On May 21, 2022, BC Premier John Horgan announced the BC Government would be providing $100Million towards legacy initiatives honouring Japanese Canadians. This comes as a result of BC Redress, which the NAJC has been leading and developing with community legitimacy, input, and support. In order to be accountable to the Province and to the community, an oversight board has been created in BC which will oversee the implementation of the Japanese Canadian Legacy Initiatives, the Japanese Canadian Legacies Society (JCLS), in more detail below.
At the May 21, 2022 announcement, the substance of six pillars – education, heritage, community, monument, seniors health & wellness, and anti racism – had been developed and in good faith approved in principle by the BC Government. The agreements were not finalized, and the funds had not been released. For the past three months, this work has been ongoing between the community and the government. We are humbled by this work, and thank all of the community and especially our elders for your patience as we work through these final details.
Priority will be given to starting the seniors’ health and wellness project, called the Japanese Canadian Survivors Health and Wellness Fund. This project has had a thorough review by the BC Government with an estimate of more than eight weeks of additional project development since the May announcement. The next survivors’ fund is for individuals. A regionally representative Board with strength in seniors health & wellness will work under the canopy of the Japanese Canadian Survivors Health and Wellness Fund Society. Directors will be announced in October. The details of the fund are yet to be released. The fund will be $30Million. In addition, a $2Million BC lower mainland program is being developed by Nikkei Seniors Health Care & Housing Society.
The remaining funds will be allocated to initiatives that will be further detailed in October. These include the development of initiatives in heritage, community, and education; a large scale monument built in Victoria; and a further project for seniors + community space.
The Japanese Canadian Legacies Society
The NAJC approved the formation of an new board which would be accountable to the BC Government and the community in its oversight of the implementation of the BC Redress initiatives, and directed Susanne Tabata to set up the new society, including selecting a BC-based governance Board which would be a backstop to support the continued work on the various pillars. The constitution of the JCLS reflects the purpose to implement the legacy initiatives summarized below, with the expectation that staffing will be put in place to manage the implementation of the fund. The JCLS is responsible to the BC Government and the community, and will be reporting on all initiatives quarterly. The NAJC NEB and National Council approved the formation of an oversight board. On June 29, 2022, the new society was incorporated with the following approved set of directors: Fred Yada, Brian Tsuji, Larry Okada, Karen Nishi, Paul Kariya, Karen Nishi and Susanne Tabata. Infrastructure has been set up to manage the money. At the time of writing, no funds from the BC Government have been received. All initiatives are in keeping with approved set of Japanese Canadian Legacy Initiatives proposals.
We look forward to continuing this work, and providing full details in October.