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Premier Eby takes action to keep people, communities safe

November 20, 2022 at 11:38 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Jonathan Morris, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, B.C. Division, Victoria branch –

“We know when a person is experiencing a mental-health or substance use crisis, what they need and want, is the support from someone who knows what they are going through. That is the heart of the Peer Assisted Care Team (PACT) model. We are very excited to lead this transformation of crisis care with partners in British Columbia. Today marks a bold commitment by this government to support mental health for all. A community-led care response, informed by people with lived and living experience, operated by local organizations is part of the transformation we need.”

Chief Constable Adam Palmer, Vancouver Police Department –

“Better co-ordination, information sharing and transparency will lead to better outcomes and overall improvements in community safety and well-being. We support any initiative that improves safety and ensures people living with mental-health issues get the care they need.”

Jay Diell, clinical co-ordinator for Car 87/88, Vancouver –

“Car programs, which team up an officer with a mental-health professional, have helped many people in crisis. I’m thrilled this program is expanding to more communities across the province, so British Columbians can get the supports they need along with timely connections to appropriate services in the community.” 

Ken Sim, mayor of Vancouver –

“Today’s announcement marks a significant step forward in addressing the ongoing challenges in Vancouver related to public safety, mental health and addictions. I applaud Premier Eby and the provincial government for their bold leadership and partnership in making these critical investments and policy changes. I look forward to continuing to work together to improve public safety outcomes and ensure the most-vulnerable members of our community have access to the support and care they need.”

Carol Lee, chair, Vancouver Chinatown Foundation –

“Chinatown is a historic and important part of our community, but the pandemic and an increase in crime have really had a negative impact on the heart of the Chinese community in Vancouver. I am so glad that the Province is taking action to help people trapped in a cycle of offending find the supports they need and strengthen enforcement so small businesses and neighbours alike can feel safer and continue to contribute to healthier communities.”

Kory Wilson, director, First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC) –

“The BC First Nations Justice Council is very grateful to our new Premier, David Eby, who has committed to advance Strategy 4 of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, and has committed funding to establish 10 new Indigenous Justice Centres in B.C. The Indigenous justice centres are a cornerstone of the Justice Strategy and the solution to many public-safety issues our province and our communities are experiencing. Lifting up Indigenous people to lead this work for ourselves is the right approach: it aligns with B.C.’s commitment to implement the UN Declaration and has the potential to reverse decades of appalling statistics that speak to the growing overrepresentation of our people in the justice and child welfare systems. BCFNJC remains steadfast in our commitment to reforming colonial justice and child welfare systems, and today’s announcement is an enormous step in the right direction.”

Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP, Surrey –

“Our police officers have seen first-hand the impacts and challenges of violent and repeat offenders, as well as mental health related calls. We are thankful that the Province has actioned a multi-agency approach that will bring the right people together to address the issues and ultimately strengthen our collective responses. These are complex issues that require more than enforcement, but also prevention, specifically care and support to those in need.” 

John Higenbottam, president, Brain Injury Alliance, Vancouver –

“People with different levels of acquired brain injuries struggle to find much-needed support services in the community. They are over-represented in the corrections system, homeless populations and people struggling with addiction. These individuals often have overlapping mental-health and substance-use challenges, requiring the highest level of support. The funding provided to the Brain Injury Alliance and brain injury associations across B.C. will go a long way to providing the specialized support that brain-injury survivors require.”

Dr. Seonaid Nolan, Head, Interdepartmental Division of Addiction, St. Paul’s Hospital/Providence Health Care, Vancouver –

“This is a new and exciting approach to how we deliver addiction care that has the potential to transform the treatment and recovery journey for British Columbians. I look forward to sharing more about this innovative pilot in the weeks ahead.”

Chief Constable Del Manak, Victoria Police Department –

“Our police officers are dealing with the impacts that mental health and addictions have on our communities on a daily basis, including challenges with violent, repeat offenders. I support initiatives that enhance social services, connect people to the services they need and prioritize public safety. I look forward to working with government on our shared vision toward community safety and well-being.”

Andrew Van Eden, community safety manager, Tsleil Waututh Nation 

“The North Shore of Vancouver is home to many diverse populations, including local First Nations communities from the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, and other Indigenous communities from across Canada. Systemic issues stemming from the traumas of the Residential School system, mistrust of police and poor treatment in the medical system (as outlined in the In Plain Sight report), and intergenerational trauma have resulted in higher callouts for mental-health related issues and crisis calls. The PACTWe will pull it all together!   is able to provide culturally informed, community-based, empathic and relevant care to those in need. I welcome continued investments in PACT teams across the province and hope that one day soon all communities and Nations will be resourced to have their own care teams to respond to community members.”  

Skyler Oxley, mental health professional, North Shore PACT

“It has been a great experience working as a member of PACT in its first year. We’ve helped a lot of people on the North Shore who otherwise would not have been able to access mental-health services. There is a need for preventative support and after-hours care that emergency services aren’t able to provide, and it has been thoroughly rewarding to see those needs get met. I look forward to supporting more individuals and families in our community with care.”   

Supt. Todd Preston, president, British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP), Victoria –

“The BCACP is supportive of the announcement today from the provincial government for the provincial funding of HealthIM. This evidence-based app will provide British Columbia’s law enforcement officers with another key de-escalation and risk-screening tool to navigate the complexities of mental-health emergencies and strengthen the ability to respond to and support those in crisis. Officers using HealthIM will better be able to communicate with health centres and community services to keep everyone safe. When police are called to intervene, HealthIM will provide them with the tools and information they need to keep everyone safe.”

Stephanie Smith, president, BC General Employees’ Union –

“Probation officers are on the front lines every day, helping to keep our communities safe. It’s challenging and important work, and we welcome new supports announced in the Safer Communities Action Plan. The BCGEU and our members look forward to working with government to tackle big challenges and deliver the services people in B.C. rely on.”

Ian Batey, executive director, Police Victim Services of B.C., Victoria –

“Root causes of tragedy, crime and victimization are found in social, economic, cultural and societal systems that create inequities and disadvantages for individuals, families and communities. These result in negative outcomes such as poverty, homelessness, mental-health challenges, crime and victimization, as identified in Premier Eby’s plan. Police Victim Services of B.C. looks forward to playing an integral part in ensuring those who are victimized by traumatic incidents are provided with compassionate, professional and consistent support throughout the province.”

Sean Bujtas, mayor of Terrace –

“The struggles that we have experienced as a result of repeat offenders throughout Terrace, and especially in our downtown core, have been an ongoing issue that impacts everyone from families to business owners. We are glad to see the Province working collaboratively with a wide variety of agencies to mitigate some of the challenges related to crime in our community.”

Leonard Krog, mayor of Nanaimo –

“We’ve all seen the impacts of criminal behaviour in the downtown. That’s why I’m pleased to see the Province’s co-ordinated approach of both enforcement and strengthened services, which will help break the cycle of repeat offending, help people to receive the supports they need, and help people feel safe and secure in our community.”

Brenda Locke, mayor of Surrey –

“The new Safer Communities Action Plan is comprehensive and multi-tiered. There is no question that a sharp change in direction in how we deal with repeat violent offenders is long overdue. A small number of career criminals have been, far too often, responsible for the violence that has been perpertrated on innocent individuals. For people and communites to feel safe, the revolving door of arrest and release has to stop. I also want to recognize how this plan addresses mental-health and addiction challenges. Tackling this issue on multiple fronts is a fresh step toward breaking the cycle of crime and addiction. The City of Surrey looks forward to working with Premier Eby and his team in a timely implementation of the new Safer Communities Action Plan.”

Silas White, mayor of Gibsons –

“Premier Eby’s Safer Communities Action Plan is extremely well-thought-out and comprehensive. It assists those of us in smaller communities with mental-health response teams, and an enhanced focus on people troubled by brain injuries. The most frequent victims of violent crime are other vulnerable and marginalized people, and this plan will help them and all of us by keying in on the dangerous few who are either in need of much more institutional support, or have been taking unfair advantage of gaps in our justice system.”

Janice Morrison, mayor of Nelson –

“Enhanced public safety and interventions regarding mental health and addictions are important to smaller communities. The Safer Communities Action Plan’s two-pronged approach is inclusive. Our protective services are going to have increased capacity to deal with repeat offenders and our community intervention/support services are going to see much-needed increases in resources. We all want to live in safe and healthy communities and I look forward to working with the B.C. government and Premier Eby as the plan moves forward.”

Jen Ford, president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) and Whistler councillor –

“B.C.’s communities have seen a steady growth in random violence and unchecked vandalism in downtown cores due to repeat offenders. Local governments have been responding to this complex issue and we are pleased to see a provincial commitment to address it through improved enforcement measures and increased complex care resources. The new action plan promises to advance efforts in both areas, and UBCM welcomes its implementation.”

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