Executive Director Update - April 2020

April 28th Update:


Hello, I sure hope this email finds you all well.


Working from home can be difficult for many people at the best of times, but even more so when you are juggling schooling from home, you are missing your extended family and friends, you are restricted in how you can do your job because of location/technology/etc, your routine is totally disrupted and on top of that, you are going against all you’ve been taught to have strong boundaries between work and home have more or less been thrown out the window.


Please monitor your own mental health and PLEASE do not hesitate to seek out help if you feel you are struggling. Many of the following websites have excellent information on self-care during this time. You are all so excellent at looking after others but sometimes you may not always take your own advice.


APBVSA Personnel Survey

Further to our membership meeting last week, it would be awesome if you could complete the 2020 APBVSA


Personnel Survey. Just click and go!



Online Training or Resource Opportunities:

Thanks, everyone for sharing their suggestions.


This is the former R2MR



Very reputable site – they have various free resources or online training (if you have training dollars to spend).




Take care and as soon as I have a chance to review the minutes from the membership meeting – I will send them out to you. It was actually a really good meeting (I think). We had 42 people online and it went better than I anticipated. It was so good to see (on video) and hear so many voices from all over the Province.

We have a transition team working on some plans on how to move forward. We will be moving forward as the Association for the foreseeable future – it may just look a little different. In order to determine that we will be sending out a survey to see where your priorities are with respect to YOUR association and what you would like that to look like. Stay tuned!


As our fearless leader, Alf said…“We didn’t come this far to just go this far!”.

Take care!


April 16th

Good day everyone,

Seems like the weeks pass by slowly in some ways, and then they fly by in others.  I don’t know about you but I really feel like I’m in some kind of alternate universe or time zone these last few weeks.

Anyways, I hope you are all well.  I don’t have a whole lot to update you on at this time so it will be short and sweet this week.  Primarily, I wanted to let you know that our Membership Meeting is still on but it will be held virtually by Zoom. 


APBVSA Membership Meeting:  Thursday, April 23, 2020 @ 10am


There are new security features being implemented on Friday and everyone will have to utilize a password.  I will be on by about 940 so if people have the opportunity to sign on early so I can troubleshoot any issues prior to 10 am that would be great.  

  • When you join, you should be prompted for a name. If you could kindly put in your name and Progam that would be great and save us some time trying to sort out who is who on the call. 

  • Once you are on then it helps if you mute your microphone to prevent feedback and excess noise like dogs, papers being shuffled, the police radio, your husband etc.  Just unmute yourself if you want to talk.  

  • It could be a bit chaotic, depending on how many people join but we will sort it out.  

  • An agenda will be sent out Tuesday or Wednesday. 

  • Regional Reports very much appreciated in electronic format.  


Join Zoom Meeting:  Thursday, April 23, 2020, 10 am 


Meeting ID: 848 438 075   Password: 371258

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April 2020 grant cycle – info from JSG (Lisa Lewis)


For those of you on the April grant cycle you and/or your board has probably received this.  I will forward a clean version of the email sent out by Lisa Lewis yesterday.  This is a portion of that email…FYI

When reviewing applications, the goal is to focus resources on vital services and making sure victims have the support they need. As such, updated funding guidelines will be applied that include the following principles:

-       As always, priority is given to organizations that provide direct services to victims of crime during their involvement with the criminal justice system.

-        Funding requests related to salary increases, travel and training will be capped to align with government’s efforts to ensure funding is sustainable.

-  $1000 max per year for training; and, $1000 for travel, meals and accommodation related to training, with the amount increased to $2000 for organizations in remote communities (several hours from a larger centre).


-     Applications that fall outside the scope of the VOCF mandate, such as hosting conferences, are considered ineligible.


The goal of this approach is to ensure continued funding to the majority of programs that provide direct services to victims of crime through the introduction of modest budget reductions ensuring minimal impact to services to victims of crime.


Due to the compressed timeline, pre-application interview will not be conducted.             


It is highly recommended that you review your current grant contract budget. If an increase is requested in any lines of the budget over the current contract you must provide an explanation/justification for the increase in the grant narrative or the notes on budget section.


If you have any question or concerns please email lori.b.campbell@gov.ab.ca


My comments:  It was also confirmed by a fellow PM who spoke to JSG today that due to anticipated changes, only 1-year grant terms are being approved at this time.  Note that the training and travel/meals/accommodation portions of JSG budget are only $1000 for those budget lines. Hosting local training is going to be very difficult unless you have access to other funds for that.  Looks to me like on-line training with very limited dollars will be about your only option.  $1000 does not go very far for either training or travel for even the smallest programs.

I really wish I had more upbeat messages to share with you!  


April 8th

I hope this finds you all healthy and managing with this strange new normal.  You will find the newsletter on the website under news, on there you will find a great message from your President, Alf Rudd.  I think he addresses our interim action plan very well and we are also reaching out to other agencies that may have similar concerns over the changes to the Victims of Crime Act / Fund with hopes that a collaborative “push back” may send a stronger message to the Minister.  We will keep you posted on progress in that regard.


At the very least we hope to keep the Association in place in order to still provide the insurance and benefits, professional development, and the conference in place.  The savings alone to programs who carry insurance policies through the Association is very significant.   So, if you have outstanding membership dues, please take that into consideration as you must be a member in good standing with the association for the 2020 year in order to qualify for the policies you currently have in place. 


I really enjoyed touching base with PMs today via Zoom.  I was impressed with how everyone is adapting and how positive you are all sounding. I was also impressed with the great support that many of you are getting from your detachments and members.  We even had a unit that is having the members do direct phone referrals to their advocates, keeping them engaged.  They are only doing phone contact of course and not doing any direct client contact.  Great job & innovation! I was the only one with a really nasty COVID-19 hairdo but I can’t give the prize to myself so I did a random draw.  The winner was Lauren Delahunt! Congratulations! Your prize will be sent out in the mail.


Oh…and a couple of updates on the Membership list that I had missed…oops.


Anyways, thinking of you all & wishing you well.  Here is what happens when your hairdresser cancels her essential services – pjs and everything!  


Go wash your hands (and your hair)!



“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful, or perfect. You just have to care enough and be there.”  ….. Anonymous



Hello everyone, 


I hope you are all doing well.  Things are still busy for me with Quarterly Reports and Program Evaluation Reports due, getting Conference tasks wrapped up, financial year-end and of course trying to determine where we go from with the Association now that we have no funding through the VOC fund.  Funding for my position is intact until the end of April and then our bank account will, in part, determine what happens from there. We still have to have our AGM and need to make some big strategic decisions so, as the membership, we will want your ideas, input and say in what the future of the Association looks like moving forward.  I’ve also attached an updated Membership list for you all.  


Outstanding insurance dues: – Karen is busy working on sending out reminders about that and perhaps some unpaid membership dues as well.


Conference refunds:

  • If you paid by Credit Card, those refunds were processed by our 3rd party handler on Monday but they say it may take 7-10 days for it to show on your end.  Let me know if after April 8th you are still not seeing it on your credit card.

  • Conference refunds by cheque have been prepared, sent to Penny for 2nd signature and should be in the mail in the next day or so. 


Info from JSG IB: Essential Services Designation


As of March 27, 2020, the Government of Alberta has declared Victims Services an essential service.


Guiding principles for Victims Services providers will be distributed to assist in determining appropriate work practices during this time. In the meantime, please consider the following key principles:

  • Everyone should follow guidance from Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer in relation to measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Workers should be encouraged to work remotely when possible and focus on core business activities. In-person, non-mandatory activities should be delayed until the resumption of normal operations.

  • When continuous remote work is not possible, organizations should enlist strategies to reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease. This includes but is not limited to separating staff by off-setting shift hours or days and/or social distancing. These steps can preserve the workforce and allow operations to continue.


Please visit alberta.ca/essential-services for additional information regarding essential services. For up to date information about COVID-19, continue to consult alberta.ca/COVID19.


Alberta Justice and Solicitor General Victims Services are working closely with our partners to address questions as they arise and provide updates as necessary.


Please note, essential service is different than emergency services. VSUs are not required to provide emergency services. The health and safety of all Victims Services providers continues to be the number one priority.

Questions? Please contact victims.programs@gov.ab.ca


Other Resources

With respect to your VS Program JSG would like you to follow the protocols and recommendations noted above unequivocably.  However, there are lots of other resources out there for you as an individual, community, family etc. 


Volunteer Central has an excellent list that can be accessed through this link: https://mailchi.mp/1a15979f3a2f/volunteer-central-sector-news-april-20-1822085?e=c235c14bcf


The Working Mind (R2MR) Resources & Training – Sonia McLean

For those programs that have had “ The Road to Mental Readiness for First Responders, or currently rebranded as “The Working Mind for First Responders’  we would like to invite you to review your information and take away regarding self-care and resiliency.  Please remember to continue to use the MH Continuum and reach out to supports as you need. We are all in this together, and none of us are alone.


Karen and I  have attached the MHCC COVID Specific self-care booklet, as well as a screenshot taken from the booklet that may be of use.  We feel the information is both timely and relevant. There is also a COVID site that is under construction via the MHCC, where they also have a link for boosters that leaders can promote within their areas where they have staff that has taken the TWMFR.


The site can be found at: https://theworkingmind.ca/covid19-twmI am told The MHCC sent out this information to anyone who attended a TWMFR and TWM session. This may be overlooked or in a junk box. In any case, I don’t think it is a bad idea for you and/or your trusted leaders to pass along if they feel it could be helpful. Please feel free to share.


If there are any programs that would like to receive this training please contact Karen Kuntz at kkhillman@hotmail.ca We would be more than happy to include you and your advocates in this very applicable and timely training.


Please continue to reach out as you need, and also encourage your colleagues to reach out as they need. We are all in this together.    Sonia & Karen


Canada Helps Webinar:  Leadership in Uncertain Times


So glad to know many of you are already implementing many of these things in your units.  Here is the link for the webinar in case you missed it.



Free access to wellness sessions courtesy of Julie – iRest facilitator at Conference

You are invited to “At Home in Well-Being” live, online sessions designed to help you connect to your inherent ground of well-being, even in this very difficult time.  

Wonderful offer for free online and recorded meditation sessions for us. This is from Julie who was going to present iRest meditation session at the Conference. Such a generous offer! Who is going to join me for some self care? 


Chaos can be a catalyst for growth. The current Covid crisis feels like an opportunity like no other.


Please join me for free, live 1-hr sessions to be “At Home in Well-Being”.


When: Monday – Friday, daily live sessions on ZOOM*. Body Mind Ease members can view/listen to recordings at any time in the member’s area of my website.

We will continue until April 10. From there, the community needs will steer the course of future offerings.

All times appear in MDT (-6GMT) which is Alberta time. To convert to your timezone: https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/@5914894

Note: all are 1-hour sessions Mondays:  8:00 AM  Pajama pranayama and immune building practice.
Tuesdays:  2:00 PM  I rest online, 35-min Yoga Nidra practice & discussion
Wednesdays:  10 AM Live teaching sessions and open mic
Thursdays:  5 PM I rest online, 35-min Yoga Nidra practice & discussion
Fridays:  10 AM  The four emotions of the heart meditation & discussion


To join any of the sessions, go to this link at the time of the session: https://zoom.us/j/7784767113


What to expect:
FREE, On-line, live sessions as above.

  • All live sessions will be recorded and available 24/7 through the Body-Mind Ease member’s area within 1 day.

  • Off-line practice suggestions you can do on your own time, outside in nature or at home.

  • Talks and meditations to welcome the divine emotions of love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.

  • Grounding, revitalizing movement practices; I give you a daily suggestion, members choose from a library of practices from 5min – 1 hr 30min.

  • Practices to boost the immune system including pranayama (Breathwork) and tools from other traditions and teachings.

  • Opportunities to connect with other participants through chat and forum features in the Body Mind Ease community.

  • Opportunities for partner work, break-out groups in the BME community.

  • Humor, joy, and acceptance of you, just as you are!

  • Live sessions are offered at varied times so all participants have a chance to join some live sessions, no matter their time zone.

  • And…added bonus, I’ll be in my coziest, most favourite pajamas for at least one-morning practice. You can be too:)

  • Accountability – if you want it. All sessions optional always.

  • Easy access from your computer, smartphone or tablet. As much as I would like to see you, you do not have to turn on your camera if you prefer not to.


If you prefer to dial in by telephone: find your local number here: https://us04web.zoom.us/u/fcTHvQbSRU

*Don’t worry if you are new to online meetings, it’s easy. Participants will be muted on entry to the meeting, video off. When you wish to speak or have your video on, you can open it from your end.


Instructions for using Zoom: https://youtu.be/hIkCmbvAHQQ


Please invite your friends. In this time of financial difficulty for many, I offer the live meetings freely. Your subscription to the Body Mind Ease community is greatly appreciated as the $19/month fees help me to continue to share in this way. (Click to subscribe) Donations are also welcome, yet not expected.


Sleep Meditation: You’ll find a free downloadable meditation on my homepage to help you with sleep.

Topic: Virtual Check-in with PMs – Please join us 


The first one was really good.  There will be a prize for the best COVID-19 hairdo so make sure your cameras are working!


Time: Wednesday, April 8th


Join Zoom Meeting   


Meeting ID: 821 111 4321

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My new inspiration…

“The time for the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”…. From the Elders of Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona June 8, 2000



resilience-guide COVID19

Alberta Police Based Victim Services
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