President’s Letters & News

VCCFA Report to the College Board – February 2023

by | Feb 23, 2023 | PRESIDENT’S LETTERS

Report to the VCC Board of Governors, February 2023 Prepared by Taryn Thomson, VCCFA President
2023 Focus: VCC Sustainability

It has been almost seven months since VCC, the SUVCC and the VCCFA made submissions to the BC Post-Secondary Funding review. All has been quiet since. Now, we have a new Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, and she has made no mention of the funding review.

This is our most important work. Our success in finding sustainable funding means the difference between VCC maintaining its identity or not. Will we continue to be the College of Access, welcoming to diverse students with ranging needs from every economic background and every culture? Will we continue to be the institution that says “yes”, and then helps these students succeed?

Every year the VCCFA advocates for the maintenance of EAL and ABE programming, and every year there are cuts. We in the VCCFA are of the view that despite cyclical ups and downs in enrollment, the main reason for these cuts and shrinkages is that we can’t afford to encourage developmental programs to grow because these programs do not bring in tuition. We keep developmental programs at the level we can afford them, and that level decreases incrementally all the time.

We are hopeful that the Campus Master Plan will move forward, and we are eager for the financial stability that plan makes possible. We hope we can be partners in our discussions and efforts to lobby and fight for sustainable or transitional funding until the Campus Master Plan project is complete. We have a lot of work to do, and I am ready to join you in that work. In the meantime, I hope we can commit together to avoiding further cuts in this interim period.


Payroll Problems

The winter term got off to a rough start with myriad difficulties in People Services which resulted in well over one hundred Term Faculty not getting paid in a timely manner. Additionally, we have been hearing about plenty of onboarding glitches that have meant people are not getting paid at the correct step, are missing stipends, don’t have email, or can’t access My VCC. We understand that many folks in People Services are pretty new, and we propose that a way forward would be to seek the guidance and expertise of others who have been here much longer. We have identified some major systemic problems here. How can people services work with faculty and department leaders to create better systems?

New VCCFA Anti-Racism Standing Committee

In November the VCCFA Executive approved and later our membership endorsed the creation of a new VCCFA Anti-Racism Standing Committee. We are in the process of populating the committee at the moment, and are excited to be taking this important step forward.

December Donations from the VCCFA Community Action Committee

The following donations were approved by the VCCFA Executive and made in December. The Community Action Committee has been a long standing committee of the VCCFA, and was created out of an idea that Aprhodite Harris had to put 1% of our member’s dues back into the community. Aphrodite was a librarian here at VCC and she also was active on the VCCFA Executive. Aphrodite died recently, but her legacy remains in evidence in the work of the Community Action Committee.

Rainier Hotel (Portland Housing Society}, $500 towards annual Christmas celebration {dinner, small gifts and venue)

Rainier Hotel’s women-only housing operated by PHS provides low-barrier, supported housing for women who are dealing with substance use issues. Clients receive one-on-one support to develop and reach goals with either a harm reduction or recovery focus, and other services include mental health services, peer support and volunteer and employment opportunities.

Every year, a special Christmas celebration is held, and they are always looking for funds to cover the cost of food, small gifts, and even venue, so the women – many of them without families – can have a proper Christmas dinner/celebration. They have roughly 30 women housed and it’s a wonderful opportunity to help.


Downtown Eastside Central Kitchen (Portland Housing Society), $500 towards supplies and food.

The food program which delivers multiple meals a day to over 1500 residents is always in need to purchase supplies and food for the program. Residents of these PHS-operated housing projects receive at least one hot meal a day, with the more supportive programs offering three meals a day. The food program is dedicated to easing food insecurity within the community.


Managed Alcohol Program – CMAP, (Portland Housing Society), $500 towards supplies for alcoholic beverages given on a timed basis to avoid withdrawal and hospitalization

The Community Managed Alcohol Program (CMAP) is for individuals who struggle with severe alcohol use disorder and who sometimes drink non-beverage alcohol such as mouthwash or rubbing alcohol. CMAP works with members to substitute this with limited amounts of member-brewed wine and beer.

Managed alcohol programs have demonstrated increased quality of life, decreased violence, and decreased visits to the emergency room and the justice system. While abstinence is not the goal of the program, many participants have made significant gains in their lives increasing health and wellbeing, finding stability, and quitting drinking alcoholic beverages.


Indigenous Programming (Portland Housing Society), $500 towards weekly pancake breakfast, indigenous supplies, and travel costs to community for ceremony

Funds go toward supplies for Indigenous programming offered through PHS. Supplies would not be limited to, but would include food for a pancake breakfast that is held weekly. The funds could also go toward supplies for traditional medicines, smudging and crafts. There is also a scholarship type of program which assists our Indigenous community to travel to see family or relatives for ceremonial reasons including those found in graves from residential school tragedies and the opportunity to get to remote areas.


Catherine White Holman Wellness Society, $600 towards clients’ medical expenses, and clothing.

This volunteer organization “aims to provide low-barrier wellness services to transgender and gender non-conforming people in a way that is respectful and celebratory of clients’ identity and self-expression. The centre is volunteer run, and all practitioners are volunteering their time, so that they can offer free services to people who need them, regardless of factors like citizenship, health insurance, or residential address.


Theatre Terrific, $750.00 total towards three $250.00 bursaries for the Choral Classes for low-income individuals with disabilities.

These classes are offered in ten sessions and provide a chance for people of all abilities and experience to participate in movement and song. The choir performs at the AGM and at other events throughout the year. It costs participants $250.00 per session. The next session begins in January 2023 and runs 10 classes until March 2023.

Theatre Terrific pioneers inclusive opportunities for artists of all abilities to develop performance skills and collaborate in the production of theatrical works. All of Theatre Terrific’s classes, workshops, community, and professional productions are made up of people of all abilities, genders, and backgrounds. This means that at any given time, a cast or class may include people who may have mental health issues, developmental challenges, physical challenges, or simply practicing actors who want to learn new methods of inclusive theater development. Theatre Terrific presents at least one major theater production during the year. There are approximately 100 performers and workshop or class participants each year who reach an annual audience of 1000-1500 people in Vancouver.


A Loving Spoonful, $600 towards the Daily Meals program.

This organization is a volunteer-driven, non- partisan society that provides hot meals to people with HIV and co-existing illnesses who are primarily homebound. The organization was founded in 1989, and clients are all referred by a nurse, doctor or dietician.


Taryn Thomson
VCCFA President