Coalition to receive BCGEU Spirit of Leadership Award


Ms Susan Harney, Chairperson
Board of Directors
Coalition of Child Care Advocates of British Columbia

Dear Ms Harney

It is my pleasure and privilege to inform you that the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of British Columbia has been chosen to receive our union’s – the Spirit of Leadership Award.

The Spirit of Leadership Award is presented every three years to an individual or organization in British Columbia for their special contribution on social issues. The award symbolizes our union’s commitment to the goal of leadership in social action.

Previous recipients are James Gosnell (1987), Pauline Jewett (1989), Jean Swanson (1991), Rosemary Brown (1993), David Suzuki (1995), Dave Barrett and Thomas Berger (1997), John Shields (1999), and the Canadian Federation of Students (2002). This year, we wish to acknowledge the important contribution that the CCCABC has made to working parents and their children in communities across our province. There are many organizations advocating for affordable, accessible, publicly funded and regulated child care, but none more deserving than the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C.

We have been most impressed with your unwavering commitment to advance the child care agenda in our province despite the enormous challenges of the last four years. Massive cuts to child care by the Campbell Liberal government have hurt families in communities across B.C. Instead of removing barriers to working parents by creating more licensed child care spaces, the government eliminated important resource and referral services, forced centres to close or drastically scale back, and refused to fund the negotiated wage rates of early childhood educators.

But amidst this crisis, your organization stepped up its campaign. You raised public awareness of the importance of early childhood education to a child’s development. You supported BCGEU members by speaking out about the importance of unionization in the delivery of quality child care, and the right for child care workers to a fair wage. You proposed workable solutions and mobilized communities into action. Your intense lobbying efforts helped to put child care on the political agenda, both provincially and nationally.

The BCGEU is proud to be a member of the Coalition. We are proud of the strong partnership of our two movements. We are committed to continuing our work together in the hopes that one day every family who needs it has access to affordable, quality, not-for-profit child care.

We wish to honour the CCCABC at our triennial convention at the end of June.

On behalf of the Provincial Executive, staff and 55,000 members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union, congratulations on this award and thank you for your ongoing commitment to social action. I look forward to seeing you in June.

In solidarity

George Heyman