B.C. Announcement:
Vaccine Priority for People Supported by Community Living BC

 

 

People deemed clinically extremely vulnerable prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine

Today the Ministry of Health released information regarding the COVID-19 vaccination prioritization for persons identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV). B.C. residents 16+ years who are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable will be able to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks.

To read the full brief visit the BC Government News.

Inclusion BC is pleased to learn of the further clarity provided by the Provincial Health Office in regards to the prioritization of COVID-19 vaccinations for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Thank you to the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship for the advocacy partnership in ensuring that persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities were clearly considered in the B.C. COVID-19 vaccination priority plans.

We would also like to thank the Provincial Health Office for both hearing our concerns and for bringing further clarity to the vaccine priorities for all B.C. residents.

How will I know if I’m identified as clinically extremely vulnerable? 

People aged 16 to 74 years old who are eligible will receive a letter in the mail with information on how to book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Those who receive the letter can book a vaccine appointment for themselves or have a family member or friend call for them.

What are the eligibility requirements for persons with significant developmental disabilities?

People supported by the following programs are eligible:

  • Community Supports for Independent Living (CSIL)
  • Community Living British Columbia (CLBC)
  • Nursing Support Services program for youth aged 16 to 19

To read the full list of eligibility requirements visit the BC Government News.

What are my next steps? 

  • Wait for your letter
  • Call to book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment following the instructions in your letter
  • Bring the letter to the appointment and receive a COVID-19 vaccine

 

What if I haven’t received my letter? 

  • If you have not received your letter by April 15, 2021 contact the provincial call centre, OR
  • Visit the provincial online registration and booking system “Get Vaccinated” *scheduled to launch on April 6, 2021

 

When can I book my COVID-19 vaccination appointment?

The clinically extremely vulnerable based booking process will run parallel to the ongoing age-based booking schedule. The schedule is being accelerated, starting with those born in 1945 able to book starting Wednesday, March 24.

The revised age-based health authority eligibility call-in schedule is as follows: 

  • age 76 (born in 1945) – Wednesday, March 24 at noon
  • age 75 (born in 1946) – Thursday, March 25 at noon
  • age 74 (born in 1947) – Friday, March 26 at noon
  • age 74+, and CEV population with invitation letter to book – Monday, March 29 noon

 

Join CLBC’s March 30 COVID-19 telephone update for self advocates and families

(Service providers are requested to distribute this invitation to family members and encourage supported individuals to participate).

Dear self advocates and families –

Please join Community Living BC (CLBC) next Tuesday, March 30 for an opportunity to hear from Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, about the latest health and vaccine information and guidance on COVID-19.

Participants will also hear an update from Ross Chilton, CEO of CLBC. The call will be hosted by CLBC Board Chair Michael J. Prince.

When: Tuesday, March 30

Time: 1:05 to 2 p.m.* (Pacific Standard Time)

How to call in:

Vancouver: 604-681-0260
Elsewhere: 1-877-353-9184
Participant code: 37568#

* Due to the large number of participants, please call in at 12:55 p.m.

Self advocates and families are invited to submit COVID-19 health questions in advance by noon on Thursday, March 25 to [email protected] with the subject line: March 30 CLBC Call. This will allow us to answer as many questions as possible.

We look forward to having you join us! For the latest information from CLBC, please visit our web pages with COVID-19 information here.

BC has started rolling out its COVID-19 vaccination process for Seniors.

If you were born in 1946 or earlier, please use this link to determine when you are eligible to make your appointment to receive your vaccination:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/seniors

 

Dear Home Sharing Providers,

We want to begin this update by expressing our gratitude once again for all you are doing for the individuals you support.

This message provides you with an update on the work of the Home Sharing Working Group which met on January 15, 2021. The Home Sharing Working Group was established to work on issues home sharing providers have raised in past consultations. You can find some background about the group, its plans, and past info bulletins on CLBC’s web site here.

In this update you will find these topics:

  • B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan
  • Reviewing CLBC’s Home Sharing Plan
  • Home sharing projects
    • Referral and crisis response
    • Home sharing handbook
    • Standards for coordination of shared living
  • Studying a possible new home sharing entity
  • Ongoing COVID resources
  • Next telephone update with Dr. Behn Smith

 

B.C.’s COVID Immunization Plan

In January the Province of B.C. announced its COVID-19 Immunization Plan, which will happen in four phases. Eligibility for all phases is based on the age you are turning in 2021 and you can find more details here.

CLBC has posted information about vaccinations on its web site here, including how we are working with the Office of the Provincial Health Officer to share the priority needs of our sector. We have been assured that Dr. Bonnie Henry is fully aware of the risk of those in our sector and others. Initially vaccine supplies are very limited, and therefore plans focus first on those most at risk – the elderly and those in “congregate” settings.

Phase 2 (February to March) includes individuals supported by CLBC who live in group homes. We expect these vaccinations to begin very soon. Phase 3 (April to June) includes adults with significant developmental disabilities who are clinically very vulnerable. Depending on vaccine supply, we expect many individuals who live in home sharing will be eligible in this phase.

Planning for this very large, complex immunization plan is being done right now, and more details about this will be coming soon. Everyone in B.C. who wants to receive the vaccine will have the opportunity to get it. You can also read more about B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan on the BC Centre for Disease Control website here.

Reviewing CLBC’s Home Sharing Plan

CLBC recently reviewed planning needs to determine if we have the right priorities for improving home sharing. In particular, CLBC is assessing whether activities are properly aligned in three areas: home sharing is a vibrant, sustainable service; home sharing supports people to live quality lives; and monitoring and oversight supports the delivery of the quality home sharing services. This process was discussed with the Home Sharing Working Group.

Home Sharing Projects

Referral and Crisis Response

Due to COVID-19, the Referral and Crisis Response project timeline has been extended. Although the timeline to complete this project has been delayed, the project team is still working on completing the online survey data analysis that was collected in November 2020. The next step is to integrate all data collected including the data taken from in-person consultations to identify themes. Findings will be presented to the Home Share Working Group members. Key findings will be then shared with those who participated in surveys and consultations, followed by work to find solutions.

Home Sharing Handbook

The Home Sharing Handbook project team continues to work on a universal and collaborative approach to developing an improved handbook to support home sharing providers and service providers. Testing was completed in December 2020. The next step is to create a mock-up, conduct another testing cycle and write the content.  The project team expects the Handbook to be complete and available for use by the end of March 2021.

Standards for the Coordination of Shared Living

CLBC has completed consultations on the draft set of shared living coordination standards with service providers and CLBC staff. Many in the sector told us that they welcome this effort. CLBC is currently in the process of refining these standards based on feedback.

CLBC embarked on this work because the coordination of shared living across the province looked different from one agency to another and there was a need for better clarity on what the expectations are of the coordination of shared living services both from service providers and how it was monitored by CLBC staff.

The goal is for the standards to support greater fairness, consistency and alignment across shared living as a whole. This includes clarity in coordination of the service and the way it is monitored by CLBC staff.

The draft standards will be presented to the Home Sharing Working Group Members who will continue to be informed on this project and its outcomes.

Studying a possible new provincial home sharing entity

CLBC is now gathering information to determine how an independent provincial body could best support home sharing service quality, home sharing providers and other stakeholders. The model being explored might be compared to how the BC Federation of Foster Parents supports the delivery of foster care.

CLBC is in the preliminary phase right now and has formed a Task Force that will gather information and make recommendations to CLBC on how such an entity could support the betterment of home sharing.

Group members all have a strong home sharing background, are strongly committed to the model, and include self-advocates, family members, service providers, home sharing providers and CLBC staff.

We have asked the group to provide a report with recommendations to CLBC within the next four to six months. CLBC will make the final report public.

Ongoing COVID 19 resources

CLBC has partnered with the BC CEO Network the Family Support Institute, Inclusion BC and other organizations to connect with and support people who are more vulnerable and isolated during this time.

For a comprehensive list of supports and resources, please visit our list of Connection and Support resources here.

Many groups are organizing weekly online connection activities, and CLBC has also provided grants to five self advocate groups around the province to organize connection activities from now through the summer. You can find these opportunities on the Calendar for Connection hosted by the Family Support Institute.

Home sharing providers can find all of CLBC’s COVID information and resources on our web site here.

Next telephone update April 1, 2021

You can find the recording of our February 23 telephone update for service providers and home sharing providers with Dr. Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, and Ross Chilton, CLBC CEO, at this link.

Our next telephone update with Dr. Behn Smith is planned for Thursday, April 1, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. An invitation with details will be sent out in the coming weeks.

Next meeting: The next meeting of the Home Sharing Working Group will be in March.

If you are not already a member, please join our mailing list if you would like to receive updates on home sharing initiatives and invitations to COVID telephone updates. Click here to sign up and feel free to share this link with other home sharing providers.

If you have any questions, please contact Margaret Medina at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Home Sharing Working Group Members

Jack Styan, CLBC (Co-Chair)
Brenda Gillette, The BC CEO Network (Co-Chair)
Janice Barr, Community Living Society
Tracy Charlton, CLBC
Reta Derouin, CLBC
Karey Degenova, Home Sharing provider
Mike Jensen, Community Living Victoria
Debra Koecher, Home Sharing provider
Selena Martin, BC Home Share Providers Association
Bonnie Nelson, Home Sharing provider
Joanne Norquay, Home Sharing provider
Karyn Santiago, Communitas Supportive Care Society
Nancy Thibeau, CLBC
Julie Unger, Chilliwack Society for Community Living

Dear self advocates and families –

Please join Community Living BC (CLBC) next Tuesday, February 16 for an opportunity to hear from Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, about the latest health and vaccine information and guidance on COVID-19.

Participants will also hear an update from Ross Chilton, CEO of CLBC. The call will be hosted by CLBC Board Chair Michael J. Prince.

When: Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Time: 1:05 p.m. to 2 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time – PST)

How to call in:

Vancouver: 604-681-0260
Elsewhere: 1-877-353-9184

Participant code: 37568#

* Due to the large number of participants, please call in at 12:55 p.m.

Self advocates and families are asked to submit COVID-19 health questions in advance by end of day Thursday, February 11 to [email protected] with the subject line: Feb 16 CLBC Call. This will allow us to answer as many questions as possible.

We look forward to having you join us! For the latest information from CLBC, please visit our web pages with COVID-19 information here.

Join CLBC’s January 18 teleconference for
self advocates and families on COVID-19

 

Dear self advocates and families –

Please join Community Living BC (CLBC) next Monday, January 18 for an opportunity to hear from Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, about the latest health information and guidance on COVID-19 as we enter the new year.

We will also be pleased to welcome Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, who will join the call with Dr. Behn Smith, Michael Prince, CLBC Board Chair, and Ross Chilton, CEO of CLBC.

When: Monday, January 18, 2021

Time: 1:35 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

How to call in:

Vancouver: 604-681-0260
Elsewhere: 1-877-353-9184

Participant code: 87916#

* Due to the large number of participants, please call in at 1:20 p.m.

Self advocates and families are asked to submit health questions in advance by end of day Thursday, January 14 to [email protected] with the subject line: Jan 18 CLBC Call. This will allow us to answer as many questions as possible on the call.

We look forward to having you join us! For the latest information from CLBC, please visit our web pages with COVID-19 information here.

As BC rolls out its vaccination strategy, we have been receiving questions about the process and how the needs of people with intellectual disabilities are being addressed.

The BCCDC website outlines who will be receiving the first vaccines. People living in group homes (this includes people with intellectual disabilities) are among the first two groups to receive a vaccine, in February and March. We do not know at this time what that roll-out will look like and when it will begin but will send updates as we receive them.

Studies around the world have shown that people with intellectual disabilities are at higher risk for COVID-19 due to a variety of factors. The vaccine strategy in B.C. and Canada should address the unique needs of people with intellectual disabilities who are at higher risk, including:
• Older adults with intellectual disabilities,
• People with intellectual disabilities who have underlying health conditions,
• People living in congregate settings such as group homes, and
• Staff supporting people who are at higher risk.

Easy Read Information About the COVID Vaccine
These easy read booklets give helpful information about the COVID vaccine in Canada. You can download Things to know about the COVID Vaccine or What happens when I get the COVID Vaccine. Visit the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (HCARDD) website for more plain language information about COVID-19 and the vaccine.

Other Resources
The UK-based Down’s Syndrome Association has also published a useful easy-read document about COVID-10 and vaccines. Note that some of the information is specific to the UK, where people with Down Syndrome are included on the priority list for vaccinations. Their Quick Guide on Decision Making is also helpful.

CLBC funded services in Lower Mainland unaffected
by November 7 PHO orders

 

Dear individuals and families:

On Saturday, November 7, the Provincial Health Office announced new restrictions for the Lower Mainland on certain activities including social gatherings and travel until November 23. You can find that announcement here. This is to help combat the increase in new cases in these areas of the province.

CLBC has received numerous questions about whether, for example, the restrictions on social gatherings or inviting anyone into your household impacts support workers going into people’s homes, or community inclusion or residential services.

We have received confirmation from Dr. Daniele Behn Smith, Deputy Provincial Health Officer, that the new orders do not apply to essential services. All CLBC funded services are considered essential and should continue as per your plans and safety guidelines for this phase of the pandemic.

The orders are focused on social gatherings, and individuals and families in Lower Mainland communities covered by this order must not host or attend social gatherings.

During this time, service provider staff must also do their part to follow their COVID-19 safety plans and ensure services are being delivered with as reduced a risk as possible.

We hope this clarification is helpful. If you are an individual or family and have any questions or concerns, please discuss these with your service provider.

Thank you to everyone in the affected areas for following the new orders around social activities and to service providers for continuing to support individuals and families.

Sincerely,

Ross Chilton
CEO, Community Living BC

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]bc.ca.

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.

We are pleased to announce a new member of the Management Team here at SACL.
Please read the attached letter for full details.
New Manager