May Projects & Issues Update

Over the past few months, The Federation board members, staff team, and I have been focused on a number of ongoing projects and initiatives. We have been meeting with government colleagues and funders, bringing forward concerns, collaborating with sector colleagues, and tracking issues that affect our members and our sector.

The results of such work may not always make the news headlines, but I believe that it is important to share updates about what we’re focused on and areas where we have seen progress and successes. This week, I’d like to update our members on the following:

  1. The Employer Health Tax
  2. CSS Health & Safety Handbook
  3. BC Housing Procurement
  4. Youth in Care Week

If you have any questions about this work or other Federation projects or issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Rick FitzZaland
Federation Executive Director


1. Employer Health Tax

Like you, we are awaiting the technical details about the Employer Health Tax which will replace individual MSP premiums in 2019. The Federation has been assigned a contact person within Ministry of Finance and we will reach out to our members as soon as information becomes available. (We are intentionally waiting to contact members about the potential impact of this tax until we have more details—when the time comes, we want to make sure we ask the right questions and collect the right information.)

Last week, Finance Minister Carole James hinted at potential exemptions for charities and school districts. We expect to receive more information in the coming weeks. Once the specifics are announced, we will be analyzing the details to understand the implications for BC’s complex social care sector—a sector made up of businesses and non-profits and one in which some programs are funded through government contracts while others are not.

In the meantime, we are continuing to coordinate with other umbrella organizations in the province so that we are prepared to advocate with a strong, united voice when the time is right. We understand that the uncertainty around this tax is creating a lot of anxiety and you can be assured that The Federation is monitoring this issue very closely.

2. CSS Health & Safety Handbook

Last month, The Federation and our partners at CSSEA and WorkSafeBC released the Community Social Services Health & Safety Handbook—a first-of-its-kind resource in Canada for the social services sector. It provides strategies for employers to prevent workplace injury, respond in the event of an occupational injury, and reintegrate employees back to the workplace following an injury.

This excellent and useful resource is the product of several years of collaboration with CSSEA and WorkSafeBC. I’m proud of the relationships we’ve built as a part of this project and I’m hopeful that they will result in further opportunities to benefit our organizations and the sector at large. I’d like to thank Satvinder Basran for his excellent work as Project Manager and CSSEA CEO Gentil Mateus for his strong commitment to our partnership and to the success of this important project.

You can find a link to a PDF copy of the CSS Health & Safety Handbook online here(in addition, you can find a two-year report on the project, background info, and informative presentations). For more information about the handbook, you can contact Satvinder Basran, Project Manager of the CSS WorkSafeBC Pilot Project at sbasran@cssea.bc.ca.

3. BC Housing Procurement

The Federation is currently trying to better understand the ways in which our members support the housing needs of people in their communities. Our Research and Policy Analyst has reached out to members providing housing services in order to review the services our members provide as well as their funding models and community partners.

We appreciate all of the responses we have received thus far. This information will inform our ongoing work with BC Housing about ways in which community planning and capacity-building is affected by the procurement practices of BC Housing. Federation members can contact pam@fcssbc.ca for more information and to provide additional feedback.

4. BC Youth in Care Week

Are you planning an event for BC Youth in Care week? Did you know you can help fund your celebrations with a Community Celebration Bursary?

This year’s BC Youth in Care Week has been proclaimed from June 4-10, but the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks is encouraging organizers to consider hosting events as of June 2nd. (That means more time to celebrate!)

Funding applications will be reviewed on a first come, first serve basis, so apply now! Please note: the bursary funds are available for non-government-funded agencies, families, and friends. You can learn more and download the application form here. Send your completed application to emily.muth@fbcyicn.ca.