I Believe in Investing in our futures by improving education for all of BC

To continue leading the country in economic strength and growth, we must ensure our workforce is ready for the challenges ahead. I will invest in education so every future British Columbians can achieve their full potential.

To continue leading the country in economic strength and growth, we must invest in our futures by improving education and post-secondary education for all of BC, ensuring our workforce is ready for the challenges ahead. We must be certain that British Columbians can achieve their full potential, no matter where they are from or their financial background. This will give future governments the resources to continue making record investments in our province and our people.

As the next leader of the BC Liberal Party, and next Premier of British Columbia, I will…

Child Care & Early Childhood Development

High-quality, safe, and enriching child care is not just important for working parents and families, but is critical to a child’s long-term development. That is why I will work with the federal government and local community partners to achieve a the largest ever expansion of child care spaces in British Columbia.

To support parents and early childhood development, under my leadership, I would immediately invest $1.2 billion over the next four years – the largest such investment in BC history – to:

a) Create 75,000 new childcare spaces;

b) Provide full or partial childcare subsidies for 150,000 children;

c) Provide increased funding for the training of more child care educators; and

d) Explore partnerships with school districts to co-locate childcare spaces at elementary schools. 

Technology in Education

Future employment opportunities for today’s students will be based on their level of technological competence and knowledge. We need to ensure BC kids have access to the training they need to be first in line for the in-demand jobs that will be waiting for them when they graduate. BC was amongst the first jurisdictions in Canada to bring compulsory coding modules for grades 6 to 9 so all students could learn the universal language of coding and vital analytical and critical thinking skills applicable to careers not only in tech and virtually all other sectors. As a former Tech CEO, I view this as a starting point and under my leadership, our government will make it a priority to increase the technology training and knowledge for our students throughout their school careers including:

  • Increasing the technology and coding training beyond the current Grade 6-9 requirement, including advanced levels of coding and introducing age-friendly coding concepts earlier.
  • Ensure all BC schools have the proper tools and technology, including adequate high-speed internet across the Province.
  • Championing the use of the new generation of courseware in classrooms that adapts to our students learning needs, as well as game based learning that uses rich data about students, tracking their progress and identifying their learning challenges.

When it comes to post-secondary education, we need to harness the incredible creativity and potential of the next generation of tech leaders. One way to do this is for government and industry to invest in technology incubators within universities or post-secondary institutions. This would allow students and tech leaders to work together and foster growth and innovation sooner. I would also work towards increased co-op opportunities across a variety of areas of post-secondary study to provide students with more real-life work experience, and more employers with the benefits of new ideas from the next generation of leaders in their field.

Teachers as Partners

Education is a team sport. Teachers, school trustees and parents all have a role to play in supporting student’s education. I will do everything in my power to reset the historically challenging relationship between our government and the BC Teachers Federation because our children will be better off when all partners in their education are working together. Good teachers are essential to improving student learning and helping all students meet high academic standards, not to mention the profound impact that they have on our communities. I will focus on the recruitment and retention of high quality teachers, providing bursaries to attract top graduates, and supporting current teachers to pursue advanced training. I also commit to ensuring that teachers have the tools, access to technology and ongoing professional development they need to succeed in the classroom.

Role of Parents

Parents have a critical role in the education of their children. Parents and teachers are partners who encourage and support the learning of children in schools and at home. Parental involvement is critical to children’s education. I will make it a priority to invest in raising parental awareness of the benefits of engaging in their children’s education, and providing them with the skills, and technological access to do so.

Building New Schools Faster

Thriving communities are creating growth in many school districts around the province. I recognize that fast-growing school districts need help to ease the pressure of a growing student population, and that in some cases this assistance has not come fast enough.

To address this pressure, I will:

  • Invest over $2 billion in capital spending over the next three years in schools.
  • Encourage creativity in how we address the urgent capital needs in some districts including modular school construction.
  • Support providing $228 million to fund enrolment growth across the fiscal plan period.
  • Review of the seismic work done to date and a re-prioritizing of those schools still requiring seismic upgrades to ensure those facilities with the greatest need are at the top of the list.
  • Review the school funding formula for rural school districts to ensure it is properly providing for the needs of students and families in each region of BC.

I am also in awe of the investment of time parents have made in fundraising for causes of importance to their school. The lessons of giving back to one’s community that this provides for children is incredibly important, but at the same time, schools should not have to rely on parental fundraising for essential elements of the school experience, like playgrounds. So as leader, I would provide capital funding for building, renovating, and improving school playgrounds.

Mental Health Supports in Schools

Schools are on the front lines of the increasing impacts of mental health challenges on families and young British Columbians. They provide one of the best settings to identify issues and offer support. That’s why, under my leadership, our government will work with school districts and post-secondary institutions to take focused action to ensure we are providing the supports needed by children and youth, and their families. This includes funding innovative projects across the province, such as the Mountainside Secondary project in North Vancouver, which would provide much needed assistance and mental health education to students.

Making Post-Secondary Education More Affordable

If you want a higher education and you’re willing to learn and work hard, you should be able to do so no matter your family background or financial situation. Money should never be a barrier to getting a degree or credentials, just as debt should not hold you back after you graduate. With bold new investments in higher education and universities holding the line on costs, we can ensure that British Columbians of all backgrounds can pursue the degree or credential of their choosing and be prepared for the jobs and economy of the future.

To support Post-Secondary students, under my leadership I will:

  • Expand the BC student loan forgiveness program to encourage more students to pursue education and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related disciplines as well as other in-demand areas. This program would provide debt relief or forgiveness for students who stay in BC and find jobs in their field of study.
  • Work with post-secondary institutions, industry, and unions to provide a financial incentive such as reduced tuition to encourage BC students to take STEM courses or programs as well as other in-demand areas of study.
  • I will work to create a rental subsidy program for students who need to relocate for full-time post-secondary education and need assistance, as the cost of housing is a major barrier for many students, especially those from smaller communities. I would also work with post-secondary institutions to identify other specific measures that would allow them to expand on-campus housing options for students.
  • Significantly grow the BC online open textbook program to continue to reduce costs for students.
  • Fully support a policy of providing tuition and other financial aid for youth in care to attend university or other post-secondary institutions.
  • Expand BC’s RESP Education Savings and Training Grant from $1200 to $1500 per child.

Bring Back Play

Although technology brings a world of benefits to our province, the sad reality is that we are currently behind many other jurisdictions in the fight against inactivity and obesity in our young people.

That means also providing time every day for our students to unplug forom technology and get active. Meaningful physical education is one of the best strategies available to reverse this trend. High quality health and physical education helps our young people live healthier, more productive lives.

We need to make health and physical activity a priority in our schools and in our homes. I will double the Healthy Schools BC Regional Grants to increase the resources need to get BC students moving.