UBCM Group Benefits Plan Newsletter  

September 2020

Just a reminder that you are able to make changes to your group benefits plan at any time. Please feel free to contact me if you want a review of your plan design. Being part of a bigger pool, the UBCM Group Benefits Plan allows you to offer better customized plans at a lower cost. Email me today!


More than 7 out of 10 professionals today are suffering from burnout as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  As many of us have had to quickly transition to a work-from-home environment and drastically alter our routines, new workplace concerns have arisen due the pandemic. We have all had to navigate our roles within our families while having to balance workplace responsibilities.  While working from home has eliminated people's need to commute and spend time in traffic, (which I have to say I certainly don't miss) it has also had an effect on our wellness and mental health. 

You might have someone working from home without a home office, with their spouse, their kids or roommates which include a lot of external stressors which must be impacting our psychological and emotional state. It is hard to separate work and personal life which may lead to people working longer hours and the control over your workloads may be changed due to accessibility which lead to unmanageable workloads for some and not enough to do for others. These could all be factors contributing to work-from-home burnout. Click here for more information.

There are several ways employers can help employees establish work-life balance while working from home, says Randstad Canada:
  • Prioritize flexibility.
  • Have set work hours.
  • Trust your employees.
  • Minimize communications outside of work hours.
  • Encourage defined workspaces.
  • Promote wellness.
  • Communicate often.
Quotes for the month:

Be bold, be humble, be brave, be resilient, be productive, be good, good to yourselves and good to each other.  Be careful; be caring.          
~ Katie Courie

If you have any comments or concerns, do not hesitate to email me. 
UBCM Group Benefits Newsletter
September 2020 

Psychological Support Toolkit for Workers and Employers: COVID-19
We are happy to promote and assist BC Municipal Safety Association.  They have partnered with workplace mental health expert Diana Vissers, Work to Wellness, to deliver a FREE multimedia interactive platform with education, tools and resources to support the detection and efficient resolution of emerging psychological and psycho-social impacts to workers and organizations. The LGMA is a supporting partner in the Psychological Support Toolkit for Workers and Employers: COVID-19.

Take advantage of the upcoming FREE webinars on the following topics and register today:

October 29, 10 - 11 a.m.
Industry Leaders Panel 

You can access recordings from previous webinars within the 5-Part series, as well as download the Psychological Support Toolkit for Workers and Employers: COVID-19 here.

 It's Time To Rethink Mental Health Benefits

In an article for Talent Canada magazine, titled "It's Time to Rethink Mental Health Benefits", Marc Avaria, Pacific Blue Cross's VP Product & Disability Management, offers ways employers can support the mental wellbeing of their employees.
  • This includes consulting with employees on their mental health needs and communicating existing and new resources available to them. 
  • Marc also recommends learning what options are available, noting the positive impact that virtual care has made in providing quick, easy access to expert mental health care. 
  • He suggests employers consider equipping employees with tools and resources like Internet-enabled Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to empower them to take a direct and active role in their care. 
  • Finally, he recommends that employers consider adopting new ways of improving their corporate culture, from progressive work-from-home policies to more group education sessions about mental health and wellness. 

Changes Proposed To The Municipal Pension Plan

Plan partners of the Municipal Pension Plan are proposing changes to update the Plan. The proposed changes have been guided by an approach focused on: 
  • improving equity for members; 
  • aligning benefits with how the majority of members use them; 
  • setting a strong foundation for the long-term sustainability of the plan; and 
  • staying within the current cost envelope.
The proposed changes will affect active members in the Municipal Pension Plan. Plan members may learn more about the proposed changes here.


As of Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, the Ministry of Health will provide coverage of Edaravone, or Radicava, for patients living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig's disease) upon conclusion of negotiations with its manufacturer. 


What Coverage is Changing at PharmaCare

Beginning February 19, 2021, BC PharmaCare coverage for the original biologic (originator) drug, Rituxan, will be discontinued for affected patients, and coverage will instead be provided for the biosimilar brand versions of rituximab (Truxima, Ruxience, and Riximyo).
For more information about biosimilars, including a list of frequently asked questions, please click here.

People in British Columbia will soon have more options to get quality team-based health care closer to home. 


On September 2, 2020, the Province provided an update on the variance process to extend temporary layoffs.
Previously in May 2020, BC extended the temporary layoff period from 13 to 16 weeks. In late June, the Province extended this period to 24 weeks, expiring on August 30, 2020. Both extensions were designed to coincide with the availability of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
The announcement on September 2, 2020 indicates that:
  • the online application process allows employers and workers to jointly apply to extend temporary layoffs beyond August 30, 2020.
  • this process will continue to be in place as BC moves forward during this pandemic, so that employers will continue to be able to access it in the future.

Employer Health Tax during COVID-19

On September 2, 2020, the Province announced/confirmed the implementation dates for various tax measures related to the COVID-19 disruption.  With respect to the Employer Health Tax (EHT), the announcement indicates that the 2020 EHT quarterly instalment dates are being extended as follows:
  • December 31, 2020 (original instalment date was June 15, 2020)
  • January 31, 2021 (original instalment date was September 15, 2020)
  • February 28, 2021 (original instalment date was December 15, 2020)
The 2020 EHT filing and balance due date will remain March 31, 2021.


October is Canada's Healthy Workplace Month - Get Involved!


ParticipACTION's Great Big Move challenge!

Get active, get exploring and get winning with ParticipACTION's Great Big Move challenge! From October 1 - 31, your employees can get active and virtually explore Canada with their colleagues through our app. As teams accumulate move minutes, milestones are unlocked, increasing chances at winning awesome prizes!  
The Great Big Move challenge is the launch of our team feature in the ParticipACTION app which enables your employees to collaborate with up to 7 colleagues.  


Contact us at:
Anna-Maria Wijesinghe   
                    Annie Ni
Manager, Member & Association Services         Account Executive
Union of BC Municipalities                                  Pacific Blue Cross
Phone: 604.270.8226 (ext. 111)                          Phone: 604.419.2434
Email: amwijesinghe@ubcm.ca                          Email:  ani@pac.bluecross.ca