CLBC and Government Updates

Emergency supports announced for home share and support service providers

Yesterday, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction announced provincial emergency funding that will be distributed through Community Living BC to ensure people with developmental disabilities stay supported and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the B.C. Government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan, up to $35.6 million will be available over three months from CLBC to support service providers to continue delivering residential services, including group homes, home sharing and supported independent living.

You can click here to read the full news release.

Information on how to access applications for support will be posted on the CLBC website in the coming days at:

Teleconference audio and plain language summary now available

Last Friday, April 17, a third teleconference for individuals and families took place. Minister Shane Simpson and Deputy Minister David Galbraith of the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, and CLBC CEO Ross Chilton provided the latest updates and answered questions about services and supports.

You can listen to the audio recording on the CLBC website here.

Click here to find a plain language summary of the call, with questions and answers that were discussed.

We will share information about future teleconference calls as soon as it is available on the information page for individuals and families here and via email.

Support Worker recruitment campaign begins

One of the challenges that individuals, families and service providers are experiencing is a lack of available support workers. For service providers, support staff who work in larger group programs have now shifted to individual and small group support, often working with one individual and family. For individuals who are living independently and families who are now supporting their loved ones at home throughout the entire day, finding people to provide support and respite is an increasing challenge.

Seeking to alleviate this, the Family Support Institute, Vela Canada, and Community Living BC are partnering on a recruitment campaign to bring more people – particularly those who now find themselves without work – into the community living field to work with individuals and families. The campaign targets potential support workers from the education, allied health, arts and culture, recreation, leisure, retail and service fields and directs them to, FSI’s online portal for connecting individuals and families with support workers.

Downloadable copies of recruitment flyers are available by clicking the links below:

These can be printed and posted in your community, for example at local grocery stores or pharmacies. Individuals and families, along with those interested in working as support workers, can register for free at

Plain language posters from Fraser Health

Fraser Health’s Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services has created a series of plain language posters with helpful information and tips to help individuals, families and caregivers during this COVID-19 pandemic. You can click the links below to see each of the posters (which can also be downloaded and printed):

Staying connected and supported

Family Support Institute’s online resources

The Family Support Institute of BC (FSI) has embraced technology in a variety of ways. FSI has put together a great online set of programs, tools and supports specifically in response to families’ needs during the COVID-19 Crisis, which you can find on their website here.

FSI also hosts regional Zoom hangouts every day, which are safe spaces for families and caregivers to come together for support, camaraderie, inspiration, sharing challenges and trouble-shooting. Whatever you might be feeling right now — overwhelmed, sadness, fear, anxiety — you are not alone.  This week’s Zoom hangouts will explore fun and “out of the box” ways of practicing self-care at home and virtually in our communities. Click here to find the full schedule of regional Zoom video calls, including the links to join. All are welcome to attend.

For those new to using Zoom, FSI has also created a plain language tutorial which you can access here.

Fostering resiliency with Kim Barthel

Kim Barthel and The Relationship Matters team have been working with CLBC since the fall of 2017. Kim and the team have provided the series of Trauma Informed Practice Workshops (TIPI and TIP II) across the province, along with continued support to the many communities of practice which have grown out of the TIP workshops.

They will be facilitating a free Zoom session next Tuesday, April 28 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. on the topic: Fostering Resiliency – Staying Connected During These Turbulent Times – Trauma in Practice (TIP) in Action. (Future sessions are scheduled for May 12, 19 and June 2 and 16. We will share information about these on CLBC’s Facebook and Twitter channels as they approach.)

Meeting details are below. Grab your lunch and join in!

Call-in: 1-647-558-0588
Meeting ID: 547 125 860

Self Advocate Corner

We’ve added this new section to the Update as a place to share useful resources and information based on suggestions and input from self advocates.

Plain language emergency plan

Semiahmoo House Society’s Self Advocate Leadership Network has developed an emergency plan template in plain language which can be downloaded here. Completing the different sections in this template helps people to plan ahead for any emergency situations they may face during the COVID-19 crisis.

Take your best shot

As a way to stay connected while we are currently physically distanced from each other, BC People First is holding a photo contest this month. Share a photo with an idea or advice on how to have fun and stay active at home. Just post a photo on Instagram or Facebook and tag @BCPeopleFirst to enter the contest. You can find more information and contest rules here.


Stories of hope and encouragement

Sharing recognition

Social media has become a great place to recognize the hard work of essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Here’s a recent tweet from Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam doing just that:

Wishin’ and hopin’

A wife and husband musical duo, who are both support workers with BeConnected Support Services in Victoria, have recorded a catchy tune inspired by the residents they support who are having a tough time coping with all the changes to their routines. Click here to give it a listen and we’re sure you’ll be humming along in no time.

Offline fun

While computers and smartphones are great tools for staying connected during this time of physical distancing, there are many activities that don’t rely on these at all. Here’s a great list of things to do at home, put together by the Burnaby Association for Community Living (BACI), many of which can be done without the internet. There are even some spaces to come up with your own ideas.

Getting in the habit

The current pandemic has caused many of us to adopt new habits. While many of these are out of necessity, here’s a reminder that some these habits may be worth holding on to, even when life starts getting back to normal. Until next time!

Avoid the Scams


“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


In troubling times there is always someone trying to take advantage… COVID-19 has brought out the best in people but has also created opportunity for those looking to capitalize on this dangerous environment: “the cybercriminals”. These are not teenagers with hoodies pulled over their heads (although there may be a few), but sophisticated, well-run, heavily-financed crime syndicates with many being state-sponsored “cyber warriors”. It’s big business with potentially devastating consequences.


Cybercriminals are going all in on COVID-19 scams. This includes creating scams related to the stimulus packages that the federal government is making available to Canadians. This is one of the most dangerous times that we have ever faced; possible fear and desperation could lead people to click on emails that they may not usually click on and these threat actors are capitalizing on this environment. Cybercriminals are now almost exclusively conducting COVID-19 themed campaigns. According to new studies, published by Proofpoint, 80% of all threats identified by the firm are COVID-19 related.


Solid reputable IT firms should produce reporting, training options, and security assessments that provide you with the “ounce of prevention”.


— Andre Brosseau, President | innov8



Dear CLBC eligible individuals and families –

I hope you are well and safe. I am writing to provide you with an update on our most recent work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help keep families informed, we have now launched a CLBC COVID-19 weekly update. You can look here to see our first three editions. Please read the April 8th update to see a plain language recap of our Ministry’s announcement of provincial supports for people on income assistance, resources from the Cerebral Palsy Association and Autism Community Training (ACT) as well as stories of hope and encouragement.

Please note, that we will be holding another teleconference call with Minister Shane Simpson, Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, and CLBC CEO Ross Chilton on Friday, April 17, 2020, from 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Details will be sent next week.

In these last weeks, some you have written to ask about what efforts are being made to work with service providers to ensure services are delivered in a safe manner. Our agencies are adopting recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer and adjusting services to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and to be prepared should any incidents arise. You can read the recommendations here.

It is our top priority to support agencies to make these adjustments, and we extend our deep appreciation to support workers who continue to provide care one-on-one, in group homes and in other settings during this time.

We are monitoring the needs of individuals, families, and service providers and working on supports, resources and contingency plans that will help everyone stay safe and supported as this situation evolves.

Please continue to check our web site for new messages and updates. Also, please join us on our next teleconference call.


Ross Chilton
CEO, Community Living BC

Due to COVID-19, new emergency measures are in place to ensure that people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors, do not encounter additional barriers.

Income & Disability Assistance

If you are not receiving federal Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and are on:

  • Income Assistance
  • Disability Assistance
  • Comforts Allowance
  • BC Senior’s Supplement

You will automatically receive a $300 supplement on your cheques issued in April, May, and June. No action is required on your part.

If you are receiving federal EI or the CERB and receiving:

  • Income Assistance
  • Disability Assistance

You will not be eligible for the $300 supplement.

CERB and EI are temporarily exempt, meaning they will have no effect on your regular Income Assistance or Disability Assistance.

Apply for the CERB

Applications will open on April 6, please visit the federal website for instructions.

BC Bus Pass Program

If you are on Disability Assistance and receiving the BC Bus Pass:

  • There is a current province-wide suspension of BC Transit and Translink bus fares
  • You will automatically receive the $52 Transportation Supplement on your cheque starting in April
  • This will continue for as long as BC Transit and Translink are suspending fares
  • No action is required on your part. Your bus pass will not be cancelled and will remain active for use on Sky Train and Sea Bus services. You will not need to re-apply once fares are re-instated
  • For people already receiving the Transportation Supplement of $52, there is no change and no action is required on your part

Receiving payments

Direct Deposit is a safe and dependable way to receive payments. Money is deposited directly to your Bank or Credit Union account. You have immediate access to your money.

Sign up for Direct Deposit.

Accessing Service

If you have documents to submit, you can mail them or place them in the drop box at any office or phone 1-866-866-0800 to discuss options.

To avoid coming into an office, access services by phone or via My Self Serve.

Telephone Device for the Deaf (TDD) is also available:

  • Vancouver: 604-775-0303
  • Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-661-8773

In-person service support may be impacted by COVID-19.  Check your local office for hours of operation before visiting.

Office Health & Safety

Changes to in-person services are in place due to COVID-19. To protect the health of our citizens and employees, we are:

  • Supporting physical distancing in our offices through signage, temporary shields and visual cues
  • Enhancing the cleaning services in our waiting areas
  • Posting information about proper hygiene practices and health precautions

Financial Supports

>>Summary List of COVID-19 Public Health Orders and Government Announcements
>>Official BC Government Covid-19 Website

Below you will find a summary of financial supports that are available to support people and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. New information is also issued as a bulletin when new public health orders are issued. Subscribe to have them automatically delivered to your inbox.

New and updated information is highlighted. (Last Update: March 31, 2020)

Businesses (General) – Businesses (Sector) – Housing – Income (Workforce) – Income Supplements –  Misc Supports – Other


Support Description How to Access
⚡ BC Hydro Bill deferral, payment plans, as well as crisis funding is available. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO or apply online.
🏦 Freeze on rental rates No rent increases are allowed in BC, effective April 1. No action needed. Contact RTB with questions.
🏦 BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) Provides up to $500/month towards rent, paid directly to landlords. Applications open mid-April. More info here.
🏘️ Mortgages (CMHC-insured) Mortgage payment deferrals available for CMHC-insured loans. 🍁Check with your lender.
🏘️ Mortgages (non-CMHC) Check with your lender about payment deferral options. 🍁Check with your lender.
🛏️ Emergency Housing Existing shelters still active and additional emergency options may be available. Call 2-1-1  or search online.
⚠️ See more re: Housing.


Support Description How to Access
💵 Employment Insurance (EI) Existing EI benefit continues to be available. Provides up to $573/week to people who have lost income. 🍁Apply online.
💵 EI Sickness Benefit One-week waiting period has been waived. 🍁Call 1-833-381-2725 or apply online.
💵 Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Provides $2000/month to workers who lose income due to COVID-19, including contractors and self-employed people.
(Note: Previous description implied only those who do not qualify for EI are eligible for CERB. However, CERB may actually take the place of EI for new applicants when available. In the meantime, those who qualify for EI should continue to submit for EI, as it is a benefit that lasts up to 45 weeks and can continue after the CERB benefit ends on Oct 3.)
🍁Applications open on April 6. Get ready to apply by ensuring you are registered for My Account with the CRA and have set up direct deposit. More info here.
💵 BC Emergency Benefit One-time additional tax-free payment of $1000 to those on EI or CERB. Check back for application instructions.
⚠️ See more re: Labour & Industry.


Support Description How to Access
💵 GST-credit One-time boost of up to $600 per eligible couple, $400 for eligible individuals in May. 🍁Benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
💵 Climate Action Tax Credit One-time boost of up to $564 for eligible families of 4 and $218 for eligible individuals in an enhanced payment in July. Children under 18 years old must be registered for the CCB to qualify. No other action is needed; benefit is paid out according to your income tax return. More info here.
👪 Canada Child Benefit (CCB) One-time boost of $300 per child in May. 🍁No action if you are already registered for CCB. Otherwise, apply online.
🤸 Youth in Care Youth in care will not age out of services during the pandemic. Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program payments will continue despite school closures and training interruptions.
🧘 Young Adults Program (AYA) Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) program payments will continue to former youth-in-care despite school closures and training interruptions.
💵 Income Assistance Existing Income Assistance program continues to be available for those in need with no other resources. Apply online, by phone at 1-866-866-0800, or visit your local office.
♿ People with Disabilities Existing Disability Assistance program continues to be available. See also full list of additional supports here. Apply online, by phone at 1-866-866-0800, or visit your local office.
👵 Seniors Existing programs continue to be available, including:
—–Old Age Security (OAS): $614/mo (max)
—–Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS): $916/mo (max)
—–Allowance / Allowance for Survivor: $1389/mo (max)
🍁 Eligible seniors are automatically enrolled, but applications can also be submitted online.


Support Description How to Access
🚘 Hospital parking Parking is free of charge at all health authority owned/operated health care sites.
🚗 ICBC Monthly payment deferral for up to 90 days with no penalty. Call 1-800-665-6442 or apply online.
👪 Emergency Child Care Funding Child care providers receiving emergency government funding cannot charge parent fees for any periods of closure or for vacant spaces and must reserve spaces for families, starting April. Check with your provider to see if they are in this program.
🏫 BC Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repaymentstarting April. Repayment will be paused automatically.
🏫 Canada Student Loans Six-month interest-free moratorium on repaymentstarting April. 🍁Repayment will be paused automatically.
🚌 BC Transit & TransLink Fare-free boarding on all buses. Enter through rear of the bus, unless accessible loading is required.
👵 Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) Minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) has been reduced by 25% for 2020. 🍁Learn more here.
✈️ Emergency Travel Loan Emergency loan of $5000 available to Canadians travelling abroad. 🍁Dial +1 613-996-8885 or send an email.
🧾 Income tax return Filing due date is deferred to June 1. Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. 🍁


Support Description How to Access
⚡ BC Hydro Bill deferral and payment plans. Call 1-800-BC-HYDRO.
👷 WorkSafeBC Payment deadlines are postponed without penalty. More info.
💵 Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Covers up to 75% of wages for businesses, charities, and non-profits that have lost more than 30% of their revenue. Max subsidy of $847 per week per employee, backdated to March 15. 🍁Check back for application instructions.
💵 Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Financing support for small and medium-sized businesses. Available mid-April.
—–Canada Emergency Business Account: Loans of up to $40,000 for small businesses and not-for-profits, interest-free for one year. A portion may be forgivable. Available mid-April.
—– Loan Guarantee: Operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs. Available mid-April.
—–Co-Lending Program: Co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program. Available mid-April.
🍁Speak with your financial institution. Learn more.
🧾 Federal income tax Payments owed are deferred until after August 31. 🍁
🧾 BC business taxes Payments for Employer health tax (EHT), provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax are deferred until after Sept 30. Scheduled April 1 increases to provincial carbon tax and PST are deferred.
🧾 School Tax Cut of 50% for business and industry property classes, to be passed onto tenants on triple-net leases.
🧾 GST/HST Payments owed deferred to June 30. 🍁
🧾 Customs duties & taxes Payments owed deferred to June 30. 🍁
⚠️ See more re: Businesses.
⚠️ Click here: BC Government Small Business Support List


Support Description How to Access
🧸 Child care sector Emergency funding is available for child care providers that stay open and that close. Learn more.
🎭 Arts & Culture sector $3-million Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement to give operating and eligible project clients a supplement of up to $15,000. Clients will receive a 50% advance on 2020-21 funding. Via BC Arts Council.
📰 Publishing and news sectors Simplified process for Canada Book Fund and Canada Periodical Fund. Journalism Tax Measures. 🍁
🎥 Broadcasting sector CRTC Part I licence fees waived. 🍁
🏞️ Tourism businesses in national parks and historic sites Tourism operators in national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas will have payments on commercial leases and licences of occupation deferred without interest until September 1. 🍁Wait to be contacted by Parks Canada.
🐚 Seafood sector Seafood growers, shellfish farmers, and processors, will have access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. 🍁Via FCC.
🚜 Farmers and Agri-Food sector Access to the $5 billion Farm Credit Canada loan program. 🍁Via FCC.
✈️Airports Rents paid on ground leases waived. 🍁
⚠️ See more re: Businesses.


Support Description
🥫 Food Banks BC Funding boost to Food Banks British Columbia, who will distribute the money among food banks province wide.
🧒🏼 Kids Help Phone Funding boost to Kids Help Phone, which provides young people with mental health support. 🍁
👵 United Way Canada Funding boost to United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors, such as: Delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports. 🍁

Questions? For items marked “🍁”, contact your local MP. Otherwise, contact your local MLA.

Businesses (General) – Businesses (Sector) – Housing – Income (Workforce) – Income Supplements – Misc Supports – Other

Dear Person Supported/Parent/Caregiver,

We hope that you are all managing to stay well during these very challenging times.  As Dr. Bonnie Henry continues to reiterate, the next 2 weeks are a critical time.  John Horgan recently extended the state of emergency in BC until at least April 14th noting that the next 2 weeks are critically important in the ongoing unprecedented fight against COVID-19.

SACL is monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely, and relying on information from the Provincial Health Services Authority.  At this time we have not been given any direction as to when full services will start again.

I wanted to take this time to give you all an update.  In keeping with efforts to keep the management team well, our Service Managers Joanne Reitan and Karen Hansen are alternating weeks that they work out of the office – one week on site and one week from their homes.  Claudia Pass, the manager of the Cluster Living Program works the majority of her hours out of her home base.

As the safest place for anyone to be right now is at home, the majority of persons supported are self-isolating.  Our managers have arranged with staff to have weekly contact with all persons supported/parents/caregivers.  If an individual does need some emergency supports, please connect with your key worker first.  A manager will have a staff person connect with each individual either by phone, or going to the house and taking the individual for a walk or a hike.

Should you need to speak with a Manager, here is their contact information:

  • Joanne Reitan Extension 1102
  • Karen Hansen Extension 1305
  • Claudia Pass 778-489-3885

If you have any questions – please let me know.  I am at extension 1301.  When we are working from our homes, we will all be checking for messages Monday to Friday.


Jo-Anne Crawford

Executive Director

The Family Support Institute’s main mandate is to support families any time they need it. Right now we are hosting family support any time of the day/night. We are doing this via teleconference/ZOOM/phone/Facetime/text messaging/email. We are holding ZOOM calls multiple times a day in all regions of the province hosted by our 12 regional staff. They are posted on our website on a calendar, along with any other community partner engagement for families. First, we also created a plain language ZOOM tutorial for anyone who needed it and posted it on our website. Technology is new to some people so we want to help people access how to use online ZOOM engagement so they would not worry, or not come online due to technology as a barrier.

Our website also has up to date information managed daily on a COVID-19 page listed here that we send out to families via a bulletin, email, social media.

FSI Websites/Resources
FSI has several websites created for families that have been adapted to respond to COVID-19. They are listed below. We have done this due to the fact that families have their “go to” resource so while it may be duplication for us, it is better for families.
Findsupportbc is a provincial database f supports and services available to families based on region, city, age and disability. We keep it current. We have added a COVID-19 category.

MyCommunityBC is a community mapping site that we created in partnership with CLBC to map inclusive places in BC. We have created a category for COVID-19. These are mapped by us and by Community and CLBC councils.

Tech Share Facebook Page is site we created in response to family needs identified through our connections with families all over BC. They identified families who have no technology, but are isolated, alone, and wanting to connect. We created a Facebook page where families can donate technology equipment, or identify they are personally in need or know someone in need. There is very detailed information on how to clean the equipment both sanitary-wise and hackware etc. People are encouraged to donate shipping etc. there is also a form where people can submit what they have or what they need and FSI has a staff person who will facilitate matches.

Provincial Family Group
There is a group of Provincial Family organizations meeting daily at 10am, 7 days a week, to share what we are hearing from families across BC, coordinating messaging, brainstorming solutions together, and trying to find supports collectively that we feel will best meet the interest of British Columbian families. It is comprised of family members entirely. It is solution oriented, and collaborative 100% of the time. We are focused on equity of health access (a Health plan for PWD), mental health of families, cross ministry coordination inclusive of family and self-advocate voices, and consistent and timely supports and interventions for families.


Dear individuals and families –

Thank you to everyone who joined our teleconference call last week. Due to strong interest, we are pleased to invite you to a second teleconference call.

Please join the Honourable Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction*, Deputy Minister David Galbraith, Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, and Community Living CEO Ross Chilton for our latest updates on services and supports. (*Due to a very busy schedule, Minister Simpson is expected to join our call by 12 noon).

When: Thursday, April 2, 2020

Time: 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

How to call in:
Vancouver – 604-681-0260
Elsewhere – 1-877-353-9184
Participant code: 37568#
Special Instructions:  Due to the large number of participants, please start dialing in at 11:05 a.m.

During this call our speakers will provide an update and respond to as many questions as possible submitted prior to the previous call and received this week.

We look forward to having you join us. For the latest information from CLBC, please visit our COVID-19 web page for individuals and families here.