A new year and resources

As we move further into 2021, we leave behind a challenging and difficult year for many in
Kelowna-Lake Country.

The start of a new year always brings anticipation and the chance at a fresh start. Yet, we still find ourselves in the middle of uncertainty and adversity.

I remain committed to serving by:

  • Expeditiously helping with federal program inquiries
  • Continually connecting directly with you to be your voice
  • Holding the government to account
  • Working with my caucus colleagues on recommendations, motions, and bills that are important to the constituents of Kelowna-Lake Country and Canadians.  

Four topics I’ll be covering in this In Your Service report:

  • Fraud scams
  • The federal job bank
  • How to determine what federal support programs you may be applicable for
  • Mental health assistance. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic has led to an increase in scams, often from fraudsters claiming to be with the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA).

By phone or email, the CRA will never ask for information about your passport, healthcare card, or driver’s license and will never demand immediate payment by Interac, e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards, or gift cards from retailers such as iTunes or Amazon. 

Legitimate communication from the CRA also won’t include aggressive language, threats of arrest, or threats of sending the police.

When it comes to these types of scams; seniors, international students, and newcomers are especially at risk.

I encourage everyone to speak to friends, family, and neighbours about these scams, especially with those who may be most vulnerable. 

Due to the pandemic and through no fault of their own, many individuals have permanently or temporarily lost their jobs. There are resources to help with finding employment, including job listings at jobbank.gc.ca.

You can also download the app, set up job alerts, look for skills matches, and build your resume.  I’m talking to people every day who genuinely want to get back to earning a good living to provide for their families and plan for their retirement.

If you are in need of government assistance benefits, visit www.canadabenefits.gc.ca. After answering
20 multiple choice questions, you will be provided with a list of the benefits you may be eligible for.

For those affected by COVID-19, there are a number of resources available. Often, we find people may be uncertain of what they may be applicable for, and this online resource tool can help. 

The pandemic not only poses a physical health risk, but many societal impacts including social isolation. Mental health and wellness are of increasing concern. 

No one should suffer in silence. If you need to speak with someone, call a friend or family member, call 811 or the Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-303-2642.

For youth, help and a listening ear is available through Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

There are many dedicated local organizations serving our community in this field and a new mental fitness app for men that was developed locally called “he.”

Despite the obstacles we face both as a community and as a country, I know that we will support each other together. 

I wish you and your family a safe and healthy 2021. I look forward to hearing from you, and stay well. 

If you need any assistance with programs or have any thoughts to share, feel free to reach out. 250-470-5075 or [email protected]

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More In Your Service articles

About the Author

Tracy Gray, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country, is her party's critic for Employment, Future Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

She is a member of the national caucus committee’s credit union caucus, wine caucus, and aviation caucus.

Gray, who has won the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award, worked for 27 years in the B.C. beverage industry.

She founded and owned Discover Wines VQA Wine Stores, which included the No. 1 wine store in B.C. for 13 years. She has been involved in small businesses in different sectors — financing, importing, oil and gas services and a technology start-up — and is among the “100 New Woman Pioneers in B.C."

Gray was a Kelowna city councillor for the 2014 term, sat on the Passenger Transportation Board from 2010-2012 and was elected to the board of Prospera Credit Union for 10 years.

In addition, she served on the boards of the Okanagan Film Commission, Clubhouse Childcare Society, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Okanagan Regional Library and was chairwoman of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

She volunteers extensively in the community and welcomes connecting with residents.

She can be reached at 250-470-5075, and [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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