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Submitted by Cindy Cheung on May 07, 2020
COVID-19 Response (May 7) - Latest Updates on PIBC Operations, Activities & Resources
May 07, 2020

As the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak continues to impact our communities, and our world, we at PIBC are continuing to monitor the situation and respond accordingly. We encourage you to review the following updated and ongoing information, and to continue working actively as individuals and planners to keep safe and take care to ensure your own and everyone's well-being. We continue our work and commitment to be here to serve and support you and the membership during this period.

What's New

BC Provincial Updates

Plan to Restart BC
On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, the Government of BC made announcements related to anticipated next phases in restarting various activities across BC in light of developments with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. PIBC will be monitoring the emerging new guidance as this process unfolds. Members are encouraged to keep up to date on these latest developments. For more on yesterday's announcement visit, https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PREM0026-000826.

Holding Public Hearings Electronically
On Friday, May 1st, 2020, the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing made an announcement regarding supporting local governments holding public hearings electronically. PIBC has been reaching out to offer input and feedback from the planning profession to the Ministry as it continues to work to update guidelines and requirements for planning processes in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Members are also encouraged to keep up to date on these latest developments as well. For more on the Ministry's announcement, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0025-000802.

2020 Conference - ELEVATION Cancelled

Amidst the challenges of planning an event during the COVID-19 outbreak, the safety of conference attendees and support of broader public health objectives have always been our top priorities. Sadly, after much deliberation and consideration of information and direction from local and national health authorities, PIBC, CIP, and the Conference Steering Committee took the difficult decision to cancel this year's 2020 Elevation conference.

To say we are disappointed would be an understatement. We have seen the enormous efforts of our volunteers and staff who have dedicated hundreds of hours to plan and host a motivating and challenging conference, as well as the over 175 presenters who were excited and ready to share their knowledge, ideas, and inspire our profession beyond best practice. We are incredibly grateful for the time and effort everyone has put into bringing Elevation 2020 to fruition and appreciative of our sponsors and exhibitors for their commitment and support during these uncertain times.

Important notes for registered delegates:

  • If you were a registered delegate, you will have received (or will receive) a full refund on your registration fees.
  • If you had booked a room at the Fairmont Château Whistler using the conference group code, your reservation will have been automatically cancelled through the Fairmont.
  • If you haven't already done so, be sure to adjust or cancel any other travel or accommodation plans you may have made related to attending the conference.

We are pleased to note that PIBC will be continuing to partner with CIP and we will still be bringing a future joint national conference - Elevation 2.0 - to Whistler, BC in 2022!

In the coming months, we'll be working with CIP to explore ways to bring remote learning and to recognize planning excellence to you in a safe, virtual manner, so please stay tuned. This will be in addition to PIBC's current online learning and webinar programming this year.

PIBC Member Services

PIBC Operations Update

The PIBC office continues to be closed for the time being and PIBC staff continues to work remotely from home until further notice. We will again be re-assessing the situation at the end of May in light of emerging and updated guidance from authorities. We will update members accordingly. 

During this time, email is the preferred and most effective communication method to reach us - please visit our staff contact page for details on how to contact the team. For any general inquiries, please email info@pibc.bc.ca or office@pibc.bc.ca.

Should you require any information or assistance from PIBC during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact us. While PIBC is striving to keep operations running as smoothly as possible, due to this situation, there may be a shortage in our capacity to deliver all services in a timely fashion. We are here to continue to assist and serve members and will also continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and evolving advice by the Canadian government, Government of BC, and world, national, and local health agencies. 

Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience. We look forward to continue to serve members going forward.

Update on PIBC CPL Webinars

We continue to develop and deliver our online CPL webinars to members during this time. We are pleased to have now doubled our previous capacity for our live online webinars to handle additional demand and logins, with many members working remotely. And we continue to make full recorded copies of all of our webinars available for purchase for any members unable to attend the live webinars. Special thanks to our webinar presenters and sponsors for their continued support and participation.

CPL Webinar Archive on PIBC YouTube Channel
We have now uploaded some of our archived past webinar recordings online to our YouTube channel, which now enables all members and others to easily access the recordings of these past webinars at no cost. 

If you're looking for an opportunity to catch up or escape with some online planning learning, check out one of the past webinars you may have missed. And remember, if you did not already previously do so, you are eligible to report viewing a particular past webinar for the first time now for CPL credits.

Current PIBC CPL Webinars & Recordings
We recognize the increasing demand for access to current webinars and we are working on potential options to expand the simultaneous connection capacity of our real-time webinar presentations to reduce the incidence of webinars 'selling out'. We are also expanding access for members to register and purchase complete recordings of each new current webinar in a timely fashion. This will include the current April 29th "CPL Webinar #3 - Legal Update - Water & Land & Trees, oh MY!" as well as subsequent 2020 webinar offerings. Again, viewing any PIBC webinar recording for the first time continues to be eligible for CPL credits.

Watch the PIBC e-News newsletter and visit the PIBC Webinars page for further details on webinar registration and complete recordings of our current CPL webinar offerings. Please click here to learn more about our upcoming webinars.

Reminder - Online Group for PIBC Members

We are pleased to see the response from a number of members to our new online group for PIBC members on Linkedin, which enables individual members to reach out, connect, share and engage together during this current situation (and beyond). Physical separation need not mean professional or individual disconnection. If you are looking for an online place where you can connect and engage virtually with other members, and you haven't already done so, we encourage you to sign up and join the online conversation

To join this new online PIBC members group, please check your latest PIBC e-News or e-News Special for instructions. If you have any questions, please contact Cindy Cheung, PIBC Communications & Marketing Specialist.

Ongoing Reminders & Resources

Members Helping & Taking Care

At an individual and professional practice level we of course continue to encourage everyone to observe best-practices to mitigate risk and support public health and well being, as well as to practice good self-care.

These would include: frequent thorough hand-washing, disinfection & sanitization, social & physical distancing, avoiding gatherings of groups of people, avoiding non-essential trips or travel, taking care with potentially vulnerable or at-risk individuals and groups, carefully monitoring any individual sickness and symptoms, staying home & seeking professional medical guidance or care when appropriate. 

In particular, as the situation is constantly evolving, we encourage you seek out and follow the latest and best advice from appropriate authorities and health officials.

COVID-19 Information & Resources

The COVID-19 outbreak situation continues to evolve and change. For full and up-to-date direct information from public health officials and sources regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus situation, and advised current best-practices, guidance, and direction, here are some helpful resource links:
- BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC)
- BC CDC Information Regarding Event Planning
- HealthLink BC
- Government of Yukon (COVID-19 Information)
- Government of Canada - Coronavirus

Members Professional Practice

As previously noted, professional planners are often at the forefront in our communities and often leading public and stakeholder engagements as part of their work, we encourage caution and best-practices, including looking at lower-risk alternative ways to engage such as: virtual or remote meetings, online surveys, appropriately safe one-on-one engagement processes, and/or just postponing and rescheduling. Here are some resource links that you might find helpful:

- International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)
- Young Anderson Barristers & Solicitors - Legal Blog (COVID-19)
- American Planning Association (APA) - Planning During a Pandemic: 6 Resources for Planners

Members Self-Care & Personal Impacts

We again continue to encourage all members to be cognizant of your own health and well-being during this challenging time. Members are being affected and impacted differently, and those impacts evolve as this crisis period continues. We encourage you, as much as possible, to both seek out and provide support amongst colleagues and fellow professionals. Peer support and sharing is a valuable tool to assist everyone in getting through this difficult period.

Stay connected with colleagues and fellow members - consider joining our new online group for PIBC members on LinkedIn (see above for details). Additionally, if you would like more information and assistance dealing personally with the stresses of the current crisis, here are some helpful resource links:

- Canadian Mental Health Association - COVID-19
- Government of BC - Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety & Depression

Also if you, your practice, your organization, or your family are experiencing any economic or financial disruption due to the current crisis (employment or income disruption, business disruption, issues with rent & housing, etc.), governments at both the Federal and Provincial levels have announced (and continue to update and expand) a number of recent initiatives to provide aid and assistance to those impacted. These include direct financial aid for individuals with disrupted employment or income, support for businesses & employers with financial impacts, assistance for renters and individuals with disabilities, and more. Please be sure to seek out options and explore the various supports available. Here are some helpful resource links:

- Government of Canada Economic Response Plan
- Government of BC - Provincial Support & Information

PIBC Events & Activities

In keeping with direction from appropriate authorities and health officials and guidelines for social and physical distancing, PIBC is maintaining the postponement or cancellation of all in-person meetings, events and similar face-to-face activities for the time being. We are monitoring new provincial guidance with respect to the gradual restart of some activities, however we do not anticipate a return of larger in-person events in the immediate near future. PIBC related staff and volunteer travel is also still discontinued for the same period.

Meetings or events conducted entirely remotely (i.e. by teleconference, webinar etc.) are continuing during this period. We will monitor the situation on an ongoing basis, including seeking and following guidance from appropriate authorities and health officials, and will revise our practices regarding in-person events as changing circumstances warrant. As we monitor updated information and guidance from government and public health officials, we will continue to re-evaluate our practices with respect to events, meetings and travel. We will work to keep you up to date and informed as anything changes.

Questions or Assistance?

If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us. We will continue to update you and the entire membership as circumstances warrant, and look forward to continuing to serve and support members during this challenging period.

Thank you. Please continue to take care and keep well!

Dave Crossley
Executive Director
Planning Institute of British Columbia

(on behalf of the PIBC Executive & Board of Directors)

PIBC COVID-19 Update May 7

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