COVID-19 has altered the way people work and interact with the world, and that has been true for the employees at Service BC.
For the last few months, they have been taking on a new role – helping returning travellers and temporary workers follow their 14-day isolation plans upon their arrival in British Columbia. Their efforts are part of a partnership with Emergency Management BC and the Ministry of Health to keep people safe and to protect public health, homes and livelihoods.
“Being in self isolation can be difficult for many, especially those who have been away from B.C. for a long period of time or for temporary foreign workers who have left their friends and families behind to fill much-needed roles in B.C.,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “I’m proud the people at Service BC who have been working hard to ensure people’s health and safety and for providing returning travellers and temporary foreign workers with a measure of comfort and kindness while they complete their 14-day isolation period. They are truly providing service with heart.”
Since isolation plans became mandatory for international arrivals to B.C., Service BC employees have made more than 8,500 phone calls to temporary foreign workers, providing information and making referrals for any needed supports. There have also been over 51,000 calls as of July 23, 2020, confirming that self-isolation plans are being followed.
Many people contacted have welcomed the human connection with Service BC employees, saying that being able to talk with someone has helped them feel safe and comfortable, and the service calls have reinforced that someone cares.
On average, more than 20 people have been dedicated to the returning traveller and self-isolation program at Service BC, resulting in 1,800 to 2,500 calls being made per day to those in self isolation.
“Service BC provides people with access to provincial services every day, and these call-backs are a great new addition to the many other supports that are offered,” Kang said. “Service BC also helps people find services ranging from the affordable child care benefit and business registration to residential tenancy, student aid and more.”
British Columbia was the first Canadian province to require returning travellers to self isolate. The Province took action to protect residents swiftly because of quick solutions to handle workflow and manage quarantine plans. Over the course of a weekend, teams worked with several technology and design firms to implement a system that is easy to use and understand, protects privacy and allows provincial staff to provide high-level, individualized service for people arriving in B.C. from abroad.
While these self-isolation plans were pioneered in B.C., similar measures have been implemented federally and nationwide. B.C. ended provincially led border checkpoints on June 20 after transitioning them to the federal government, but Service BC continues carrying out its new role, with employees showing compassion and providing support for returning travellers and temporary foreign workers in self isolation.
For information on BC’s Restart Plan, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/RestartBC
For information on non-medical issues, such as travel recommendations and how to manage social isolation, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/COVID-19
For information on Canada’s travel restrictions, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/travel-restrictions-exemptions.html
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://covid-19.bccdc.ca/
Or follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter: @CDCofBC
For the provincial health officer’s orders, notices and guidance, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/phoguidance
For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, call (toll-free) 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week, or visit: www.gov.bc.ca/Covid19