COVID-19 PAN Statement and Resources

Dear PAN members and allied organizations:

Without a doubt, these are challenging and uncertain times. Now it is time for all of us to come together – as we have so many times in the past – to confront this new and significant public health threat. PAN members will no doubt build on their history of responding in a creative and effective manner, as each decides how to continue to deliver services and programs often times to some of the most vulnerable members of our society.  Here is information on PAN operations, as well as our commitment to members at this time.  Read complete PAN statement to Members


COVID-19 Resources and Advocacy

Please Read: As information on prevention, policy, and programs is rapidly evolving, these resources generally direct users to frequently updated sites, rather than single pages that can go quickly out of date. We provide evidence-based resources and encourage members to dig deeper as their mission/work requires. We are grateful to everyone as they do their best through this crisis and wish all well as we work within this extraordinary time.

 

PAN Statement to members
COVID-19 Prevention information and updates
HIV and hepatitis C
Housing
Harm reduction for substance use and sexual health, including sex work
Indigenous communities
Prison populations
Mental health and connection
Economic response plans and advocacy issues
Funding sustainability
Workplace action and tips on working virtually

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PAN Statement to Members

 

Dear PAN members and allied organizations:

Without a doubt, these are challenging and uncertain times. Now it is time for all of us to come together – as we have so many times in the past – to confront this new and significant public health threat.

PAN members will no doubt build on their history of responding in a creative and effective manner, as each decides how to continue to deliver services and programs often times to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Different members will be adopting different practices and approaches, to best respond to the needs of their clients, members and communities. The PAN board of directors and the staff team express our heartfelt appreciation to you, for the work that is unfolding across the network within each member organization.

We also want to recognize and acknowledge the efforts and dedication of our colleagues in public health – to all those working within each health authority, at the ministry level and federally – thank you to all the health care providers and professionals for your response and for the hard work still to come in the weeks and months ahead.

An update on PAN operations, as well as our commitment to members at this time:

PAN Operations

  • The PAN office located on West Pender Street in Vancouver is closed until further notice – however all staff can be reached by phone, or by email – see our contacts here
  • PAN staff will continue to work virtually from their home offices – fortunately much of the work at PAN is done remotely and our organization has long had flexible work place policies and culture – so we are well situated to carry forward in the same manner.
  • We are postponing all in person events and all in person meetings until the end of June 2020, at which time we will reassess the situation based on the latest information from public health
  • NOTE: the June 2020 PLDI Core Training event (Loon Lake) is being postponed– there is a November 2020 PLDI Core Training event which at this point we are planning will take place as scheduled

Our Commitment to Members

  • To provide access to timely and accurate information in relation to COVID19 as it comes available and as this fast-changing situation continues to evolve – via our weekly e-news, on the PAN website, targeted communications to Executive Directors, etc. See Resources section below for additional sources.

The BC CDC is the key “standing” link we recommend at this point for BC specific information*

The other “standing” link we recommend for national information

  • To provide opportunities for PAN members to connect virtually wherever possible including the sharing of information and best practices for delivering services in the context of this pandemic – more information to follow
  • To liaise with public health (including health authorities, the province, the Public Health agency of Canada/Health Canada) and present the concerns of our sector, as we are able – working where it makes sense with our partners provincially and nationally

 

The work of PAN will continue in the weeks and months ahead, and we want all our members to know – we are here for you.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jennifer (Evin) Jones, Executive Director,
[email protected]

 

*Find Yukon specific information

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates

 

The BC Centre for Disease Control COVID-19 pages provide key learning with ongoing updates about COVID-19 and how things look in BC. Information includes transmission, testing and isolation, and specific information for people who use substances; people who are unsheltered; people with chronic conditions; and answers to common questions.

COVID-19 was declared a public health crisis in BC on March 17, 2020. What should we be doing to help slow its progress? Up to date information from the Ministry of Health and what British Columbians should be doing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 

Testing:  See the COVID-19 BC Self-Assessment Tool Testing is recommended for groups that are more vulnerable to complications due to COVID-19, which includes residents of remote, isolated or Indigenous communities; people living and working in communal settings such as correctional facilities, shelters, group homes; and people who are homeless or have unstable housing. Learn more

BC is expanding testing to find new cases and prevent spread of COVID-19 in the community. Learn more

Myth Busters: Information changes fast and not all of it out there is true. See this list of myths and whether they’re true or false, collected and updated by the World Health Organization

Questions about Personal Protective Equipment? See the BC CDC information about interim guidance on personal protective equipment. Guidelines for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) u​​se: when and where use is recommended, target personnel, activities, equipment required), developed by First Nations Health Authority

 

Printable posters

Click on images to enlarge/download.

How Physical Distancing Works. (First Nations Health Authority)

The Do’s and Don’ts of Physical Distancing. (First Nations Health Authority)

Please do not enter our home for the protection of the people who live here. (First Nations Health Authority)

COVID-19: How to Prevent Catching and Spreading it (Interior Health)

 

BC is under a state of emergency. What does this mean? An eight minute listen.

 

Region Specific News from Health Authorities

These links provide general information for each area, and specific follow-up options where available.

Fraser Health

Interior Health (general information). Groups funded by Interior Health can ask specific questions about working with vulnerable populations via email to the Vulnerable Populations Working Group: [email protected]

Island Health (general information). Information for Community Partners page including organizations working with under served and vulnerable populations.

Northern Health (general) COVID-19 Resources for NH Staff and CommunityPartners Working with Populations who Experience Vulnerabilities

Vancouver Coastal Health

 

Canada-wide information: National health tracking and economic plans from the Government of Canada.

Global-perspective: International tracking from the World Health Organization

 

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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HIV and Hepatitis C

As this virus is new, there is not a lot of definitive information, but see these resources for starters:

British Columbia

COVID-19, the BC CfE Response (April 29): on-demand webinar. Read key points on BC-CfE HIV Treatment and prevention programs update and COVID-19 and how it will affect precision medicine testing.

Hepatitis C Testing Update from BC Centre for Disease Control (March 31, 2020)

 

 

National 

Statement on COVID-19 and Criminalization: “The Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization (CCRHC) understands and supports the need for sound public health measures to limit the spread of the virus, as well as the call for solidarity to protect ourselves and others. As we are still in the early stages of an unfolding and complicated pandemic, we remind policy makers that any measures taken to respond to COVID-19, as well as their enforcement, must be proportionate, grounded in science, and in compliance with human rights.”

CATIE has a resource section dedicated to COVID-19 that includes include Coping with COVID-19: Insight from the front lines of HIV, hepatitis C and harm reduction (webinar Thursday March 26, 2020); Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), HIV and hepatitis C: What you need to know, and more.

Canadian Liver Foundation COVID-19 Action Plan.

 

Global

Information for people living with viral hepatitis. This resource is regularly updated by the World Hepatitis Alliance

COVID-19 and HIV: Webinar series. The International AIDS Society (IAS) is organizing a series of webinars on the topic of COVID-19 and HIV to discuss the pandemic and its impact on people living with HIV. Through these webinar sessions, the IAS would like to provide an opportunity for discussion around the latest science, in addition to sharing learning and best practices in relation to COVID-19 and HIV between countries at different stages of the pandemic, especially in lower- and middle-income countries. See the site for upcoming events and view past ones on-demand.

Rights in the time of COVID-19 — Lessons from HIV for an effective, community-led response  Our response to COVID-19 must be grounded in the realities of people’s lives and focused on eliminating the barriers people face in being able to protect themselves and their communities. (UNAIDS)

From UNAIDS: What People living with HIV need to Know about HIV and COVID-19

 

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Housing

Vulnerable Population Shelter Planning Guidelines
This document was created collaboratively between Interior Health and BC Housing to support community
partner groups to develop a local housing plan for vulnerable populations (people homelessness, or residing in precarious or congregate housing) during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes relevant information and resources for community partners who work with vulnerable populations.

Transition Houses and Safe Homes List
Find and contact a transition house or safe home nearby.

BC Non-Profit Housing Association COVID-19 page. Includes two tracking documents that outline new federal and provincial benefits for which your non-profit housing society and your residents may be eligible. These policy trackers include information on eligibility criteria and application procedures, where available.

BC Housing updates for housing providers, including those who do outreach to homeless populations. Sign up for BC Housing E-news.

Information from the BC CDC people who are unsheltered.

COVID-19 Resources for VCH Staff and Community Partners Working with Vulnerable Populations Developed by Vancouver Coastal Health (March 19, 2020); approaches could be used in other areas too.

Downtown Eastside Response, a coordinated groundwork effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Organizations in the Downtown Eastside are activating networks in the community to create a stop-gap plan for the most urgent needs. For instance: providing food, cellphones, and money for loss of income.

Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of People Experiencing Homelessness: includes information on shelter environments, encampments, housing and homelessness services

Preparing homelessness services for coronavirus: webinars offered by Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of People Experiencing Homelessness. There are two parts; the first was offered March 18, 2020 and the second part was March 25, 2020.

Resources for Shelters and Transition Houses During COVID-19 Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) will be distributing federal funds across the country to eligible shelters and transition houses supporting women and children fleeing violence. Visit their site for details.

 

 

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Harm Reduction for Substance Use and Sexual Health, including Sex Work

Substance Use

Accessing a safe supply: This information from BC and Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors offers maps for services and drug user groups; safe supply resources; information for pharmacists and prescribers, and more.

Getting a Safe Supply of Drugs: The Clinical Guidance Risk Mitigation in the Context of Dual Public Health Emergencies from the BC Centre on Substance Use “aims to support individuals who may be at increased risk of overdose, withdrawal, craving, and other harms related to their substance use. As the effects of the [COVID-19] pandemic continue, the drug supply may become significantly more adulterated and toxic, based on limited importation and availability, and illicit substances may become significantly more difficult to procure.”

Supporting Harm Reduction in COVID 19 Shelter and Self Isolation – April 2, 2020.  Dr. Christy Sutherland, Medical Director of the Portland Hotel Society, presents strategies for supporting people who use drugs (including those who don’t have a doctor) when they are in self-isolation or social distancing, discuss prescribing practices and how to help people stay away from the illicit drug market.

COVID-19, Substance Use, and Safer Supply: Clinical guidance to reduce risk of infection and overdose: Link takes you to a registration page before you can access recording. Presented by Matthew Bonn, Guy Felicella, Cheyenne Johnson, and Dr. Andrea Sereda.  Download slides Part 1 | Part 2

BC Centre on Substance Use COVID-19 resource section, including Substance Use and COVID-19

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has put together resources on COVID-19 and substance use. They feature resources from websites and organizations from around the world, as well publications from their experts. For smooth searching, they are organized by types of resources, audiences and specific topics.

Vaping, Smoking and COVID-19: COVID-19 spreads by droplets, including saliva, so it will spread by sharing cigarettes, joints, pipes (including pipes in pipe ceremonies), waterpipes, and vaping devices contaminated by the virus. Do not share your smoking, pipes or vaping materials. More from the BC CDC

Harm reduction resources from the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition that provide information for people who use substances and service providers. Includes safer drug use, sex work, prescription guidelines, public health practices, and more.

Safer drinking guide in light of COVID-19 from the University of Victoria.

Pivot Legal Society has called on Vancouver Police Department “to undertake evidence-based responses to public health crises and cease enforcement activities that jeopardize access to health, safety, and dignity.” Read that and other press releases here.

 

 

Sexual Health including Sex Work

Safer Sex Guidelines for men who have sex with men, from Health Initiative for Men

This on-demand webinar from CATIE features leading voices in sexual health who speak to how their organizations are meeting the needs of people looking for guidance on sex and sex work in the time of COVID-19 — both online and in person.

Sex work and COVID-19: Guidelines for sex workers, clients third parties, and allies
Butterfly Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network / Maggie’s Toronto Sex Workers Action Project, via CATIE.

Sexual Health and COVID-19, from CATIE. Includes information on HIV PreP, sex work, and pregnancy
PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Indigenous Communities

Watch: Dr. Evan Adams Chief Medical Officer of the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), discusses the public health issues of COVID-19.

First Nations Health Authority COVID-19 Resources for Public and Patients

First Nations Health Authority COVID-19 Resources for First Nations Community Health Care Providers

First Nations Health Authority COVID-19 resources for Community Leaders, including FNHA guidelines for personal protective equipment (PPE) u​​se (settings, target personnel, activities, equipment required) funding for additional support; steps for communities to take.

Planning for Food Security: A Toolkit for the COVID-19 Pandemic  The First Nations Health Authority has released a food security toolkit:. “Thinking of the food system as a whole during the COVID-19 pandemic supports a wholistic community approach to making a food security plan. During a global pandemic such as the one we are currently experiencing, food systems can be disrupted and lead to additional food security challenges for communities. There is an opportunity, however, to take more control over the community-level food system. Your community can make short-, medium- and long-term plans for food security using a food systems approach.”

Accessing Personal Protective Equipment for First Nations Communities

Mental Health and Cultural Supports to Indigenous people during COVID-19, from FNHA

Dr. Nel Wieman of the FNHA talks about COVID-19: Prevention, cultural events, and mental health

The Native Women’s Association of Canada has a team of Elders to speak with if you need someone to talk to.

Our Home is Our Camp: Hotıì ts’eeda and FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) are promoting a joint social media campaign to inform NWT residents on the importance of social distancing in a culturally safe context.

Safe on the Land: As part of its social distancing campaign called Our Home is Our Camp (#homeiscamp), Hotıì ts’eeda and FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth) are continuing to promote social distancing that is both culturally relevant and safe in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Government of Canada –  COVID-19 and Indigenous communities. This set of resources includes:

Videos from Indigenous Services Canada – includes videos like “Procedures for Indigenous People in Urban Settings and Northern Territories” and “Questions from a community perspective with Chief Leroy Denny”

 

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Prison Populations

Correctional Services Canada Statement on COVID-19

BC Corrections (with information on COVID-19)

Open Letter to Ontario and Federal Governments: 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Protecting the health of people in jail and detention centres

 

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Mental Health and Connection

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has developed a trio of free crisis response training programs designed to help front-line workers deal with the stress of these exceptional circumstances. The three new online programs (Caring for Yourself, Caring for Your Team, and Caring for Others) are designed to help people deal with these new challenges and are based on the MHCC’s successful in-person courses: Mental Health First Aid and The Working Mind.
Anxiety Canada provides resources for adults, youth and kids to help them deal with feelings around COVID-19. Includes recordings of town halls, and opportunity to sign up for future town hall events on Youtube and Facebook Live.

Wellness Together Canada: Wellness Together Canada provides mental health, physical health and substance use resources to help Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic . These include modules for addressing low mood, worry, substance use, social isolation and relationship issues.

Coping with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak from the World Health Organization

What is Social Distancing and Flattening the Curve?

Mental Health and Cultural Supports to Indigenous people during COVID-19, from FNHA

Protecting Your Mental Health in the Coronavirus Climate:
We are not helpless in light of current news events. We can always choose our response. If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of your mental health in the face of uncertainty.

Coping with Current Events: Managing Anxiety and Stress
The Canadian Mental Health Association is offering a Coping with Current Events series in the hope of  bringing together the community during a time of unknown, to learn and support ourselves and others. The online Coping with Current Events: Managing Anxiety and Stress will discuss the impact of the current events on our well-being, what we can do to feel a little more in control, and some options to help manage our feelings of anxiety and stress. Managing your stress and well-being during this time is as important as managing your physical health.

Psychological First Aid
The BC Psychological Association Support Service offers “Psychological First Aid” telephone calls, free of charge, to any BC resident (19+) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Economic Response Plans and Advocacy Issues

The Government of Canada announced on March 18, 2020 that they are taking immediate action as a result of COVID-19. A sample of these actions include:

• temporary income support for workers and parents without paid sick leave
• long term income support for those who lose their jobs or face reduced hours
• one-time payment for low- and modest-income families
• increase to the maximum annual Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payment for the 2019-20 benefit year
• funding to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities
• six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans
• funding to support people experiencing homelessness
• funding to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres
• reduction of required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020
• measures relating to tax filings, including deferring this year’s due date to June 1

Visit federal government site for details.

COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information: this resource from the Government of BC provides emerging and up-to-date information on the financial relief available as well as details regarding home and job security; information for employers and employees; childcare, and education.

Emergency Funds and Income Assistance (BC-specific): The Disability Alliance of BC has been advocating at the provincial and federal levels for supports to ensure people with disabilities stay safe during the pandemic. They note the announcement of “emergency measures for people on income assistance (IA) and PWD, including an automatic $300 crisis supplement for the next three months for people on IA and PWD who are not receiving EI or the CERB. Visit DABC’s COVID-19 Systemic Advocacy Efforts to learn about their current work.

Questions and Answers on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (Federal): The Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides temporary income support to workers who have stopped working related to COVID-19. Individuals who are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits, or who have recently exhausted Employment Insurance regular or fishing benefits may also be eligible.

Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Information on Clawbacks and Enforcement: Provincial and federal governments are working fast to get relief funds to people during COVID-19 restrictions. What happens if you receive money you might not be eligible to receive? These are some things to consider. This information was provided to PAN by Meenakshi Mannoe, Criminalization & Policing Campaigner at PIVOT Legal Society.

COVID-19 Support for Income & Disability Assistance (BC Government): Information from the provincial government on emergency funds, income and disability assistance, BC bus pass program, and more. “Due to COVID-19, new emergency measures are in place to ensure that people on income or disability assistance and low-income seniors, do not encounter additional barriers.”

Temporary Emergency Child Care for Essential Workers: To support parents who are essential service workers during the response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Province is launching a new process. This process will match parents, who are working on the front lines of B.C.’s COVID-19 response and have children up to five years of age, with child care in their communities.

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Funding Sustainability for Non-Profits

The Government of Canada’s $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund: The Emergency Community Support Fund supports community organizations helping vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis. Community organizations may seek funds to undertake a wide range of activities and to serve a wide range of vulnerable groups.

COVID-19 Action Plan: BC’s first steps to support people, businesses
Statement from the BC Government, March 23, 2020: To support non-profits, service delivery agencies and child care providers, the Province will continue to provide funding even if these agencies are closed or their regular operations have been disrupted.

Vancouver Foundation Fund to Support Community through COVID-19
Vancouver Foundation has joined a multi-sector partnership to launch a Community Response Fund to support community through this unprecedented time.

See the BC Government’s COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information: for up-to-date information on financial relief available as well as information for employers and employees; plus more.

COVID-19 Event and Fundraising Resources During Possible Impact: Event planning, communication with donors, and more

Federal guide and application links, including:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that would cover 75 per cent of salaries for qualifying businesses (that see a drop of at least 30 per cent of their revenue), for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for the previously announced Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employerspaid from March 18 to before June 20, 2020 that covers 10% of remuneration paid to employees.

  • Work-Sharing program lengthened.
  • Applying for Credit: Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits
  • Deferring income tax amounts, and GST remittances.
  • Information to share with staff (Federal) – Increased childcare, facing unemployment.

BC Provincial guide, including:

  • Deferring Employer Health Tax.
  • Information to share with staff (Provincial):
  • BC Emergency Benefit for Workers provides a one-time $1,000 payment for people who lost income.
  • Taking unpaid, job-protected leave due to COVID-19.
  • Increases to income, disability assistance.

 

Imagine Canada – Federal Relief measures for the sector
Summary of Federal Government COVID-19 programs that apply to the sector, and is very regularly updated it as more programs are announced.  Clear, concise summary from Imagine Canada.

Vantage Point – COVID-19 Financial Resources for BC Not-for-Profits
Detailed information collated and expanded from both federal and provincial sources – for employers and workers facing different scenarios (full staff, reduced hours, layoffs).

PAN Statement to Members | COVID-19 Prevention Information and Updates | HIV and Hepatitis C | Housing
Harm Reduction | Indigenous Communities | Prison Populations | Mental Health and Connection
Economic Response Plans | Funding Sustainability | Workplace Action and Tips on Working Virtually

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Workplace Action, Including Tips for Working Virtually

Interim Guidance to Social Service Providers for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in their Facilities: Information sheet from the government of BC.

Adapting to COVID-19: Delivering community programs remotely: This interactive webinar from CATIE provided a forum for service providers from across Canada to share how they have adapted to the current climate by providing remote services to their clients. Speakers shared how programs were adapted and implemented, as well as challenges and solutions related to virtual and remote programming.