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Team News

Pandemic pay supports front-line health, social service workers

Health and social service workers delivering in-person, front-line care to some of B.C.’s most vulnerable people will receive a financial boost through temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay.

“From care aids to domestic violence workers, to people working in corrections and others delivering essential addictions and mental health supports, our front-line workers are providing vital support to people who are most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “Temporary pandemic pay recognizes all that our health and social service workers do to help keep people healthy, our communities running and deliver important care and services to the most vulnerable during this challenging time.”

As part of a cost-shared program with the federal government, temporary pandemic pay will support people working on the front lines in B.C.’s health-care system, social services and corrections. This includes workers delivering a range of health and social services to people most vulnerable to COVID-19.

More than 250,000 eligible front-line workers will receive temporary pandemic pay, a lump-sum payment of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period, starting on March 15, 2020. Eligible workers will receive the payment directly through their employer and do not need to apply.

“People at the front lines of the pandemic are working tirelessly to keep us and our loved ones healthy, while also delivering services to the most vulnerable in our community,” James said. “This cost-shared program with the federal government will benefit thousands of British Columbia’s front-line health and social service workers.”

Temporary pandemic pay is part of government’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan to provide relief to people, communities and businesses in British Columbia. It builds off the planned minimum wage increase set for June 1, 2020, and existing supports for people during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers and the enhanced B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit boost in July 2020, which doubles the annual benefit for low- and middle-income people.

Learn More:

To learn more about temporary COVID-19 pandemic pay, visit:

Stay tuned for more information on the timing of this payment for our staff.

Thank you to all the staff who have been able to provide essential services to the people we support over the past two months as BC has experienced this COVID-19 pandemic.  This payment is recognition from the Provincial and Federal governments of the excellent and essential work that you do in the community.


Employee Assistance Program

General description of the program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) available through your employer as part of your group benefits, gives you access to services performed by Morneau Shepell Ltd. (Shepell). The EAP is not insured by Sun Life. Sun Life only acts as administrator on behalf of the contract holder in providing access to the services available under the EAP.

In this section, you means the employee and all dependents as defined under the group plan.  Immediate, confidential help

Your EAP is a confidential and voluntary support service that can help you with:
 Family and social relationships
 Personal problems
 Dependency issues
 Workplace related issues
 Legal and financial advice*
 Wellness issues
 Crisis
*(does not include employment or workplace issues, criminal law, asset management or accounting services)
When you call Shepell, your needs will be assessed and a personal support plan will be designed. Your EAP includes:
 Clinically appropriate number of telephone sessions per issue
 Access to e-counselling, First Chat (online secure messaging), MyMigo, video counselling, online group counselling
 Unlimited access to online tools and resources on the EAP website
 3 in-person counselling sessions per issue

Assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For immediate confidential help, you can call Shepell toll-free at 1-855-544-7722.

You can also access EAP services at

Your EAP is completely confidential. Your employer will not be advised that you have used the service unless you choose to tell them.

There is no cost to use EAP and no claims to submit.

Liability of Sun Life or Shepell

Neither Sun Life nor Shepell will be held liable for any acts or omissions of any person or organization providing services in connection with this program.



Please click on the heading to read the entire article!


May 21, 2020

Lumino Health Virtual Care materials to help you share the service with plan members!

We’re pleased to introduce a plan member toolkit for Lumino Health Virtual Care. It contains digital materials that you can share with your plan members to highlight the benefits of this service and explain how to use it.

Exciting changes to RightDirections EAP

We know this is a critical time to support the mental health and wellbeing of your employees. We’re excited to announce changes to your RightDirections Employee Assistance Program (EAP).


Service provider delisting update 

In an effort to better protect your plan, Sun Life sometimes finds it necessary to disallow certain health-care service providers, clinics, facilities or medical suppliers from claims processing and reimbursement.



The ability to stay connected to one another has dramatically changed over the last two months as most of us are staying home to protect ourselves, and our loved ones. As a result, many of us have lost our community connections, have less contact with family, friends and formal support, and are experiencing increased isolation. Though staying home protects everyone’s physical health, having little to no physical contact with those outside of our home can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing. Isolation affects us all – disproportionately so for those with disabilities – and now more than ever, it is important that we ensure we stay socially connected.

Plan Institute invites you to join us for a free 5-part webinar series in collaboration with our sister organization, PLAN, specifically designed to help people facing social isolation stay connected during these unprecedented times. We will be focusing on sharing the tools and resources required to ensure all members of our community are safe.

The 5 webinar topics will be:

Don’t Wait to be Asked – May 26, 1:00PM – 2:00PM (PT)

For a variety of reasons (pride, past hurts, fear of being turned down, loss of confidence, confusion) not everyone will ask for help or actively pursue their dreams and goals. Join us for this webinar for ideas on how to build and nurture connections, confidently share about what you need and want, build your personal leadership skills and how not to give up even if you haven’t been thanked.

Make it a Team Effort – June 2, 1:00PM – 2:00PM (PT)

A network of caring relationships is the best way to share the things that need to be done, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar will focus on how to join forces and work as a team while ensuring the person who is the focus of your concern is never neglected and has the care that they need in a timely way.

The Latest Technology Helps – June 9, 1:00PM – 2:00PM (PT)

So does old technology like knocking on the door or picking up the phone. WhatsApp, Slack, NextDoor, FaceTime, private Facebook groups, email and telephone trees are simple ways to stay in touch and keep everyone up to date. In this webinar, we will discuss the different platforms available and how technology can facilitate greater connections.

Little Things Make a Big Difference – June 16, 1:00PM – 2:00PM (PT)

It all helps. A phone call, a Netflix subscription, a bag of cookies, running an errand, or walking the dog. In this webinar, we will explore how little things can make a big difference and provide you with some ideas of practical ways that you can be active and engaged in the lives of your friends, neighbours, or loved-ones.

Majority of People Care and Want to Act – June 23, 1:00PM – 2:00PM (PT)

We can’t emphasize this enough. Despite what you may have read or thought, caring is in Canada’s DNA. In this webinar, we will discuss how to ask for and accept help, and how you will actually be doing everyone a favour, including yourself.

Each webinar will feature a conversation with Rebecca Pauls and Shelley Nessman from PLAN, alongside guest speakers to discuss ways that we can ensure our friends and loved-ones maintain their social connections throughout this crisis.

We hope you will join us for this important dialogue series, as we come together to strengthen our community.

The first webinar of the series ‘Don’t wait to be asked’ will be on May 26, 1:00PM – 2:00PM (PT). Click the button below to register.


Revised Essential Visitors Policy released

March 19, Minister of Health Adrian Dix announced an updated policy on Essential Visitors when people with disabilities go to hospitals.  The criteria for when a visitor is deemed essential have been expanded.

Family and Visitors

  • Health authorities shall continue to restrict visitors to essential visits only.
  • Health authority staff will determine if a visit is essential
  • Essential visits can include, but are not limited to:
    • Visits for compassionate care, including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end of life, and Medical Assistance in Dying;
    • Visits paramount to the patient/client’s physical care and mental well-being, including:
      • Assistance with feeding;
      • Assistance with mobility;
      • Assistance with personal care;
      • Communication assistance for persons with hearing, visual, speech, cognitive, intellectual or memory impairments;
      • Assistance by designated representatives for persons with disabilities, including provision of emotional support;
      • Visits for supported decision making; and
      • Visits for pediatric care, labour and delivery.
    • Existing registered volunteers providing the services described above.
    • Visits required to move belongings in or out of a client’s room.
    • Police, correctional officers and peace officers accompanying a patient/client for security reasons.
  •  Essential visits can occur with a COVID+ patient or client.
  • This family and visitor policy shall be clearly posted on the health authority’s main public website.
  • This family and visitor policy, and all related expectations, shall be communicated in plain language to visitors prior to arrival or upon arrival at the facility. This information shall be available in English and all languages commonly spoken in the local community.
  • Family and visitors not deemed essential who wish to have an immediate review of the decision shall be provided the ability to speak with an administrator or administrator on call
  • Family and visitors can request a formal review of a decision through the health authority Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO). If you have already been to the PCQO and are not satisfied, you can request a review of concerns from the Patient Care Quality Review Board 1-866-952-2448
  • Orders from the Provincial Health Officer or a Medical Health Officer take precedent over this policy.
  • Essential visits shall be limited to one visitor per patient/client within the facility at a time. A visitor who is a child may be accompanied by one parent, guardian or family member.
  • All visitors shall be screened for signs and symptoms of illness, including COVID- 19, prior to every visit: 19/about-covid-19/symptoms
  • Visitors with signs or symptoms of illness, as well as those in self-isolation or quarantine in accordance with public health directives, shall not be permitted to visit.
  • Visitors shall be instructed when to perform hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and safe physical distancing.
  • Visitors shall be instructed on how to put on and remove any required PPE when visiting or caring for patients/clients who are on Droplet and Contact precautions. If the visitor is unable to adhere to appropriate precautions, the visitor shall be excluded from visiting.
  • Visitors shall go directly to the patient/client they are visiting and exit the facility directly after their visit.
  • Virtual visitation is strongly encouraged and should be supported where in-person visitation is not possible.

The full policy document is here:

Thank you to the efforts of advocacy organizations to get this policy changed to increase the safety of people with disabilities who use the health care system.

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