COVID-19 | Coronavirus Disease

We are working closely with provincial partners to prepare and respond to the increased likelihood of more COVID-19 infections in Canada.

The health and wellness of our employees and residents is our main priority.

We are working closely with provincial partners to prepare and respond to the increased likelihood of more COVID-19 infections in Canada.

The health and wellness of our employees and residents is our main priority.

  • June 17, 2021- COVID-19 Update

    Colleagues,

    As we enter phase 2 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan, I think we are all feeling more hopeful about the weeks and months ahead. Ongoing progress of provincewide vaccination rates, low case numbers and limited community spread also enable us to revisit our return to work plans with an anticipated full return by September 2021.

    Effective immediately, I’m lifting the April 23 directive asking employees who can work from home to do so. With that in mind, and depending on business unit and employee needs, some individuals may begin returning to worksites over the coming weeks. Others may continue to follow a hybrid, or fully virtual model until September. Employees should work with their manager/supervisor to determine their arrangements.

    In any case, I want to remind everyone that workplace safety and health remains our top priority. Please continue to follow public health guidelines and municipal safe work practices, including those outlined in the COVID-19 Mandatory Masks Policy. In-person meetings/training can occur when operationally necessary, following posted room occupancy levels.

    The third wave of the pandemic has been challenging to say the least. But the warmer weather we’ve been experiencing and the anticipation of further restrictions continuing to ease has me feeling excited about what these summer months have in store.

    Many of you will be taking much deserved time off over the next couple of months, enjoying local travel and spending quality time with family and friends. Vacation time is meant to be restorative and is important for our wellbeing, so you’re encouraged to take your allotted vacation as approved by your manager/supervisor.

    While the tide is turning, we must remain committed to following public health advice. To learn more about Nova Scotia’s response to COVID-19, visit: novascotia.ca/coronavirus/.

    Thank you for your continued dedication to the safe delivery of municipal services.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is a list of important links.

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness
    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus
    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus
    hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert
    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145
    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142
    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296
    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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  • COVID-19 Mandatory Masks Policy

    Colleagues,

    I am pleased to share the municipality’s recently approved COVID-19 Mandatory Masks Policy effective today, May 25, 2021.

    In accordance with the Nova Scotia Health Protection Act Order and business unit specific Safe Work Practices, mask wearing has been required at municipal worksites for some time now. As we continue to contend with the third wave of the pandemic in our region, with variants of the virus and community spread still prevalent, mask wearing in workplaces to protect employees and citizens is more important than ever.

    Consistent with Public Health guidelines, the Policy outlines requirements for masks to be worn in the workplace and includes the definition of a proper mask. It also includes the consequences for failure to comply with the Policy, which is discipline up to and including termination.

    We must stay the course, and this new Policy will help us to do just that. While we are seemingly rounding the corner, with case numbers trending downwards and a robust provincial vaccination program underway, we know that we all must continue to do our part to ensure the health and safety of ourselves and others.

    Thank you for your ongoing efforts to deliver valued public services in a safe manner.

    For Policy related questions, please speak with your manager or supervisor.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Jacques Dubé
    Chief Administrative Officer

    Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is a list of important links.

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

    hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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  • COVID-19 Update: Process for positive cases in the workplace

    Colleagues,

    The difficult public health situation in our region continues to create stress and anxiety. I understand it’s especially challenging for our front-line colleagues working to deliver important public services.

    The municipality continues to implement measures and processes to safeguard the health and safety of employees and residents. Further to this, a municipal statement was issued to media yesterday afternoon regarding Halifax Transit service during the COVID-19 pandemic, which outlines the significant efforts to enhance safety for bus operators and transit riders.

    Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve established a process that outlines required steps to be taken when a positive COVID-19 case is identified in the workplace. This process was developed in consultation with public health and continues to be updated to reflect their most recent direction.

    To ensure appropriate employee privacy protocols are respected, the municipality does not release specifics about any employee who may test positive for COVID-19. The municipality will advise impacted staff of any positive test results and will engage in cleaning protocols to reduce the spread of the virus.

    If any municipal employee who has been in a municipal facility in the previous 14 days tests positive for COVID-19, public health will be in contact with the individual and will complete contact tracing to identify all those who have been in close contact. If public health’s investigation determines a public notification is needed, they will issue.

    Below is our current process supported by Public Health for a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace:

    1. COVID-19 positive employee notifies manager/supervisor and workplace health.

    2. Manager/supervisor notifies Executive Director (ED) and the Assistant Chief, Emergency Management/Community Risk Reduction. Assistant Chief gathers all pertinent information – dates/times/locations of employee’s work travels for sharing with public health for contact tracing. Positive employee’s name remains anonymous other than to manager/supervisor, Executive Director, Assistant Chief and workplace health.

    3. Executive Director or delegate contacts Building Maintenance Services or after hours, 311, for cleaning of work locations including vehicles.

    4. Assistant Chief notifies CAO, Senior Advisor to CAO, and all Executive Directors (for awareness of possible exposure where staff travel among work locations) of employee positive case, cc Managing Director, Corporate Communications.

    • Assistant Chief advises as to which ED(s) need to notify their teams, and provides the proposed message based on communications template.
    • All EDs are responsible for reviewing the information and advising Assistant Chief if their business unit should be included in the notification process.
    • EDs are responsible for issuing the notification and CCing appropriate union(s).

    To help promote understanding, this information will also be shared with our union leadership and Joint Occupational Safety and Health Committees.

    As always, if you have any questions please speak with your manager/supervisor.

    Thank you for continuing to deliver valued public services during this unprecedented time.

    Please stay safe and follow direction and guidance from Public Health.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Jacques Dubé
    Chief Administrative Officer

    Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is a list of important links.

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

    hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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  • Focus on safety, health and wellness

    Colleagues,

    I know we’re all feeling the impact of the increased case count in our region. Thank you for continuing to stay informed and follow the direction from Public Health.

    As restrictions and guidance continue to evolve, our business units are adapting operations to safely meet the needs of residents. I know this is particularly challenging for our colleagues deemed essential under the current state of emergency, who have continued to report to worksites throughout the pandemic. Thank you for your commitment to public service during such challenging times.

    Given the critical importance of safety, health and wellness, I want to highlight two week-long observances that begin next week. Follow the links below to learn how these events will be safely acknowledged this year:

    While these topics are a priority for us year-round, these weeks are an important reminder to always keep safety, health and wellness top of mind.

    Thank you for doing your part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Jacques Dubé
    Chief Administrative Officer

    Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is a list of important links.

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

    hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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  • April 27, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

    Colleagues,

    In light of recent announcements by the Province regarding public health restrictions, with schools being closed effective today until at least May 7, let’s remember to be kind and flexible when working with our colleagues during this time. As such, we are postponing our planned return to work and will reassess our timeline at the end of June.

    The impacts of the pandemic continue to challenge us all. If you or a direct family member need additional support, you can reach out to your respective Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) 24 hours a day, seven days a week for assistance. And, as always, employees can email MyHR@halifax.ca or phone 902.490.6145 for centralized access to employee services.

    I also want to remind staff that we all have a responsibility to stay informed and follow the direction from Public Health including vaccination and symptomatic and asymptomatic testing.

    The following are some important directives:

    • At least once per day, check the potential COVID-19 exposure locations notifications online.
    • All employees who receive a positive test result for COVID-19 that have been in an HRM facility in the previous 14 days are reminded to advise their supervisor immediately in order to help us keep your colleagues safe while maintaining your privacy.
    • Once you have notified your supervisor or if Public Health directly notifies us of a potential exposure in our workplace, staff in the associated locations will be notified about the exposure by a member of the senior leadership team.

    If you have any questions, please speak with your manager/supervisor.

    Stay safe and take care of yourselves, your family and colleagues.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is a list of important links.

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

    hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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  • April 22, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

    Colleagues,

    Due to increasing COVID-19 case counts, the provincial government has ordered new restrictions effective Friday, April 23 at 8:00 a.m. Additional details will be shared at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/alerts-notices/#news shortly.

    As of Friday, April 23, all those who can work from home should do so until otherwise directed. As always, we will do our part to help curb the spread of this disease and to ensure your safety. Once these new restrictions are eased we will continue with our gradual return to work. More information about how these latest restrictions impact municipal services will be communicated once available.

    All services designated essential by the Province under the current state of emergency are operational and adhering to the most updated guidance and precautions from health officials. My sincere thanks to those who continue to provide the necessary services our colleagues and residents rely on.

    If you have any questions or concerns about your work arrangements, please contact your supervisor.

    These are difficult times for all and I am inspired by our collective resilience while maintaining service excellence.

    Remember, our Employee and Family Assistance Program is available to those who may need to access services and resources. Employees can also contact Human Resources at MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145 for centralized access to employee services.

    Be well and stay safe.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is list of important links.

    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

    hfxALERT, the municipality's mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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  • COVID-19 Prevention Methods (updated April 21, 2021)

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    The health and safety of ourselves, our colleagues and the communities we serve is a shared responsibility. Below are reminders to support these efforts:


    COVID-19 RESOURCES

    For more information about your worksite’s COVID-19 prevention methods, please refer to the Safety Plan found in the Hazard Alerts & Orders section of your Health & Safety Communication Board, or, contact your manager/supervisor.

    POTENTIAL EXPOSURE LOCATIONS, SYMPTOMS, TESTING INFORMATION AND IMMUNIZATION


    MASKS

    Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces:

    • Employees must wear a mask in meetings of more than 10 people while still maintaining physical distancing of two-metres. *Virtual meetings must continue to be utilized whenever possible and non-essential in-person training will continue to occur online for the time being
    • Worksite reception areas, washrooms and hallways are all deemed public places and employees must wear a mask while in these spaces.
    • Visit the Nova Scotia Health & Wellness webpage for more information on masks.

    EMPLOYEE TRAINING


    CLEANING GUIDELINES


    SIGNAGE

    • Follow the COVID-19 signage that is posted throughout your worksite. This directional, general instruction and public health signage aims to create safe spaces by promoting proper physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene practices.

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  • April 13, 2021 - CAO Update: Medical Notes

    Colleagues,

    On March 6, 2020, I communicated to the organization that no employees will be required to provide medical notes related to short-term sick leave absences. I am writing today to rescind that direction.

    Effective immediately, Managers/Supervisors have discretion to request a medical note where appropriate and reasonable. Medical notes will not be requested to confirm a positive COVID-19 result or to confirm an employee’s requirement to self-isolate in accordance with provincial regulations.

    The Attendance Support Policy remains suspended, however, all employees continue to have an obligation to work on a regular and consistent basis. Managers and Supervisors will reach out to employees to discuss absenteeism concerns and will also reach out to employees on sick leave to offer support.

    These measures will remain in place until further notice.

    Thank-you for your collaboration, teamwork and all you do to make a difference for our residents.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Jacques Dubé
    Chief Administrative Officer

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  • March 31, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

    Colleagues,

    Following up on my February message regarding return to work, I am happy to say that things are looking brighter. As the situation around COVID-19 in our province continues to evolve with the encouraging news surrounding Nova Scotia’s enhanced vaccination efforts, we are turning our attention to gradually returning the remainder of our employees to their workplaces.

    As of May 17, staff who are working at home should be in the office at least two days/week. As of July 5, staff should be in the office three to four days a week with a view to full return to offices in early September. Your manager will be speaking to you about this gradual return to work in the coming weeks.

    As always, your safety, and that of our residents, remains our top priority, and any changes to workplace planning and our return to work approach described herein will be made in strict alignment with public health guidelines.

    Public Health is encouraging all Nova Scotians who can, to become vaccinated and HRM supports that direction. That said HRM will not be making the vaccine mandatory as a condition of employment. HRM will continue to follow Public Health guidelines and will educate, encourage and support staff to get vaccinated.

    We must remain diligent in our fight against COVID-19. To learn more about Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 immunization plan, visit: novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine/.

    I’d also encourage you to read the recently updated COVID-19 Employee FAQ for additional information in regards to vaccinations.

    Thank you for your continued commitment to the safe delivery of municipal services.

    I wish you all a very happy, safe and relaxing Easter long weekend.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Recognizing that the duration of this situation is unknown, and to streamline your access to information, below is list of important links.

    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

    hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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  • February 25, 2021 - COVID-19 Update

    Colleagues,

    As we approach the one-year mark since the start of the pandemic, I wanted to provide another update regarding our return to work efforts at the municipality.

    Although we are fortunate that the COVID-19 numbers in our region remain low, the situations in our neighbouring provinces, and across the country, have given us reason to pause on making further changes. Your safety, and that of our residents, remains our top priority.

    With that, we will continue with our current scheduled, reduced capacity return-to-work model until at least September 2021, unless otherwise directed by public health.

    The roll out of vaccines has been slower than hoped, and the introduction of variant COVID-19 strains reminds us that we must remain diligent. Regardless of your work location (onsite, at home, or hybrid) – it’s critical that we work together to follow the health and safety measures in place to help reduce the spread of the virus.

    Some important reminders:

    • Virtual meetings must continue to be utilized whenever possible and non-essential in-person training will continue to occur online for the time being.
    • Masks must be worn in meetings of more than 10 people while still maintaining physical distancing.
    • Physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) must be adhered to.
    • Meetings/training can be held, if necessary, in rooms with up to 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 100 people.
    • Masks are mandatory in public spaces or communal spaces.
    • Exemptions still exist for many municipal services including Police, Fire and Transit as outlined in the provincial order.

    I know that the pandemic continues to wear on us all. If you have any questions about this update, please reach out to your manager/supervisor to discuss.

    Thank you for your commitment to the safe delivery of municipal services.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Employee updates: hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus

    Municipal service adjustments: halifax.ca/coronavirus

    hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system: halifax.ca/hfxalert

    Public health information: Public Health Agency of Canada and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness

    Human Resources: MyHR@halifax.ca or 902.490.6145

    Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP): 902.466.3327 or 1.800.663.1142

    Halifax Regional Police Association EFAP: 902.430.8295 or 902.430.8296

    International Association of Fire Fighters FFAP: 902.483.6068

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