Projects & Issues Update: COVID-19, Labour Market Research, HR Strategy, Research

The Federation team talks a lot about how interconnected our work is—how our leadership development work is also related to our recruitment and retention work and how our commitment to reconciliation and resurgence is also very much about the strength and sustainability of the sector. And this interconnected nature of our work remains during these strange and frightening times.

Over the past month, our attention has largely turned to COVID-19. We’re focused on understanding your needs, getting information to you as quickly as possible, and advocating—always—on behalf of the community social services sector and the people you serve. And, not surprisingly, a number of the issues you are grappling with right now are ones you were grappling with before this pandemic. Our team is working incredibly hard to ensure that you are as informed and prepared as possible during this unprecedented crisis but this does not mean we have forgotten about the other issues you are facing related to contracting, procurement, screening, and wages.

This week, the SPARC BC/Federation team is drafting the final report of the Social Services Labour Market Research Project. This important piece of work will be even more relevant when we come out on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic and look back at what we have learned from the crisis and how we can respond to the most pressing issues going forward.

In addition, the work that took place at The Federation’s Social Policy Forum in February will also be incredibly important when we begin building a stronger sector post-COVID-19. The precarious nature of staffing in the community social services sector is now affecting everyone in this province and will need to be addressed. Your staff are working incredibly hard to maintain the essential supports that vulnerable people and families need and they too deserve better and stronger supports.

If you have questions about any piece of work The Federation is undertaking on your behalf, don’t hesitate to reach out. We very much value your insights, experience, and ideas.

Rick FitzZaland
Executive Director

Social Sector HR Strategy

Thanks to the work of the Social Services Roundtable and the Social Services Labour Market Research Project, creating a human resources strategy for BC’s community social services sector has become a very real possibility. For this reason, the second half of The Federation’s 2020 Social Policy Forum gave participants an opportunity to begin exploring what that strategy could look like and how it could work.

Staff and leadership from government and the community social services staked out the boundaries of their vision—the things to remove, stop, encourage, expand, keep, avoid, mitigate, reinstate, encourage, and create—and then identified the key questions and issues that resulted. These were explored and discussed and then key considerations were determined for some of the most pressing questions that emerged.

All of that work has been documented and compiled into a summary document that will inform our next steps. This report contains 11 of those key questions and the central considerations that were identified for each. (There are also additional notes and comments for each question as well as appendices containing the results of the initial high-level mapping exercise and a breakdown of the event’s design and structure.)

This report, along with the soon-to-be-released Social Sector Labour Market Research Project Final Report will guide the work we do with the provincial government to build a sector-wide HR plan for BC’s community social services.

Research to Practice: Indigenous Fatherhood

The latest article from The Federation’s Research to Practice paper is about Indigenous fatherhood, the challenges Indigenous fathers face, and how social services workers can understand and reach out in different ways. The article explores three aspects of Indigenous fatherhood that have changed in ways that make it increasingly challenging for fathers to be connected and involved with their children—fathers and fishing, fathers as grandparents, and fathers in culture.

“I believe that we need to talk more openly about how many roles our Fathers are trying to fill,the places and activities where learning has historically come from, and the changes that have happened to spaces and practices.”

By exploring the unique impact of these changes, the article provides ways social services workers can better understand and support the fathers they work with in their communities. You can read and download a copy of the article here. And please pass on the link (or this email) to colleagues in your network working with Indigenous families.

COVID-19 Updates

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, our team is doing their very best to keep Federation members informed and up-to-date. We are in constant contact with government colleagues, and sector allies, and our members and will continue to share updates and information regularly.

The Federation’s COVID-19 Resource page contains government documents, official updates, and a range of resources for social services organizations. The most recent additions are below.

If you are looking for the recordings or summaries from the member’s only COVID-19 and Your Organization webinars (the Thursday morning sessions) or examples of policies and procedures from fellow Federation members, these can be found on the member’s section of the website.

CLBC is also hosting some useful and informative calls with Dr. Behn Smith from the PHO that are posted on their website. You can find recordings of those calls and additional resources here.