As our province, country and the world continues to be impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 we want to extend our thoughts and prayers for all who have been affected by the virus.
As an organization that has people at the core of our mission, the safety and health of our employees, clients, volunteers and partners is paramount. As one of the largest providers of social services in the province and the country, it is also our responsibility to work with government and health authorities to ensure we do our part in containing the virus.
As we navigate these challenging times, our decisions and actions will be guided by our Mission, our Values and evidence-based information published by Vancouver Coastal Health, BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Across the province in our 56 ministry units, two camps and all our Thrift Stores, we have begun to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our people and the public:
- Taking extra sanitation measures to clean all surfaces and touch points thoroughly and frequently in all our facilities
- Prepared and updated our Pandemic Plan
- Have our Emergency Disaster Teams at the ready to respond, across the province
- Communicating with our staff and clients on how to prevent and recognize COVID-19
- Adjusting services accordingly to reduce the risks
- Working with government agencies, health authorities and community partners to ensure we are implementing best practices
In British Columbia we currently do not have any cases that we know of in our facilities; however, we do work with two very vulnerable populations: the homeless and the elderly. These two groups are more susceptible to catching the virus because of several factors … so we are being extra vigilant, while still serving with respect and dignity.
We are also preparing to alter our services if necessary. Programs such as community meals, educational and counselling services, etc. may take on a different form, but we are committed to continuing to serve those in need, to the best of our ability during these difficult times.
Regarding our church service, I participated in a call with the BC Government to address the unique challenges of faith-based organizations and we will be taking that information into consideration, while we move through this very fluid situation.
Our commitment over the next several weeks is to be proactive in our precautionary methods, address situations as they arise in a timely fashion and keep our staff, clients and the public updated with regular and accurate information and communications.
I want to thank everyone for your patience, understanding and compassion during these difficult times. Together, we will continue to serve those in need, continue to provide practical compassionate support and together we will get through this.
Lt. Colonel Jamie Braund
Divisional Commander, British Columbia Division
The Salvation Army