31-March-2020 Provincial Health Officer Letter to Family and Social Supports Stakeholders
29-March-2020 BC Ministerial Order Enables Broader Use of Tech in COVID-19 Response
A new ministerial order under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA) enables the broader use of communications tools for health-care workers and other public-sector staff who are responding to the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Ministerial Order No. M085
29-March-2020 – Registrants/Licensees from other Jurisdictions seeking to provide Electronic Social Work Services to clients in British Columbia
Temporary Registration information found here:
27-March-2020 – BC List of Essential Services during COVID-19 Pandemic
27-March-2020 – Provincial Health Officer – Long Term Care Facility Staff Movement Limitation
British Columbia Provincial Health Officer message on Long Term Care Facility Staff Movement Limitation.
25-March-2020 – Temporary Measures: Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP)
Until April 24th, 2020, social workers will be included as mental health professionals along with psychologists for all PSHCP members and eligible dependents.
For further information visit Government of Canada website at https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/benefit-plans/health-care-plan/information-notices/covid-19-temporary-measures-public-service-health-care-plan.html
25-March-2020 – Ministry of Child and Family Development – COVID-19 Updates
The BC Ministry of Child and Family Development is providing COVID-19 updates at the link below. A collection of recent Letters from the Ministry regarding COVID-19 are available through a menu located at the bottom of the web page.
25-March-2020 – BC College of Social Workers – Annual General Meeting – Postponed
The May 1st, 2020, British Columbia College of Social Workers Annual General Meeting has been postponed. Rescheduling information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.
23-March-2020 – BC Provincial Health Officer COVID-19: Important Update
COVID-19: Important Update from the Provincial Health Officer March 23, 2020
The following expectations are for all regulated health professionals in British Columbia on behalf of Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
This advice applies to regulated health professionals under the Health Professions Act when providing patient and client care in community settings. It does not apply to regulated health professionals when providing patient and client care in designated facilities or institutions regulated by the Hospital Act, the Health Authorities Act, the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, the Mental Health Act, or other relevant Acts.
Purpose I am writing this to you now to provide clarity on my expectations of all health professionals in our community during this extraordinary time. I recognize there has been confusion as the measures we have taken to prevent transmission of COVID-19 have evolved in the past weeks. The expectations outlined below are to assist in your decision-making as professionals to ensure we are all delivering the best and safest care to patients and clients through this evolving crisis. Your regulatory college will be providing more specific direction of how to apply the principles outlined below.
Expectations of regulated health professionals
1. All non-essential and elective services involving direct physical contact with patients and clients should be reduced to minimal levels, subject to allowable exceptions, until further notice.
2. Allowable exceptions can be made for time-sensitive circumstances, and emergent, urgent, and/or essential care to avert or avoid negative patient or client outcomes, or to avert or avoid a situation that would have a direct impact on the safety of a patient or client.
3. Where possible and appropriate, health professionals are encouraged to provide care to patients and clients via telephone and video technology.
4. Health professionals are in the best position to determine what is essential in their specific health practice. In making decisions regarding the reduction or elimination of non-essential and elective services, health professionals should be guided by their regulatory college, and the following principles:
i. Proportionality: Measures taken should be proportionate to and commensurate with the real or anticipated risk one is trying to prevent.
ii. The Harm Principle: Measures taken should attempt to limit harm wherever possible, taking into consideration all available alternatives, and the balance of differential benefits and burdens that result.
iii. Fairness: Persons ought to have equal access to health care resources, benefit ought to be offered preferentially to those who will derive the greatest benefit, and resources ought to be distributed such that the maximum benefits to the greatest number will be achieved.
iv. Reciprocity: Certain persons or populations will be particularly burdened as a result of a reduction in non-essential services. A such, patients and clients should have the ability to have their health monitored and it be revaluated as required.
5. Health professionals who provide emergent, urgent, and/or essential care must assess and screen patients and clients for symptoms of COVID-19. Unless direct physical contact with patients and clients is required, physical distancing of two meters should be maintained at all times. When direct physical contact is required for the care of patients and clients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, health professionals must use infection control practices including as appropriate personal protective equipment. Decisions regarding the reduction or elimination of non-essential and elective services should be made using processes that are fair and equitable to all patients and clients.
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we will continue to work together with you and all our health system partners to review emerging evidence to understand the most appropriate measures to take to protect all health professionals and the people in our care.
Bonnie Henry MD, MPH, FRCPC Provincial Health Officer
23-March-2020 – COVID-19 Information and Resources
As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, it is important that registered social workers remain current with developing public health information, recommendations and orders.
Governments at all levels and Canada’s public health experts are strongly encouraging the use of widespread social distancing.
The safety of social workers, their clients and the general public is of utmost importance. If social workers are around others, they should ensure that they are following the health and safety protocols recommended by government and public health authorities.
Social workers who have questions about how to provide services safely should speak to their employer or contact public health authorities. It is recommended to regularly seek current information regarding the COVID-19 public health situation and current health safeguarding actions.
Websites providing COVID-19 information include:
Social workers engaging in electronic social work services should thoroughly review the BCCSW Technology Standards of Practice, the BCCSW Standards of Practice and applicable privacy legislation. Social workers should be confident that they can practice competently and in accordance with the best interests of their clients.
Social workers using, or considering the use of, electronic social work services should review the British Columbia College of Social Workers Technology Standards of Practice found at this link:
The BC Provincial Health Services Authority has developed a COVID-19 Virtual Health Toolkit found at this link:
Note that regulatory requirements vary across provinces, states and countries. Registered social workers, who reside in British Columbia and provide services to clients in other jurisdictions, are responsible for knowing the registration requirements where the client resides. Many jurisdictions require social workers to be registered within that jurisdiction to provide services and may require different levels of registration depending on the nature of the social work practice. Further information can be obtained by contacting the appropriate regulatory agency.
20-March-2020 College operations are being conducted remotely
In response to the COVID-19 situation the operations of British Columbia College of Social Workers are being conducted remotely.
Email address email@example.com is being monitored and messages will be responded to as quickly as possible.
Telephone numbers 604-737-4916 and Canada toll free 877-576-6740 are active and voicemail messages will be responded to as quickly as possible.
Current British Columbia specific COVID-19 information can be found at following websites: BCCDC COVID-19 for the Public, BCCDC COVID-19 for Health Care Professionals, and HealthLink BC 8-1-1.