Mission is looking to become the third municipality in the entire province to offer parental leave for councillors.
Coun. Mark Davies brought forward the motion to council on April 6, seeking to develop a parental-leave policy which would allow all residents to run for office without fear of being disqualified from starting a family. It passed with unanimous support.
“Looking as we always are, for how we can adopt progressive ways to encourage people to run for local office, to feel that they can run for local office, that they’re not being disadvantaged because they happen to have a family, I wanted to bring this forward,” Davies said.
Squamish and Whistler are the only two municipalities which currently offer some form of parental leave, both allowing up to six month off for new parents.
Coun. Cal Crawford, Coun. Ken Herar and Coun. Jag Gill all said the move would encourage young people to get involved in local politics.
“We’re seeing a lot of young families moving in,” said Gill, the youngest sitting member on council. “It ticks one of their boxes for comfort to fall back on, that if they do have a family, they know the district will support them.”
Acting Mayor Carol Hamilton suggested the District of Mission should push the Union of BC Municipalities to adopt a province-wide policy.
“The last time this was brought to the UBCM in 2016, it didn’t get much traction, so I’m wondering if it’s time again,” Hamilton said. “It would be nice to have a blanket policy for all municipalities, so that we’re not having to go at it one by one.”
Staff have been asked to bring a report to council on what a parental-leave policy would look like.