Duncan wants decision-making made through a new lens

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When many organizations, agencies, government bodies are finding themselves in the same boat -- strapped for resources -- it makes sense to huddle up and discuss best solutions and options for and supported by the community as a whole.

That’s essentially one of the biggest benefits to a Social Policy Framework initiative Duncan City Council is urging the provincial government to pursue for British Columbians.

The latest push follows the recent creation of Alberta’s framework policy, which was based on input received from over 31,000 Albertans, and that’s already seeing benefits said Duncan Mayor Phil Kent.

In Cowichan, the idea was recently plugged by the Board Voice Society of B.C. in two presentations to council.

The society has been advocating for a Social Policy Framework for B.C. since early 2013 and was invited to Duncan to present the concept.

Council voted Jan. 20 to adopt a resolution calling the government to begin a consultation to design a plan for the province.

Council will also present the resolution to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) for their consideration in April and will eventually take it the Union of BC Municipalities in the fall.

“It’s really built around developing an overall vision and policy,” explained Kent.

As an example, for the work done in Alberta, “The framework will guide the work of governments, community partners, and the private sector as we work together to address social challenges and help ensure all Albertans have the opportunity to live with dignity and reach their potential,” states Alberta Human Services’ website.

“Albertans have outlined a vision for the future, principles to guide social policy outcomes to work towards, and strategies for achieving those outcomes.

“The framework... is a vision and a call to action for collaboration –- to achieve the results Albertans want, inform decision-making, and focus social policy priorities and actions for the next 10 to 15 years.”

How would a similar policy in B.C. effect Cowichan folks?

“I guess in some ways, equity,” said Kent. “Looking at it really from a perspective we all have limited resources, limited ability to put tax dollars into programs, we would use (the framework policy) to use available resources the most effective and efficient ways we can.”

Topics intermingled in the vision might include child protection, health care delivery, and mental health to name a few.

“Currently, (these topics) are developed at different times, based on different needs,” Kent said.

“It’s time for the province to have a coordinated approach to social policy to better focus and coordinator our resources to help individuals and communities thrive,” the mayor said in a press release.

“We are very pleased Duncan City Council has taken up the call for a Social Framework and hope other municipalities will follow suit,” said Board Voice’s vice president Leslie Welin. “We believe this is a critical conversation for B.C. to have. A Social Policy Framework will help us better address the challenges we all face.”

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