From the beginning of this public health crisis, we have been very aware that the community social services sector is responding in ways that we may not have expected or been prepared for. The sustainability of our sector has been a central focus of The Federation’s work for many years and it is very important to us that this sector not come out of this emergency less strong or less sustainable than when we went in. This is a focus I am bringing to the Social Services Sector Roundtable and to the provincial Economic Recovery Task Force during our weekly meetings. There have also been some recent announcements from the Federal government about supporting the charitable sector and we are working to gather more information about these resources.
While we may not have been adequately prepared for this crisis, you should all know that you are doing a remarkable job during what is a truly trying time. I want to thank you and your staff for all the work that you are doing day in and day out to be there for your community members and provide them with the care and support they need and deserve.
I know that COVID-19 does not erase the many issues and challenges that your community members are faced with. COVID-19 or not, parents are still needing support, people are still needing substance use help, women still need to be protected from abusive partners, babies are still needing to access infant development. All of the caring, committed people who have chosen to dedicate their career to community social services are going above and beyond right now ensuring that people will not be worse off when we come out of this crisis. Thank you.
As we continue to address your various COVID-19-related needs, there is more and more overlap with other projects, initiatives, and issues that we want to make sure you are informed of. A few of these are listed below. If there is anything else you have questions or concerns about, or if there is anything The Federation team can do to help you over the coming weeks, please let us know. We’re always here to help.
Social Services Sector Roundtable
The roundtable is meeting every week at the moment and this is proving to be incredibly useful both for accessing information on your behalf and when it comes to advocating for approaches that will protect and sustain the community sector as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold. The updates from the Roundtable are posted on our COVID-19 webpage and below.
- Update from the Social Services Sector Roundtable (April 14)
- Update from the Social Services Sector Roundtable (April 7)
There is still no information available from Treasury Board about the compensation funding that was announced as part of Budget 2020. However, we have been assured that the money is protected, and we (along with our sector partners at the table) have been very clear about why an announcement is needed as soon as possible. We believe our government colleagues understand this well and I hope that we will have more information for you very soon.
MCFD Centralized Services Hub
On April 22nd, The Federation hosted a call for members with staff from the MCFD Centralized Services Hub. The MCFD representatives noted that the expedited process for managing applications through the Hub is working 98% of the time. They also affirmed that efforts to make sure the application forms are completed correctly have helped a great deal. You can find a recording of this week’s webinar on the Member’s Page of our website (under Issues & Analysis). Overall, the Public Safety and Solicitor General caseload for completing checks is down because a lot of the other groups that would normally be submitting checks are not operating right now.
We have regular webinars scheduling with the services hub team over the coming months. You can find the dates of those calls on our Webinars page. You can contact our Director of Programs and Services at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about these calls. We have also heard concerns from members about some other requirements for staffing such as medical checks and First Aid Certification. If you are experiencing hiring challenges related to these issues, please contact Sherry with your examples.
Guidelines on the use of technology
Over the coming weeks, The Federation will be working with the Community Action Initiative to create webinars designed to support community social service organizations in using technology to meet the needs of both your clients and your teams. Stay tuned for more information about these offerings.
Earlier this month, CLBC circulated information about the use of technology [PDF] and MCFD’s Inclusion Policy branch has circulated a letter to Aboriginal Infant Development Program (AIDP), Infant Development Program (IDP), Aboriginal Supported Child Development (ASCD) and Supported Child Development (SCD) Service Providers. [PDF] Some additional guidelines from MCFD and from some fellow Federation members have been posted on the member’s only website.
We have been informed by multiple funders that members are advised to keep track of your COVID-19 related expenses and that if you are experiencing financial difficulties in managing these additional costs to connect with your funder representative. Please keep us in the loop as to how this process is working.