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.

  • March 17, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

    Good morning colleagues,

    Recognizing that the safety, wellness and care of our employees is our priority, I have a few key points to share with all of you.

    Our municipal payroll is continuing as normal, and part-time/casual employees will be paid according to what has been scheduled for the upcoming two weeks.

    Our HR and Finance teams are actively working with each business unit to review unique staffing and scheduling situations. Please reach out to your direct manager or supervisor if you have any questions about how your schedule may be impacted.

    I look forward to providing you all with additional information related to scheduling/payroll as our approach evolves.

    Organizational impacts and other employee information, including the latest FAQ, will now be shared on a publicly available section of the Employee Hub:

    https://www.hrmmatters.ca/coronavirus .

    Halifax.ca (Municipal Updates – Employee Information)

    Thank you to everyone for your continued professionalism, support and community care.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    COVID-19 Updates

    Employee Support

    • If you, or a direct family member, are experiencing increased worry or anxiety, you can reach out to Homewood Health’s Employee and Family Assistance Program.
    • Available 24/7, the access numbers are 902-466-3327 or 1-800-663-1142
    • Our partners in Human Resources are also here to help. You can contact MyHR@halifax.ca or phone 902.490.6145 for centralized access to employee services.

    Reach Out

    Do you have information that needs to be shared with all Municipal Employees?

    Reach out to our team:

    EmployeeBulletin@halifax.ca.


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  • Combined statement on COVID-19 from Mayor Savage and CAO Jacques Dubé – March 16, 2020

    Combined statement on COVID-19 from Mayor Savage and CAO Jacques Dubé – March 16, 2020

    Statement from Mayor Mike Savage

    Thank you for being here today.

    The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving effects of

    COVID-19.

    This is an extraordinary time and we are taking extraordinary measures to get through this. And we will

    get through this.

    The health, safety and wellness of residents and employees is our priority and our focus.

    We are actively taking steps to mitigate impacts on municipal services while also helping to reduce the

    spread of the disease.

    We are working closely with government partners and following the guidance and recommendations

    from provincial and federal health agencies on COVID-19.

    CAO Jacques Dubé will go through operational details.

    First off, essential services such as police and fire are unaffected at this point. As always, we are very

    appreciative of their efforts.

    Halifax Transit, as well as all essential services of the municipality – including 311, fire and police – are

    operational and adhering to the most updated guidance and precautions from health officials.

    We’re also asking anyone who is feeling ill to please stay home and follow the advice of health

    professionals.

    I realized these times can cause much stress and anxiety. We’re all feeling the effects and you’re not

    alone.

    If you need to speak with someone, we encourage you reach out to friends, loved ones and colleagues.

    If you need additional support, you can call 2-1-1 to speak with someone who can help.

    I want to thank my council colleagues for all their work during this challenging time. I have been in

    contact with all of them, mostly by phone and they stand ready to continue to serve our citizens.

    Many Councillors are working to support vulnerable citizens and I know many other community leaders

    are doing the same.

    This is a time to take care of each other.

    I’m asking residents to reach out to your neighbours and help look after them in this time of need.

    In consultation with Deputy Mayor Lisa Blackburn and the CAO, we’ve cancelled next week’s Council

    meeting. There are some things we can manage in the short term and we’ll be making alternate plans as

    appropriate to handle the rest.

    Work on the budget is largely done, and other agenda items can be moved.

    Updates will continue to be provided regularly by myself and my colleagues at the municipality.

    Stay diligent and take care of one another. That is our way.

    We will get through this together.

    Lastly, I’d like to personally thank everyone for their well wishes over the past few days while my office

    was dealing with a potential COVID-19 case.

    We closed our office out of an abundance of caution.

    I’m pleased to confirm that me and my team have been cleared after several days of self-isolation.

    The EOC is set up here now, as needed our team of professionals is attending and working together as

    they always do.

    I have great confidence in them and thank them.

    I want to thank everyone in Nova Scotia – the provincial government here, Dr. Strang, Dr. Watson Creed,

    and Erica Fleck here at the EOC.

    Also want to thank partners like Ross Jefferson with Discover Halifax, and Patrick Sullivan at the

    Chamber of Commerce – there will significant financial hardship in the days and weeks to come.

    We must deal with health first – but we will support other orders of government in their work to

    support our citizens.

    I’m going to now hand it over to CAO Jacques Dubé to speak more specifically about municipal

    operational updates.

    Statement from CAO Jacques Dubé

    Thank you Mayor Savage.

    As the Mayor mentioned, we are committed to keeping our residents and employees safe.

    This means pulling together as a community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    I want to thank all employees and our front-line staff in particular for your dedication to maintaining

    public services during this difficult time.

    The situation continues to change daily.

    As new information becomes available – from our provincial and federal health partners, as well as our

    10 business units and partners including Halifax Water and Halifax Public Libraries – we will continue to

    make adjustments to municipal services and brief the public on changes.

    At this time, the municipality is taking specific actions:

    I have directed all municipal employees who can work from home to do so.

    While Halifax Transit remains operating on a regular schedule, there are some service

    adjustments:

    · We have increased cleaning on all buses and ferries

    · Ferry capacity will now be limited to 150 passengers

    · All buses will be limited to seating passengers only

    We have also increased cleaning frequency in all municipal facilities.

    Municipally owned recreation facilities, centers and arenas will all close as of this evening until further notice.

    All in-person public engagement and events hosted by the municipality are postponed.

    All Halifax Public Library branches are closed until further notice.

    Halifax Water will maintain critical services.

    Waste collection will continue on a regular schedule.

    For those who are feeling unwell, we encourage you to stay home and avoid using Halifax Transit, as

    well as avoid all public facilities, when possible.

    For all the latest updates regarding the status of municipal services, please visit halifax.ca/coronavirus

    Our team will continue to update our website as more information becomes available and will continue

    to share these messages via our social media channels.

    Thank you.


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  • March 16, 2020 - COVID-19 Update (evening)

    Colleagues,

    As a follow up to my earlier email, I want to share with you the first edition of an FAQ for employees.

    As this document continues to evolve it will be updated and posted to our municipal intranet and hard copies will be placed at work locations where online access is limited.

    Thank you all for your patience as we work through additional details and decisions. We will continue to share more as the situation changes.

    You can contact MyHR@halifax.ca or phone 902.490.6145 for centralized access to employee services.

    For the latest health-related information on COVID-19, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada(External link) and Nova Scotia Health and Wellness(External link) websites.

    To access municipal service updates, please visit halifax.ca/coronavirus.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques


  • March 16, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

    Colleagues,

    I want you all to know that there’s nothing more important than your health, safety and wellbeing – and that of your loved ones.

    The situation with COVID-19 is new and uncharted territory for all of us. Our organization has tools to support you during this time.

    Our partners in Human Resources are also here to help. You can contact MyHR@halifax.ca or phone 902.490.6145 for centralized access to employee services.

    We’re listening to your concerns and questions and are committed to providing timely updates as this situation continues to evolve.

    This afternoon we’ll be emailing an FAQ to employees and posting it to our municipal intranet. This will also be posted at work locations where online access is limited.

    Let’s all do our best to support each other at this time. We are in this together.

    Kind regards, amitiés, wela’lioq,

    Jacques

    Sent from my iPhone


  • March 15, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

    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

    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

    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

    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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