Langley MLAs Andrew Mercier and Megan Dykeman were sworn in at a virtual ceremony on Nov. 24, 2020 (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Langley MLAs Andrew Mercier and Megan Dykeman were sworn in at a virtual ceremony on Nov. 24, 2020 (Special to Langley Advance Times)

New Langley MLAs preparing for first session of legislature

Andrew Mercier and Meghan Dykeman were sworn in at their homes

Langley’s novice MLAs have their assignments.

Langley MLA Andrew Mercier has been named parliamentary secretary for skills and trades in the provincial government and Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman has been appointed to the cabinet legislative review committee.

READ MORE: Final vote results confirm NDP victory in Langley and Langley East ridings

Mercier, who stepped down as executive director of the Building Trades Council following his election win, will be working with minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, Anne Kang, on restoring the compulsory trades system and supporting the development of new skills training opportunities, including the new Health Career Access program.

Compulsory certification restricts the practice of a trade, or certain aspects within the trade, to certified journeypersons or an indentured apprentice.

Mercier said the compulsory trades system was “gutted” by the Liberals in the early 2000s, and restoring it will bring B.C. back in line with Canadian standards.

The Health Career Access program aims to provide additional staff in long-term care and assisted living services by giving applicants with no health care experience a chance to get hired and receive on-the-job training.

It is about “retraining laid-off workers from COVID-19 and making sure folks are hired and have skilled jobs,” Mercier explained.

In his mandate letter to Mercier, Premier John Horgan said Mercier will “work with the Industry Training Authority to restore the compulsory trades system to improve safety and give more workers a path to apprenticeship completion.”

Langley East MLA Megan Dykeman has been appointed to the legislative review committee chaired by Mike Farnworth, the minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, along with vice-chair, Jinny Sims, MLA for Surrey-Panorama, Lisa Beare, minister of Citizens’ Services, Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson.

The committee is in charge of carrying out a final “section by section” review of draft legislation before the vote in the legislature.

Dykeman and Mercier were officially sworn in on Tuesday, Nov. 24, in a virtual ceremony at their respective homes.

Dykeman signed the official documents using a pen given her at her final meeting of the Langley school board, where she has stepped down as chair following her election victory.

“All that went through my mind was, what an honour,” Dykeman told the Langley Advance Times.

“It became real.”

Dykeman and Mercier are preparing for the upcoming Dec. 7 session of the provincial legislature, which is expected to be mostly virtual, to approve an emergency relief payments for BC residents.

READ MORE: B.C. legislature resumes Dec. 7 to vote on COVID-19 payments

A small number of MLAs will be available in person to vote on borrowing another $1.4 billion to pay most B.C. households $1,000 and individuals $500 by direct deposit, as promised by the NDP during the election campaign.

Horgan has stopped short of promising payments in time for Christmas, saying only that it is possible if the measure passes the legislature quickly. The plan is to use the records of B.C.’s COVID-19 relief payments sent out this spring, and the province’s income tax records to see who is eligible for full or partial payment, without an application process.

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