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COVID-19 Resources and Updates

29 May 2020
BCRCC Benefit Plan Services Expansion
Dear BCRCC Members:

The BC Regional Council of Carpenters (BCRCC), in collaboration with the trustees of the BCRCC Benefit Plan, is pleased to announce that the Member and Family Assistance Program (MFAP), jury duty coverage, and bereavement leave are now accessible to all BCRCC members – not just those covered on the BCRCC Benefit Plan.

The MFAP, provided by Homewood Health, is a counselling, resources, and support service that’s available to all BCRCC members – and their dependents – in person, by phone, by video, or online. It offers a confidential and caring environment and will provide counselling for any challenge, such as:

family – marital – relationships – addictions – anxiety – depression – life transitions/change – grief/bereavement – stress – nutrition – lifestyle changes – weight management – smoking cessation – childcare and parenting – elderly and family care – financial – legal – career planning – workplace issues – pre-retirement – and shift work

The MFAP is free and accessible 24/7. Call 1-844-722-3327 or visit

Download the MFAP brochure here.

1 May 2020
The Online Application Portal for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is Now Open
As of today, Friday, May 1, 2020, the online portal to apply for the B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers is open. This benefit is a tax-free, one-time $1000 payment “for B.C. residents whose ability to work has been affected due to COVID-19.” Find more information here.
The eligibility requirements are similar to those for the Canada Emergency Response Benefits (CERB). View the eligibility and application requirements here.
Apply online here.
Note: While telephone applications will be accepted starting May 4, due to anticipated high volumes, the Province strongly recommends applying online. To apply by phone: 1-855-955-3545 (within BC only); 1-778-309-4630 (outside B.C.).

22 April 2020
CERB Expansions – Stay on the CERB if You Earn Less Than $1,000 per Month
Last week, the Federal Government announced some expansions to its Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). While we encourage you to read more about these expansions, we’d particularly like to note that the government will now “Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.”
This means that if you’re currently on the CERB, and you’re offered a dispatch for a position that’s short term, accepting the dispatch may not automatically disqualify you for the CERB.
Please note: According to this Fed Gov page, this $1,000 per month is before taxes. And “per month” means “during an eligibility period,” which are as follows:

  1. March 15, 2020 to April 11, 2020
  2. April 12, 2020 to May 9, 2020
  3. May 10, 2020 to June 6, 2020
  4. June 7, 2020 to July 4, 2020
  5. July 5, 2020 to August 1, 2020
  6. August 2, 2020 to August 29, 2020
  7. August 30, 2020 to September 26, 2020

7 April 2020
COVID-19 Scenarios Grid for BCRCC Members (Version 4)
We’ve made a fourth version our COVID-19 scenarios grid to help direct BCRCC members to benefits and information depending on their situation.
Most significantly, the portal to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is now active.
Moreover, Employment Insurance (EI) benefits (both regular and sickness EI) and the CERB have been streamlined: Applying for either of these benefits is now done through one and the same portal. Also, per this Fed Gov site, “If you applied for EI regular or sickness benefits on March 15, 2020 or later, your claim will be automatically processed through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.”

3 April 2020
COVID-19 Scenarios Grid for BCRCC Members (Version 3)
Please see this latest version of our COVID-19 scenarios grid for BCRCC members. It will help direct members to benefits and information depending on their situation. Here’s what’s changed or been added since the previous version:

  1. The recommended order for what benefit people should apply for has changed. If you’ve stopped working because of COVID-19, it’s now being recommended by the Federal Government that you “apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, whether or not are eligible for Employment Insurance.” (See question two of the Q&A).
  2. The Federal Government has released guidelines for applying for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
  3. The Province’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool is now available as an app for both Apple and Android devices.

27 March 2020
COVID-19 Scenarios Grid for BCRCC Members (Version 2)
We have updated our grid designed to help guide members to benefits and information depending on their situation. This revised version includes information about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit announced by the Federal Government on March 25, which replaces the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Response Benefit. It also includes resources about construction and COVID-19 from WorkSafe BC.

Benefit Plan Changes
In addition, please see the updates to the BCRCC Benefit Plan that provide additional support to members and their families during this challenging period.

23 March 2020
COVID-19 Scenario Grid for BCRCC Members
Please view this grid designed to direct members to benefits and information depending on their specific situation.

B.C. Government Releases Guidance for Construction Sites
Also, yesterday the B.C. Government released guidelines for construction sites during COVID-19.

20 March 2020
Please help keep our jobsites safe by maintaining safe social distances and by washing your hands frequently. Do not go to work if you are ill, whether or not the illness has been confirmed as COVID-19.

BC Ministry of Health Releases Self-Assessment Tool
Anyone who feels ill can use this self-assessment tool that the B.C. Ministry of Health released to help determine the nature of their illness. You can complete this assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.

Changes to EI Sickness Benefits
Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provides up to 15 weeks of income replacement for people who are unable to work because of illness, injury, or quarantine. Visit the EI sickness benefits page to apply. People claiming EI sickness benefits due to quarantine will not have to provide a medical certificate. The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim. Find more information here.

18 March 2020
We understand and share many of the concerns we have been hearing in response to the COVID-19 situation. Our hope is that our members and their families stay healthy during this critical time. The BCRCC is actively monitoring the latest news from the BC Centre for Disease Control, the BC Ministry of Health, as well as the Federal Government, and will help to relay new information.

Canada’s Economic Response Plan
On March 18, the Federal Government announced its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. The benefit will provide temporary income support for:

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Q&A for Employees and Employers from the BC Building Trades
Find answers to commonly asked questions – including those involving construction work – here.

CLR’s Safety Recommendations
Also, Construction Labour Relations (CLR) has encouraged its signatory contractors that the following precautionary measures be adopted on jobsites:

• Jobsite meetings can still be held, but perhaps in smaller groups which are appropriate for the space available to allow for proper distance between employees.
• Consider staggering lunch breaks so potential exposure in lunch rooms is limited to smaller groups.
• Where possible add additional washing stations and hand sanitizers and ensure the ones you have are available in convenient locations so that access is easier.
• Discourage the shaking of hands. It may feel strange, but elbow bumps or no contact at all is becoming the norm.
• Keep 1—2 meters distance between yourself and anyone you are talking to.

Pre-Dispatch Procedures
Before getting dispatched to a jobsite, members will be asked: 1. Do you have a fever or are you experiencing any respiratory systems such as coughing, sore throat or shortness of breath; 2. Have you, or a member of your household, travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days; 3. Have you, or a member of your household, been in contact with anyone infected with the COVID -19 Virus in the last 14 days? If the answer is yes, dispatch should be denied until 14 days after the member returned to Canada or was last in contact with an infected person.

Practice Self-Monitoring
To prevent transmission of the virus, the BC Centre for Disease Control asks people to “self-monitor their health and to apply a low threshold when feeling unwell to stay home until they are better.” If someone is showing symptoms, they should contact their doctor or another health authority about potentially getting tested for COVID-19. They can call 811 to speak to a registered nurse. Also, the BC Ministry of Health has released a COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

There is a hotline to provide non-medical information and help people decide if they should seek testing: 1-888-COVID19 or 1-888-268-4319. It will be staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Information is available in more than 110 languages.

Information about COVID-19 from the Federal Government
The Federal Government’s page about EI and COVID-19 is here. The website to apply for EI is here. Service Canada has also set up a toll-free number for those seeking EI for self-isolation: 1‑833-381-2725. Information about eligibility for regular EI is here. Information about medical EI is here.

We will continue to share updates as the situation develops.

13 March 2020
Due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19 globally, the BCRCC is proactively trying to limit the spread of infection in the workplace. Our shared priority is the health, safety, and welfare of our members and signatory contractors.

Safety Precautions for Individuals
Although the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population, we must all remain vigilant in order to protect public health. Please view this poster for steps on how to protect yourself.

Health Canada recommends the following procedures to increase proper hygiene and reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food;
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • when coughing or sneezing:
    • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand
    • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards

SYMPTOMS: The following are common symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dry cough
  • Difficulty breathing

RISK: You are at a greater risk for COVID-19 If:

  • You have recently travelled to a COVID-19-impacted area
  • You have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
  • You have been in close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to a COVID-19-impacted area

If you experience the symptoms above AND/OR you have a higher risk of developing COVID-19, please contact your health care provider. You can also call 811 to speak with a registered nurse.

Federal Government of Canada COVID-19 Outbreak Update Page
BC Centre for Disease Control Info Page
BC Centre for Disease Control News Page

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