Public Policy Working Group

December 2015 Update:


The objective of the Public Policy sub-committee of the Greater Nanaimo Early Years partnership is to make sure the needs of children are forefront in the minds of policy makers, elected officials at all levels of government and the general public. 


The strategy agreed by the Public Policy Working Group is to build on the success of the “Unplug and Play” billboard series which encouraged parents to engage with their child through the medium of play.  Our approach is to amplify that message by making children’s play a prominent feature of the urban landscape of Nanaimo in ways that attract maximum attention, model imaginative and exploratory play and create a multitude of conversations about the importance of play and the needs of children.


The Public Policy Group will build on the activities of “Play Nanaimo” a group that has garnered attention by creating a “public piano” project two years in a row by siting a grand piano in Diana Krall square and an upright piano on the waterfront walkway downtown for the duration of the summer.  Play Nanaimo has also established its support for literacy by sponsoring 30 community libraries across the city which has generated countless sidewalk conversations about books and the love of reading.  This group has agreed to work in collaboration with GNEYP to implement the Public Policy committee’s children’s play strategy.


Between now and summer 2016 the Public Policy group and Play Nanaimo will develop and put in place at least 5 significant play installations within the City of Nanaimo boundaries.  One example of a “significant” play installation comes from this year’s “Cities Fit for Children” summit in Vernon BC:

Evolving Literacy: Partnerships to Build Playful Communities 

Public libraries are advocating play as literacy. This presentation will explore how community groups, service providers, recreation centres, and local governments can partner with their local library to create more opportunities for play and support the development of playful communities that foster physical and emotional well-being for all families. The integration of word displays and images at playgrounds, parks, in landscapes, and in and on public or private buildings encourages activity, conversation and fundamental reading skills. The opportunities to support literacy development in fun, playful, imaginative ways are unlimited.

GNEYP, Play Nanaimo and Public Policy Working group member John Horn will attend the summit to speak directly with the presenters of the above session and others to elicit ideas for the proposed installations. 

Below are some examples of play installations, the second is a “Play Nanaimo” installation 

June 2015 Update:

The Public Policy working group has partnered with the Nanaimo Coalition to End Child Poverty and has developed a Living Wage subcommittee – that group has done the calculations for a Living Wage in Nanaimo and that number is $17.99 per hour.  We have also developed a childcare committee that is creating a plan to increase access to affordable childcare; the plan is in draft stage.  Recently Nanaimo’s Social Planning Advisory Committee recommended that Council allocate $12,500 in Community Service grants to the Coalition, 25% of which will be invested in furthering the development of the affordable ($10 a day) accessible childcare strategy.

The public Policy Working Group is also working on the State of the Child Report that is approximately 75% complete, with contributions from all committee members.

Research stats provided through the office of Paul Hasselback (IH), including a draft report for review presented by Cristal Lawson.

Outstanding issues include

  • filling in some data gaps which are flagged in the draft
- in particular are data gaps from Aboriginal partners
  • identifying categories of data that have not been considered (recognizing already at space limit)

  • beginning process of graphic presentation – format input requested from Leadership team - #pages, size of report, etc.

  • planning for release 

- printing and distribution

- “event” planning for Launch of report

The expected time frame would be a 90% completed draft for late June, and then work on graphics over the summer.   Sign off on the material in early fall, with planning for release for week around November 20 – National Child Day.

September 2014 Action Plan:

  • Convene a forum on child poverty (Jan 22, 2015 - "Changing the Dynamics of Poverty for Children and Families" forum @ Beban)
  • Convene a forum to advocate living wage and welfare rates
  • Send two members to the Cities Fit for Children conference

June 2014 Adopted Plan:

  • Explore best practices for influencing public policy at local, regional and provincial levels. 
  • Develop Long term and short term strategies for a child friendly community. 
John Horn (250-755-4491, and/or Pam McAdam (250-753-0251 ext. 232,

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