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Team News

August 3rd we will celebrate BC Day!  The Spectrum Office will be closed.


COVID-19 Updates from the BC Government

Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

“Today, we are providing case updates for three 24-hour reporting periods. In the first reporting period from July 17 to July 18, we had 51 new cases. From July 18 to July 19, we had 19 new cases, and in the last 24 hours, we have had a further 32 new cases.

“This represents 102 new cases, including four epi-linked cases since we reported on Friday, for a total of 3,300 cases in British Columbia.

“There are 253 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 2,858 people who tested positive have recovered.

“Of the total COVID-19 cases, 16 individuals are hospitalized, four of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.”

July 20th 2020 Modeling Update from Dr. Henry – COVID-19 Going Forward

Scenarios that outline the curves possible depending on how well we limit our contacts:

“The epidemiological data also shows some concerning upward trends: The infection rate for new cases is increasing above one to one, and we are also seeing an uptick in our case curve. This tells us that we are on edge of increasing our social interactions too much and are at risk of a rebound.

“We need to bend our curve back down to where it belongs.

“Public health teams have been very effective in containing the spread. We also need to do our part and be the voice with our friends and family to remind everyone about the steps to take to keep each other safe.

“We are asking everyone to use your connections and influence, whether on social media or in-person, to share the message to socialize safely.

“By playing safe and staying safe, let’s make sure COVID-19 doesn’t spoil our summer.

“There are a few things we can all do to push that curve back down. Keep your groups small and only spend time with those you know. The more people you see, the more likely someone will have COVID-19 and will spread it to others.

“If you are going out, be considerate of people who are working at the restaurants and pubs that you are visiting. Remember servers are at higher risk because of the many people they see, so be kind and show gratitude as they follow the WorkSafeBC requirements for safe operations. Ensure your groups are no larger than six people, avoid table-hopping and stay home if you are feeling unwell.

“If you are hosting a small gathering, remember ‘fewer faces and bigger spaces.’ Keep your gatherings small, know everyone who is coming, stay outside as much as possible and have a designated ‘contact keeper’ so you are able to quickly alert everyone afterward, if necessary.

“We all have a role to play in keeping our curve flat. Let’s continue to work together and do all we can to keep ourselves and each other safe. Let’s protect our communities, our Elders and our loved ones by standing united against COVID-19.”

Support for Our Essential Workers

Pandemic Pay: The Provincial Government announced a special premium of $4 / hour for front line workers in community social services for sixteen weeks from March 15, 2020 to July 4, 2020.  The government will have a requisition process for us to complete to get this funding for our employees and once we have received this funding, we will be paying it to our employees as a lump sum.  The government has not announced this requisition process yet though, so we don’t know how quickly this process can be completed and payments processed to our employees.  We will keep you informed.

Emergency Funding for Home Share Contractors: The Provincial Government approved $35 Million for CLBC to use to supplement existing services due to the pandemic.  Home Share Contractors have received monthly supplements for April, May and June, and CLBC recently announced an extension of this program for July and August 2020.

Recruitment and Retention Funding for Non-Union Agencies: The Provincial government just announced increases for non-union agencies to address serious recruitment and retention issues that face non-union agencies because government funded big increases for unionized positions and did not provide the same increases for non-union staff.  The new funding allows us to provide an average 3.5% additional increase, effective April 2020.  There will be a new pay grid effective from July 9, 2020 and employees will get retroactive pay back to April 2020.

Equal Work Equal Pay BC – We need your Support!

Yes, the government provided the 3.5% increase for recruitment and retention to non-union agencies for April 2020, but this does not address the ongoing issue of equal pay for equal work in the community social services sector.  There was a 3.35% increase in April 2019 that our non-union employees did not get.  There is another increase scheduled for April 2021 that government has not committed to funding for non-union employees.  Please go to the website, click on the Send Your Letter link, and send a letter as an employee, or as a supporter (family, friends, self-advocates, neighbours!).

  • Enter your address first, and your MLA will be selected from the data base.
  • You can click PREVIEW to see how the letter will look
  • Click “I accept the Privacy Policy”
  • Click “SEND LETTER”

There have already been over 200 letters submitted since our launch yesterday, so please support our front line workers and send a letter!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Ernie Baatz

Executive Director

Spectrum Society for Community Living


Remembering the Basics of Preventing COVID-19 Infections

There are many things you can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your community.

Below you will find preventative measures and actions you can take to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Hand washing

One of the best things you can do to prevent infection and protect loved ones is to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.

To help reduce your risk of infection:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using soap and water is the single most effective way of reducing the spread of infection because soap actively destroys the surface of the virus.
  • If soap and water are not available, alcohol based hand rubs (ABHR) can be used to clean your hands as long as they are not visibly soiled. If they are visibly soiled, use a wipe and then ABHR to effectively clean them.
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue or the crease of your elbow when you sneeze or cough instead of your hands.
  • Do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing means limiting close contact with others.

When outside of your home, practicing social distancing by keeping two meters (six feet) away from one another is something we can all do to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Remember to 

  • Stay at home when you’re sick, even if symptoms are mild
  • Avoid crowded places
    • This includes play dates, group walks, basketball games and gathering on the beach
  • Take care of your mental well-being by checking in with loved ones and practicing self-care
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow or sleeve
  • Wash your handsregularly


Facemasks can be worn to help protect those around you and should be worn by people who are sick.

Masks can have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19, especially for healthcare providers and for people that have COVID-19. This is because masks act as a barrier and help stop the spread of droplets from a person’s mouth and nose when talking, laughing, yelling, singing, coughing, or sneezing.

Wearing a mask should be combined with other important preventative measures such as frequent hand washing and physical distancing. Using only a mask is not enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Follow the rest of these links for more guidelines on preventing infections…

Frequently Asked Questions (new page on the website)

We have added another page of COVID-19 resources to our website where some of the frequently asked questions are listed to help us share information on keeping everyone safe and healthy.  Here’s one question that has come up frequently:

Question 6: How do I prevent my glasses from fogging up when I wear a mask?
Answer: From the Royal College of Surgeons of England:

Staff who wear glasses can find their lenses misting up on wearing a face mask. This effect can be a nuisance and even incapacitate the person. A simple method to prevent this annoying phenomenon is highlighted.


Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the glasses with soapy water and shake off the excess. Then, let the glasses air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn.


The face mask directs much of the exhaled air upwards where it gets into contact with the lenses. The misting occurs from the warm water vapour content condensing on the cooler surface of the lens, and forming tiny droplets that scatter the light and reduce the ability of the lens to transmit contrast.1 The droplets form because of the inherent surface tension between the water molecules. Washing the glasses with soapy water leaves behind a thin surfactant film that reduces this surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer. This ‘surfactant effect’ is widely utilised to prevent misting of surfaces in many everyday situations.

Check out the page for more Frequently Asked Questions, and let us know your questions.

Ernie Baatz

Executive Director

Spectrum Society for Community Living

Be Calm, Be Kind, Be Safe this weekend


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

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:

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

We leave you this week with a comical reminder from our canine friends. Until next time!


If your Emergency First Aid Community Care Training has expired we have good news!

St. John Ambulance (SJA) has resumed Emergency First Aid Community Care training.

To accommodate the new distancing regulations, SJA has reduced class sizes, provides full body mannequins to remove the need of partner activities, and is selling masks for students to wear during the course.  Spectrum can provide you with a cloth mask prior to you attending the course. If you choose to purchase a mask through SJA for $12.99, you can do so separately on the day you attend the course.

If you have already obtained your certificate, please forward a copy of your certificate to the office so we may update your file.

If you have not obtained your first aid certification, please register yourself and email me ( please, letting me know the date you have registered to complete the course.

How to Register for Emergency First Aid Community Care:

  • Call St. John Ambulance: (604) 321-7242
  • They above number is their main line, but they have a number of locations across the lower mainland if you would like to call a location directly:
  • Register yourself for Emergency First Aid Community Care.

If you did not have your first aid certificate upon hire, you are responsible for the initial cost, which is currently $102.00, and Spectrum covers renewal fees.

  • If you are renewing your first aid, ask St. John Ambulance to invoice Spectrum Society
  • Let them know Spectrum Society will be paying for your course fee.

*St. John Ambulance may request authorization from Spectrum. Email with the date/location you want to complete the course and we will call them to confirm your registration.

First Aid is a requirement for employment as indicated in ‘Policy 4: Requirements for Employment.’

If requirements for employment are not met within a timely manner, shifts will be suspended without pay until this requirement is met. Below is a link to Spectrum’s First Aid policy:

Please respond back with your course date by August 1st, 2020.

Please let Judy know if you have any questions or issues registering, by emailing her at


British Columbians invited to have their say on recovery

British Columbians are invited to share their feedback as the Province continues to build a strong economic recovery that works for people.

“The pandemic has been challenging, but our province has already accomplished so much in this fight, thanks to British Columbians. We are at our best when we work together, and that’s how we’re going to move forward,” Premier John Horgan said.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve been meeting with businesses, labour, First Nations, not-for-profits and more to get their perspective. We’ve heard lots of good ideas, and we are taking action. We want to hear directly from British Columbians to make sure the recovery works for them.”

There are three main ways for people to share their ideas, experiences and priorities:

• An online survey is the fastest and easiest way to provide answers to some important questions and give advice. Visit:
• Respond to the paper, Building B.C.’s Recovery, Together: Have Your Say, which was released on Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Ideas and responses can be submitted to:
• Participate in virtual town halls. British Columbians can learn more about the virtual town halls here:

The full announcement is here:

– Wash Your Hands
– Keep Your Distance
– Stay Home if you are sick


Whether you’re giving back or paying it forward, volunteering your time is a great way to get back more than you give. As a bonus, volunteering has a positive impact on your mental and physical health!

From the heart, for the heart

Evidence suggests that volunteering may help reduce blood pressure and lead to a longer lifespan. Volunteering often involves physical activity which is excellent for heart health.

Teaching and learning

Giving back can help you meet new people with fresh perspectives and skills you otherwise may never have encountered. Sharing not only your knowledge and expertise, but learning from those around you is a great way to grow and work on your personal development.

Keep connected

Studies have shown that donating time to help others makes people feel more socially connected, thereby helping ward off loneliness and depression. In these times, virtual volunteering is also being leveraged which offers even more ways to connect with others.

Positive direction

Many organizations rely on the charity of others, and playing a part in a shared mission can bring new meaning into your life. Volunteering can add to your sense of purpose as it often allows you to provide essential assistance to others.

Today, our situations are all very different, so remember that there is no gesture too small. Whether it’s getting groceries for your neighbour to reduce their exposure, donating to a local charity, or using spare fabric to sew non-medical masks, there are countless ways to give back.


The GroupHEALTH Living Well Team