The Spectrum Office will be closed Monday October 12, 2020
Back to Basics Part 5 – Keeping our Teams Strong
Today’s “Back to Basics” update reviews some of the personnel practices that strengthen and support our teams of front line supporters. Everything we’ve reviewed so far – from health and safety to keeping people connected – depends on the skilled and consistent support of our front line staff and caregivers. Our service is our people.
Unlike long term care, in community living settings we are not required to have staff work in only one location. Nonetheless, we have reduced the number of settings where staff are working and the number of staff going into each home, to keep contacts to a minimum. About half of Spectrum staff have adjusted their work schedules to focus on fewer staff in each location. We are very grateful to all of them for their commitment to protecting themselves, their co-workers and the people they support.
- Ensuring continuity of employment and income for our front line supporters is a priority. If staff are displaced or have their hours reduced due to the needs of the home or program, we will work with them to find shifts with another team.
- HR will continue to review and approve any substantial changes to staff schedules.
Keeping our teams strong means having ample relief staff to fill in when regular staff are off or when a position becomes vacant. Sometimes team members are able to cover for each other, which is great, but we want all staff to take appropriate time off to stay rested and avoid burnout. We need relief staff who can step in from time to time, to provide additional support to our teams.
- Spectrum managers are responsible for keeping the relief list up to date and working with HR to identify additional relief staff as needed.
- HR will continue to recruit and hire relief staff based on the needs of each team.
Returning to Work
Any time an employee has been off work for a period of time, they need to contact HR to confirm their return to work plans. Returning to work during a pandemic poses new challenges that we need to consider before welcoming team members back to work.
- Employees returning to Canada from international travel are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- Employees who have been off sick may be asked for medical clearance to return to work.
- All employees are expected to read and follow the safety guidelines posted on the Spectrum website and any guidelines specific to their worksite. We need to ensure that any new or returning staff are aware of these guidelines, including training in the use of PPE.
- Staff schedules may need to be adjusted, as described above. Staff may not return to the same schedule of shifts they were working before their leave.
- HR will continue to oversee and approve any return to work plans.
Employee and Family Assistance
Our front line supporters are essential workers who have continued to show up every day through the pandemic to ensure that people stay healthy and safe. We can’t thank them enough…but we can try!
- Priority one is to provide a safe work environment for all our front line supporters. This means ensuring they have appropriate training and materials to do their jobs safely. It means recognizing that staff, like everyone else, are feeling the stress of Covid-19 and dealing with their own health and family pressures. It means offering our support and understanding.
- We were pleased to be able to provide an enhancement to the caregiver fee for our contracted homeshare providers and hope to have the pandemic pay enhancement for staff very soon.
- The Sunlife EAP (Employee Assistance Plan) is available to employees receiving group benefits. For more information, please visit https://www.workhealthlife.com/sunlife
- For Home Share Providers, we also have an Assistance Plan called LifeWorks which has phone and internet access to support you and your family. For more information visit https://login.lifeworks.com or call 1-844-671-3327.
On behalf of our Board and everyone at Spectrum, thank you to our front line supporters!
Voter Registration – Online Deadline is September 26, 2020
Register to vote or update your information online or by phone before this date to help make voting faster and easier. You will still be able to register or update your information when you vote, but the voting process will take longer.
Vote By Mail Information
During a pandemic, vote by mail is a good option for voters with underlying health conditions and for voters who do not wish to vote in person at a voting place.
You can request a “Vote By Mail” package now, so you are ready for the Fall provincial election on October 24th, 2020. On the Elections BC website, the following information is required to request your package:
You will need to provide your name, date of birth, address, and one of the following identification numbers:
- your B.C. driver’s licence number,
- your B.C. Identification Card number,
- the last six digits of your Social Insurance Number, or
- the last six digits of your Personal Health Number.
To request a vote-by-mail package, you will also be asked to provide an email address or telephone number where you can be reached.
Back to the Basics Information
After six months of almost daily updates, we thought we would comb through the many updates and try to summarize the essential information needed to keep everyone safe during this pandemic. Thanks to Susan Stanfield for her research and writing. Let us know if you have other items you would like us to address.
September 21, 2020 – Updates – Back to the Basics Part 1 – Welcome to the Pandemic
September 22, 2020 – Updates – Back to the Basics Part 2 – Keeping Healthy
September 23, 2020 – Updates – Back to the Basics Part 3 – Staying Safe
September 24, 2020 – Updates – Back to the Basics Part 4 – Staying Connected
September 25, 2020 – Updates – Back to the Basics Part 5 – Keeping our Teams Strong
Joint Statement on BC’s COVID-19 response, latest updates
“Today, we are announcing three 24-hour reporting periods. In the first reporting period from Sept. 25 to 26, we had 68 new cases, from Sept. 26 to 27, we had 125 new cases and in the last 24 hours, we have had a further 74 new cases.
“These represent a total of 267 new cases, including 10 epi-linked case, for a total of 8,908 cases in British Columbia.
“There are 1,302 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, 3,372 people who are under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases, and 7,346 people who tested positive have recovered.
“Currently, 69 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19, 22 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.
“Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 3,226 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 4,555 in the Fraser Health region, 206 in the Island Health region, 531 in the Interior Health region, 303 in the Northern Health region and 87 cases of people who reside outside of Canada.
“There have been three new COVID-19 related deaths, one in Vancouver Coastal Health, one in Fraser Health and one in the Vancouver Island Health region, for a total of 233 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to everyone who has lost their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Positive Test Rate:
Update on Pandemic Pay
Government opened up the application process for agencies to submit an invoice for the Pandemic Pay funding on September 14, 2020. Spectrum has submitted our invoice and government says there will be a validation process, then a 7 to 10 period to pay the invoice to the agency. We are hoping to receive the funding in October and pay out the pandemic pay before the end of October. As a reminder, here is the definition of who is eligible:
- Temporary pandemic pay supports eligible employees that delivered in-person, front-line care in health, social services and corrections during the 16-week period of March 15 to July 4, 2020.
- Excluded management staff, fee-for-service providers (and their direct employees) or employees on leave were not eligible.
We will do our best to get this funding out to our employees as soon as we receive it.
Let us know if you have any questions or need any assistance.
Spectrum Society for Community Living
Fall 2020 pension education: your pension questions answered
Dear Municipal plan member,
Wherever you are in your life or career, now is the best time to get answers to your pension questions and prepare for your future!
Whether you’re considering joining a plan, returning from parental leave, going through a separation or divorce, changing jobs or choosing a pension option, explore education that’s tailored to your stage of life:
- Getting to Know Your Pension—15-minute online course for new or potential plan members
- Making the Most of Your Pension—45-minute online course or 75-minute instructor-led webinar for members establishing their career or several years away from retirement
- Approaching Retirement—45-minute online course or 75-minute instructor-led webinar for members planning for or within five years of retirement
In Approaching Retirement, you’ll also learn about the value of visiting the plan website for information about your pension options and My Account. You can apply for your pension in My Account. It takes only eight clicks to complete the retirement application.
For current webinar offerings and online courses, please visit mpp.pensionsbc.ca. Click Learning resources. Online courses are done at your own pace, anytime and anywhere.
All webinars will be hosted using Zoom (a video webinar tool). After you register, you’ll receive a confirmation email with simple Zoom instructions.
- We continue working to serve you during COVID-19; online courses and webinars are available to help answer your employees’ pension questions. We have cancelled all in-person workshops.
If you have taken any of our pension courses, encourage your colleagues to do the same so they can learn more about and prepare for their pension.
Client Education Program
Toll-free: 1-877-558-5573 (Canada and U.S.)
Link to Poster: 2004-029_Xplan_MPP pension ed e-poster_20200911
Canada Revenue Agency is offering the following webinars in October and November:
Benefits and Credits Presentation on October 6, 2020 and November 5, 2020 from 1:30 – 2:30pm and
November 26, 2020 from 10:00 – 11:00am
Don’t miss out on the benefits and credits to which you may be entitled. Some of the benefits and credits to which you may be eligible for are the Canada child benefit, Disability tax credit, Child disability benefit, Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit, and the Canada Workers Benefit. If you do your taxes after the filing deadline, your payments could be delayed.
You can register for any of the above webinars by going to this link:
and clicking on the link associated with the date of your choice.
Outreach Officer, Assessment, Benefit, and Service Branch
Canada Revenue Agency / Government of Canada
PacificRegionOutreach@cra-arc.gc.ca /Phone: 604-775-5020