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Column: Looking ahead to 2022 — Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA

Fin Donnelly believes the new year will bring opportunities for local, regional and provincial residents, but it can't be done without caring for others.
Fin Donnelly is the MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain representing the BC NDP. In this picture, he's being inducted into the Fraser River Hall of Fame on Nov. 19, 2021.

The following column was submitted to the Tri-City News from Fin Donnelly, MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.

The start of a new year is a time when many of us make resolutions and set goals.

As an MLA, I resolve to continue putting the needs of people first and to keep doing everything I can to make life in B.C. safer, healthier, and better for people.

We wish we could have left COVID-19 behind in 2021, and we feel done with this pandemic, unfortunately it is not yet done with us.

As we face a new wave driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant, the determination of British Columbians, together with vaccinations and science-based public health measures, is our best defence and our best route to putting the pandemic behind us.

The most important thing you can do right now is to make sure you’ve been vaccinated with two doses and are planning to get your booster shot as soon as you’re eligible.

You can expect to get a text or email invitation when you are eligible for a booster, approximately six months after your second dose.

Using the online system, you’ll be able to book a booster dose appointment at a health authority clinic or local pharmacy.

This year, your provincial government will continue to put people first and make B.C. a place where everyone can thrive.

As of Jan. 1, full and part-time workers have access to five days of paid sick leave each year, so people and workplaces can stay healthier.

We will be expanding $10-a-day childcare spaces and reducing the average childcare fees for children under six by 50 per cent by the end of 2022.

In 2022, we will also be introducing new anti-racism data legislation to better identify where gaps and barriers exist, so sectors like education, health care, and policing can provide better service for everyone.

And we will introduce legislation requiring a cooling-off period on home sales, helping to protect buyers and cool our overheated real estate market.

The pandemic continues to impact small businesses, especially with new restrictions needed to keep people safe.

To support restaurants who have pivoted to take out and delivery, we’ve extended the cap on fees that delivery companies can charge to restaurants.

This means more money stays with your favourite local restaurants and their hardworking staff.

Businesses that have had to temporarily shut down due to the latest wave of COVID-19 – like gyms, nightclubs, and event venues – are now eligible for a new relief grant of up to $10,000 to cover costs like rent, wages, and utilities.

2022 will undoubtedly bring us new challenges, but it also brings a lot of hope for better, brighter days ahead.

Together, let’s resolve to continue caring for ourselves, our neighbours and our communities.