📰 FCSSBC: May 10, 2024 Social Services Update


News, updates, and stories about social care in BC

Unfold the recent happenings and advancements in social services

May 10, 2024

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Table of contents

  • Toxic drugs
  • FCSSBC: June 2024 current and emerging issues conference & AGM
  • Housing
  • Youth bursary
  • Communities
  • Update session
  • Homelessness
  • Webinar
  • Health
  • Past week highlights
  • Children
  • Reconciliation
  • Good news

Toxic drugs

192 people in B.C. died due to toxic drugs in March: coroner | CBC News

British Columbia’s Coroner Service has reported at least 192 deaths related to toxic drugs in March, bringing the total number of deaths to at least 572 in the first three months of 2024. The province has seen more than 14,400 people die from toxic drugs since a public health emergency was first declared in April 2016, with unregulated drug toxicity being the leading cause of death among British Columbians aged between 10 and 59. Vancouver, Surrey, and Nanaimo have the highest numbers of toxic drug deaths in 2024. The numbers for March represent an 11% decrease from March 2023, when 215 people died from toxic drugs. The province has announced big changes to its drug decriminalization program, which was introduced in January 2023 as a three-year pilot. The program allowed adult drug users in B.C. to carry up to 2.5 grams of opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy for personal use without facing criminal charges. However, the provincial government has now recriminalized the use of drugs in public places, including hospitals, transit, and parks.



June 2024: Current & Emerging Issues Conference and AGM

Are you planning to join us in Osoyoos June 13-14, 2024? If yes, this is a reminder that both the early bird ticket price deadline and conference rate booking deadline are Monday, May 13, 2024. To book your accommodation at our special rate,  please use the FCSSBC booking link: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/group-booking/YLWUB/G-FCT1.

Please register for the conference at https://form.jotform.com/241056938578267

Our June conference is designed to tackle the pressing issues that matter most to our members. Based on feedback from our members, we are tailoring the agenda to cover current trends and emerging topics focused on this year’s provincial election. The agenda is being finalized and will be shared soon.

The Federation AGM* on June 14 will ensure we discuss the most crucial issues and address organizational matters vital to our collective mission for 2024. Please watch for more information, including the AGM* agenda and voting information.

Early Bird Fee (available through May 13, 2024): $225 for members and affiliated partners
Regular fee: $269 for members and affiliated partners
Non-members and general public fee: $350

We are returning to the beautiful Spirit Ridge Resort.
1200 Rancher Creek Road
Osoyoos, BC, V0H 1V6
Phone (local): 250-495-5445

Learn more! https://fcssbc.ca/conferences/june-conference-agm/
Register today! https://form.jotform.com/241056938578267

*AGM is exclusive to members.


Group says ‘affordable housing’ is not affordable to those who need it most | CBC News

A new report by the Housing Justice Project, a Greater Victoria-based group, reveals that housing options available to people trying to get out of homelessness in the region are inadequate. The report states that at least 1,665 people are living without a home in Greater Victoria. The Housing Justice Project assessed the viability and safety of several housing options: living on the street or in parks, overnight shelters, transitional programs, affordable housing, and market rental. According to the report, 2,000 units of deeply subsidized, permanent homes are needed each year in Greater Victoria so people can get out of homelessness and into safe, secure housing that will help them thrive. Transitional programs still limit the length of stay, and shelters are often unclean and lack many elements most people would associate with a home: privacy, a door that locks, the ability to cook a meal, or play with your child. While a range of affordable housing is available in the region, wait lists are often long, and the definition of “affordable” is broad. The group says units must be rented at $500 to $1,000 a month to be genuinely affordable.


Youth bursary

The Youth Education Bursary assists young people who are, or have been, in care and want to pursue a career in the field of Human Social Services. Since 2009, we’ve awarded $296,925 in bursaries to 217 recipients to help students with the financial costs of tuition, books, and supplies for post-secondary study. Donations from FCSSBC members and the public are welcome! Bursary applications are open until May 31, 2024.

The FCSSBC Youth Education Bursary


Okwata’karitáhtshera kicks off new community wellness plan | Penticton Herald

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake has approved a new eight-year community wellness plan, which integrates the health, cultural and social services needs of Kahnawake under one organization. The 2024-2032 Community Wellness Plan (CWP) is a comprehensive framework designed to improve health, wellness, and social services in the community. The plan was developed by Onkwata’karitáhtshera, a collective effort between the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK), the Kahnawake Fire Brigade (KFB) and Ambulance Service, the Kateri Memorial Hospital Center (KMHC), and Kahnawa:ke Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services (KSCS). The plan aims to identify health and social services priorities for the community and is the first of its kind. The plan reflects the collective aspirations and values of Kahnawa’kehró:non and lays a path towards a healthier, more resilient future. The plan is intended to be a holistic approach and includes priorities such as family wellness, language, and culture. The Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center (KORLCC) is also involved in the plan.


Update session

Update session: Representative for Children and Youth | FCSSBC

The Office of the Representative for Children and Youth invites you to an update session in follow-up to the engagement session that has informed a systemic review of the child welfare system in British Columbia.

Session date:

Monday, May 13, 2024

9 am to 10:30 am PDT via Zoom

Email the RCY at rsvp@rcybc.ca to register!

(A Zoom link and agenda will be sent to registered participants in advance of the session.)


Vancouver encampment residents venture to Victoria legislature to be heard | The Free Press

Homeless residents of Vancouver’s Crab Park set up camp on the B.C. legislature’s lawn to capture lawmakers’ attention. They were protesting against the recent hauled away of tents, blankets, and other belongings by park rangers, which put people more at risk. The Crab Park encampment was formed in 2021 and could remain after a B.C. Supreme Court judge set aside eviction notices. However, residents were forced to leave the park in March after the City of Vancouver said it had to clean up the area, citing health and safety concerns. The government is doing everything it can to provide living spaces, but people should only be moved from an encampment if housing is available.



How to create a culture of recognition and acknowledge contributions | FCSSBC and CMHA

This is an invitation to a one-hour workshop on “How to Create a Culture of Recognition and Acknowledge Contributions.” The workshop will explore the importance of recognition and rewards in creating a psychologically safe workplace. Attendees will learn about different recognition strategies, both formal and informal, and how to make them more impactful with a personal touch. The workshop will also discuss the role of managers in implementing recognition practices. The workshop is a collaborative environment where attendees can share their experiences and learn from others. It is scheduled for May 14th or May 30th from 12 pm to 1 pm and is brought to you by The Federation of Community Social Services of BC and the Canadian Mental Health Association.


B.C. doctor’s lawsuit against RateMDs certified in Supreme Court | CityNews

The B.C. Supreme Court has certified a class action lawsuit brought by a doctor against RateMDs.com, claiming that the reviews posted to its website violate provincial privacy legislation. Dr. Ramona Bleuler brought the suit on behalf of doctors in several Canadian provinces. She argues that RateMDs.com and its parent companies post information about physicians without their consent, refuse to take the reviews down and use them for profit. The crux of Dr. Bleuler’s case is that the information is used commercially, which is prohibited under the Privacy Act. The court hasn’t ruled on the merits of the claim, and none of the allegations have been proven.


Past week highlights

Board of Directors Names New Chief Executive Officer: CSSEA | FCSSBC

Sandra Case has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of CSSEA following an extensive search led by a sub-committee of the Board of Directors. Sandra brings three decades of experience in leadership, HR/LR expertise, employer bargaining and strategic planning to this role. The Board was impressed by her legal acumen, existing knowledge of the sector, and successful track record of working with multiple stakeholders in various complex environments. Sandra will assume her new role on June 10. She will work closely with the Board, government, staff, and other partners to strengthen sectoral relations and support members in providing care for the most vulnerable in British Columbia.



Smoke, heat keeping Canadian kids indoors instead of exercising: report | The Free Press

The latest report by ParticipAction highlights that Canadian kids face challenges in staying active due to factors like smoke, heatwaves, and poor air quality from wildfires, compounded by increased screen time indoors. While there’s been a slight improvement in physical activity levels since 2022, many kids still fall short of recommended exercise guidelines. Climate change exacerbates these issues, making outdoor activities less accessible, especially for those with asthma. Families struggle with the cost and availability of recreational facilities, hindering children’s participation in physical activities. Despite these challenges, experts advocate for outdoor exercise due to its numerous physical and mental health benefits. Some Canadian physicians even prescribe nature time to children to address mental health and behavioural issues exacerbated by excessive screen time. The report also highlights concerns about sedentary behaviour and sleep patterns among Canadian youth, indicating a need for comprehensive lifestyle interventions to improve overall health.



Workers nursing health care to positive outcomes for B.C. Indigenous patients | Vernon Morning Star

Two Indigenous women, Amanda Watts and Deb Melvin, are working at the West Coast General Hospital to ensure that their Indigenous patients feel safe and get the care they need. As an Indigenous patient navigator, Melvin helps her patients navigate the health care system, while Watts, an Indigenous liaison nurse, supports patients in the Emergency Room. They both walk beside their patients, advocating for and helping them on their journey through the healthcare system. With Canada’s colonial history of residential schools and segregated Indian hospitals, many gaps exist for First Nations in the health care system, making it a lonely, scary, or anxiety-inducing experience for some. Melvin and Watts are there to support and make the patients feel respected, safe, and welcome.


Good news

If you have any feel-good, weird, fascinating, or amusing stories you’d like to see included in this section, send them our way to giovani@fcssbc.ca!


The articles included in Federation newsletters are for informational purposes and do not relate to the Federation’s advocacy work. We want our membership to stay informed of news that’s relevant to our sector; the inclusion of a story is not an endorsement.

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