1. Families can now register births of newborns online
British Columbian parents will be able to register the birth of their newborn online after August 1st with the launch of a new birth registration system. Every baby born in BC must be registered with the Vital Statistics Agency and there is no fee for the service for registrations received within 30 days of a child’s birth.
“The birth of a child is an exciting, but sometimes overwhelming time for families, and this easy to use system will help make this busy time a little easier,” said Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid. “This new electronic birth registration system is a perfect example of how we are continuing to improve the ways government delivers services so that they meet the needs of British Columbians.”
Parents can already go online to apply for their child’s birth certificate. As part of the new online birth registration system, they can also apply online for Canada Child Benefits, the baby’s Social Insurance Number and Medical Services Plan coverage.
It is estimated registering the birth of a child will take approximately 20 minutes and requires the presence of the parent(s) who will be recorded on the child’s birth registration. Parents will also need basic information on hand including the baby’s full name, the mother’s personal health number and the location and date of the baby’s birth.
Parents without access to a computer may request a paper birth registration form from the Vital Statistics Agency by calling 250 952-2681 in Victoria or 1 888 876-1633 toll-free in other parts of the province.
For more information on the new registration process or to register the birth of a newborn, please visit the Vital Statistics Agency website.
2. Province fast-tracks school-startup supplement increases
The B.C. government has fast-tracked increases to the school startup supplement so income and disability assistance clients – and now hardship assistance clients – with children in school can receive the extra money in time for the start of the school year.
The school startup supplement is provided to assist with extra costs associated with a dependent child’s schooling, such as school fees and supplies. Families on assistance will now receive $100 for every child aged 5-11 (up from $84) and $175 for every child 12 and over (up from $116). As well, the school startup supplement is being extended to children on hardship assistance.
Payment will be on the August assistance cheque issued at the end of July and is expected to benefit approximately 23,000 children this school year.
On June 11, 2012, the B.C. government announced some balanced changes to income- and disability-assistance programs as part of the first pillar of its Families First Agenda. The changes, most of which will come into effect later this year, will ensure government is providing the supports people need to get back into the workforce, while helping improve financial outcomes for vulnerable individuals and families.
For more information on these changes to income assistance policies, please visit the Ministry of Social Development.
For more information on the Families First Agenda please visit the website.
3. Funding to support greater community use of schools
For the 2012-13 school year, a total of $800,000 will be available through the School Community Connections (SCC) program for projects that expand the use of K-12 school space, including upgrades to Neighbourhood Learning Centres, Education Minister George Abbott announced today.
The goal of the SCC program is to actively encourage boards of education and local governments to work with community partners to increase the use of schools to provide community services. During this round of funding, school districts, in partnership with local governments, can submit applications for one or more projects – totalling no more than $12,500. Projects can include, but are not limited to:
- Co-location of community organizations, offices, services or other activities.
- Space for early learning, child care or after-school care programs and family resource centres.
- Community kitchens or gardens.
- Space for intergenerational programs or services for seniors.
- Installation and/or renovation of doors, locks and entry systems that allow greater community access to school facilities.
- Upgrades or renovations to school athletic fields, recreational facilities and/or playgrounds to increase use by sports organizations and the community at large.
Launched in 2005, through a one-time $10-million grant from the Ministry of Education, the SCC program is managed jointly by the Union of BC Municipalities and the BC School Trustees Association. The 2012-13 school year is the final year of the SCC program.
For information about the School Community Connections Program visit the website.