Actions Taken and Progress Made

Survey (2015/2016)

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) filled out 141 Communication Matters surveys about publicly funded SLP service delivery for preschool-age children (December, 2015).

  • The Survey Summary provided a strong foundation for speaking notes when:
    • Communication Matters representatives spoke with Carole James (current Minister of Finance and current Deputy Premier) in 2016.

Public Consultations (2017)

SLPs, parents, caregivers and others filled out at least  26 of the 666 online surveys submitted to the Select Standing Committee in 2017, giving voice to our hope for increased service for preschool-age children.

At least 12 of the 292 written submissions to the 2017 public consultations advocated for increased SLP services for preschool-age children.

Approximately 6 of 187 oral presentations to the 2017 public consultations advocated for increased SLP services for preschool-age children.

  • Your actions and the message you sent were strongly reflected in the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services’ Report on the Budget 2018 Consultation. The need for increased SLP services for preschool-age children was noted under two themes (Health Care and Social Services):
    • Health Care Recommendation #20:
      • Prioritize and increase funding for speech-language pathology services for children to address the urgent need for access to timely and effective services, and to ensure an appropriate number of speech-language pathologists are available to assist young children prior to starting kindergarten, and
    • Social Services Recommendation #37:
      • Increase access to early childhood identification and intervention services, including occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech and language pathology, with a focus on addressing urgent recruitment and retention challenges of professionals in this sector.

Letters Immediately Prior to Budget Release (January 2018)

Some SLPs wrote letters directly to Carole James, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier, immediately prior to the release of the 2018 budget to highlight the relevant recommendations from the Report on the Budget 2018 Consultation and to reiterate the request for increased SLP services for preschool-age children. 

After the BC government sifted through all the recommendations listed in the Report on the Budget 2018 Consultation, the request for increased SLP services for preschool-age children was only minimally reflected in the actual Budget 2018. In this budget, early intervention services were given additional funding; however, SLP services were not identified separately.

As small as these steps may seem, this progress was an unexpected success for our first year!

In planning for our Call to Action 2017, we had been told by many advisors to expect to advocate for several years before our message would be reflected in the Budget recommendations. Together, we accomplished this in our first year!

Now we want to continue the push to increase SLP services for preschool-age children in BC. If you’re interested in more information about how you can participate, click here.

 

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Author: Communication Matters

An SLP Advocacy Group for Young Children #CommunicationMattersBC