February 15, 2021 we will celebrate Family Day and the Spectrum Office will be closed
COVID-19 Updates – January 18, 2021
Staying Safe and Staying Healthy
The basics of keeping the people we support, our teams and your families Healthy and Safe are important to practice every day:
- Stay home if you sick – Call 811 for further directions.
- Wash your hands regularly
- Keep your distance – at least two metres or six feet from people outside your bubble
- Wear a mask on transit, in stores, in all indoor public spaces.
- Keep your social bubble small – But stay connected with friends and family. Phone, video chat, go for a walk outside – it is so important to keep in touch.
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Welcome to the January 14 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. You can also check out CLBC’s Facebook page here and Twitter page 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 CLBCInfo@gov.bc.ca.
CLBC and Government News
Province-wide restrictions extended until February 5
B.C. Provincial Health Officer (PHO) Dr. Bonnie Henry has extended the province-wide restrictions on all events and social gatherings to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel. The order is in effect until Friday, February 5, 2021 at midnight.
As a reminder, the best place to get up-to-date information about COVID restrictions and orders from the Provincial Health Officer is on the BC Government website here.
Flexible Funding Options for Direct Funding Agents and Person-Centered Societies
CLBC knows that families are doing the best they can to remain resilient during this time. Many families are experiencing additional challenges with taking care of their family member who may no longer be able to fully access regular respite care, or other support options. From now until June 30, 2021, direct funding agents (people who receive respite funding and/or other Individualized Funding directly) and person-centred societies will have new flexible options.
Visit the CLBC website here for details about how this temporary program may apply to you, including:
- Interim Policy Guidance that outlines how funding may be used during this time along with reporting requirements.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Express Respite Menu that provides a list and examples of how families can get support with this new flexible option.
Information about the COVID-19 vaccine
With the approval of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada, many of us are anxious to know how and when vaccinations will happen for people with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. You can find information about the COVID-19 vaccination the on BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website here.
B.C. hopes to have vaccine available for all those who choose to be vaccinated by the end of this year. However, it will take time before there’s enough vaccine for everyone in the province, so vaccine distribution will be phased and will start with key populations based on Canada’s pandemic plan.
You can learn more about the distribution plan for vaccines on the BCCDC website here. Adults in group homes are a priority group for the vaccine in February and March.
While the vaccine distribution process takes place, it’s important to remember to continue to maintain COVID-19 prevention measures to keep yourself and others safe. We will share new information about the vaccine roll out in future editions of this update as it becomes available.
Vaccines and consent for people with developmental disabilities
Informed consent is an essential pre-condition to receiving a vaccine. Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website here to learn about the steps involved in obtaining consent for vaccination, including instructional videos about situations where individuals need to demonstrate capacity to give consent, as well as what happens for individuals who are not able to give consent.
B.C. Recovery Benefit plain language summary available
The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges and hardships for people and families. To help people and families recover from these hard times, the B.C. Government introduced a new benefit called the B.C. Recovery Benefit. This is a one-time, tax-free provincial benefit of up to $500 for an adult or $1,000 for a family.
For people who receive income or disability assistance, the Government also announced the $150 Recovery Supplement. The $150 Recovery Supplement replaces the $300 COVID-19 Supplement. People receiving Disability Assistance can receive both the B.C. Recovery Benefit and the $150 Recovery Supplement.
You can read a plain language summary on the CLBC website here with information about the B.C. Recovery Benefit and how to apply, as well information about the Recovery Supplement.
Exemptions to the mandatory mask order in B.C.
In order to prevent the transmission of COVID 19, masks are now mandatory in all indoor public spaces in B.C., except for people who are unable to wear masks. The B.C. Office for the Human Rights Commissioner has created this poster to explain the order and the exemptions. If you are a person who is unable to wear a mask, this may be a helpful poster to print and bring with you.
Staying connected and supported
Recipes for Respite conversations continue
Looking for ideas and options around your respite? The Family Support Institute has created a new Facebook group for those interested in sharing and learning about the different ways families are using their CLBC respite funding to get a break. You can click here to find the group, and you can hit the “Join Group” button to join. Recipes for Respite is a place to be creative with other families and to share thoughts and ideas. The group will also create topics to organize different types of information people may be interested in.
You can also join one of the regular Thursday Recipes for Respite Zoom meetings. Visit the FSI event calendar here to find information about these meetings, as well as many other online activities and events taking place.
Tools for Connection
This is a reminder that the Toolkit for Connection available here has been developed with our partners to help individuals and their families know about the many resources and supports available during COVID-19.
Self Advocate Corner
Happy Hour Hangouts
Looking to connect and have some fun? Join the online Happy Hour Hangout on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. These events are hosted by CLBC Strategic Initiative Advisors Michelle Goos, David Johnson and Shelley DeCoste as well as special guest Sherwin Strong.
Come to meet new friends, share a laugh, play a game or just relax and watch. Let’s stay safe and connected!
Self Advocate Leadership of the Year nominations now open until February 8
BC People First is proud to present the Self Advocate Leadership of the Year Award. The Award will celebrate an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and knowledge throughout 2020 in advocating for the rights of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
People can be nominated for the award by a peer, family member, staff, colleague, support worker or friend. Nominators can nominate more than one person if they desire. Have fun nominating someone you know!
All nominations must be submitted by Monday, February 8 at 5:00 p.m.
Things for self advocates to do during the pandemic: Learn about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which Canada ratified in 2010, identifies the human rights of people with disabilities and focuses on removing barriers that prevent full participation in society.
BC People First is hosting an online information and training session on the CRPD next week on Wednesday, January 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Stories of hope and encouragement
Families share their pandemic stories
In the two stories below, family members share their perspectives on life and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Eric Goll, from Empowering Ability, shares what has helped his family and other families with a loved one with a developmental disability during the pandemic in the video “Pandemic Family Learnings”
- Liane Kupferberg Carter shared her story “How Having a Child With Autism Helps Me Ride Out the Pandemic” in the New York Times
Do you file your taxes on paper? Due to COVID-19, paper filing may delay your assessment
No matter how you file your return, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) strives to ensure we process your tax return in a timely manner and get your refund to you quickly.
If you are planning to file on paper this year, COVID-19 may affect your filing experience.
Online services are fast, secure and convenient
We encourage Canadians to file their taxes online and sign up for direct deposit to get their refund faster, avoid any delays, and reduce your potential exposure to COVID‑19. The CRA’s digital services are the fastest and easiest way to view your tax and benefit information. We encourage you to sign up for My Account ahead of time, and gather all your information for filing your return.
Online tax returns are processed without delays, but paper returns take longer to process, and could take even longer because of COVID-19. Filing online is the fastest and easiest way to do your taxes, and if you’re signed up for direct deposit, you can get your refund in as little as eight business days.
Last year, we received over 90% of tax returns electronically.
Several NETFILE certified software products are available, some of which are free. Go to canada.ca/netfile to see the list of products. NETFILE is fast, easy, and convenient. If you are registered for My Account, you can also use Auto-fill my return to quickly fill in parts of your return with information the CRA has on file.
Income tax and benefit package delivery
If you filed a paper return last year, we will mail you the 2020 income tax package by February 19, 2021. The package has everything you need to file your taxes on time without having to leave the comfort of your home.
If you plan to order a copy of the package through our phone service, keep in mind there could be mailing delays.
Once you get your package, file your paper tax return as soon as possible to avoid potential mailing delays due to COVID-19. You should gather all your tax slips and supporting documents ahead of time so you are ready. You can quickly view some of your slips online in My Account.
You can view and download copies of the income tax forms and schedules at canada.ca/taxes-general-package as of January 18, 2021.
Also, starting February 22, 2021, you can call the CRA at 1-855-330-3305 to order a copy. Your Social Insurance Number will be required.
Other ways you can file:
Please remember to file by the deadline to avoid interruptions or delays to your benefit and credit payments.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about filing your taxes at canada.ca/cra-questions-answers.
To receive updates on what is new at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you can:
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 email@example.com 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
- 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: http://www.sja.ca/English/About-Us/Pages/Locations.aspx
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com