Welcome to the September 2 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 News

Upcoming teleconference scheduled for individuals and families

A teleconference for individuals and family members has now been scheduled for Thursday, September 17, from 2:00 p.m to 3:00 p.m. with Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and Ross Chilton, CLBC CEO. This teleconference will share information about work to keep people safe through the fall during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

An invitation with call-in details, and information about how to submit questions in advance, will be distributed by email in the near future and posted on the CLBC website here. We will also share the audio recording of the teleconference and a plain language summary in a future edition of this update after the call takes place.

COVID-19 Interim Guidance continues to allow Individualized Funding (IF) to be used to pay immediate family members

With the August 31 end of the temporary emergency funding to address COVID-19, CLBC wants to assure families with Individualized Funding (DF), Microboards or Person-Centred Societies that if they are facing staffing shortages and / or on-going program closures, they can continue to pay immediate family members from an existing individualized funding arrangement.

This is a temporary exception, where exceptional circumstances require it. There is no review and approval process required. Approval can be made by the direct funding agent, Microboard or the Person-Centred Society. To read the Interim Guidance for Service Provision by Family Members, please visit this page on our website. Please note that all other requirements are still in effect, including the need to continue to complete financial reporting.

Reminder: Vela continues to assist families using Individualized Funding and Microboards. Find a schedule of online Conversations Supporting Microboards and IF During COVID-19 here, including the next upcoming session on September 10.

CLBC will continue to monitor the situation and the province’s COVID response. When ready to return to regular contracting requirements, families will be given 30-days notice of the intention to end this interim exception to provide sufficient time to end any arrangements permitted under this guidance.

During COVID-19, virtual workshops continue to welcome people to CLBC

Our offices are open and continue to assist individuals and families transitioning to CLBC services. One way offices provide assistance is through Welcome Workshops. Welcome Workshops provide people new to CLBC, or who are updating plans or working with a facilitator, with information about adulthood, local community resources, planning and CLBC services.

Since there is limited ability to meet in person during COVID-19, CLBC has developed an option for an online virtual Welcome Workshop series to ensure people continue to be welcomed and informed throughout this time. Some offices may also continue to hold in-person Welcome Workshops when COVID-19 safety requirements can be met.

Each CLBC office is responsible for planning Welcome Workshops based on the needs of their area. If you would like to find out about an in-person or virtual Welcome Workshops series in your community, please contact your local CLBC office.

Province steps up support for community social services sector

On August 27, the Province announced $10 million in one-time funding to support organizations and agencies in B.C.’s community social services sector, including those in community living, to be better able to build capacity, support recruitment and retention, and improve occupational health and safety training programs for staff.

For full details, click here to read the government news release.

Government announces Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

On August 20, the Government of Canada announced a new benefit called the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB). You can read about the CRCB, as well as other recently announced benefits here.

Once the legislation is passed, the CRCB will provide a $500-per-week taxable benefit, for up to 26 weeks, if an individual misses work to care for a family member due to COVID-19. The benefits will be available to access for one year, beginning on September 27. The CRCB can be shared among household members, but only one household member can receive the benefit in any one week. If support is available outside the home, but an individual prefers to keep a dependent at home, they’re not eligible for the CRCB.

To qualify for the CRCB, you must have been unable to work for at least 60 per cent of your normally scheduled work week because you must take care of a child who is under 12 years old, or provide care to a family member with a disability or a dependent. You must be caring for the child, family member or dependent because either:
• their school, daycare, day program or care facility is closed (or operates under an alternative schedule) due to COVID-19;

• a medical professional has advised that they cannot attend the facility due to being at high risk if they contract COVID-19;

• or because the caregiver usually providing care is not available because of COVID-19.
In addition, you must not have received paid leave or certain other benefits (including the CERB, CRB, CRSB, short term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, or EI benefits) for that work week.

Find more information about the CRCB and other benefits through the Canada COVID-19 Economic Response Plan here.

Tips for safer social interactions

Social interaction and getting together with others in person and online is important to our wellbeing. The BC Centre for Disease Control has created a page on their website here with information to help you decide how you would like to spend time with people inside your social group in the safest way for you. Remember: fewer faces, bigger spaces.

Staying connected and supported

Inclusion BC Virtual Learning Series – Registration is now open

When Inclusion BC had to postpone their 2020 conference, they heard from members, families and self advocates that they wanted other ways to connect, learn and share ideas.

Over the next 18 months, Inclusion BC will be hosting a series of free webinars. Their Virtual Learning Series will be organized into three terms (Fall 2020, Winter 2021, and Fall 2021) with approximately six virtual sessions per term. Sessions will fall into themes, including employment, civic engagement, advocacy and K-12 education.

The first workshop series focuses on Employment and starts on September 8. Find all of the details, including information about how to register, here.

Tools available if you need to go to the hospital during COVID-19

It’s important to know what resources are available for people with disabilities should you or your family member have to go to the hospital. As a reminder, here are links to a few helpful tools we shared in previous updates:
• Toolkit for People with Disabilities in B.C. for Health Care Settings (including a link to the updated Hospital Essential Visitor’s policy)
• Personal COVID-19 Emergency Plan
• Most health care providers are able to talk with patients on the phone or meet using video. Here’s a video of a virtual doctor’s visit as an example of what to expect.

MyBooklet BC Version 2 now available with exciting new enhancements

MyBooklet BC is a free online tool that families and people with disabilities can use to create a beautiful and personalized information booklet to store and share their strengths, gifts, goals and more!

Version 2 of MyBooklet BC is now available here. This updated version includes many enhancements including new design templates and a new image editing tool.

Keep an eye out for MyBooklet BC workshops coming in the Fall by visiting the Family Support Institute Event Calendar here.

Accessibility Project Grant 2020 applications now open

Disability Alliance BC has announced a call for proposals for projects that promote greater accessibility and inclusivity for people with disabilities in B.C. communities. Funding of $10,000 to $40,000 per successful project will be disbursed in early 2021 to a maximum of $450,000.

The deadline to submit a proposal for the Promoting Inclusion and Accessibility for People with Disabilities project is October 9, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.

Find more information as well as the application form here.

Mental Health Resources page created on the CLBC website

For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to feelings of stress, anxiety and isolation. Supporting mental health and wellness is now more important than ever.

To help people find and connect with mental health information and resources all in one place, CLBC has created this new page on our website. We will add to the list as we become aware of new resources to share. If you have suggestions for information to be added to the page, please send an email to [email protected].

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 toolkit here.

Self Advocate Corner

Updates and helpful resources from Special Olympics BC (SOBC)

Special Olympics BC (SOBC) has announced their first steps for safely returning to in-person sport programs, meetings, and fundraising events. They also continue to provide resources for people to stay supported and connected, including ways to help athletes maintain their training and health at home.

Learn more about the SOBC return to in-person programs and find other tools and resources here.

You can also check out this SOBC “building a routine at home” fillable schedule. Try using this template to fill out your daily tasks and goals and make a plan for your day.

Are you someone who is unable to wear a mask?

For people who cannot wear a mask, new information cards created by Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (HCARDD) are intended to foster compassion and help others understand that some people are unable to wear a mask because of their disability.
• Click here to download the card for people with a developmental disability
• Click here to download the card for people with Autism
You can save these as images to your phone, or print them to keep in a wallet or phone case.

Find more related COVID-19 resources from HCARDD on their website here.

Assistance with using your phone to stay connected

Are you a person with a disability who needs help with your phone? Neil Squire and Telus are working together to provide specialized assistance so people with disabilities can use their phone to stay connected and supported. For more information call 1-877-673-4636 or visit www.neilsquire.ca/techforgood.

Stories of hope and encouragement

To mask or not to mask

There has been a lot of talk about the importance of wearing a mask. Some places are making it mandatory to wear masks. This can make some of us anxious and worried to go out.

CLBC Strategic Initiative Advisors Alexander Magnussen and Michelle Goos share their stories below about getting comfortable wearing masks.

Remember: If you have a disability and are not able to wear a mask, then accommodations and exemptions can be made.

Alexander’s story:

“Hello! At first, I hated the thought of a mask. My sister made me try on a mask and it tied behind my head. It really scared me because I couldn’t take it off fast. Then I decided to buy a Vancouver Canucks mask and try it out my own way. I was nervous, but I knew I could take it off quickly, so that made me less worried.

I went to the mall with this mask and I tried it in a store for the first time. It wasn’t too bad. I did run out of the store to take it off and have a minute or two break. Then I put it back on and went back in to the store. Being able to take it off quickly and knowing I can take breaks is important to me. And I figured if I’m going to wear a mask, I’m going to wear a Vancouver Canucks mask because I am a huge fan. Go Canucks Go!”

Michelle’s story:

“I understand the stress about wearing masks. For me, it helps to practice at home. I started out slowly wearing masks just in the places that ask for it. I have my mask with me when I go out now just in case I need it.

It helps me to know that when I wear my mask other people feel safe. It might be a long time that we need to wear masks so it’s important to practice and help others and show them it’s ok. There are different kinds of masks to try like shields and bandanas. You just need to find what works for you.”

Signing Off

Until next edition, here are some helpful actions you can take if ever you’re feeling lonely and isolated.