Fish plant workers attended a budget meeting held in Prince Rupert in October to send a message to Province of B.C. officials on the movement of canning jobs away from the North Coast.

First Nations studies, social services boosted in 2017 budget

Province's budget report also highlights' commercial fishing industry's adjacency policy

The results of B.C.’s budget consultations are out with health care, education and attainable housing listed as priorities.

The Committee on Finance and Government Services held its public meeting in Prince Rupert on Oct. 3 and many of the presenters’ appeals were heard and included in the final report. MLA for the North Coast Jennifer Rice was part of the committee and heard the requests from residents from her constituency.

Here is a list of what is being recommended within the city for the provincial government to consider in its 2017 budget.

More funding for the school districts for First Nations educational programming. The Prince Rupert District Teachings’ Union have asked the government provide money to support the implementation of learning on First Nations for all grades. The inclusion of First Nations studies in the school system is a part of the new curriculum that includes recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Increased support was also present for social services and community organizations. The Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert petitioned for the funding to continue providing Indigenous patrons the social services they need, which also includes support for housing.

The clanging of salmon tins in protest from the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union members after the closure of the cannery left an impression. Their request for the government to implement adjacency regulations to prevent the loss of jobs for people on the North Coast, and to develop or expand processing industries, was highlighted in the report.

Transportation was also on the list with the Port of Prince Rupert and the City of Prince Rupert addressing the challenges in the area as a result of the growth of the community. They suggested a partnership or more funding to remedy the issues. Also, the port added that a coordinated approach is needed to develop ports and trade corridors with all levels of government to improve competitiveness and efficiency.

There were 14 public hearings, 236 presentations and 137 video or written submissions. The report, released on Nov. 15, provides the government with a general idea of what British Columbians want to see in next year’s budget.