Coronavirus Disease | COVID-19

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.

  • March 15, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

    17 Mar 2020

    Colleagues:

    This afternoon the Province of Nova Scotia announced that there are currently three presumptive cases of COVID-19 in the province. As well, the Premier encouraged all those who could work from home to do so and, with Mayor Savage’s support, we must do our part in the collective effort to reduce the spread of this disease.

    Until further notice, those employees who can work from home are directed to do so. All others are to report to their usual work location and continue to exercise safe social distancing to the extent possible. This means avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings, greeting one another with a wave or elbow instead of a handshake or hug, and keeping a two-meter distance from others – when and if possible. We will continue to assess the need for adjusted accommodations to continue to provide a safe working environment for our staff.

    In addition to recent updates regarding impacts to municipal services, we will be closing all municipally-owned recreation centres starting on Tuesday, March 17.

    These precautionary measures are part of an overall public health strategy and help safeguard the health of others, particularly the most vulnerable in our communities by reducing the number of our employees in the workplace where possible while still maintaining operations.

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

    Our responsibility to provide residents with services remains unchanged. Given the rapidly changing nature of this situation, it is imperative that we adapt in a timely fashion.

    For many weeks now, senior staff have been working on a cohesive, organization-wide response to the operational challenges we’re facing. Tomorrow morning, members of our leadership team will be participating in additional planning meetings at the Emergency Operations Centre. Following an assessment of status and a determination of appropriate next steps, we will be advising employees and residents of our ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and any anticipated impacts to municipal services in the short term.

    We received news today that the individual with a link to the Mayor’s Office has tested negative for COVID-19. As a result, all staff in the Mayor’s Office are no longer exercising self-isolation; however, those staff who can will work from home until further notice.

    We’ll continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and advise if there are additional operational changes impacting employees.

    I am committed to continuing to provide regular updates to staff, in addition to communications that will be shared through our management teams and our internal communications channels including the municipal intranet.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques


  • March 13, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

    17 Mar 2020

    Colleagues,

    Further to yesterday’s email, if you have traveled outside of NS and arrived home after 12am, March 13, 2020 and until further notice - you are required to self-quarantine for 14 calendar days.

    Please apply the below as per your situation:
    1. If the nature of your job allows you to work from home (WFH), and you have no symptoms, you are expected to notify your supervisor and work from home, and you will be paid REG time.
    2. If the nature of your job allows you to work from home but you are feeling sick, you will notify your supervisor you can’t work because you are sick. You will be paid through Sick Leave (SL), where available, until you are well enough to return to work.
    3. If your job does not allow you to WFH, you still must self -quarantine for 14 days, you will be paid for your regular hours during that 14-calendar day period. You will be paid using Other leave with pay (OLWP).

      - The OLWP will be administered for up to 14 calendar days only. Once 14 days are up, and provided you are well, you are expected to report to work.

      - If, during or after the 14 days, you become sick, please contact your supervisor and you will be paid using Sick Leave (SL) where available.

      - If you have no sick leave benefits and are in self-quarantine, you can apply for EI sick benefits with no waiting period, as per the adjustment made to address COVID-19 (released in yesterday’s news https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/how-ei-benefits-for-covid-19-quarantines-will-work).(External link)
    I trust this clarifies the matter and please direct any questions or concerns you may have to your supervisor.
    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,
    Jacques

  • March 12, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

    17 Mar 2020

    Colleagues,

    The health and wellness of our employees and residents is our main priority. Emergency Management and senior leadership are closely monitoring provincial and federal updates regarding COVID-19.

    There are no cases of the virus in Nova Scotia at this time. Currently, there are no impacts to municipal services, including Halifax Transit.

    Late this morning, however, we became aware of a staff member from the Mayor’s Office with a possible link to someone who is being tested for COVID-19. All staff in the office, including the Mayor, out of an abundance of caution, have chosen to remain at home until the person in question is tested and results are known. The office space and common areas in City Hall are being disinfected.

    We ask employees to continue to practice good personal hygiene, keep their work spaces clean and when possible, avoid physical contact with others (e.g. shaking hands).

    All cleaning staff in all municipal facilities have been instructed to thoroughly clean public surfaces such as door knobs, elevators and counters. Halifax Transit is also deploying additional cleaning crews to increase its cleaning schedule frequency for buses and ferries. This will remain in effect until further notice.

    Due to the rapidly changing nature of this situation, we will be sending regular communications to staff through our management teams and our internal communications channels including the municipal intranet.

    Travel

    As of today, and until further notice, requests for business travel outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality will not be approved.

    Whether travelling for work or pleasure, check the federal government travel advisories.

    Based on the latest information from Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness:

    • If you’ve travelled outside Canada, you may have come in contact with the novel coronavirus. You should closely monitor your health for 14 days after you get back to Canada.
    • If you’ve travelled recently and you start to feel unwell, you should self-isolate. This means you should stay home, away from the publicand contact 811 for triage of your symptoms and further instructions.

    As an employee of Halifax Regional Municipality, and in the interest of public safety and that of your colleagues, effective March 13, if you have travelled to a state, province or country where there have been confirmed COVID-19 cases, we are directing you to self-isolate for 14 days following the trip and do not report to work.

    • If you are in self-quarantine and pre-symptomatic, well enough to work, and your job allows you to work from home, you will be expected to work from home during this period and you will be paid for your regular hours.
    • If you are in self-quarantine and pre-symptomatic but your job does not allow you to work from home, you may draw from sick leave, vacation, TOIL and banked time.
    • If you are in self - quarantine and too sick to work, you have access to paid sick leave.
    • If you have no sick leave benefits and are in self-quarantine, you can apply for EI sick benefits with no waiting period, as per the adjustment made to address COVID-19 (released in yesterday’s news https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/how-ei-benefits-for-covid-19-quarantines-will-work).

    NOTE: Please contact your supervisor or manager in any of these scenarios to make appropriate arrangements.

    Health

    If you are feeling unwell, please call 811 for an initial assessment.

    Nova Scotia Health Authority has recently established COVID-19 assessment centres across the municipality. If you need in-person assessment, 811 will refer you to a centre. Don't go to a COVID-19 assessment centre unless 811 referred you.

    For all health of the latest updates regarding COVID-19, please visit novascotia.ca/coronavirus.

    We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and will advise if there are any further operational changes impacting employees.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques


  • March 6, 2020 - Update

    17 Mar 2020

    Colleagues:

    The Halifax Regional Municipality’s Emergency Management Division, with my oversight, is working with NS Health and Wellness and NS EMO to prepare and respond to the increased likelihood of more COVID-19 infections in Canada.

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

    In an effort to support the health of all municipal staff and reduce any possible spread, effective immediately, no employees will be required to provide medical notes related to short-term sick leave absences. Employees may still be asked to provide medical information in other circumstances, such as Functional Abilities Reports related to other medical issues, or documentation to support requests for medical accommodations.

    The Attendance Support Policy will also be suspended effective immediately. Managers and Supervisors will reach out to employees to offer support and seek updates on possible return to work for those whose absences become extended.

    These measures will remain in place until further notice. You are encouraged to speak with your Supervisor, Manager, or Human Resources Business Partner about any concerns you may have, or questions regarding these changes.

    Practicing good hygiene remains the best defense against illness. We need to ensure that we are all taking the necessary precautions in hand washing as we normally would for a flu season. And while we encourage you to regularly disinfect your work spaces, we ask that you use unscented or low scented products to respect your colleagues who may have sensitivities.

    We have established a dedicated webpage for status updates regarding COVID-19 at Halifax.ca/coronavirus. We will be sharing relevant provincial health messages via our social media channels. Regular updates to staff will be communicated as they become available.

    EMO will continue to monitor the situation and work with business unit partners to identify potential impacts to municipal services. Updates regarding any changes to service delivery will be communicated as required and all business units have been directed to establish operational contingency plans.

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

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,
    Jacques

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