(District of Kitimat logo)

(District of Kitimat logo)

District of Kitimat council passes motion to consider parental leave for councillors

A motion was put forward for staff to report back with options for adopting a parental leave policy

The District of Kitimat council passed a motion to consider the option of having a parental leave policy for councillors.

Councillor Lani Gibson presented the idea at council, making reference to the North Saanich council which recently put into place its own policy.

North Saanich council is giving up to 61 weeks of unpaid parental leave.

‘“Essentially, it removes the uncertainty for a perspective councillor if they become a mother or a father or an adoptive parent during their term there’s no question that they will be able to take some form of a parental leave without losing their seat,” said councillor Lani Gibson

“Currently they would have to seek leave of their colleagues which doesn’t seem appropriate.”

The North Saanich policy was presented as a possible template for what council here could do as there were concerns regarding the length of time given for leave.

“What North Saanich put, 61 weeks consecutive weeks of unpaid leave, that’s not fair to the voters in my opinion,” said councillor Mario Feldhoff.

Feldhoff also said that he supports the spirit of what was being discussed but finds particulars of the North Saanich policy troubling.

Mayor Phil Germuth also spoke to the amount of time being given for parental leave.

“I can see councillor Feldhoff’s concern. I’m not blindly supporting this but something to come back to, there’s got to be something in there that still gives them the incentive and want to be a part of council, too,” said Mayor Phil Germuth.

Other councillors also spoke to the idea that 61 weeks may be too long. Ultimately a motion was put forward that would have staff report back with options for adopting a parental leave policy prior to the Oct. 15 municipal election.