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qathet Regional District board to request parental leave action from province

qRD decides to request uniform policy for elected officials
SENDING CORRESPONDENCE: qathet Regional District Electoral Area A director Patrick Brabazon said he was not in favour of the province dictating policy but nonetheless supported a request for provincial parental leave policy.

qathet Regional District (qRD) board will be requesting action and attention to the matter of parental leave for elected officials.

At the January 27 regional board meeting, directors reviewed correspondence from District of North Saanich regarding maternity and parental leave. Electoral Area B director Mark Gisborne, a new parent, said the motion before the regional board is to send a letter to provincial minister of municipal affairs Josie Osborne.

“That way, individual regional districts and municipalities don’t have to write their own policies, spending staff time to try and come up with solutions,” said Gisborne. “It really seems to be an issue that should be handled by the minister and the ministry. That way, we’re all consistent across the province.”

Electoral Area A director and board chair Patrick Brabazon said the matter was before the board because it was not unanimous at the committee of the whole, where the matter was first discussed.

“I was the one who voted no,” said Brabazon. “For everyone’s understanding, I am not opposed to parental leave. My objection concerned the idea of the province, big brother, telling everyone in the province how they had to do it. However, I am going to withdraw my objection and I’m going to vote for this particular motion."

Electoral Area E director Andrew Fall said he wanted to make an amendment that the correspondence be copied to Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).

Fall also said Brabazon had made some good comments, and that UBCM, similar to what it has done with some other work, could play a role in coming up with uniform policies.

“They should be brought into the loop on this ,” said Fall.

The board carried Fall’s amendment, and the main motion as amended.

District of North Saanich council, in its correspondence, requested the urgent attention from the province to include provisions in the Community Charter that enable council members who are new parents to take time off without being disqualified from council.