COVID-19 Information for Social Services Sector

We’re updating this page regularly during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep our community social services sector informed with the latest developments affecting our work, employees, clients and communities.

Workplace safety orders from BC government – updated to February 2022

COVID-19 page on BC government site with all current orders, regulations, vaccination information and more

Stages 1-4 BC Restart Plan – infograph

First Nations Health Authority: “Draw on Culture, Community and Resilience to Stay Safe Against COVID-19 Variants”

Recorded webinar from the office of Toronto-based law firm MatthewsDinsdale: “What an Employer Needs to Know” about questions regarding requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employees

BC is currently in Phase 3 of its immunization plan. Bookmark this page to stay up-to-date on the latest around vaccination information.

Free or low-cost mental health supports for British Columbians. The pandemic’s impact on people’s mental health is significant. Explore these resources available to people feeling the weight of this challenging period.

Jan. 22, 2021 update on Temporary Pandemic Pay, which has now been paid to just over 200,000 of approximately 250,000 eligible BC workers. The government reports that it is “working quickly to distribute all outstanding payments.”

Dec 31 plan in BC for distribution of COVID-19 vaccine. In December 2020, BC began receiving small amounts of the Pfizer vaccine. As of Dec. 21, vaccines are being delivered regularly to locations in all health authorities. The Moderna vaccine has also now been approved for use in Canada.

Dec 17 WorkSafe BC order requiring daily worker health checks. Employers must ensure that every worker performs a daily health check before entering the workplace. Health checks are mandatory self-assessments conducted by workers and includes confirming with the employer either in writing or verbally that they have reviewed the complete list of entry requirements (find WorkSafe’s entry check poster here) and that none of the prohibited criteria apply to them.

WorkSafe BC guide for employers on managing the mental health effects of COVID-19 in the workplace (December 2020)

Details on the BC Recovery Benefit, a one-time, tax-free payment of up to $1,000 for eligible families and single parents, and $500 for individuals. (Deadline for application: June 2021)

Oct 9 update from the Government of Canada on extensions and changed eligibility for the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, and the Canada Emergency Business Account.

**Sept 24 update on Temporary Pandemic Pay: The link initially sent to employers applying for TPP doesn’t work. If you previously submitted using the link sent out earlier this month, you will need to reapply using the new link that has now been circulated.

Here’s another link with FAQs on the pandemic pay issue.

Recovery Engagement report (September 2020) detailing BC government consultations with multiple sectors.

MCFD practice bulletins and interim guidelines in the pandemic.

July 2020 update from WorkSafe BC on safe workplace practices for Phases 2 and 3 openings. WSBC has also published updated guidelines for community social service workplaces (residential) and community social service workplaces (non-residential).

Updated information on the At Home Program, including a temporary admission process and an extension of the School Aged Extended Therapy program allowing children who turned 18 between March and August 2020 to have their funding carry on for an additional three months beyond their birthday.

June 12 update from MCFD on the recovery plan for child and family services.

June 3 update from MCFD on scaling up in-person connections and facilitating access for children, youth and their families.

BC is now in Phase 2 of its Restart plan to gradually reopen and restore services as the initial impact of the pandemic is easing. Learn more here.

Find more on BC’s Temporary Pandemic Pay here, announced May 19.

No application is required for this fund. Government provides the funds to employers, who are then responsible for distributing the funds to eligible employees in the coming weeks as lump-sum payments.

  • It is not a wage increase
  • Pandemic pay will be distributed as lump-sum payments, so people should not expect to see the funds on every paycheque
  • The timing and frequency of the lump-sum payments may vary between employers
  • The payment does not impact eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) or the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

Also on May 19, the federal government launched the Emergency Community Support fund, which is a $350 million fund that will be distributed through the United Way, Community Foundations of Canada, and the Red Cross. Each funder will be seeking different kinds of projects, so be sure to click through to each of them to see where your organization can find a fit.

May 6 government directive on the staged reopening of BC services and four documents specific to our sector issued as part of the Go Forward provincial strategy. Go Forward Strategy, Go Forward Strategy Checklist, Go Forward Management Strategy Technical Briefing, and Go Forward Strategy as it relates to Indigenous peoples and issues.

MCFD guidelines for virtual conferences (e.g. acceptable platforms).

The BC government has created a $35 million emergency fund for organizations providing residential care in community living. More details here. Meanwhile, the federal government has pledged $350 million to help charities affected by the pandemic. No details yet on how to apply, but the aim is to distribute the funds to funding organizations such as the United Way and the Canadian Red Cross, which will then handle applications. The application process for another federal initiative, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, opens April 27.

AGM season is underway for non-profits, but with gatherings prohibited and staff skeletal, it’s good to know that non-profits in BC have until the end of the calendar year to hold an AGM, and even then can seek an extension until March 31, 2021. Read the details here about requirements under the BC Societies Act. And here’s a link to information from BC non-profit lawyer Anders Ourum on how to hold a virtual AGM.

Covid testing guidelines for BC, current as of April 23, 2020.

The Canada Revenue Agency has extended all tax deadlines due to the pandemic, including the date for charities needing to file Form T3010. If you would normally file between March 18 and Dec. 31, 2020, that deadline has now been extended to Dec. 31. More here.

Here are some important updates on extensions and deferrals related to WorkBC processes and requirements.

April 4 update: New guidelines for preventing and managing COVID-19 in social services settings have now been issued by the province. Masks, gloves and other Personal Protective Equipment remain challenging to obtain and are priorized for health-care workers. Here are guidelines for making a homemade mask, as shared by the BC Provincial Medical Health Office.

The BC Government declared a state of emergency on March 26 and have put together a list of essential services. The designations most affecting our sector are at the Vulnerable Populations heading in the government’s online list.

Non-profits are eligible for financial relief through the federal Temporary Wage Subsidy, which provides relief of up to $25,000 a month ($1,375 per employee) from March through June through reduced payroll remittances. Get the details here on how to make that happen.

Health authorities have now been given the power to order long-term care workers to work in a single LTC site. However, those workers are cleared to have second jobs in community social services and community health. Here’s information from the Hospital Employees Union on that directive.

WorkSafe BC is granting extensions on any occupational first aid, or equivalent certificates due to expire between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020. These certificates will now be acceptable in the workplace for 90 days beyond their original expiry date. More details here.

The federal government has announced a $107 billion aid package to deal with the economic fallout of COVID-19. Here’s a CBC story on that; scroll down to the bottom for a bulleted list of the initiatives. The BC government has announced some aid measures as well, including support for renters and landlords.

Meanwhile, the Emergency Coalition of Canadian Charities and Imagine Canada are appealing to the federal government for an $8-10 billion “emergency stabilization fund” that will allow charities to stay afloat, pay staff, cover critical expenses, and continue essential frontline operations during the pandemic. “Given our sector’s significant employment numbers and GDP contributions, we estimate that this fund will need to be at least $10 billion to be effective – a total that is proportional to the size and impact of the sector,” the coalition notes in the letter. More details here.

Thanks for all your efforts to maintain services to British Columbians in these difficult times! Board Voice is circulating all directives as soon as they become available