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April 2024 Edition of CLBC’s Update for Individuals and Families.

April 2024
Welcome to the April 2024 Edition of CLBC’s Update for Individuals and Families.

As a reminder, you can find all Updates (including past editions) posted on our website here. You can also check out CLBC’s Facebook page here and X.com page here. If you know of anyone who would like to receive future Updates, please share the link to our sign up page with them. If you have a specific question or feedback about this update, you can send an email to CLBCInfo@gov.bc.ca.

CLBC and Government News

Self Advocacy Corner

Staying Supported and Connected

CLBC Community Councils

Stories and Celebrations

CLBC and Government News

CLBC Board is looking for four new members

Community Living BC’s Board of Directors guides the overall way CLBC does its work. CLBC is currently looking for four new Board Members to start terms on January 1, 2025.

Generally, CLBC looks for Board Members who have experience and knowledge related to running a large organization and/or disability advocacy (Self-advocates, family members, etc.). At this time, we are looking for individuals with experience in Finance and Accounting, Information Technology, Human Resources, and Governance and Strategic Planning. CLBC board members are also required to live within B.C.

Applications are being accepted until April 24, 2024.

Learn more about this opportunity to join the CLBC Board on our website here, including a plain language description of the posting and information about how to apply. If you know of anyone who may be interested in this opportunity, please share this information with them.

Shifting CLBC regional management responsibilities improves capacity

Between January 2024 and March 2025, CLBC’s regions are realigning regional service delivery management responsibilities. This means some managers will have more time to focus on supporting CLBC front line staff that work with CLBC-supported individuals and families and CLBC-funded service providers. Other managers will have more capacity to work with external partners, such as regional health authorities, to help ensure the best access to needed services.

Read all of the details about this change on the CLBC website here.

We expect individuals and families will experience improvements over time in the support they receive from their local office, and benefits from the stronger partnerships CLBC has forged with community and government partners in each region.

Spring COVID-19 vaccine boosters now available

As of April 8, people in British Columbia have access to free spring COVID-19 vaccine boosters. The booster helps people to maintain and extend protection for themselves and their loved ones against serious illnesses from COVID-19.

The spring COVID-19 booster will be available throughout the province at pharmacies, regional health authority clinics, some primary care offices and community health centres. This spring vaccine is free and available for everyone six months of age and older.

Learn more about the spring COVID-19 booster on the B.C. government website here.

B.C. introduces renter’s tax credit

A new renter’s tax credit is being administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the province of British Columbia. For the 2023 tax year, this credit will give $400 to people and families who rent their home and have an adjusted income of $60,000 or less. People and families with an adjusted income between $60,000 and $80,000 may receive a reduced credit.

The renter’s tax credit can be claimed on the T1 Income Tax and Benefit Return. No separate application is needed.

Learn more about the renter’s tax credit and find out if you are eligible here.
Self-Advocacy Corner
Self-advocates invited to CLBC’s virtual Employment Corner

The CLBC Provincial Employment Team is happy to announce the next Employment Corner virtual drop-in Zoom call. The Employment Corner series has been created for self-advocates and people with lived experience seeking employment opportunities in B.C. The goal is to create an informal, safe and supportive environment to ask questions and share stories, successes, concerns and ideas related to employment. CLBC staff, service providers, community partners and family members may join the call to gain insights and hear firsthand experiences.

This online session takes place April 24 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm (PDT).

Join the virtual Employment Corner at this zoom link.  (The meeting ID is: 859 4642 8872)

For more information, please contact CLBC Employment Lead Jay Townsend at Jay.Townsend@gov.bc.ca.

Build your leadership skills on the CLBC Editorial Board

CLBC is looking for members to join the CLBC Editorial Board this September.

Being a member of the Editorial Board is a paid position and the Board is made up of people eligible for CLBC services and self-advocacy leaders from across the province. The role of the Editorial Board is to strengthen communication with the people CLBC serves, share stories and ensure meaningful participation in the ongoing work of CLBC. Members are appointed to a two-year term and paid $1,200 per year for their contributions.

Learn more about the work of the Editorial Board on the CLBC website here.

If you or someone you know are interested in learning more and/or applying for a position on the CLBC Editorial Board, please email CLBC.Connect@gov.bc.ca.

Calendar shares ways to stay connected

The Family Support Institute of BC (FSI)’s Calendar for Connection helps people with diverse abilities learn about different fun and inclusive opportunities to connect with others. The calendar also includes learning events and family hang outs hosted by FSI.

View the Calendar for Connections here to learn about upcoming events and activities.

Staying Supported and Connected

Resource Parents are here to help

The Family Support Institute of BC (FSI) is a provincial not-for-profit society committed to supporting families who have a family member with a disability. FSI’s support and services are free to any family. FSI Resource Parents provide peer-to-peer support to families with loved ones who have a disability.

Watch this video to learn more about FSI and how they can support families.

You can also visit the FSI website here.

Videos show how personal planning changes lives

Nidus is a non-profit organization that provides education, support and assistance with personal planning and Representation Agreements. Nidus and the Memorial Society of BC are hosting a free online launch of two Accessibility Project videos. The videos will share personal stories from people across B.C. highlighting the usefulness of personal planning and answering questions like:

  • What is personal planning?
  • How is it different from estate planning?
  • What if I had a Will and an Enduring Power of Attorney – am I covered?
  • What if I can’t make any of these documents?
  • What will happen to me in an emergency if I can’t speak for myself?

The video launch takes place on May 15 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm (PDT) and you can watch a trailer here. Anyone who is interested in joining can register by clicking here.

Nidus has also recently updated a number of their information sheets, including those about Representation Agreements. You can find a collection of information and resources on the Nidus website here.

Learn about Support Worker Central at upcoming webinar

Support Worker Central is a free, province-wide job board created for people with disabilities and their families who hire their own support staff.

Join FSI on Tuesday, April 23 from 10:00am to 11:00am (PDT) to learn how the job board works, hear about available resources to help you with hiring staff and have an opportunity to ask questions.

Register here to learn about Support Worker Central at this upcoming session.

New virtual support available for myBooklet BC

myBooklet BC is a free online tool that families and people with disabilities can use to create a beautiful and personalized information booklet for a loved one or for themselves. These booklets help self-advocates share their stories and include information they think is important for doctors, therapists, support staff, friends and more. FSI’s Online Resource Coordinator now offers one-on-one virtual calls to help navigate the myBooklet BC platform and learn how to optimize its features.

Click here to book a 25-minute session and find information about steps to take before the session begins.

Research study promotes brain health

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CAMH) is doing a research study to promote brain health by evaluating virtual education courses for adults with developmental disabilities, their families, and service providers from across Canada. All participants must live in Canada and have internet access and a computer or phone.

To take part in the study as an adult with a developmental disability, you must be 40 years old or more. This study runs every Tuesday from 11:30am to 1:00pm (EDT) for six weeks, from May 7 to June 11.

To take part in the study as a family member, you must be a family caregiver for an adult with a developmental disability who is 40 years old or more or be a family caregiver who is 60 years old or more. This study runs every Wednesday from 12:30pm to 2:00pm (EDT) for six weeks, from May 15 to June 19.

Anyone interest in participating can complete the Expression of Interest and Collaboration Form here. For more information contact brainhealthlDD@camh.ca

UBC is seeking study participants

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is looking for adults between the ages of 18 and 30 with a diagnosis of autism, to participate in a study to understand relationships between social information processing and well-being in young adulthood.

The study will include one Zoom session or in-person visit at UBC, for two to three hours, as well as one online session for 30 minutes. Participants will receive $15 per hour via Amazon gift card.

If you are interested in learning more or participating, email socialstudy@psych.ubc.ca.

Canadian Down Syndrome Swimming Association welcomes new members

The Canadian Down Syndrome Swimming Association (CDSSA) provides swim competition opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome regionally, nationally and internationally.

CDSSA is welcoming new members interested in learning more about the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome into the competitive swimming world. Register to become a CDSSA member here.

Webinars highlight new guide for adults with intellectual disabilities affected by dementia

The Canadian Dementia Project team will be offering several webinar opportunities to learn about and put into action the new Canadian Guide for Community Care and Support for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities Affected by Dementia.

See the poster here to learn more, including the QR code to find all of the dates and registration information.

CLBC Community Councils

Simon Fraser Community Council hosts spring dance

CLBC’s Simon Fraser Community Council is hosting a community spring dance on May 25 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm (PDT) at the YMCA Bettie Allard at 555 Emerson Street in Coquitlam. See the poster here for all of the details.

CLBC Community Councils help connect individuals and their families to information and resources, as well as take action that leads to social change and inclusive communities for all people. Hosting dances is one way Councils bring the community together to celebrate and have fun.


Sharing stories about inclusive housing with the Richmond Community Council

On March 11, CLBC’s Richmond Community Council hosted an Inclusive Housing Think Tank. Self-advocates, family members and supporters came together to hear from a panel of speakers who shared their experiences and ideas around inclusive housing.

If you are from Richmond and are passionate about building community partnerships to strengthen inclusion and accessibility, please contact CLBC.Connect@gov.bc.ca to learn how to get involved with the Richmond Community Council.

Interested in volunteering to create inclusive communities?

Volunteers on CLBC Community Councils include individuals and families who receive support from CLBC, service provider partners and community allies. Community Councils are an important way for CLBC to listen and learn from people we serve. Learn more about CLBC Community Councils here and find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) here.

Want to explore becoming a volunteer, join a Council as a guest or learn about what your local council is working on? If so, our CLBC Community Engagement Team can help you connect. Send them an email at: CLBC.Connect@gov.bc.ca.

Stories and Celebrations

Luke Verhoeff finds his voice through a letterboard

Luke Verhoeff is a non-speaking self-advocate who recently found his voice through spelling on a letterboard. Luke wants to make a change to the diagnosing system so that “other kids like me” don’t have to go through what he went through. This is Luke’s story:

“I am a non-speaking autistic man from Kamloops. I went nineteen years without a voice. So many were wrong about me and what I am capable of. I am here to tell my story. I found my voice through Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), more specifically a letterboard. It was great in opening my world. My family calls it the ‘Great Awakening’. I love them infinitely. They always saw more in me. They didn’t know how to unlock it, until my mom found spelling. Spelling is the single best thing to ever happen to me. I can finally show the real me.

I am now on a mission to help other non-speakers. I am also passionate about educating professionals who work in this field. I invite all to have a conversation with me. We can be the face of change. For the first time in my life, the people I love are getting to know who I am inside. It’s a beautiful thing. Many tears have been shed. It’s overwhelming to have your voice unlocked. I’m stepping into a new version of myself. I am excited for my next chapter to begin. I need more allies to make change. I need better funding and more supports who are trained in spelling-based communication. I believe this is achievable. You can help voices flourish. Are you ready to be the change?”

Learn more about Luke and find information and resources about Spelling as Communication at: www.thisisluke.ca

Rally highlights the need for accessibility

On March 16, self-advocates, community supporters and members of CLBC’s Vancouver Community Council gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to bring awareness about the importance of accessibility for all community members.

Watch the Global News video story on the Rally for Accessibility here.

Drop-in floor hockey program brings people together

CLBC Facilitator Peter Buitendyk champions inclusion and connection in his community. Peter has started a new drop-in hockey program in Victoria inviting individuals with diverse abilities to join in the fun, supported in part by a recent $3,000 donation from Coastal Community Credit Union. The program is also partially funded by CLBC, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and other community partners.

“This means that we have the freedom to purchase equipment that we need, and we can rent a larger facility to host a tournament in the future and provide refreshments for the participants,” says Peter.

If you’re in the Victoria community, you’re welcome to join. The program runs every Wednesday from 2:30pm to 4:00pm (PDT) at Victoria West Community Center at 521 Craigflower Road.

Remembering and honouring Self-Advocacy Leader Vanessa Mendoza

As we close this edition, we want to take a moment to honour friend and colleague Vanessa Mendoza, who passed away on February 22. Many of us at CLBC and in the Community Living and Self-Advocacy Movements were touched by Vanessa’s gracious leadership and her journey to build more accessible and inclusive communities for all of us.

Vanessa was a kind and gentle person who generously offered her lived experience to help others build the courage to speak up for what they believe in. She was a member of the CLBC Editorial Board, Vancouver Community Council, North Shore Sunshine Coast Council, Provincial Advisory Committee, Accessibility Advisory Committee, and was a CLBC Welcome Workshop Presenter. In addition to her work with CLBC, Vanessa was a Director on the Board of BC People First, a provincial organization run by and for people labelled with an intellectual disability.

Read Vanessa’s story here to learn about her many contributions to breaking down barriers so that people with disabilities have the same opportunity for belonging and full citizenship as anyone else.

Vanessa will be deeply missed by her friends and colleagues here at CLBC and beyond.  However,  her voice will continue to shape our practice and build our courage to speak up for what’s right and for what will support independence and inclusion in the lives of those we serve.

Copyright © 2024 Community Living BC, All rights reserved.
The April 2024 Edition of CLBC’s Update for Individuals and Families.

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