COVID-19 Webinar

Shaping social policy to support people living with mental illness and substance use

The impact and government response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold. Within a few short weeks, we have witnessed the announcement and rapid roll out of numerous policy interventions and programs to meet the changing needs of British Columbians. There have been increases to income and disability assistance, freezes on evictions and rent increases, wider access to safe supply, modifications to shelter spaces, and much more. All of this is positive – but is it enough?

People who are living with mental illness, substance use or without homes continue to face considerable inequities and endure increased hardship due to the pandemic. In this webinar, CMHA BC convenes a panel of community leaders to discuss what people are experiencing, what policy interventions are working, what else is needed, and how the pandemic could change the future of our social safety net. 



Douglas King, 

Together Against Poverty Society 


Doug is the Executive Director of Together Against Poverty Society (TAPS). The Victoria Society provides free, face-to-face legal advocacy for people with income assistance, disability benefits and tenancy issues.

Prior to TAPS, Doug was a Vancouver-based lawyer. He completed law school at UBC, then turned his attention to the complicated human rights issues within his own community. He was an advocate for the Downtown Eastside Residents’ Association, then a staff lawyer at Pivot Legal Society, where he represented complainants on policing, human rights, civil and constitutional issues. His career has focused on police and private security accountability, the intersection of mental health and policing, and housing rights.

Erin Pritchard,

Disability Alliance of BC


Erin is a Vancouver-based lawyer and has recently joined Disability Alliance BC (DABC) as its Executive Director: Programs & Policy. 

Prior to joining DABC, Erin’s legal practice primarily focused on anti-poverty law. She represented clients before various courts and administrative tribunals. Erin has worked and volunteered at legal non-profit organizations in Vancouver and Victoria for the past 10 years, and has been on the PovNet Board since 2013.

Meenakshi Mannoe

PIVOT Legal Society


Meenakshi is a settler living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples since 2006. This relationship to the host nations and Indigenous people across so-called Canada demands accountability and interrogations of social justice work and praxis.

In her role at Pivot, Meenakshi works alongside her interdisciplinary colleagues to envision intersectional approaches to policing and criminalization. She values Pivot’s uncompromising commitment to the expertise and vision of people with lived and living experience. Her work emphasizes the impact of policing on all aspects of Pivot’s work, with particular attention to public legal education materials, policy analysis, community engagement, and coordinating speaking engagements.

Chris Livingstone

Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS)


The Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS) is a group of urban Aboriginal peoples who live, work, and play in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. All of their members are current or former illicit drug and/or illicit alcohol users, and come from all nations – Ojibwe, Cree, Mohawk, and more.

WAHRS strives to give their members a voice, teach advocacy, empower their people to fight for themselves, and educate different people about their members’ strengths and challenges.

COVID-19 Webinar
COVID-19 Webinar
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