Risk to Canadians
Updated March 24, 2020:
At this time, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed COVID-19 is a serious health threat, and the situation is evolving daily. The risk will vary between and within communities, but given the increasing number of cases in Canada, the risk to Canadians is considered high. There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:
• aged 65 and over
• with compromised immune systems
• with underlying medical conditions
While a COVID-19 outbreak is not unexpected in Canada, our public health system is prepared to respond. PHAC, along with provincial, territorial and community partners, continues to reassess the public health risk, based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves.
For more information – Know the facts about coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Pandemic Planning For Business
In the event of pandemic, businesses will play a key role in protecting employees’ health and safety as well as limiting the negative impact to the economy and society. It is critically important that business have a plan in place.
The following websites have resources to help your business –
• Factsheet on Responding to the risk of Coronavirus in the Workplace
• Employment and Social Development Canada – Occupational Health and Safety website covers roles and responsibilities, employee rights, employer rights, hazard prevention program and reporting requirements.
• Emergency Planning https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/planning.html
• Business Continuity https://www.ccohs.ca/publications/PDF/businesscontinuity.pdf
CFIA Updates – https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
Resources for you
Sample Letter to employees.
As you are undoubtedly aware, there have been public health warnings regarding the COVID-19 virus. Please be advised that COMPANY NAME is working to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our employees within each of our business units, and each of our business locations.
If you have additional suggestions, please share them with your manager and HR CONTACT
COMPANY NAME has temporarily modified its sick leave policy to manage employee absences caused by the potential COVID virus. Major points covered in the policy include:
- Permanent and temporary staff members will be able to use their paid sick leave if a member of their household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and the staff member is unable to work.
- Additional paid Sick leave will be granted to staff members if they or a member of their household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and they are unable to work. The amount of days may vary based on the current HR policies and laws in each jurisdiction.
- The Company may require the Mandatory use of vacation time in order to manage its workforce during a COVID-19 outbreak.
At this point, we do not believe that any extraordinary measures need to be taken, however, we would like you to be aware of these key areas in particular:
- Stay at Home when Sick. If you are not feeling well, please stay home. It is imperative that a staff member who has been diagnosed with the COVID Virus, or that have been exposed to the COVID Virus because a member of their household has been diagnosed with the Virus, stay at home rather than come to work and potentially infect other staff members.
- If a family member in your household works in the medical profession, please let us know, as front-line workers and their families are more likely to need to be isolated from others as the virus may spread. As such, we may prioritize any cross training, standard operating procedures, etc. for those team members first.
- To keep our workplace healthy, we ask that all employees follow the precautionary measures listed below.
- There is a great deal of misinformation about COVID 19 in the public domain, we are closely following the advice, and monitoring updates by the World Health Organization, as well as appropriate government agencies for each of the countries where our offices are located.
- Hand Washing – We ask that employees regularly wash their hands often with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer. Be sure to clean your hands after sneezing or coughing and after touching surfaces others may have touched.
- Coughing and Sneezing – Please cough or sneeze into a tissue or your upper sleeve, and not your hands. Dispose of used tissues immediately.
- Keep Shared Surface Areas Clean – Doorknobs, light switches, telephones, keyboards and other surfaces can become contaminated with all kinds of bacteria and viruses. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of these surfaces can help.
Additional office specific protocols will be made available in the coming days.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Human Resources representative for more information.
We thank you for your cooperation!
Resources for your staff
- EI information and eligibility – https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-sickness.html
Relevant News about Covid-19
How international markets are affecting local businesses https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/fisheries-producers-shifting-gears-to-adjust-to-coronavirus-impact-on-markets-1.4838764
Will you get paid if you are quarantined? https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/coronavirus-self-isolation-pay-1.5493183
If you have even mild symptoms, stay home and call the public health authority in the province or territory you are in to inform them. They will provide advice on what you should do.