Recommendations for Protecting Your Team Against COVID-19
As we continue to closely monitor the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak across Canada and around the world, the KNBA Board of Directors and our staff are working closely and consistently with Ottawa Public Health (OPH) on the development of protocols and steps that help to keep you, your families, our member companies and employees safe and healthy.
We are taking these steps as a precaution with a focus on proactive and preventative measures as your health and safety is our top priority. Please visit the OPH web page and community resource on COVID-19 (which is updated very consistently). Together with OPH, we are committed to taking proactive, preventative and prudent measures that aim to mitigate risk within our business community. We have copied below a few key highlights on the proactive, preventative steps members of our business community are taking in addition to recommendations received today from Ottawa Public Health.
KNBA have also been actively engaging with our member base to understand their concerns and support the preventive measures that some of our businesses have put in place.
We will continue to share news and updates via our social media accounts and mailing list. You can also review a list of archived updates with reference links here;
- March 12, 2020: Discover Technata Postponed to October 5, 2020
- March 12, 2020: Recommendations for Protecting Your Team Against COVID-19 as of 4:00pm March 12, 2020
- March 13, 2020 COVID-19 KNBA Update: recommendations for protecting your team against covid 19 as of 4:00pm March 13, 2020
- March 15, 2020: Update – Recommendations for Protecting Your Team Against COVID-19 as of 4:00pm March 15, 2020
- March 16, 2020: Update – Recommendations for Protecting Your Team Against COVID-19 as of 9:00pm March 16, 2020
- March 24, 2020: Update – Recommendations for Protecting Your Team Against COVID-19 as of 10:00am March 24, 2020
- March 27, 2020: Update –Supporting Your Business Through COVID-19 March 27, 2020
Resources for Business and HR Leaders
The team at Ottawa Public Health have established a website for workplaces. This covers important information like, how to prepare for COVID-19, considerations for work travel, what to do when returning from travel, and other helpful tips for your employees.
We have copied below a few key highlights on the proactive, preventative steps members of our business community are taking in addition to recommendations received from Ottawa Public Health.
*Updated March 27, 2020 17:00
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, additional support measures for business owners have been announced this week from our municipal, provincial and federal governments. These measures are intended to support people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protect their jobs and meet immediate business and household budgets.
Our local leaders, MP Karen McCrimmon, MPP Merrilee Fullerton, Councillor Sudds as well as Senior Business Advisor from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Marcelo Grinfeld all continue to proactively reach out to KNBA to provide links to important resources to support business continuity for you and your team through this extremely challenging time. Our team have summarized these updates below.
To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada announced today that they will:
- Announce a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll. More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.
- Allow businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June, as well as customs duties owed for imports. This measure is the equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. It will help businesses so they can continue to pay their employees and their bills, and help ease cash-flow challenges across the country.
- Launch the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program will provide up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they can provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans – guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – will ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
- Launch the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This is intended for small and medium-sized companies that require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.
These new investments will help Canada’s financial institutions provide the credit and liquidity options that a range of Canadian businesses need immediately.
The Government of Canada understands that some sectors have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to carefully monitor all developments, and take further action in the near term. We’re all in this together, and the Government of Canada will continue to work around the clock to ensure all Canadians and small businesses get the support they need to weather this crisis.
Additional Federal Support for Employers
To further support businesses and their employees, the Federal Government has announced:
- enhancing the Work-Sharing program to support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business
- a new Business Credit Availability Program to make more than $10 billion available to Canadian businesses in financing and credit insurance solutions through:
- the Canada Revenue Agency will defer tax payments until August 31, 2020, to help businesses with cash flow
- a new Emergency Care Benefit of up to $900 biweekly for up to 15 weeks for self-employed people and others who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits
- increased credit available to farmers and the agri-food sector through Farm Credit Canada
- NOW AVAILABLE – an additional $5 billion to increase Farm Credit Canada’s lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors.
Additional Federal Support for Support for employees
No Canadian should have to worry about losing their job, paying their rent or putting food on the table because of COVID-19. That’s why the Federal Government is:
- waiving the one-week waiting period and the requirement for a medical certificate for employment insurance (EI) sickness benefits to provide immediate support for workers in quarantine
- temporarily boosting Canada Child Benefit payments to ensure working families have enough money to support their kids
- introducing an Emergency Support Benefit to provide support to workers facing unemployment who are not eligible for EI
- extending the tax filing deadline to June 1, 2020
- and much more
The Ontario Government is enabling $1.9 billion in relief for employers to reduce the financial strain on businesses brought on by COVID-19. The measure, which will run through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), will see premium payments deferred for six months for all businesses in the province.
Additionally, the WSIB will cease interest accrual on all outstanding premium payments. They will not charge penalties during this six-month deferral period. There will be no negative consequences for businesses who defer premium reporting and payments. The WSIB will continue to fully cover workers at eligible workplaces.
- The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board covers over five million people in more than 300,000 workplaces across Ontario.
- Businesses are not required to inform the WSIB that they will be taking advantage of this financial relief package.
- The deferred premiums will amount to an average $1,760 for approximately 275,000 Ontario businesses.
- The WSIB’s new Employer Relief Package
- Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19
Interim Property Tax Grace Period for All Property Owners
The interim tax bills, which represent 50 per cent of the previous year’s tax bill, were mailed to property owners in mid-February with payment to the City of Ottawa due Thursday, March 19, 2020. The City will be extending a payment grace period to April 15, 2020. More information on property tax bills can be found on the Taxes homepage on ottawa.ca.
New 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program
The City has implemented a new 2020 Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program for residential property owners and small business property owners (assessed property value of up to $2.5 million) that have been financially affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The deferral application is available on ottawa.ca and extends the interim (March 19) and final (June 18) tax due dates to October 30, 2020.
Support for Small Business
Following today’s announcements, we continue to work closely with the City of Ottawa to establish support programs for our small business owners, who will be heavily impacted by this next wave of social distancing.
As a grass roots measure to support our small businesses in Kanata North, KNBA have launched a #shoplocal campaign powered by Shopify to encourage our community to order takeout and purchase gift cards to be used at a future date. Please consider supporting our restaurants, retailers, health and wellness shops.
We are all in this together.
If you are a small business owner and would like to connect to have your business featured on the landing page, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Managing Business Continuity
Our team have rounded up a list of these business continuity and planning tools:
Business continuity plan and templates for entrepreneurs
Export Development Canada
Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness for Business
World Health Organization COVID-19 – Business and Employees
We will continue to round up productivity and remote work from home strategies to be shared across our KNBA social media accounts.
Credible Sources of Information from our Public Health Officials
Councilor Sudds and the City of Ottawa will be sharing information as it becomes available. You can also stay up to date on information by following these credible sources of information:
Ottawa Public Health
Ontario Ministry of Health
Health Canada / Public Health Agency of Canada
Dr. Etches, Ottawa’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, spoke of the urgent need to self-isolate and social distancing. With all the news coming in, it might be easy to forget the basics. Here are three things OPH really wants you to read and watch with your family:
- A helpful video on social distancing. Watch this here.
- We know many people in our community have traveled, share this page with them.
- Make sure you are washing your hands properly. It’s crucial, and here’s a video to watch.
I cannot underscore the importance of social distancing and self-isolation. There’s only so much that our health authorities can accomplish. The rest is up to us and we must play our part.
To further contain the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario Government has ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces effective as of Tuesday, March 24th at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. A full list of businesses that are permitted to stay open are available here:
Businesses that can continue operations with employees working remotely, or through other contingency measures, are being given approximately 36 hours to prepare and adapt. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.
Several Kanata North sub sectors fall into categories of essential services. Including but not limited to; Supply Chains, Retail and Wholesaling, Food Services and Accommodations, Institutional, Residential, Commercial and Industrial Maintenance, Telecommunications and IT Infrastructure/Service Providers, Transportation, Manufacturing and Production, Agriculture and Food Production, Construction, Financial Activities, Resources, Environmental Services, Utilities and Community Services, Communications Industries, Research, Health Care, Justice Sector, Other Business.
Please review the list provided by the Ontario Government and reach out if you have questions or concerns.
We have provided a PDF copy here:
Is my business required to implement work from home protocols?
- All of our member companies as a necessary measure are requiring that non-essential staff work from home and are implementing alternate work approaches for those mission critical roles that require an onsite presence. In addition to increasing the use of virtual meeting tools more fully.
- Based on Ontario Government orders issued on March 23, 2020, companies are required to implement work from home protocols for all non-essential staff today.
- Consistent with Ottawa Public Health guidelines, in order to reduce the spread of germs, including the flu and the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Ottawa Public Health have recommended that companies encourage mission critical employees working in office to:
- Wash their hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer
- Avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth unless they have just washed their hands
- Cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue or into their arm, not their hand
- Stay home if they are sick
- Do not visit people in hospitals or long-term care centres
- It is still recommended that they get a flu shot if they haven’t already as the flu virus is still circulating in the community
- Keep workplaces clean and hygienic – increase frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces such as elevator buttons, key boards, mouse, phones, desks, computers, seating areas, lunch tables, kitchens, washrooms, etc.
- Increase the spatial separation between desks and workstations as well as individuals (e.g., employees, customers) from each other, ideally a 2 metre separation should be maintained, unless there is a physical barrier (e.g., cubicle, Plexiglas window).
- Increased awareness about and communication to staff about COVID-19.
How can I access further resources and hand washing signage?
- Information sheet (available in multiple languages)
- The Ministry of Health has developed an information sheet about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV or COVID-19) to inform Ontarians about the virus, how they can protect themselves and what to do if they think they have contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Stay home when you are sick factsheet
- Public Health Agency of Canada- Novel Coronavirus- multilingual poster
If members of my team recently travelled outside of Canada, what should I do?
- Several of our member companies, as a now necessary measure have completely suspended all business travel outside of Canada.
- At this time Ottawa Public Health recommendations for travel are as follows;
- Ensure that your organization and employees have the latest information on COVID-19 and where it is spreading through:
- Travel Health notices
- Keeping up with real time tracking (See: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU))
- Assess the benefits and risks related to upcoming travel plans.
- Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Do not send employees who may be at higher risk of serious illness (i.e. older employees aged 65 and older, and those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease) to areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
- Travel restrictions may be enacted by other countries which may limit the ability of employees to return home if they become sick while on travel status.
- Ensure that your organization and employees have the latest information on COVID-19 and where it is spreading through:
- Ottawa Public Health warns that all returning travellers are being asked by public health authorities to follow the public health guidance by taking the following actions:
- Even if you do not have symptoms, it is recommended to self-isolate for 14 days if:
- You have travelled anywhere outside of Canada (including the United States of America).
- You live with, provided care for, or spent extensive time with someone who has:
- Tested positive for COVID-19, OR is suspected to have COVID-19, OR who has respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath) that started within 14 days of travel outside of Canada.
- If you have MILD symptoms, where you are NOT short of breath and can manage symptoms reasonably at home
- Do NOT call Ottawa Public Health
- Self-isolate until 24 hours AFTER symptoms have FULLY resolved
- NOTE: Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own at home
- Even if you do not have symptoms, it is recommended to self-isolate for 14 days if:
- The current recommendation from the Public Health Agency of Canada is NOT to book cruises.
- If the individual has had contact or potential contact with a case of COVID-19, then the individual should not go to work and should self-isolate and contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744.
Finally, on March 16, 2020 Prime Minister Trudeau implemented several restrictions to travel which are outlined here;
- Cancel all in person work-related meetings or events – especially those that require travel to areas where COVID-19 is spreading.
- Ottawa Public Health has prepared a general sick notefor individuals needing to self-isolate at home. We ask that you please respect this public health guidance, as we continue to contain spread of the virus locally.
Sub-heading #8; Resources for supporting your employees’ mental well-being
As the #COVID19 situation unfolds, please be mindful of its impact on your #MentalHealth. It’s normal for situations like this to affect you and it’s completely OK to ask for help. If you need support, Distress Centre Ottawa is available 24/7 at 613-238-3311 or dcottawa.on.ca.
The team at Snapclarity, a preventative mental healthcare platform, have pulled together resources to support you and your employees navigate mental health concerns during the COVID-19 outbreak.
During times of uncertainty, as we witness the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), it is understandable that many of us feel an increased level of concern around protecting our health and the health of our families and communities.
With heightened news and media coverage in addition to a changing situation worldwide, we understand that people may be experiencing a variety of emotions including anxiety. It’s important your employees acknowledge these feelings and look after their physical and mental health.
Additional resources from the World Health Organization;
Kanata North Innovators Call to Arms
Federal Support Measures
The Government of Canada is supporting our country’s researchers as they do critical work to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, and people around the world, during the COVID-19 outbreak. Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau announced support to quickly mobilize Canadian researchers and life sciences companies to support efforts towards countermeasures to combat COVID-19, including potential vaccines and treatments.
- The $275 million in funding will be used to advance projects that are already underway by university researchers and others to respond to COVID-19 and ensure domestic supply of potential vaccines.
- $192 million in new projects that will be prioritized under the new Strategic Innovation Fund COVID-19 stream to deliver direct support to Canadian companies for large-scale projects.
- The Federal Government has also sent a call to action to every university, college, polytechnic, and CEGEP in the country. Their labs have the resources and expertise to be part of this fight. They have asked them to identify equipment they’ve got like masks and ventilators. At the same time, the Federal Government is looking at innovative solutions they can be part of, including 3D printing of medical supplies.
Many institutions have already stepped up, and many more will do the same. If you need more information, please go to https://buyandsell.gc.ca/calling-all-suppliers-help-canada-combat-covid-19
The Ontario Government has put out a call to arms for organizations to supply products and services in the following areas:
Ventilators, swabs, masks, eye protection, virtual mental health services for people who are vulnerable or living in remote communities, supply chain resiliency monitoring. Financial planning and advising for small businesses that can be delivered online at low-cost.
In addition, they are asking supply and innovation communities to submit ideas to help address the spread and impact of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) on our communities.
Please review to add your products, services and ideas. Individually and collectively I believe we have an opportunity to lead here. I have copied Marcelo Grinfield from province of Ontario to provide guidance.
Senior Business Advisor
Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
Tel.: 613-241-3841 Ext. 227
Toll Free: 1-800-267-6592 Ext. 227
We need all hands on deck.
Discover Technata Postponed October 5, 2020
Social distancing is recommended at this time. Due to the ongoing concerns and uncertainties related to COVID-19, we have decided to postpone this year’s Discover TechNATA Tech Expo and Talent Hunt Job Fair to a later date in the fall.
Following the recommendation from our Board of Directors we will postpone Discover TechNATA originally scheduled on April 8th, 2020 to a new date of October 5th, 2020 at the Brookstreet Hotel.
Full details here; https://www.discovertechnata.com/news-release/