Welcome to the July 17 edition of CLBC’s Update for Individuals and Families. As a reminder, you can find all Updates (including past editions) posted on our website here. If you know of anyone who would like to receive future Updates, please share the link to our sign up page with them. If you have a specific question, or feedback about this update, you can send an email to [email protected].

CLBC and Government Updates

Plain language teleconference summary now available

Last week, a teleconference for families took place with Deputy Provincial Health Officer Dr. Daniele Behn Smith joining CLBC CEO Ross Chilton to respond to health-related questions as services begin to be restored in Phases 2 and 3 of the COVID-19 recovery. Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Shane Simpson provided opening and closing remarks.

You can read a plain language summary of the teleconference call here. This summary, as well as the audio recording of the call, are also posted to the CLBC website here.

Public Health Agency of Canada shares helpful tools

Canada’s Public Health Agency has created a number of helpful, visual tools about ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These include this infographic about effective handwashing and this video about physical distancing.

You can also find links to more helpful tools, resources and information on the Government of Canada’s website by visiting: canada.ca/coronavirus

Volunteer to help create accessibility standards

Accessibility Standards Canada is currently creating two technical standards development committees that will focus on plain language and outdoor spaces respectively. These technical committees will identify where people with disabilities may face barriers and will help develop national standards to work towards eliminating these barriers.

Each committee will include people with disabilities, and anyone interested in these volunteer roles can apply until August 4, 2020. Find full details by clicking here, including links for applying to volunteer on each of the committees.

Disability Alliance BC offering free webinar

Disability Alliance BC (DABC) is hosting a free webinar on July 22 from 11:00 a.m. to noon about the rights of people with disabilities to have their essential support person or attendant with them in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinar will be presented by Andrew Robb, Staff Lawyer for the Disability Law Clinic at DABC. The webinar will be recorded and will be available on DABC’s website after the broadcast. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. Click here for full details, including information about how to join.

Staying connected and supported


Learn about First Nations Health Authority’s new mobile app and Virtual Doctor of the Day

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) has launched the new FNHA Mobile App as a convenient way to access information that supports the health, wellness and safety of B.C. First Nations. You can read more about the app here, including information about how to download it on your mobile device.

The First Nations Virtual Doctor of the Day program enables members of B.C. First Nations who may not have a doctor of their own, or who have lost access due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to make virtual appointments. The intent of the program is to enable more First Nations people and their family members to access primary health care closer to home. The program includes doctors of Indigenous ancestry, and all doctors are trained to follow the principles and practices of cultural safety and humility.

Learn more about the program here, including information about how to set up an appointment.

Explore the importance of planning during a pandemic

MORC, an organization based in Michigan, is hosting a free webinar series with people from around North America to talk about the importance of planning and what people should be thinking about for themselves and for those they care about during the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can click the links below to find more information and register for the upcoming sessions:

Anxiety Canada app provides mental health support

MindShift CBT is a mobile app provided by Anxiety Canada that uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) strategies to help people learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of anxiety.

Learn more about the app and how to download it by clicking here.

Emotional support guide for seniors

B.C.’s Northern Health Authority has published a guide called Emotional Support for Seniors: Practical Strategies for Anxiety and Stress Related to COVID-19. The document includes advice on keeping routines, eating healthy and important information about support available from the provincial and federal governments. You can click here to download the guide.

Self Advocate Corner

Tools and resources for visiting the doctor

Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (HCARDD), in partnership with the Surrey Place Development Disabilities Primary Care Program in Toronto, has created a number of accessible, plain language resources that can be of assistance for self advocates. Here are a few examples, and you can click the links to access each of these:

  • About My Health Tool is a form to fill out and share with health care providers to share information about likes, dislikes and preferred ways of communicating.
  • My Health Care Visit Tool is a form to fill out with a health care provider during a visit to better understand the purpose of the visit and what the next steps are.
  • A Virtual Doctor’s Visit is a video showing an example of a visit to the doctor during COVID-19 using video technology.

You can find more information and resources related to COVID-19 on HCARDD’s website here.

Self Advocate Leadership Network’s YouTube Channel

In addition to their website, The Self Advocate Leadership Network (SALN) also shares information and updates on their YouTube channel which you can find here. Recent videos include:

Stories of hope and encouragement

The Spirit Orcas’ Great Big Swim

Spirit Orcas, a group of eight swimmers with intellectual disabilities, and Susan Simmons, an ultra-marathon swimmer, have embarked on an eight-week 80-kilometre swim that started on Canada Day.

Dubbed “the Great Big Swim,” the endurance event supports the Victoria Foundation’s Vital Victoria Fund, which aims to help local charities endure the effects of the global pandemic.

You can learn more about the swim, including progress updates and a spot tracker to follow the swimmers, by visiting Susan’s website here.

BC Autism Awards 2020

Nominations for the 2020 BC Autism Awards open on July 22 to highlight and recognize “the everyday heroes in our story.” The awards will celebrate the passion, strengths and achievements of volunteers, businesses, self advocates and community members across British Columbia.

You can read more about the awards, including information about how to submit a nomination, by visiting Autism BC’s website here.

Sproutflix Film Festival continues

Sproutflix is a film distributor that hosts a large and diverse assortment of films featuring people with developmental disabilities. During COVID-19, they are hosting a virtual film festival on their website with free access to short films.

You can click here to find the latest free playlist of three unique films that are available to watch for three weeks.

Updated Support and Connection Toolkit highlights resources and activities

In each edition of this update, we share an updated version of the Support and Connection Toolkit which gathers links to resources and activities into one document for easy access. See the most updated document here.

Signing off

Dear family members –

As I approach my first anniversary with Community Living British Columbia (CLBC), I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to family members. This has been an incredibly challenging year for all British Columbians as we have faced the first global pandemic in our lifetimes.

The pandemic, and all the challenges associated with our response, have meant that most of you have taken on additional responsibilities for the wellbeing of your family member.  You have done this as an expression of your love and your desire to keep your family member safe. We know that for most of you that has not been easy as CLBC funded supports were modified and, in many cases, reduced to keep people safe. This was also at a time when most community resources that your family member relied on have been closed.

Most of you have taken on additional responsibilities

While service providers across the province have done an amazing job in transforming the support they offer, we could not have gotten to this point without the support of families. When you took on more responsibility for your loved one, this helped agencies focus their support on those individuals and families that needed it most. Even under the enormous strain of the pandemic, individuals, families, and providers worked together to get us through.

I am greatly appreciative of what families have done. I also realize that it has left many of you tired. As providers are now moving into stage 2 and 3 it is our hope that you and your family member will be able to rely on more of the essential support you had before the pandemic.

Service providers are restoring services in Phase 2

In order to keep people safe, group services have not been able to operate the way they did before the pandemic. For the foreseeable future individuals will need to be supported one-on-one or in very small groups to reduce the risk of virus transmission. For some individuals that means they will be relying on less hours of support. Providers will be doing their best to make sure people get as much support as they can while operating in ways that keep individuals, families, and workers safe.

We don’t know what the fall will look like but CLBC and providers have been actively planning for a second wave. As hard as it would be, we might need to quickly return to the reduced levels of contact that helped us flatten the curve in the first wave. I share this with you not to worry you, but to help us all prepare ourselves for different possibilities.

Please stay connected to your agency or CLBC

I believe strongly in the resiliency of families. I also strongly believe that we need to do what we can to support families to remain connected over the next number of months. While there may be some stressful times ahead, we don’t want any family to feel isolated and alone. For those of you involved with an agency we know they will continue to be your primary contact. For those of you not connected to an agency we want you to feel comfortable reaching out to the CLBC team.

This fall we will be announcing on our website a series of webinars on topics that will be relevant to families to help you get through this time. We would also like to remind you about the support available through the Family Support Institute (FSI). FSI has demonstrated how valuable family-to-family support can be during very challenging times and continues to be a tremendous resource.

Please subscribe to our regular updates

In the meantime, we will continue to post information for families on our website here, and provide regular bulletin updates. To stay connected, we would encourage you to subscribe now to our news list. You can do so by visiting this page on our web site today.

In closing I would like to thank you for all you do and let you know we will work with our partners to ensure that your family member gets as much support as possible as we work together to get through this very challenging time.


Ross Chilton
CEO, Community Living BC

SACL’s Phase 2 Safety Plan & the Pandemic Continuity Plan are available on our Resources Page.

Please review for important safety implementations.