B.C. Children and Youth Representative Bernard Richard. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. children’s representative resigns after a year and a half

Bernard Richard says he was always a ‘transition’ appointee

Bernard Richard, B.C.’s second Representative for Children and Youth, has given notice that he is quitting this summer and returning to his native New Brunswick.

Richard, 67, informed the legislature’s children and youth committee of his decision Wednesday, saying he made it clear to B.C. MLAs he is a “transition representative” after the departure of Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. He is less than halfway through a five-year appointment, having been unanimously selected by MLAs in February 2017.

Richard told committee members he intends to leave this summer, giving them five months to find a replacement. He is returning to be with his 93-year-old father and to take up a job working with Indigenous leaders in New Brunswick.

Richard said B.C. needs to do a better job of dealing with the over-representation of Indigenous children in government care, and to provide better services to parents and young people in need. Teens are “aging out” of care systems and going onto the streets to fall into addiction, he said.

“I talk to parents almost on a weekly basis, and it breaks my heart every time,” Richard said. “They can’t access services when they need them. They’re assigned to wait lists for treatment. The treatment centre says because they’re in a particular health region, they don’t accept children from other regions.”

Committee members thanked Richard for his service to B.C.

“I think your approach has been appreciated, and your words of wisdom are appreciated,” said Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nick Simons.

A lawyer and former social worker, Richard served in the cabinet of former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, including the aboriginal affairs and education ministries. Richard was appointed New Brunswick Ombudsman in 2004 and was appointed that province’s first child and youth advocate in 2006.

Just Posted

Letter: Guard-to-inmate ratio ‘big problem’

‘Corrections helps offenders in custody and the community learn better ways’

Maple Ridge cannabis plant plans on growing

Tantalus Labs plans on doubling its workforce in a year

Ridge player earns Pat Quinn scholarship

Adam Leitch plays for the Burnaby Winter Club academy prep team.

Maple Ridge goalie named junior B most inspirational player

Matthew Trulsen played through season despite the death of his older brother.

UPDATED: Prime minister talks housing in Maple Ridge

Trudeau speaks to rising cost of housing, pressures on young people.

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Vancouver Island home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners have bought tickets from same Port Alberni corner store

Video of ‘brutal, shocking and chilling execution’ opens B.C. murder hearing

Sentencing underway for Brandon Woody after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Nanaimo

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

Most Read