Column: Clear communication needed for provincial vaccination plans

Jan 26, 2021 | Blog | 0 comments

2020 was as difficult a year as any in recent memory, but as we move into 2021, several vaccines offer hope for relief from the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The provincial government is aiming to have all British Columbians vaccinated by the end of the year starting with residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living facilities, health care workers providing care to those with COVID-19, and remote/isolated First Nations communities.

I raise my hands in gratitude to everyone working in essential services. Thank you!

In the Saanich North and the Islands constituency office we have been working through a backlog of meetings and requests for advocacy caused by the snap election. Constituents continue to raise a range of concerns including lack of access to housing options, the need for more family doctors, equitable education in the Southern Gulf Islands, increasing active transportation options, better mental health supports, and public safety.

We continue to advocate for these local priorities in addition to addressing COVID-19 specific issues such as our most recent request to the provincial government encouraging them to step in and assist the private motor coach industry. The pandemic has all but shut down inter-city, shuttle, and charter bus business. I believe support in the short-term will mean the province is not on the hook for delivering these essential services in the future. As we learned when Greyhound shuttered services in Western Canada bus services are important for public safety ensuring people and communities can be safely connected.

READ ALSO: Reflecting on the ‘inexplicable year that was 2020’

I am hearing from many people in our constituency that they are concerned about the vaccine roll-out. As we all anticipate the potential freedom that vaccinations may offer, many people in Saanich North and the Islands want more information about when and how they can be vaccinated. The BC Green Caucus continues to encourage the provincial government to clearly communicate the vaccination plan to all British Columbians.

You can find the most up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccination plan at bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine/bcs-plan-for-vaccine-distribution.

In spring 2021 we are moving the Saanich North and the Islands Constituency Office to the Aranza building at 9828 Fourth St. (just north of Tanners Books in Sidney).

I am thrilled that our community office will be accessible from the street. As we move past the COVID-19 pandemic we will once again be able to open our board room to community groups to host meetings. In addition, we will resume the Dialogue sessions on priority issues in our community. The new space is a perfect venue for reconnecting after so many months apart.

In the meantime, our team of advocates continue to work remotely. Since the election, we have been able to meet constituents by phone or by video conferencing. We will continue to monitor the health orders and recommendations and will open the office to walk-in traffic and in-person meetings when we are sure we can provide a safe environment.

If you need advocacy, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at Adam.Olsen.MLA@leg.bc.ca or phone at 250-655-5600.

Adam Olsen is the MLA Saanich North and the Islands.

Originally published in the Goldstream Gazette on January 23, 2021.

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