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Mar 26 - COVID-19 Orders: Community Social Services Deemed Essential and Multi-Worksite Employees


For the first time in BC’s history, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is using the extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to issue a series of ministerial orders to keep British Columbians safe. Today’s unprecedented measures make sure communities are taking the necessary steps in coordination with the Province should more action be required to combat COVID-19.

Essential Services Now Determined

The province is now the sole arbiter in deeming essential services, which are required services that should and are encouraged to remain open even if province-wide closures are ordered. Essential Services agencies must follow the orders and guidance provided by the Provincial Health Officer to ensure safe operations and to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The following are social services providers deemed essential: 

  • businesses and non-profits that provide food, shelter, social and support services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals, such as:
  • food banks, community kitchens, and voluntary and community service providers;
  • health facilities, mental-health, substance-use and addictions services;
  • transitional, social and supportive housing, and single-room occupancy housing;
  • community services and outreach for immigrants, refugees, vulnerable populations and non-market housing, including businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies;
  • care for seniors, adults, children or individuals with disabilities;
  • care services for those persons providing essential services;
  • caregivers for children in care and out of care;
  • elder and disability care, including disabled service support for people with physical and cognitive disabilities;
  • residential care for individuals with mental health and substance use challenges, including licensed and registered treatment and recovery facilities;
  • government and non-profit service delivery staff who provide access to income supports for people in need of food and shelter;
  • residential and care facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, children and people with disabilities;
  • overdose prevention sites, clinical overdose prevention services or medical marijuana provision; and
  • businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies, or other products/services that support the health sector, including mental-health and addictions/counselling supports.

 

Employers with Staff Employed by Health

In follow up to CSSEA’s communication on Monday, March 23, 2020 notifying members that government was discussing a directive that would restrict employees working in health facilities from working in multiple sites and employers, a new Order from the Provincial Medical Health Officer clearly stipulates that while staff movement between long term care facilities is being limited, it does not (under section (H)) currently restrict the employment of those staff in the social services sector. Therefore, those employees are permitted and encouraged to continue to work in social services.
Members can access the government’s full news release online. CSSEA will continue to provide updates as the situation develops. If you have any questions, please contact your HRLR Consultant or Advocate.

Communications Contact

Doris Sun
Director of Communications
604.601.3110
604.319.5010
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