Hello Federation Members,
Thank you for joining us on Thursday, August 19, 2021, for our Member Support and Information call. Below, please find updates for this week:
- National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
- National Residential School Crisis Line
- BC Restart Plan Phase III
- Health and Safety Council
- Invitation to participate in research
- Member Calls Change September 9
- Citizen Services BC
- FCSSBC Member’s Survey
Before our introduction circle, we began with a minute of silence in respect of the ongoing findings of the unmarked graves at past Residential Schools. We shared information on the upcoming September Federation Regional meetings. Later on in our call, the discussion centred around client visits. Protocols that Members have established include a pre-screen questionnaire, wearing masks, meeting outside if possible, Covid-19 screening just before the visit and installation of sanitizing stations. From a previous call, a member has shared the idea of staff wearing green, yellow or red comfort bracelets, to indicate the proximity they want with others.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The province of BC recognizes September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, in alignment with legislation passed by the federal government in June 2021. The establishment of the national holiday is in response to the 80th call to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.
This date coincides with Orange Shirt Day, which began in 2013 and involved wearing orange shirts to honour Indigenous children forced to leave their families to attend residential schools. According to Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, the objective is to create a chance for Canadians to learn about and reflect on a dark chapter in their country’s history. He added it is also a chance to commemorate the survivors, their families and their communities.
Speaking to the administration of this new national holiday, the Community Social Services Employers’ Association (CSSEA) has added this day to the collective agreement as a statutory holiday, with paid time off for union workers. Regarding the intent of the day and administrative costs for non-union community social service agencies, we shared the email from David Galbraith, Deputy Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (SDPR), stating the Province acknowledges that recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this year will result in additional costs. Provincial funders will be working with service providers to ensure that any such costs are funded as applicable and that services are delivered consistently with other holidays.
Specifically, this would mean:
- If a service provider is unionized, then recognition of the public holiday would apply for all employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal holidays.
- If the service provider is non-unionized and receives more than 50% of its funding from the Province, then the direction to recognize September 30 as a public holiday this year also applies.
- If the service provider is non-unionized but receives less than 50% of its funding from the Province, then the direction to recognize September 30 as a public holiday this year would not apply.
Contracts will be adjusted accordingly, and Provincial funders are asking for everyone’s patience while they work on the administrative details to identify and apply the cost adjustments. Consultations continue on the most appropriate way to commemorate this day going forward. The Federation will share any updates on our Members Page.
National Residential School Crisis Line
A National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support to former students. This 24-Hour Crisis Line can be accessed at 1-866-925-4419. At the Federation, we are renewing our commitment, as an organization and as individuals, to take personal responsibility for truth and reconciliation, to make sure our words translate into actions, and to use the power and privilege we have to drive change and decolonize those systems to which we are connected.
BC’s Restart Plan
We continue in BC’s Restart Plan Phase 3, and it is expected to move to Phase 4 in September 7, 2021, pending that we reach more than a 70% vaccination rate and new cases remain low. We are all continuing to follow the health protocols of frequent hand washing, staying home when ill, and when advised, keeping socially distanced and wearing a mask. As of August 18, 2021, 73.8% of eligible people, 12 years and older have received their second shot of the vaccine, and 82.8% have received their first shot.
American vaccinated citizens are now permitted to enter Canada. At this time with high rates of the Delta Variant of Covid-19, the Public Health Office is recommending restricted travel to the Interior Health Region. The Interior has the majority (3,203) of active Covid-19 cases.
Today’s update on mandatory vaccinations from Community Living BC (CLBC) says in the August 12, 2021 announcement that staff in long-term care and seniors’ assisted living will need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by October 12, 2021. At this time the guidance from the Provincial Health Officer toward long-term care and assisted living facilities has not been extended to community living settings including licensed group homes.
Vax for BC & Walk-In Wednesday Clinics
BC Govt introduced an escalated plan to increase vaccinations rates by implementing Walk-in Wednesday Clinics, along with vaccinations for youth aged 12 years and up. You can call or register online for a walk-in appointment on August 8 or continue to get registered for the first dose and follow-up second dose. Check these web pages out for a collection of most things COVID-19 related or Vax for BC.
COVID-19 and the New Health and Safety Council
Workers and employers in the community social services sector now have a dedicated hub they can turn to for health and safety resources, as well as support on fostering cultures of workplace safety. The Community Social Services (CSS) Health and Safety Council is the product of five years of dedicated research and consultation with the sector and a first for the sector in British Columbia.
The council will foster and promote safe and healthy workplaces by providing resources and leadership on injury prevention, sound disability management, and return to work best practices in the social services sector. The brand new Community Social Services Health & Safety Council website will be your primary point of connection and information and contains health and safety resources, tools, materials, education and training for the sector.
As COVID-19 safety plans transition to prevention plans, the Health & Safety Council is encouraging organizations to check out the WorkSafeBC Communicable Disease Prevention: A Guide for Employers and the Community Social Services: Communicable Disease Prevention Overview Template for a guide on creating an appropriate plan for your workplaces.
For any inquiries, please contact Satvinder Basran, CSS Health and Safety Council Director firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-601-3127.
Child and Family Services Research
Thank you to everyone who has completed the survey for the current mapping research of the Representative for Children and Youth (RCY) with the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy (IFSD). The focus is to map the ecosystems of child and family services delivery for Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in the province.
A Project Overview PDF (with a description of the case study approach) is available here as well as a short 12-question PDF survey that you can download and complete. If you would like to participate in a one-hour case study interview, please contact Dr. Helaina Gaspard, Director of Governance & Institutions at the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at email@example.com. Completed survey PFDs can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you very much for your support in this important work!
Member Calls Changing in September
On these past few Covid-19 calls, we discussed what would be helpful as we all move forward in the recovery stages. Moving to once a month seems to make the most sense to members. Members would like to know ahead what the topic is, including any guests. Circle introductions and lots of time for discussion would remain the same. In September we will be shifting our Covid-19 and Your Organization Member calls to monthly member calls to the 2nd Thursday of the month, beginning September 9 at 10:00-11:00 AM. The new name for the group is Member Support and Information Exchange. We want to keep the focus on the Federation supporting members to ask questions and share their ideas and practices. This morning, when asked which topics to include on the monthly calls, members offered these: Workplace vaccinations and staff comfort or concern regarding other employees being vaccinated; Supports for Seniors and older adults; and Mental Wellness for clients, staff and leadership.
Citizens Services BC
On the last call, we hosted Citizens Services BC to discuss the Covid-19 Equity Research Project that speaks to how people access and use information and services around COVID-19. The Service and Content Design Team from B.C.’s Government Digital Experience Division has been conducting research and engagements on equitable access to healthcare over the last 7 months. These findings have been used to inform how COVID-19 and vaccination information and services have been delivered. The team recognizes the vital role that community and non-profit organizations play in supporting those who face systemic and structural barriers to accessing care. You can view the presentation of the final results here. The Design Team hopes to work more closely with community organizations, like the Federation, in the future.
Thank you to everyone who has completed the Federation Member Summer 2021 survey! There is still time if you would like to participate. The key purpose of this survey is to receive feedback on how we are doing. We want to check in with you, our members, to hear how we can best support you in the months ahead. The link is posted in the chat.
Training Dollars Available
Last year, The Federation helped to launch the Community Social Services Training Fund. Currently, organizations are able to apply for both the Support for Certification/Education Individual Grant (now with funding of up to $15,000 for multiple employees) and the Organizational Training Grant (funding of up to $10,000) within the same fiscal year.
We ask you to help us spread the good news that these training dollars are for all community social service organizations. The recipient does not have to be a Federation member and we would appreciate you sharing this information with your colleagues.
Please reach out and let us know how we can support you. Looking forward to seeing you on our next call, September 9 at 10:00-11:00 AM. The dates and log-in information for future member calls can be found on our webinars page.
Wishing you a lovely August 😊
Bess Williams, Events Coordinator
Sherry Sinclair, Director of Programs and Services