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DIVERSEcity CEO Neelam Sahota talks about supporting mothers at home and in the workplace for Mother’s Day

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On Mother’s Day this year, let’s take time to not only celebrate mothers, but really acknowledge them. See them. Not just the smile on their lips, but the worry in their eyes. The exhaustion on their faces. The load on their shoulders.

The COVID-19 global crisis has highlighted the emotional, often invisible, workload that mothers carry. It has also increased that workload.

As we self-isolate in our homes, mothers are carrying the burden of homeschooling, often while working full-time jobs from home, in addition to the cooking, cleaning, shopping and so on.

Many are also still working outside the home, as leaders on health care’s frontlines, or working in essential or service industries, helping us all safely access groceries and essentials during this crisis. We are also seeing amazing women leaders rise up to battle this crisis at the policy level.

For all of them, traditional lines of work and home are being blurred, and it’s important we don’t dismiss or ignore the pressure mothers may be under now — and as we rebuild our workplaces after COVID-19.

As a mother myself, I remember the challenges of building a career in a traditional workplace when my kids were young. When I took on the role of CEO at DIVERSEcity with three children under the age of 12, I was fortunate to have a strong support network. But I still had to make accommodations and choose priorities for myself as a professional versus a mother. During this crisis, I can only imagine the strain working mothers of young children are currently under.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission says that COVID-19 is “having a disproportionate impact on women. Social and economic barriers have been amplified for racialized women, Indigenous women, migrant women, women with low income, single mothers and other women. They are at greater risk of job loss, poverty, food insecurity, loss of housing and domestic violence.”

The Commission recommends taking a feminist approach to re-establishing our workplaces. Canadian Women’s Foundation calls for us to invest in diverse women’s leadership opportunities and empower girls, asking us to imagine what women could achieve if we supported them to the fullest.

Flexible workplaces need to be more of the norm

As a leader of a social services organization, I want all my employees, especially mothers, to feel supported during this crisis. As we all continue to work from home, providing services to our clients through phone and virtual options, I want them to know we see them, we appreciate them and we will give them the flexibility they need not just during COVID-19, but as part of our permanent organizational culture. I would not be in my role today if I did not have flexibility in my career along the way. This is my commitment to working mothers in our organization. You don’t have to choose between being a mother and being a professional. Organizational cultures like DIVERSEcity’s need to be the equalizer and more of the norm in our workplaces today.

As for what’s next? Let’s use the lessons from this crisis to reimagine the 21st century workplace more thoughtfully. Let’s all be more flexible and more authentic to who we are and what we need as professionals, as parents, as humans.

To all the mothers holding things together for their families in these challenging times, have a happy Mother’s Day.

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Community Board

Seeking Yoga Instructors interested in giving classes outdoors in parks

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Hi There!

Just wondering if there are any Yoga  Instructors interested in giving outdoor classes at Bakerview Park in South Surrey? It is an awesome, well tended park with lots of space for social distancing. Since Community Centers are closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future, activities like this would be great and popular, I bet. Specially with the weather getting nicer everyday. Anyone?

Contact authorannicklemay@icloud.com if interested.

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Community Board

Consumer Choice Awards for BC announced. 17 companies from Surrey won!

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Consumer Choice Awards for BC announced. 17 companies from Surrey won!

https://www.accesswire.com/587809/Vancouver-Region-2020-Consumer-Choice-Award-Winners

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Community Board

SFU Surrey engineering students use 3D printing skills to develop COVID-19 supplies

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When the call went out that local hospital staff needed COVID-19 supplies, SFU Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE) students were eager to help using the high-tech skills they’ve been learning.

MSE Professor Woo Soo Kim and 60 students worked from home, designing and developing medical mask parts, using their personal 3D printers. Five hundred medical mask ear-savers, which help to eliminate pressure and discomfort, were given to Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) staff.

Kim says that engineers within the 3D printing community are looking for opportunities to give back during the pandemic. “COVID-19 is quite tragic, but because of this we can see how we can contribute to the community from the engineering perspective,” says Kim.

Now that SFU’s Additive Manufacturing Lab in Surrey has been cleared to open for essential work, Kim and graduate students, while following strict health protocols, are developing special door handles that allow people to open a door without using their hands. These supplies will be given to City of Surrey municipal workers.

“The City of Surrey has long recognized the expertise of SFU Surrey’s 3D printing capabilities,” says Mayor Doug McCallum. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we already had earlier discussions with SFU Surrey’s engineering professors on the department’s ability to utilize its 3D printing technology to produce critical personal protective equipment and other devices in response to COVID-19.”

“I want to commend the SFU Mechatronics Systems Engineering students and professors for the innovative and critical work they are accomplishing. We look forward to future collaborations on other 3D printed innovations that could protect our health-care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This project provides an opportunity for students to collaborate and put what they’ve learned in class to practice.

“I really wanted to help out in some other way, apart from the physical distancing,” says Nina Lin, VP of Internal Relations for the MSE Student Society. “Many other students had friends and family from other parts of the world, who are facing a bigger crisis, so they really wanted to help out. We’re all eager to assist our community and use our talents, skills, and knowledge to give back.”

Students will be able to apply their work to a directed study course for credit. Students also determined a way to cut down the time it takes to print the mask straps, from 33 minutes to nine.

SFU is harnessing its resources in other ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To read about them visit www.sfu.ca/sfunews/covid-19.

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Community Board

Chatime Bubble Tea Supports Surrey Memorial Front line

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Chatime Bubble Tea Supports Our Front-Line Workers!

In the last few months, the BC lower mainland has rallied together in the fight against Covid-19. Whether it’s staying home, social distancing, or fighting the pandemic on the front line, our communities are doing their part. Chatime Canada BC has decided that the best way to support our great communities in these troubling times is to do what we do best: bring a well-deserved smile (along with a needed pick-me-up) to the courageous front-line workers facing this pandemic head on at the various hospitals across the lower mainland.

National Bubble Tea Day is April 30th, 2020, and as part of the weeklong Chatime celebration the team at Chatime Canada has decided to partner up with local hospital foundations to support the nurses and doctors working over the course of the week. Beginning this Wednesday, Chatime Surrey, Chatime New Westminster, Chatime West Broadway, and Chatime Langara will be donating over 420 bubble teas, worth $2,500, to the front lines at the following times and locations:

  • Wednesday April 30th @ 12:00pm        Royal Columbian Hospital
  • Wednesday April 20th @ 4:00pm          Surrey Memorial Hospital
  • Thursday May 1st @ 1:30pm Vancouver General Hospital
  • Tuesday May 5th @ 12:00pm Mount Saint Joseph Hospital

Jaivin Khatri, Director of Operations, British Columbia, says: “We at Chatime have been inspired by the tremendous local support and outreach we are seeing, and we sincerely hope that this can brighten the day of our front line workers, and in turn inspire more businesses in our local community to also get involved.”

Chatime is the largest teahouse franchise in the world with over 2500 locations in over 38 countries. Chatime Canada opened its first location in downtown Toronto in 2011. Since then, Chatime has expanded across Canada, and is creating smiles and memories one steep at a time.

For more Information please reach out directly to:

Jaivin Khatri

Director of Operations, British Columbia

604-369-9977

Instagram: @chatimecanada

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Community Board

RCMP in Surrey and Mayor McCallum

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Photo Rafal Gerszak / The Globe and Mail

Photo: Rafal Gerszak / The Globe and Mail

I am a retired RCMP member with 39 years experience. I have policed Surrey in a command role, have been a past resident of Surrey and have also served with the Delta Police Department. So I guess it is okay for me to have an opinion on the topic.

I served as the Surrey RCMP Operations Officer from July 1999 to July 2001 and occasionally the Acting Officer in Charge of Surrey Detachment. Those were back in the days when Mayor McCallum was Mayor the first time. You know, before he was voted out.

We had quite a ride of it back in the day when dealing with him. If the walls could only speak.

I have read and listened to his rhetoric and untruths about the RCMP and to this point have remained silent.

In Macleans magazine, they note McCallum believes Surrey long ago outgrew the RCMP, which has policed the city since 1951. He says residents are prepared to pay a bit more for a municipal force, allowing enough officers who are fully invested in the community to be hired and trained for urban policing.

Wow, a bit more. That is an understatement and while the exact cost of the transition is still not clear, I would urge City of Surrey residents to persist in getting an accurate dollar figure from their Mayor and Council. The devil will be in the details.

“The RCMP are trained to do mostly rural policing in Canada. They still are controlled by Ottawa.” (Doug McCallum). Another bogus statement and those in Surrey have heard their past and current OIC’s (Chiefs) comment on this claim. The statement is further shown to be bovine skat in that if McCallum thought the RCMP were not suited for municipal policing, why on earth would he then be so intent and reliant on hiring as many RCMP members as he can to create his own SPD?

Do your homework folks and check the course training standard for the BC Justice Institute Police Program against the RCMP Cadet Training Program Course Training Standard. JIBC trains police officers for large and small departments in BC, as does the RCMP for large and small detachments across Canada.

I have heard comments attributed to McCallum that he wants police officers who are invested in and connected to the community. When I was in Surrey I served on local boards of governance, my wife taught in the Surrey School District and our kids went to school in Surrey and later worked in Surrey. When little Heather Thomas was abducted in Cloverdale, where we lived, I was out on my own time looking for her. Is that the connection or investment he was looking for?

And what about the several members of the RCMP who have given their lives while serving the citizens of Surrey. Is that not invested or connected to the community enough for the Mayor?

We have heard figures of only 20% of VPD members live within the City of Vancouver. Surely that does not make the other 80% not invested or connected. And please don’t get me wrong. This is not an us and they situation, but rather about facts as they do matter.

I have often wondered what it was that put the RCMP in McCallum’s cross hairs? I thought maybe it was related to a speeding ticket on the Crescent Beach road where the the officer signed it with “Surrey RCMP Traffic Section”. McCallum directed the RCMP to close down the traffic section and move them to other duties. The Chief of the day told him that was not going to happen. McCallum persisted.

At the time, the Surrey Traffic Section consisted of about 25 members engaged in traffic enforcement and accident investigation. Not every police officer likes doing traffic work, and it is important to have a component of your police service engaged in directed traffic law enforcement. Mayor McCallum did not agree. There was a small conference at about the same time at the Guildford Sheraton. The main speaker was the Chief of Toronto Metro Police, Julian Fantino. Mayor McCallum attended as a guest. During a Q&A Mayor McCallum stood up and said that his Chief had guys wasting time on traffic duty when they were needed elsewhere in his view. Fantino responded…Mr. Mayor, traffic law enforcement is critical to a policing service and integral to safe homes and safe communities and that he did not agree with the Mayor’s position. Mayor McCallum sat down and that was the end of cancelling the traffic section.

We sent out a press release one afternoon to the effect that there had been a very bad injury MVA at the intersection of 184th and #10 Hwy and that traffic was not moving. Mayor McCallum called over and asked what was the purpose in sending out this negative to Surrey news release. It was explained to him that it was to alert motorists via the media that traffic was not moving and to stay clear and pick another route. He hung up.

Or then there was the time his office called after a press release was issued about a bad guy that was dangerous to the public peace and told us not to send those out as it made Surrey look bad. We tried to explain the necessity in warning the public and we continued to send them out. Yes, safe homes and safe communities.

Maybe he remained mad over this debacle. If you do some research, you will find that in 2000 or 2001, the following unfolded. Mayor McCallum was at a sporting event in Surrey. Some local seniors had parked in a manner in which access to a fire hydrant was blocked. As we learned. a Surrey Bylaw Officer pulled up and was in the process of ticketing the offending vehicles. As the story went, the Mayor stepped in and openly challenged the Bylaw Officer and told him to back down. A RCMP member was nearby. heard this and piped up that the Mayor should leave the Bylaw Officer to do his job. There was some verbal back and forth.

The RCMP member was so annoyed, he actually filed a self generated police report. Further, he made a copy of the report in his frustration and in while still in his uniform drove to the office of the Surrey Now/Leader in his police car, walked in, said nothing and dropped a copy of the report on the receptionist’s desk. They published a story in the newspaper and the Mayor was upset. He complained and we followed up at our end and had to administer informal discipline to the RCMP member for failing to safeguard a police report.

In our dealings with him back then, it was always about the power. control and the ability to influence. There was a Public Safety Committee, but in my view he just paid it lip service and gave directions and exercised decisions from the hip either personally or via his CAO.

He would sometimes come into Public Safety Committee meetings, stand there and make statements and quasi directions and then leave. No decorum and no discussion. The PSC Chairperson would just look over and shake her head.

He must figure that when he has his hands on the entire police force as the Chair of the Police Board that it will be all “sunshine, wide roads and shallow ditches” with everything going his way. I truly believe he wants all of the “launch codes” to himself.

VPD have a big traffic unit…I wonder if SPD will as well (me laughing).

Alistair Macintyre
RCMP Assistant Commissioner (Retired)

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