Dear BCSLA Members and Associates,
COVID-19 novel coronavirus precautions and practices have now become the “new normal” for all of us. While we recognize that this will end someday, it is important to realize the severity of the situation in which we are all finding ourselves. When possible, staying at home is the best way for our Members, Associates and our Community to stay safe and healthy. On April 13, 2021 the state of emergency was extended through the end of the day on April 27, 2021. The state of emergency allows the Province to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the COVID-19 pandemic response. The state of emergency will be in effect for 14 days, but may be extended or rescinded as necessary.
Provincial restrictions are in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Some restrictions are made by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) under the Public Health Act and others are made under the Emergency Program Act (EPA). On March 29, 2021 the PHO announced it was strengthening province-wide restrictions. New and amended orders and guidelines are in effect through April 19, 2021.
BC's Restart Plan- Phase 3
The phased approach to BC's Restart Plan is on pause for the duration of province-wide restrictions. By order and direction of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all events and social gatherings are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel.
COVID-19 and returning to safe operation
WorkSafeBC recognizes the importance of worker safety as businesses look to resume operations following COVID-19 related work stoppages or interruptions. Their website offers materials that will provide employers with information and resources to assist them in ensuring the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 is minimized at their workplace. Also, see What workers should expect when returning to work. By order and direction of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all events and social gatherings are suspended to significantly reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel.
COVID-19 Accessibility Guidelines
COVID-19 has created new barriers and amplified other barriers for Canadians with disabilities. The pandemic is prompting us to rethink best practices in terms of accessibility. The Government of Canada has released their first accessibility guidelines for COVID-19. These cover guidelines for working from home and returning to the workplace. You can access the guidelines for working from home and returning to the workplace.
The Updated Essential Workplaces List
On April 24, 2020 the BC Government updated the Essential Workplace List. This list was developed by Emergency Management BC in consultation with other government ministries and the Provincial Health Officer (PHO). In consultation with the PHO, essential services should and are encouraged to remain open. This list may be updated as government’s response to COVID-19 evolves. Also, view the Province of BC Guidance to construction sites (updated April 27, 2020) operating during COVID-19. In a Provincial State of Emergency, the Provincial Health Officer can make orders as needed. You must follow the Orders, Notices & Guidance (updated August 20, 2020). Also see COVID-19 - Standardized Protocols for All Canadian Construction Sites.
Continuing Education (CE)
To ensure the BCSLA is supporting Members and Associates during these challenging and changing times, we have compiled a list of free online learning resources that will be circulated on Wednesdays by email. The BCSLA has continued to work with our BCSLA Affiliates, conference exhibitors and other loyal supporters to find ways to connect them with our Members and Associates. The CE Committee continue to meet to plan the conference program andother CE opportunities, and if you have any ideas, please email them to the Office.
COVID-19 Survey Summaries April, June and December 2020
To ensure the BCSLA continues to provide the support most important to our Members and Associates during these challenging and changing times, a survey was circulated in April 2020 and repeated in June 2020 and December 2020.
Mental Health Support
In both rounds of the BCSLA COVID-19 Impact Survey we received a number of requests for links to mental health support. Many organisations offer this online. One suggestion as a starting point for members is the CAMH website (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health). They have a COVID-19 FAQ and Resources page. In addition they have an online COVID-19 discussion forum open 7 days a week for all Canadians.
As of March 30, 2021 some BCSLA staff will work remotely to maintain BCSLA programs services and activities. Tara Culham, Executive Director, will continue to work in the BCSLA office We will adhere to the BCSLA COVID-19 Safety Plan and the Working From Home Policy using WorkSafeBC Guidelines. Our COVID 19 Safety Plan will be strictly enforced in conjunction with Oxford Properties Safer Space Protocols - Marine Building - Creating Safer Spaces and Marine Building Lobby Logistics.
In order to go forward and continue to provide our membership with up-to-date information on the impact of COVID-19, BCSLA Board of Directors and staff are monitoring various government websites:
Small Business BC now has a dedicated COVID-19 resource centre, in partnership with the Government of Canada and the B.C. government. The BC Business Covid-19 Support Service is a dedicated help service with phone, email and live chat for any businesses to get their COVID-19 questions answered. They have also launched the Small Business BC COVID-19 Resource Centre webpage.
Also visit the CSLA Website for additional information.
The BCSLA Membership has grown as a family and what affects one of our Members and Associates impacts us all. As we face this pandemic, we face it together by following recommendations to keep us all, our families, and our communities safe and healthy now, and in the future.
BCSLA Board of Directors
BCSLA Archive Announcements