CLBC News – Winter 2021

CLBC welcomes Minister Nicholas Simons

Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction

In December, Premier John Horgan appointed Nicholas Simons as Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction with responsibility for Community Living BC.

“I am thrilled to welcome Minister Simons to CLBC,” said CLBC Board Chair Michael J. Prince. “With a strong background in social services, he will help us in our vision to support individuals with developmental disabilities to be fully included in their communities.”

Prior to being elected in 2005 as MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast, Minister Simons spent over 15 years working in the areas of health, justice, social services and child welfare, including as a social worker for the Ministry of Children and Family Development and later as
a director of health and social development for the Sechelt Nation.

“We look forward to the leadership of Minister Simons,” said Ross Chilton, CEO of Community Living BC. “We know he brings an understanding of our work and a life-long commitment to those we serve. We look forward to his guidance for our work and support for the individuals and families we serve.”

In addition to serving as an MLA since 2005, Minister Simons served in various opposition critic roles and was elected in 2017 as Chair of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth.

CLBC welcomes Joanne Mills as Executive Director of Indigenous Relations

Community Living BC is pleased to welcome Joanne Mills to the newly created role of Executive Director of Indigenous Relations. Joanne is a member of Fisher River Cree Nation with ties to Skidegate and brings her experience as a parent of an individual who receives CLBC services.

Joanne Mills, CLBC Executive Director of Indigenous Relations

Joanne’s most recent role was Executive Director of the Fraser Regional Aboriginal Friendship Center Association, where she developed new programs that were very focused on Indigenous Peoples with vulnerabilities, among her other accomplishments.

In her role with CLBC, Joanne will oversee the establishment of a new Indigenous Relations team that will inform CLBC policies, improve service standards about cultural safety and sensitivity, and lead community engagement efforts.

“I am very privileged to be chosen for this important work and feel that my life’s journey has prepared me to support our most precious people,” said Joanne. “I look forward to working in partnership with the Indigenous communities to build a meaningful, culturally relevant model of care, and to collaborating with the leadership team to bring life to
our collective vision.”

COVID-19 resources to stay informed and safe

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues through the Winter months, having access to up-to-date information and resources remains very important for the individuals and families CLBC serves and for services providers.

As a reminder, CLBC has created pages with important updates and resources related to COVID-19 on our website. There you can find:

  • Information about upcoming teleconferences, as well as audio recordings and plain language summaries of past teleconferences.
  • The regular Individual and Family Update, including a sign up form to receive the update by email.
  • A plain language resource page, including videos with information in sign language.

In recent months, additional resources have been added to these pages, including:

  • The Toolkit for Connection which highlights tools and resources created by CLBC and our partners to help people stay safe, strong and connected.
  • A listing of mental health and wellness resources that can support people coping with feelings of stress, anxiety and isolation created by the pandemic.

You can access all of these resources by clicking here.

New funding helps people with disabilities return to work

In January, the Province of B.C. announced $10 million in funding that will support people CLBC serves to return to the workforce and increase their digital literacy.

“Many people with developmental disabilities are precariously employed,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This funding will support those laid off due to the pandemic to get back to work, while assisting other people to enter the labour force.”

Of the new funding, $9.7 million will be used to supplement CLBC-funded employment support services. It will assist about 1,100 people with disabilities who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 100 agencies that deliver specialized employment services to the people CLBC serves are able to apply for funding during January and February 2021. Inclusion BC will administer the grant funds for employment services over two years on behalf of CLBC.

This new funding can be used to hire additional employment support staff to help people find or reconnect to employment, support with job searching, assist individuals to understand and adhere to COVID-19 workplace requirements and help people reconnect with former employers to find out if an individual can be rehired.

The remaining $300,000 will go toward improving digital literacy throughout the province for individuals CLBC serves, to help them enhance employment prospects, work more from home and benefit from more social connections.

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