Vision Vancouver Calls for Free Swimming Lessons, Climate Ready Schools and a Reinvestment in Critical Programs to Support an Inclusive and Innovative District

Vision launches progressive platform for the Vancouver School Board less than a month before the civic election

September 27, 2022 - xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ  (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories (Vancouver) –– Vision Vancouver’s School Board Trustee Candidates announced a series of new policies that will reinvest in critical education programming, build on the party’s strong advocacy record for vulnerable kids and families and move the district towards a more sustainable and equitable future.   

Vision School Trustee candidates Hilary Thomson, Kera McArthur, Aaron Leung, Steve Cardwell and Allan Wong say their school board platform is aimed at supporting diverse, engaging and innovative schools across the city. If elected, the team promises to utilize their depth of experience and connection to community to drive a series of practical policies including:

    • Reinvesting in essential areas of schooling including music, drama, dance, art and physical education, as well as supporting the implementation of the Elementary Music Review
    • Working to make our school buildings seismically safe, accessible and well-maintained in the face of climate change and aging infrastructure, and eliminating the use of natural gas in schools by 2035
  • Championing a new program that would make free swimming lessons part of elementary schooling for every child in Vancouver 
  • Expanding integrated childcare, including full-day care for children under five, and seamless  before and after school care programs at school sites
  • Supporting the recruitment and retention of teachers and other essential school staff by building affordable housing on land owned by the school board or co-located with new schools
  • Encouraging greater awareness and access to health and wellness programs for all students and staff by integrating Vancouver Coastal Health clinics into schools so kids can get services down the hall, instead of across town  

These commitments build on over a decade and a half of action and strong advocacy by Vision for public education. This work led to the launch of a wide-range of equitable and innovative district-wide initiatives that have significantly benefited the community. 

Vision trustee candidates say that Vancouverites deserve a Board that reflects their priorities, shares their optimism and is focused on finding ways to improve the school experiences of students.

Quotes from Vision Vancouver Trustee Candidates

Hilary Thomson – “Decades of underfunding mean that many of our schools are not ready for extreme weather - that’s why during 2021’s heat dome, Vancouver schools closed. We need to make sure our schools have proper heating and cooling systems. Schools also need to be part of the climate solution, so Vision trustees will work towards eliminating the use of natural gas in schools by 2035.”

Kera McArthur – “Every child has the right to be safe in the water, yet accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death in children. The current system for swimming lessons is not working. We need a new approach to teaching children to swim.  That’s why if elected, Vision trustees will work to make swimming part of public school programming.” 

Aaron Leung – “As a former band student, I grew up in a vibrant school system where we had outstanding instruction in fine arts. Years of neglect have hollowed out many of these programs. If elected, Vision will reinvest in these essential areas of schooling so future generations can benefit from the same great opportunities.” 

Steve Cardwell – “Student and community engagement is critical to making good decisions. A Vision elected Board will actively listen to students, parents, employee groups and the community. This engagement will make a difference for our district as it will lead to more informed decision-making at the Board table and better school experiences for our students.”

Allan Wong (黃 偉 倫) – “We need to think about supporting our families more comprehensively. Finding quality and affordable childcare continues to be a critical priority for our community. That’s why Vision is committed to expanding childcare spaces in schools - both in-house seamless childcare and integrated childcare at school sites so that children have access to safe, inclusive and high-quality childcare, no matter where they live.”

Vision Vancouver will release its full platform in the coming days. 

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Ange Valentini, Spokesperson, Vision Vancouver


[email protected]

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