• The South Shus-wap Chamber of Commerce argued local businesses shouldn’t be burdened with having to enforce a provincial vaccine passport system. On Thursday, Aug. 26, the chamber issued a statement in support of using every tool available to ensure businesses can stay open in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One tool, the proposed B.C. vaccine card that was to be implemented on Sept. 13, give the chamber cause for concern. “While it may make sense to see the wearing of masks returned temporarily or for the rollout of a vaccine passport program, it simply cannot be left to frontline staff to enforce these policies,” said chamber president Lynn Ewart. “Employers have struggled through this pandemic for over a year-and-a-half. A massive labour shortage is challenging our business owners to find and retain staff. Now the province is asking business owners and their frontline staff to enforce this mandate. It’s simply too much to ask of them.”
• For Shuswap employers, good help has been hard to find. Representatives from the Salmon Arm Downtown Improvement Association (DSA) and District of Sicamous Chamber of Commerce both said they’ve had local businesses call them asking for help finding employees. Sheila Devost, executive director with the District of Sicamous Chamber of Commerce, pointed to a particular problem contributing to the labour shortage in Sicamous: housing. She said it’s a “chicken and the egg” situation, in which people need jobs to afford housing, but people can’t work if there’s nowhere to live.
• As their feet touched the ground, so did emotions touch their hearts. From Sept. 6 to 10, a group from the Splatsin First Nation walked more than 100 kilometres to ensure the spirits of 215 children whose remains were confirmed at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in May, were not left stranded, were not kept away from their home as they had been in life. Splatsin Tkwamipla7 (Councillor) Edna Felix, the main organizer of the Splatsin Walking Our Children’s Spirits Home Journey, spoke of how the emotional weight of the journey rose and fell. Felix was joined on the five-day walk by a core group of organizers and walkers which included her daughter Laureen as well as Splatsin Tkwamipla7 (Councillors) Theresa William and George William.
• School District 83 (SD83) lifted hold and secure measures at Salmon Arm schools. The measures were put in place Friday, Sept. 17, after protesters entered schools in and around Salmon Arm. “Given the situation that unfolded at several schools in and around Salmon Arm, it was necessary to ensure the safety of all students and staff,” said SD83 superintendent Donna Kriger in a Sept. 20 media release. Kriger explained the hold and secure measures initiated were a means of preventing unauthorized individuals from entering schools.
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