Issues & Trends from the Executive Director
As we reflect on the past year, dealing with the pandemic remained our top priority. At the beginning of the pandemic, the uncertainty and gravity required immediate crisis management; we scrambled to implement safety measures and protocols to keep people supported and our employees as safe and healthy as possible. The sourcing of adequate PPE was an enormous challenge. Over time, we gained knowledge and, with the support of the sector and following all public health protocols and guidelines, our planning became more deliberate and informed.
We are proud of the ways in which Community Living Victoria (CLV) pivoted in a very short time to adapt workplaces, adjust service delivery and continue to provide support and connection to individuals and families virtually. Our deepest gratitude to our staff on the front lines, and the coordinators, supervisors, and managers who spent countless hours helping CLV shift to providing adapted services. Some community inclusion staff were redeployed to support our homes to ensure that our most essential services remained stable. We are amazed at the ways in which the people we support, and their families, have adjusted and adapted to the impacts of COVID-19. For example, many people became familiar with using new technologies. All our staff, home share providers, and contractors continued to provide vital services while balancing concerns for their own families and loved ones. It was through our collective efforts that we kept people safe, supported and secure at a time of significant uncertainty.
Our annual general meeting in September was our first virtual meeting with the membership. While we missed the opportunity to connect in person, we were pleased that the meeting was accessible to more people. We recognized retiring board members, as well as presenting continuous service awards to employees.
We completed our sixth CARF accreditation survey in November 2020. The process this year looked very different, with a digitally enabled survey because of health and safety protocols. It was a great success, and we are proud to have received another three-year accreditation.
As a result of the pandemic, we were unable to have many of our key events including our signature concert, seasonal celebration, and summer BBQ. Although families were able to visit outside, the usual Christmas and other celebrations were not possible. Thank you to all the families and people we support for their understanding and flexibility.
A highlight of our general meeting in May was the annual community awards. Board President Mike Chadwick was given the Volunteer of the Year Award. Darren Gardner and Michael McNally from Thrifty Foods Quadra and McKenzie received the Employer of the Year award. Educator of the Year went to Marta McAulay, Speech and Language Pathologist, Saanich School District, and a new category of CLV Heroes was established to recognize individuals and staff for having gone above and beyond during the pandemic.
Community Living Victoria’s Family Support program was honoured to receive a Celebration of Families award from the Family Support Institute of BC. This award is given to people or groups who contribute to the betterment of families by volunteering and/or supporting communities to see the benefits of inclusion, celebrating families and, helping others see abilities and diversity first.
Our 2021– 2024 strategic plan, completed in May 2021, was also done virtually. The strategic directions that will influence our work over the next three years are:
- people get the support they need and in the way they want it
- people are living in safe and affordable housing of their choice
- CLV has a diverse, engaged and stable workforce
- CLV is a leader in the provision of sustainable and innovative services
Unfortunately, we were not successful in the recent BC Housing funding call. This means that we will likely pause on the mixed housing development proposed for our Cedar Hill Cross Road property. We hope that this project will eventually move forward and provide affordable rental housing for the people we support and the community.
We are grateful to our Foundation and supporters who, despite the pandemic, found ways to continue to support us.
Community Living Victoria continues to be supported by a dedicated and committed Board of Directors and leadership team. Some aspects of our personal and professional lives will be forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we will continue to be guided by our core values and to respond to the needs of families and the people we support. We are grateful to our staff, contractors and home share providers for their unwavering commitment. We know that there is much work to be done as the pandemic evolves in the year ahead. We will continue to lead with one goal in mind: to keep the people we support and our employees as safe and healthy as possible.
We are hopeful that we will be able to celebrate our 66th anniversary in person at a gala planned for December 16. This will be an opportunity to celebrate the history, accomplishments and future of Community Living Victoria. We are so thankful and proud to be part of such a great community.
Together we make a difference.