Just a reminder that you are able to make changes to your group benefits plan at any time. Please feel free to contact UBCM if you want a review of your plan design. Being part of a bigger pool, the UBCM Group Benefits Plan allows us to offer better customized plans at a lower cost. Email UBCM today!
We are in Step 3 in BC's Restart Plan effective July 1, 2021

In our previous newsletter, we talked about how COVID-19 has affected so many of us, and how we are all working together to safely return to normal times. As of July 1st, we are in Step 3 in BC's Restart Plan. For some of us, that means we're now having conversations about bringing corporate staff back into their offices, bearing in mind the new guidelines from WorkSafe BC regarding communicable disease prevention. This means that having a COVID-19 Safety Plan is no longer required for employers, as the risk of COVID-19 has been reduced. This can be attributed to the vaccine roll-out across the province. Even though the risk has diminished, it can still spread, and other communicable diseases (such as the flu) can still be transmitted. For more information, please refer to the WorkSafe BC communicable disease prevention guide, which is available on their website.

Some of us may be re-thinking our career priorities come the post-pandemic world. This comes as no surprise since for many office workers, we've had to adapt working from home, which has both its advantages, and disadvantages. For those that have a lengthy commute to and from their offices, this comes as a welcome reprieve. For those that do not have access to childcare during the pandemic, they have had to juggle this with their deliverables, which is an incredible struggle. Moreover, new challenges may come up as we need to re-adjust our routines as restrictions are gradually lifted.

One definite positive outcome to all of this is that we can feel both hopeful and relieved that we're now experiencing more social freedom compared to the last year and a half. We can meet loved ones outside our bubbles, and we can even eat in restaurants again! There are some exciting events in the Lower Mainland, for example: there's the Imagine Van Gogh Exhibit, and the Da Vinci Experience, to name a few!

After being socially stagnant for so long (we argue that Zoom calls, and FaceTime can't replace face-to-face human interaction!), perhaps we are ready for changes to breathe new life into our routines. We may fumble for a bit, trying to re-introduce ourselves to a more socially active world, but we'll all get there, at our own pace.
Stay Cool and Healthy During Summer

Recently, we've had an unprecedented heat wave. Temperatures soared like most of us has never seen before. I've heard from many anecdotal sources that air conditioners were sold out everywhere at the time it was needed the most. The worst of it is (hopefully) over, but in some areas in BC, it may still be quite warm. There are many tips available online on how to stay cool during the summer, and here are some of our favourite ones:

  • dip your feet in some cool water, perhaps even give yourself a foot spa!
  • fill an insulated tumbler with ice water, and sip throughout the day
  • wear light, breathable clothes, and open toe shoes, unless you are working in an environment that adheres to a strict dress code
  • if you're planning to stay outdoors, try to remain under the shade

Please make sure that while you are having fun outdoors, to take care of yourself and your skin! Apply sunscreen, and stay hydrated! Additionally, make sure that before you plan your activities, check the BC website for up-to-date information.
Resources Available during COVID-19

During the pandemic, we tried our best to remain hopeful, grateful, and optimistic. Of course, we experienced the same life changes as everyone else: we fell into grief, celebrated new births, some were physically separated from loved ones due to restrictions, and the list goes on. Nonetheless, we're all doing quite well now, and we hope all our readers are, too. If not, please know that our thoughts are with you.

Something we can look into are all the government resources that are available, and it's certainly gratifying to read about what is available to those that need these the most. Here a short compilation of links that are currently available:

There have also been announcements about expanding the Canada Workers Benefit, as well as budget focused on jobs and growth receive Royal Assent. Please note that these are all subject to change, and to refer to the websites as often as needed for up-to-date information.

Beyond government support, we can also help one another at a personal level, something as simple as being supportive towards the people around you goes a long way. Mental health is discussed quite frequently in the media, and with good reason. Health should be viewed as holistic in nature: a healthy mind, and a healthy body goes hand-in-hand with a person's well-being. Check in with your loved ones, even if there's no particular reason. As an example, one of our staff members told us that her mom calls her grandma every Friday, and calls this their "Fri-Date."

Moreover, we consider Dr. Bonnie Henry's quote "Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe" the unofficial BC anthem that keeps us hopefully motivated through the pandemic. It's a simple reminder to look out for one another, to take care of ourselves and each other, as we safely move forward in Step 3 and beyond.
UBCM is Your Main Contact and Advocate for the UBCM Group Benefits Plan

We've heard throughout the pandemic that services across various sectors are delayed. This is primarily due to the safety protocols that each business has set in place, in accordance with public health guidelines. Here at UBCM we remain committed to delivering excellent customer service. We are constantly working with our partners to make sure that our members' needs are looked after in a timely manner. Our team continues to grow to accommodate and support our members. We use your feedback to improve our work flow. We value and appreciate all of you.

If you have any questions, concerns, requests, or any other service you require help with when it comes to your UBCM group benefits plan, UBCM is and continues to be your main point of contact.

For example: if you require a quote, have an enrolment issue, need to update a contact in our system, UBCM is here to advocate on your behalf. If you require assistance with your group benefits plan, please don't hesitate to reach out, and we'll help you to the best of our abilities. We love to hear from you!

Contact us at:
Elvira Khismatullina
UBCM Group Benefits Administrator

Union of BC Municipalities
Phone: 604-270-8226 extension 111

For the list of the UBCM and Pacific Blue Cross Contacts click here