10/14/2021: Member Support and Information Recap

Hello Federation Members,

Thank you for joining us for another Member Support and Information Exchange call. As most of you know, Sherry Sinclair (who usually hosts these meetings) has left The Federation but has asked us to pass along a message: “Sherry wishes you all a very fond farewell and wishes each of you the very best.” We all wish the same for her.

On this call, we were joined by guests Sat Basran and Fiona Senyk from the Community Social Services Employers’ Association of BC (CSSEA) to talk about the Community Social Services Health and Safety Council.

  • Our Member Calls
  • Member Exchange
  • Guest Presentation and Member Discussion
  • Child Rights Symposium & Child Rights Monitoring Platform
  • Tech Position Hiring Grants
  • Accreditation Circle
  • Up to $25,000 of Grant Funding Available

Our Member Calls

Name: Member Support & Information Exchange
Date: Every second Thursday of the month (usually with a guest and specific topic)
Time: 10:00 am to 11:00 am

The fourth Thursday of the month will be held in the event that Federation Members want a second call for any given month. Our goal is to support members and host a space where you can ask questions and share your ideas, concerns, and bring forward items to be raised in meetings with our government partners. We invite your ideas for topics.

  • Oct 28 (no guest)
  • Nov 18 with guest Jonny Morris, CEO of CMHA BC who will focus on CSS mental wellness for clients, staff and leadership.  (Please note, we have moved this date to the third Thursday of November due to Remembrance Day.)
  • Dec 9 with guest Dr Brian Emerson, Deputy Provincial Health Officer who will speak on staying healthy through the holidays.

Member Exchange

A quick check-in with members opened space for notable things to discuss on the call or during our next gathering. There was a brief discussion on access to rapid testing. It was mentioned that there may be an opportunity to obtain these through the Red Cross. Please contact Pam (pam@fcssbc.ca) or Stephanie (stephanie@fcssbc.ca) for contact information or apply to the Red Cross here. Individuals may access rapid tests through some pharmacies at $20/piece.

Guest Presentation and Member Discussion

Guests on this call were Sat Basran and Fiona Senyk from the Community Social Services Employers’ Association of BC (CSSEA). They spoke about the Community Social Services Health and Safety Council and then welcomed questions.

  • 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 was created in response to an identified need for a health and safety association to address the complex and diverse health and safety challenges in the sector.
  • The Council engages with the Community Social Services sector (both union and non-union employers, as well as union and non-union employees and their respective unions) to implement best practices on health and safety.
  • Through the council and its new website, 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 council is guided by a board of 15 people with representation from organizations and groups of all sizes and service areas across BC as well as with subject-matter experts on regulation, policy, and process.
  • The next steps include registering the council as an independent society and working with members and the sector on training/education, networking, sharing information, bench-marking, and engaging with WorkSafeBC in terms of consulting with the sector.

Federation members are encouraged to take a look at the Health & Safety council website and provide feedback to Sat and/or Fiona.

Q: How is data collected data? What techniques using?
A: Using data generated through WXBC. Types of injuries, occupations associated within that injury group, classification units, claims, causations, etc. We look at these metrics to draw out what type of training should be happening. Violence is a key example. The volume of claims is low, but costs of claims are significant—there is a need to cross-reference. Data are broken down into regions.

Q: Is secondary trauma in your matrix? (Burnout, time off, etc.)
A: The impact of opioids on mental health stressors was very poignant at that time (back around 2012). Now the impact of the pandemic has exacerbated things. How WSBC is defining these claims is different, however. We are working closely with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Division BC (CMHA BC) to look at and develop tools to get that information out. The key question will be how it is defined and how we use it across the industry in order to make a reasonable understanding of it. It’s very complex. The plan is to learn more about this and, as we learn more about it, we need to identify benchmarks to show what it actually is.

Q: Will there be resources tailored for the sector?
A: Yes. We are working with WorkSafeBC to develop the baselines and eventually, we will develop our own. Made by the sector, for the sector.

Q: Will there be any First Aid mental health training available? Will there be a virtual option (for residents of remote areas such as the West Kootenays and Columbia Basin)?
A: There will be a presentation of a violence risk assessment tool that has been developed by the Advisory Panel. It will be released in early December. In the middle of November, there will be a rate consult that will look at the rates which have gone up. In terms of training, the Council plans to engage the membership on the types of training that the sector would be needing. Members are welcome to share ideas with Sat. One challenge faced by the Council is that organizations are on a spectrum in terms of health and safety, within policies and processes, whether they are accredited or not accredited, and so on. The Council’s approach is that they want to create a baseline, then build on it. In terms of First Aid Mental Health Training, the CMHA BC and the Council are working at certification at no cost. There is a lot of work going on in the background. More information will be shared once that is available.

Child Rights Symposium & Child Rights Monitoring Platform

In 2018, a BC Child Rights Symposium was presented by the GlobalChild research network (which was hosted by UVic at the time) in collaboration with the BC Representative for Children and Youth and Island Health. A paper was recently published on the outcomes of the symposium and the BC pilot project. The paper is available here (paywall).

GlobalChild is also launching the world’s first comprehensive child rights monitoring platform later this year. The platform will be launched in Canada via webinar in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Canada’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. You can register for the virtual launch event here.

The GlobalChild platform will assist governments in:

  • Fulfilling their internal responsibility and international accountability to their children.
  • Monitoring and reporting on the status of every right under the CRC.
  • Tracking how effectively governments have met their obligations in supporting each right and how it impacted children’s development.

Tech Position Hiring Grants

A new grant opportunity through Innovate BC is aimed at helping more under-represented people get their first job in the tech sector or in tech-related roles by ensuring placements for under-represented people are available in companies and non-profit organizations. The Innovator Skills Initiative provides up to $10,000 to help employers (including non-profits) hire a new employee into tech-related positions. The program is designed to increase diversity and help businesses and organizations fill talent shortages and grow. Learn more about the program, including eligibility and key dates, and apply for funding here.

Accreditation Circle

If you are looking for support for your virtual accreditation, please join Federation members on the active virtual accreditation monthly calls. They happen on the 3rd Friday of every month. Please contact Pam or Stephanie for more information at pam@fcssbc.ca or stephanie@fcssbc.ca.

Up to $25,000 of Grant Funding Available

Last year, The Federation helped to launch the Community Social Services Training Fund (CSSTF). 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.

As of August 2021, organizations can include in their application requests for back-fill funding to cover the cost of wages for casual employees so that programs do not have to close or reduce hours when training is taking place. Please include ‘Back-fill Training’ in the budget section of your application.

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.

Thank You

Please let us know how we can support you. We love hearing from you! Our next Member Support and Information Call will be on October 28, from 10:00-11:00 AM. The dates and log-in information for future member calls can be found on our webinars page and the notes on our Member Support and Information Exchange under the Blog tab on our website.

Stephanie Martin, Program Assistant
Pam Alcorn, Member Engagement and Public Policy Coordinator