10/28/2021: Member Support and Information Recap

Hello Federation Members,

Thank you for joining us for another Member Support and Information Exchange call. The Federation was happy to have some non-members participate in this call as well!

The goal of these meetings is to support you, our members, and to surface your policy and practice concerns, questions, and items that need to be brought to the attention of our government partners. As this was the second call of the month, there were no guests joining us and we used our time together to talk about what is most on your mind.

  • Member Discussion
  • Vaccine Booster Roll-Out
  • Update from Immunize BC
  • COVID-Related Measures Act
  • MCFD Accreditation Update
  • Accreditation Circle
  • Reminder About Training Dollars

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
Upcoming Calls:

  • November 18th 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.)
  • December 9th with guest Dr. Brian Emerson, Deputy Provincial Health Officer who will speak on staying healthy through the holidays.

The notes from these calls are available under the Blog section of our website. Look for the Member Support & Info drop-down item. We also email a link to the summary to members the week after each meeting. For additional and more current news and information from The Federation, subscribe to our Social Services News and Weekly Updates and forward these emails to others in your organization and/or encourage them to subscribe to these services as well.

Member Discussion

On this call, members discussed the new public health order on mandatory vaccinations and its effect on the community social services sector and service delivery. Before going into questions and discussions, The Federation provided COVID-related updates starting with the recent public health order from October 14th and related actions and resources.

  • The province extended a public health order mandating vaccinations for long-term care and assisted living homes to the rest of the health care system. Medical staff, contractors, and community providers will now be required to have the first dose by October 26th and a second within 28 to 35 days.
  • The order covers community providers which include Board Members, employees, and contractors of Regional Health Board the Provincial Health Services Authority, BC Health Services, the Providence Health Care Society or a Provincial Mental Health Facility, such as private practice doctors, nurses, dentists, personal care as well as outside services contracted with the health ministry, including mental health and drug and alcohol services. Some Federation Members may or may not fall under the scope of the order and others may not.
  • Dr. Danièle Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, confirmed in its simplest interpretation, the order applies to individuals who are: (1) employed directly by health authorities, and/or (2) employed by agencies that are contracted by health authorities.
  • Requirements under this PHO are that employers and anyone under contract with a regional health authority, a Provincial mental health facility, the Ministry of Health, or Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, will need to request and collect proof of vaccination, or an exemption, from each staff member, must keep a record of the information and must disclose that information to the Provincial Health Officer or the regional Medical Health Officer on request.
  • Staff (employees, contractors, students) must provide their employer with proof of vaccination, or an exemption, on request from their employer.

The Federation is working to connect with a human resource lawyer as well as other provincial organizations and our government colleagues to get answers to the questions you may have. The information gathered will continue to be shared with Federation Members as it is available.

The member discussion focused on issues and questions related to the following.

  • A lack of clarity about who the provincial health order applies to. Some questions arose about CLBC and MCFD funded programs. (CLBC has since sent out clarification.)
  • Inconsistency in how Health Authorities are communicating the order to programs they fund.
  • Human resource guidance: some members are seeking legal guidance regarding wording for conditions of employment.
  • Recruitment and Retention: One member reported that workers are requesting changes to the working conditions given the intensity of rapid changes in service provision and working conditions.

The Federation team assured members that these issues are being raised in communications with the Public Health Office, various ministries, other provincial umbrella organizations, and at the provincial roundtables.

Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP is holding a webinar on November 5th, COVID-19 and Vaccines Update: What An Employer Needs to Know. Among the topics to be covered are key considerations when implementing a mandatory vaccination policy. The BC Non-Profit Housing Association has also released a Non-Profit Housing Providers Guide to COVID-19 Vaccinations PDF.

Vaccine Booster Roll-Out

Booster doses are underway for priority groups such as residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities and vulnerable people living in shelters or high-risk congregate settings. Additional people will start to receive invitations for a COVID-19 booster shot as the province continues its COVID-19 immunization plan, prioritizing BC’s elderly and most at-risk through to the December holiday. You can learn more about the next steps of BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan and when you can expect to be eligible for a booster shot here.

Update from Immunize BC

Please also note that the Government VaxforBC page no longer lists clinics, rather, it now links to the Health Authority vaccine clinic pages. You can find a vaccine clinic in your community here. Please continue to monitor these links for clinics in your areas. They will be updated regularly. Immunize BC has also extended an invitation for questions and/or suggestions for any groups and or sectors where you believe Immunize BC has not reached. Send your feedback to pam@fcssbc.ca to pass on to our Immunize BC contact.

COVID-Related Measures Act

Due to the ongoing fourth wave of the pandemic, the Province intends to introduce amendments to the COVID-19 Related Measures Act to extend it beyond the repeal date of December 31, 2021. The act provides civil liability protection to certain individuals or businesses that are providing an essential service, operating a business or engaged in an activity that benefits the community, as long as they are following the necessary public health orders.

MCFD Accreditation Update

The Accreditation Update includes communication from the MCFD team as well as the accreditation bodies (CARF and COA). A copy of the MCFD Accreditation Update can be found on the Ministry of Children and Family Development website.

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. The next call is Friday, November 19th, from 11:00-12:00. Please contact Pam or Stephanie for more information at pam@fcssbc.ca or stephanie@fcssbc.ca.

Reminder About Available Training Dollars

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 Support for 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.

In addition, Round Three funding for the Support for Organizational Training Grant (Oct 2021–Mar 2022) is available to all organizations, even those who have previously received funding for Rounds One and/or Two.

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.

Until Next Time

Please let us know how we can support you. We love hearing from you! We look forward to seeing you on our next call on November 18th, 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 home page. You can share ideas or comments through Pam (pam@fcssbc.ca) or Stephanie (stephanie@fcssbc.ca).

Wishing you wellness 😊

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