On Nov. 28, I was pleased to announce that Kelowna will retain a veterans affairs client service agent.
This is not a temporary three-month position as has been incorrectly reported.
The news came as a great relief to our local veterans, especially Legion volunteer service officer Frank Truman.
I have had a chance to work with Frank over the years and I want to thank him for his commitment as a liaison between our veterans and Veterans Affairs.
He was very happy to hear the news that he and other vets will have an experienced Veterans Affairs staff member available to them to help with benefit applications and access to services.
I have also alerted the Veteran Affairs minister’s office to the importance of reinstating proper signage at the Kelowna Service Canada building to ensure that local vets know that face-to -face assistance is available at this location.
This announcement enhances a number of ongoing available personalized benefits such as home visits by a registered nurse or case-manager, and help with home maintenance including grass cutting, snow clearing and home cleaning services.
The cooperative effort between the public servants in the departments of Service Canada and Veterans Affairs is assisting the government in putting the needs of our veterans first and will provide local veterans with the face-to-face contact they have requested.
By recognizing the needs of our local veterans and their families, Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino is demonstrating the federal government’s willingness to continue to make improvements to support the men and women who have served Canada to ensure they receive the very best assistance possible.
Built in Canada
On Nov. 21, 2013, the federal government announced the fourth Call for Proposals for the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP)
The BCIP was launched in 2010 as a pilot program to connect Canadian companies with federal departments who are looking for new ideas and products.
By selling to the federal government, businesses receive support to get innovations out of the lab, and into the marketplace.
That kick-start means that they can potentially generate future sales outside of government both in Canada, and around the world.
The program also now includes a military procurement component.
It is in Canada’s interest to have a strong defence industry right here at home that can help meet the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and compete with the best in the world.
Our government supports innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada, starting with the ideas that begin in small businesses in communities just like ours.
If your company has a proposal, submit it. You have until Jan.7, 2014. Information is available at buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders.
Canada summer jobs application deadline extended
For many years, Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) has been helping local employers create much-needed summer job opportunities for students. CSJ provides funding for not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses to create summer jobs for full-time students (15 to 30 years old) who intend to return to their studies in the next school year.
It helps students gain the skills and experience they need to be successful, while earning money for the upcoming school year. Applications are now available online and must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2014.
This year’s new timelines mean that successful employers will be notified sooner and have more time to recruit students.
More information about Canada Summer Jobs is available on the Service Canada web site at www.servicecanada.gc.ca .
Update on rail line
As you know the community has come together to find a solution to save the rail line from Kelowna to Vernon.
Local entrepreneurs, elected officials, and grassroots organizations have all been working to find a way to save this important economic corridor.
I’m pleased to be able to report that CN has confirmed they have received several Expressions of Interest and will proceed with the next steps to allow interested parties to present conditional offers on the line until Jan. 30, 2014.
Proponents will be required to provide a 10 year marketing, operating and capital plan, including $25 million of necessary insurance coverage for general liability and property damage, and a letter from a recognized financial institution assuring the financial capability of the candidate to complete the transaction.
The goal is see the railway line up and operating again and to see an extension of the recreation “Rails with Trails” corridor.
Ultimately, the challenge comes down to economic viability and having the resources to sustain these goals over the long-term.
The response by all involved has been outstanding so far and I share the hope in our communities that we can make this happen.