put money back into frontline services for students by hiring new teachers, introducing or expanding programs, or maintaining schools despite falling enrolment in certain regions.
This year marks the second anniversary of the successful B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint, something I’m proud to be an integral part of. I’m pleased to report that another $8 million went to support pre-apprenticeship programs. That’s on top of $130 million for in-demand education and job training, $21 million for industry-standard equipment at post-secondary schools and more than 3,000 new critical trades seats.
This spring we also introduced two increases to B.C.’s minimum wage. With a full-time job, these increases will mean more than $1,400 per year for an individual.
Small businesses were also given a boost with a commitment to lower small-business tax from 2.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent.
Back at home, I had the pleasure of hosting my second gaming grant seminar for non-profit groups to provide them with information and guidance on how to go about qualifying and applying for the numerous grants available under the Community Gaming Grants program.
Over the past month I have been honoured to hand out hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups across the riding that had applied and received funding.
The South Shuswap First Responders, Enderby Preschool, Shuswap Air Cadets, the North Okanagan Therapeutic Riding Association, Sicamous Preschool Society, various arts and culture groups and individuals and so many more have received funding. It was very rewarding to learn about all the good work that the non-profit groups are doing for our communities.
Lastly, I want to send out a few reminders as we head into our busy summer season in the Shuswap. Fines have more than tripled for distracted driving in an effort to reduce the number of avoidable tragedies, so please, put the phone away and concentrate on the road.
With boating season upon us, be sure to have your pleasure craft operator card and your boat or craft equipped with all that is required. Licence testing can be taken online at https://www.boat-ed.com/canada/britishcolumbia/.
Conservation officers will be out in force again this summer, so be prepared and be safe on the water.
Until next time, I’ll see you around the Shuswap.
– Greg Kyllo, MLA Shuswap