Team News

Holiday Closures at The Spectrum Society Office

  • Thursday December 24th  – Closed
  • Friday December 25th – Closed
  • Monday December 28th – regular hours
  • Friday January 1st 2021 – Closed 
  • Monday January 4th – regular hours


COVID-19 Updates – December 16, 2020 – Vaccines

 Provincial Updates – “V-Day” – First Covid-19 Vaccines Administered in BC

A residential care aide working at a Vancouver Coastal Health facility became the first person in BC to be vaccinated against Covid-19 yesterday.  The first shipment of nearly 4,000 vaccines will go to health care workers in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions and by next week there will be additional vaccines available in all the health regions across the province.  By the end of March 2021, the Province aims to provide vaccines to 400,000 people in British Columbia.  We don’t have details yet on when the vaccine will be available to those working in community living services.  Along with other essential workers, they are considered high priority to receive the vaccine, as are individuals in residential care and those with underlying health conditions.

On Monday, Dr. Henry reported that BC has flattened the curve but not bent it – meaning new cases are at a relatively stable rate currently but that rate is still too high and needs to come down.  The number of new deaths each day and the number of people in intensive care is at an all-time high.  Premier John Horgan reiterated Dr. Henry’s concerns in his press conference yesterday, urging people to keep up their layers of protection and not become complacent.  It will still be many months before vaccines are widely available and in the meantime the virus is continuing to spread.

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HealthLink 8-1-1

8-1-1 is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line operated by HealthLinkBC, which is part of the Ministry of Health. By calling 8-1-1, you can speak to a health service navigator, who can help you find health information and services; or connect you directly with a registered nurse, a registered dietitian, a qualified exercise professional, or a pharmacist. These healthcare professionals will help you get the information you need to manage your health concerns, or those of your family.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call 8-1-1 using VRS or TTY.

8-1-1 provides translation services on request in more than 130 languages. After dialing 8-1-1, you will be connected with an English speaking health service navigator. To get service in another language, simply state the language you are looking for (example say “Punjabi”), and an interpreter will join the call.  To find resources that have been translated into Chinese, Farsi, French, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, or Vietnamese, visit Translated Resources.

The HealthLinkBC site has links to various resources on Covid-19, including:

  • Links to BC Centre for Disease Control
  • Provincial supports for Covid-19
  • BC Government Restart Plan
  • Daily Covid-19 Updates from the Province of BC
  • Health Authority Information
  • Hospital Visiting Guidelines
  • Translink information
  • Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and World Health Organization (WHO) links

Check out

Spectrum Society is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on Covid-19 from trusted sources like HealthLink BC.

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Status of the B.C. Temporary Pandemic Pay program

The provincial government has assured us that the pandemic pay for essential workers will be coming as soon as possible.  They acknowledge that the delay in getting this money to front line workers across the province has been longer than anticipated and they offered a public apology for this yesterday.  We received this FAQ sheet to share with employees:

New BC COVID Recovery Benefit and Changes to PWD Benefits

The Province of BC has announced a new BC Recovery Benefit. Amounts are determined on a sliding scale, based on income. More information here.

·    People receiving PWD benefits are eligible to apply and the amount will not be clawed back based on your existing benefits.

·    Single people earning less than $62,500 qualify for a $500 payment and individuals earning up to $87,500 will qualify for a reduced amount.

·    Families with incomes under $125,000 will be eligible to receive $1,000 and families earning up to $175,000 will qualify for a reduced amount.

·    For people currently receiving the $300 PWD Covid-19 supplement, this amount will be reduced to $150/month from January – March. The reduced $150 amount will be added to your PWD cheque automatically. You do not have to apply for this.

·    With these changes, people on PWD who apply for the BC Recovery Benefit will get about the same amount in total for the next 3 months as if the $300 PWD supplement was continued:

*     So instead of: $300 + $300 + $300 = $900
* …you will get: $500 + $150 + $150 + $150 = $950

·    The new recovery benefit is not automatic, you will need to apply.

Inclusion BC is glad to see an extension of benefits for people with disabilities but we are disappointed that the disability top-up amount was reduced and the remaining amount (recovery benefit) is subject to an application process. The application process will reduce access for those who require additional support to apply or get caught up on their taxes.

There is no guarantee of an extension past March. The federal government recently announced plans for a Federal Disability Benefit, which we hope will address the grossly inadequate assistance rates for people with disabilities.

The BC Government website with more information on the Recovery Benefit is here:

To apply and be eligible for the one-time, tax-free benefit, people must:

§  be a resident of B.C. on Dec. 18, 2020;

§  be at least 19 years old on Dec. 18, 2020;

§  have filed a 2019 income tax return;

§  have their 2019 income tax notice of assessment, and if applicable, their spouse’s 2019 income tax notice of assessment;

§  have their social insurance number;

§  have their direct deposit information; and

§  have their B.C. driver’s licence.

Applying online begins on December 18th, 2020 and is the fastest way to receive the benefit.

Be Calm, Be Kind, Be Safe


We have all faced unprecedented challenges this year. By working together (while staying apart), we have learned that Canadians’ resilience and teamwork are as strong as ever. 2020 has been such an unusual year that it is important to make a special effort to look back at what we’ve learned as we come to its close.

Here are three ways to help end 2020 on a positive note:

With Gratitude

Not only have Canadians rallied through a challenging year, but we have also seen our front-line and essential workers excel in challenging conditions to keep us safe, our schools found creative ways to engage with students, neighbours stepped up for one another, and strangers helped each other out. Let’s end this year with what went right in the world – let’s be thankful for the things we often take for granted.

With Hope

There is a lot of uncertainty about the future and what it will mean for us socially, economically, physically, and mentally. It seems reasonable to worry – but we have also been encouraged by the resilience, neighbourliness, and good humour of Canadians. Let’s look at 2021 as an opportunity to keep doing amazing things – differently than what has been done in the past, but amazing nonetheless.

With Each Other

In some ways, it has been harder to make and maintain connections this year – “social distancing” has certainly lived up to its name. We have all made special efforts to stay connected with friends, loved ones, and colleagues through video conference, chat, phone, and email. We are leaning on each other to help us through challenging times and have appreciated how these odd circumstances have made us slow down to truly connect.

As we look back on this past year and welcome the next, let’s focus on bringing in this new year with kindness, gratefulness, and positive thoughts.


The GroupHEALTH Living Well Team

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GroupHEALTH: 15315 31st Avenue, Surrey, BC V3Z 6X2 CA




Staying Connected with Virtual Bingo

Ruth, Chantel and their teams have been planning a virtual Bingo event to help all the individuals we support stay connected and have some fun during this time!

Ruth pulling numbers. Bingo!

If anyone you support would like to participate please let Ruth and Chantel know and we will make sure you get the playing cards and stampers that are needed to participate.  We are trying to collect information to see how many people are interested to make sure we have enough supplies! We are hoping with enough interest this can be an ongoing event!

Contact us: or

Thank you Chantel and Ruth for helping people stay connected!

Link to Bingo Cards:  Bingo Cards


It is a great time to review the contents of emergency medical and earthquake kits in your home. 

Are your water and food rations currently dated? Other items like glow sticks and batteries have expiry dates. It’s a good time to make sure everything is up to date.

Did you use some of the medical supplies during the year?  Now is a great time to order replacement items.  Please note that WCB Level 1 First Aid Kits are required in all of the homes that are staffed.

Have there been changes in the number of people residing in your home?  Do you need more or less supplies?

Have any of the people you live with changed their diets over the past year? Do you need to change the dietary foods in their earthquake kits?

If you need help with restocking your emergency medical and earthquake supplies please feel free to contact Judy Smith at for assistance.

It is a good time to review all safety procedures in the home; making sure that exit routes are clear of debris, including accessing risk factors (for example, moving items on shelves that could fall and moving heavy items to bottom shelves instead of top shelves). Are all staff are familiar with where emergency care items are stored?  Please review the following information from our policy manual with the staff and individuals you support. Include staff to join on skype or zoom if you cannot meet in person so everyone is familiar with this process.


When you have completed your Earthquake Drill please record this information on Sharevision.


How to Register for Emergency First Aid Community Care:

Call St. John Ambulance: (604) 321-7242

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.  Prior to attending the class please arrange a time to come to the office to receive your free face mask. 

For employees renewing their first aid, please ensure St. John’s Ambulance (SJA) includes the CPR pocket mask with your first aid registration. If the CPR pocket mask is not included with your registration fee, SJA requires attendees pay for this on the day of course completion; you can save your receipt and submit it to Human Resources for reimbursement.  

Please send your certificate of course completion to the Spectrum Society office to have your file updated.

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

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