COVID-19 Updates

Our goal with this page is to keep you informed on this ever changing situation. While we will continue to send email updates, we cannot include every piece of information in every email, so, here you will find the information contained within all previous emails as well as copies of those emails.

Please note that while we will make every effort to keep this page up to date, the information available is rapidly changing, and there may be times where the information becomes outdated faster than we can update it. Therefore, please ensure you are staying up to date with the Federal, Provincial, and local regulations.

On This Page

You can jump to the following sections by clicking on the section title.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mental Health Supports

Financial Supports

More Information Links

Past Email Updates

Contact Us


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Are The Symptoms?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.

These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell.

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

Who is At Risk?

You are at a greater risk for COVID-19 if
  • You have recently traveled to a COVID-19 impacted area
  • You have been in close contact with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19
  • You have been in close contact with a person with acute respiratory illness who has been to a COVID-19 impacted area

If you experience the symptoms above AND/OR you have a higher risk of developing COVID-19, please contact your health care provider. You can also call 811 to speak with a registered nurse.

Why Are Construction Sites Open?

Under the province’s Emergency Program Act, construction work has been deemed an essential service.

Essential services are those daily services that are essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.

While the Provincial Health Officer has ordered some types of businesses to close, construction workers are considered non-health essential service providers. All construction work must continue to abide the orders and guidance provided by the Provincial Health Officer to ensure safe operations and reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. This is not optional.

More information here.

What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities?

On March 21st, the Provincial Health Authority released the following guidelines for employers:
 
  • There should be no more than 50 people in the same space in any circumstances.
  • Where possible employees should maintain a distance of 2 metres apart from each other.
  • Post signage that limits the number of occupants in any elevator to four people at a time.
  • Reduce in‐person meetings and other gatherings and hold site meetings in open spaces or outside.
  • Increase the number of handwashing stations and post signage that identifies their location.
  • Maintain a list of employees that are currently working on sites and update this list daily.
  • All common areas and surfaces should be cleaned at the end of each day. Examples include washrooms, shared offices, common tables, desks, light switches, and door handles.
  • Anyone with COVID‐19 like symptoms such as sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing must self‐isolate at home for 14 days.

Section 4.85 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation does provide for a minimum standard around the provision of washrooms and hand washing facilities. Where plumbed facilities are impracticable, employers must provide access to portable washroom and hand‐washing facilities, those facilities must be maintained in good working order, and must be provided with the supplies necessary for their use.

Employers should reassess their work environment every day and keep updated with the information posted on the Province’s website (here)

Your Business Representatives remain at work and are available to assist you with any job site or labour relations questions or concerns that you may have.

The full document:

COVID-19 Construction Business Guidelines

To see the second page, hover or click your mouse above this line, and click the down arrow.

What Are My Responsibilities?

In order to protect themselves and their co-workers, members are expected to follow the safety and hygiene protocols set at their job sites and by the provincial and federal health authorities.

Hygiene – Best Practices

As noted in previous emails, Health Canada recommends the following procedures to increase proper hygiene and reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food;

  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;

  • When coughing or sneezing:

  • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand

  • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards;

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

In addition, keeping a safe distance from fellow workers will help contain the spread of this virus.

If you are not feeling well remain at home. Do not risk infecting others on the job site.

What Is WorkSafe BC Saying?

WorkSafe BC has released guidelines for contractors, sub-contractors, and employers. These guidelines provide additional clarity for our signatory employers and our members. We encourage you to review them, here.

You can also view their COVID-19 update page, here.

What Are The Guidelines for Work Camps?

Following the guidance of the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC has provided guidelines for industrial work camps to support their response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to keep workers safe.

The guidelines can be viewed by clicking here.

When Should I Stay Home From Work?

You should not go to work if
  • You’re sick or not feeling well, regardless of whether the symptoms match those of COVID-19
  • You’ve been in contact with someone who has, or suspects they have, COVID-19.
  • You have recently returned from outside of Canada and have not been in self-quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

Hygiene – Best Practices

As noted above, Health Canada recommends the following procedures to increase proper hygiene and reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the washroom and when preparing food;

  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;

  • When coughing or sneezing:

  • cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand

  • dispose of any tissues you have used as soon as possible in a lined waste basket and wash your hands afterwards;

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

In addition, keeping a safe distance from fellow workers will help contain the spread of this virus.

When Should I Seek Medical Advice?

People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention immediately.

If you’re not feeling 100%, but you don’t know if your symptoms align with the expected symptoms, the BC Government has set up an online self-assessment tool; visit https://covid19.thrive.health/

You can also call 811 to speak with a registered nurse.

Is the DC38 Office Open?

Effective June 15, DC38 has reopened to the public. Please see our office hours at the bottom of this page. 

IUPAT International & Pension Office

The offices of the IUPAT headquarters and the Canadian Pension Plan in Hanover are closed until further notice. Please expect reduced service from these offices.

How Do I Make A Payment

Members can make payments via cheque, money order, interac e-transfer, or cash. Please be reminded that Dues and Health & Welfare payments must be kept separate (they cannot be combined into one payment).

Cheques & Money Orders

Cheques and Money Orders can be submitted in one of three ways: Mail, In-Person, or through the front door. If you are submitting payment for both Dues and Health and Welfare, two separate cheques are required. 

Mail: Please send your cheques to 7621 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V3N 3C7. To reduce the chance of COVID-19 transmission, please seal your envelope with water or tape. If the cheque is written by someone other than the member, please put the member’s name on the cheque’s memo line, or on a piece of paper included with the cheque.

In-Person: Payments can be brought to our office during regular business hours for processing and a receipt. Please see the contact information at the end of this page for office hours and physical distancing protocol.

Front Door Mail Slot: If you would like to drop your cheque or money order off at our office, you can deposit it through the mail slot in our front door. Please be sure it is in a sealed envelope with your name on the front, and indicate on the envelope if you would like a receipt mailed to you.

E-Transfers

If you would like to send an E-Transfer for your payment, please contact us at 604-524-8334 and ask for the instructions with the security question and answer. Please do not choose your own security question and answer, as doing so will generate additional work for our office.

Cash

Cash payments can be made at our office only. Please DO NOT put cash payments through the mail slot as we will not be able to guarantee the value of these payments. Doing so will be at your own risk.

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Mental Health Supports

Construction Industry Rehab Plan

The Construction Industry Rehab Plan (CIRP) offers a wide array of confidential services to meet the mental health and addiction care needs of all DC 38 and Building Trades members and their families.

If you are struggling with mental health or addiction please visit their website or call 1-888-521-8611 or 604-521-8611

The CIRP is now offering weekly live webinars on a number of different topics to support the mental well-being of Building Trades members and their families. Please contact CIRP to register for the live webinars, or to watch any of their previously recorded events. To download the poster, click here.

DC38 Counselling Benefit

Members and their families who are covered by the DC38 Health & Welfare Plan have access to a yearly counselling benefit. For more information, please download the information and claim form or contact us at 604-524-8334.

To find counsellor or psychologist in your area, or to see if your preferred practitioner is covered, please look them up here or here.

IUPAT Helping Hand

The IUPAT Helping Hand website offers information, downloadable posters, and website links to help employers, coworkers, and family members recognize the signs of suicidal ideation and/or substance use.

Their goal is to work together to help prevent deaths by suicide and to encourage members to reach out and take advantage of the help that is available.

For more information, please click here.

Government Resources

The Federal government’s Mental Health Support Page provides a number of services and direction for those who are going through a crisis or those who know someone who is going through a crisis.

BC Crisis Centre

The Crisis Centre provides barrier-free, non-judgmental, confidential support through 24/7 phone lines and online services.

They are available to listen and help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-SUICIDE, or visit the centre’s contact page to find the number for a local crisis centre.

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Financial Supports

Union Supports

Member Dues

The District Council Executive Board has passed a motion to redirect up to $200 dollars in member dues to assist members who encounter financial hardship due to COVID-19.

  • Up to a maximum of $200 of dues remitted by a signatory employer in 2020 can be redirected from your year-to-date dues account to Health and Welfare and/or current monthly dues shortages.
  • The shortages must be directly related to a lay-off, quarantine, or self-isolation due to COVID 19.
  • The dues amounts must have been remitted by employers in 2020 (self-payments are not eligible for reimbursement).
  • Due to tax implications, we cannot redirect dues contributed prior to 2020. We also cannot redirect any amount greater than the amount received on your behalf.

The program will remain in effect through July 31, 2020. Continuation of the program will be re-evaluated at that time.

Monthly Dues Relief

The International Union has waived the payment of April “per-capita tax”. Consequently, no member will be charged monthly dues for April. If your employer has deducted monthly dues for April, or if you have already self-paid for April, you will be given a credit to your Dues Account.

Short Term Disability Improvements

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, the Trustees of the District Council 38 Health and Welfare Trust Fund passed a motion to make the following improvements to the Short Term Disability benefit:

  • Short Term Disability waiting period for non-occupational sickness has been reduced from 7 days to 3 days.
  • Short Term Disability weekly benefit has been increased from $500.00 per week to $573.00 per week.

To apply for Short Term Disability, complete the forms below and submit them to the IUPAT DC38 Burnaby office. Do not send your forms to BC Life directly as it will increase processing time.

Apprentice School Fund Changes

School-Fund withdrawal requirements for apprentices have been relaxed.

  • If you are out of work due to COVID 19 and have Apprentice School Funds in your account, you will not need prior authorization from your business representative for withdrawals.
  • Please give careful consideration to withdrawing your school funds, as it may impact your ability to attend future apprenticeship training classes.

Please send an email to bbertholm@ftibc.ca for school fund withdrawals.

Federal Government Supports

Employment Insurance

Who qualifies for EI?

Whether you qualify for EI will still depend on your specific situation, such as regional rate of employment, and the number of hours worked in the last 52 weeks.

The government recommends people apply as soon as possible to find out if they qualify; waiting more than four weeks after your last day of work means you could lose access to those benefits. 

To receive regular EI, you must have lost your job through no fault of your own, including lay-offs. EI sickness benefits include being unable to work because of illness or quarantine.

Under Wednesday’s changes, the one-week waiting period for sickness benefits will be removed for those who have been told to self-isolate or quarantine, meaning applicants can be paid for the first week of their claim. 

If approved, the maximum amount paid out for EI is $573 a week.

How do I apply?

To apply for EI benefits, visit their website:

  • EI Sick (For those who are sick or quarantined)

  • EI Regular (For those who have been laid off)

For those who are sick or quarantined (EI Sick), you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government’s toll-free number at 1-833-381-2725, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742.

Service Canada offices are closed until further notice.

What if I don’t qualify for EI?

If you are not eligible for either regular EI or EI Sickness benefits, please see the next section, “Canada Emergency Response Benefit.”

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The Canadian Government will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:

  • live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
  • stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
  • have not voluntarily quit their job
  • had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.

On April 15, the government announced changes to the eligibility rules to:

  • Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
  • Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
  • Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.

An online questionnaire will help the government direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).

Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI.

Click here to apply for the CERB

You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041

For information on this and additional federal supports, click here.

$2,500 Special Line of Credit

The BC Building Trades are advocating with the federal and provincial governments to help provide financial relief for construction workers in these extraordinary times. We have also reached out and been working with our partners at Community Savings Credit Union.

Community Savings is offering a special line of credit for workers facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that those facing job losses can have access to a $2,500 line of credit, interest free for six months.

Due to the current economic situation, the credit union is maintaining a degree of flexibility for applicants in terms of work history and current employment status; specifically, you can apply while on EI.

Importantly, these offerings are for current or new members of Community Savings only. Workers must join the credit union in order to leverage these options.

This is an easy process and although Community Savings has branches throughout B.C., workers do not need to live near a branch in order to sign up; they can apply on the website.

This help is not intended to replace assistance from the government, but we hope it will provide an extra level of support to those in need right now.

For more information please visit their website.

Mortgage Relief

Canadian Banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral. This gives flexibility to be available − when needed − to those who need it the most. You are encouraged to visit your bank’s website for the latest information, rather than calling or visiting a branch.

Consult your bank’s dedicated COVID-19 page by visiting their webpage, or find the dedicated pages of the major banks by clicking here.

Tax Relief

Deadlines for various tax payments have been extended.
  • Personal income tax filing deadline changed to June 1
  • If you owe taxes, ability to defer tax payments until August 31

Business tax filing deadline changed to July 31

Click here for more information.

Student Loan Relief

Starting March 30, 2020, B.C. Student Loan payments are automatically frozen for six months. In addition, there is a moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans.

Provincial Government Supports

$1,000 Emergency Benefit

A new B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak.

The benefit will be a one-time payment for British Columbians who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit or Emergency Support Benefit as a result of COVID-19 impacts.

This includes workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centres and schools are closed, and those caring for sick family members, such as an elderly parent.

The workers can be EI-eligible and non-EI eligible, such as the self-employed. The benefit will be paid to B.C. residents, in addition to their federal income supports.

For more information, click here.

$500 Rent Relief

In order to assist tenants in BC, the Province has committed to provide renters with financial support for up to four months to assist with rent payments. The province has also made other temporary amendments to provide housing-security for renters in British Columbia.

For more information on the supports and amendments, please click here.

Utility Relief

BC Hydro customers can defer payments or arrange for flexible payment plans without penalty. They can also access grants of up to $600 to pay their hydro bills using a Customer Crisis Fund.

Fortis BC has waived late payment fees and will ensure no customer is disconnected from the energy they need due to financial hardship at this time. More information is available here.

Car Insurance Relief

ICBC customers on monthly payment plans can defer payments for up to 90 days without penalty.

Other Supports

$2,500 Special Line of Credit

The BC Building Trades are advocating with the federal and provincial governments to help provide financial relief for construction workers in these extraordinary times. We have also reached out and been working with our partners at Community Savings Credit Union.

Community Savings is offering a special line of credit for workers facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that those facing job losses can have access to a $2,500 line of credit, interest free for six months.

Due to the current economic situation, the credit union is maintaining a degree of flexibility for applicants in terms of work history and current employment status; specifically, you can apply while on EI.

Importantly, these offerings are for current or new members of Community Savings only. Workers must join the credit union in order to leverage these options.

This is an easy process and although Community Savings has branches throughout B.C., workers do not need to live near a branch in order to sign up; they can apply on the website.

This help is not intended to replace assistance from the government, but we hope it will provide an extra level of support to those in need right now.

For more information please visit their website.

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More Information

We encourage our members to stay informed about the facts surrounding COVID-19 and recommend the following links to qualified authorities:

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Email Updates

Update #1, “COVID-19” (March 13th)

COVID-19 - 20190313

To see the next page, hover or click your mouse above this line, and click the down arrow.

Sent March 13, 2020

Update #2, “Office Closure” (March 18th)

COVID-19 - Office Closure 20200318

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Sent March 18, 2020

Update #3, “Union Meetings” (March 18th)

COVID-19 - Union Meetings 20200318

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Sent March 18, 2020

Update #4, “COVID-19 Update” (March 20th)

COVID-19 Update 20200320

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Sent March 20, 2020

Update #5, “Construction Industry Guidelines” (March 26th)

COVID 19 20200326 - Construction Guidelines

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Sent March 26, 2020

Update #6, “WorkSafe BC Guidelines & New Webpage” (March 27th)

COVID 19 20200326 - WorkSafe BC Bulletin

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Sent March 27, 2020

Update #7, “BC Building Trades Update” (March 30th)

COVID 19 20200330 - BCBT Info

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Sent March 30, 2020

Update #8, “Union Support Information” (April 15th)

COVID-19 Union Supports

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Sent April 15, 2020

Update #9, “Mental Health Supports” (April 22nd)

COVID-19 Mental Health

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Sent April 22, 2020

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Contact Us

Contact Our Offices

We will continue to update this page, but if you need more information, please contact us:
 

Greater Vancouver

Northern BC

Vancouver Island

Our office is now open daily from 8:30am to 4:30pm, with physical distancing and enhanced hygiene policies in place. While we will will now be able to assist members in person, we continue to ask for your patience as we expect there may be times when we will not be able to get to you as quickly as we’d like.

Contact Your Business Representative

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