MEMO: Workplace Pandemic Measures

To: All Staff
Date: September 2, 2022

Tikinagan is ramping up to have all staff return to the workplace effective November 7. As preparation, Directors and Managers returned to in-office work July 11 and Supervisors on July 18. Managers will have the authority to gradually increase those working in-office effective September 19 with the goal of having all staff returning to work effective November 7.

As a reminder, Managers must ensure appropriate presence in urban and community-based offices including:

  • someone on-site to answer phones
  • service supervisors and staff to ensure prompt consultation and response to service issues

Above is the minimum expectation. Where there is need (e.g. high workload, more effective work and/or communication), and where offices can accommodate more staff to work in-office safely.

During the ramp-up period, Managers can select additional staff for in-office work and set schedules to gradually increase numbers of staff working in office. On November 7, all staff are expected to work in-office. With the situation of office space in Thunder Bay, there will continue to be some staff working remotely in Thunder Bay. The only other exception to returning to in-office work will be those with health conditions which puts them at a higher risk. We will be considering health-related work accommodation and will use the sick leave/accommodation process for this which will include a functional abilities form (FAF) completed by a doctor outlining what work accommodations are medically required. The length of the accommodation will be based on the period of time noted in the functional abilities form. Staff requesting accommodation should consult HR to initiate the process. Please contact your HR with any questions.

Tikinagan has made revisions to our pandemic measures which are outlined in the attached Pandemic Measures in the Workplace Protocol and other pandemic measures documents. Please review these carefully. Changes to the Pandemic Measures in the Workplace Protocol include:

  • simplified procedures if an employee comes down with symptoms of COVID-19 while in the workplace.
  • added the policy “Employees Testing Positive or are Close Contact to a Positive” which was previously separate, and revised to make 5 days restriction for in-office work apply to all staff (10 day restriction no longer applies to those working in AOHs)
  • when working in office, the requirement to remain within your work area has been removed – however, please ensure you wear a mask and follow all other pandemic measures.
  • removed the prohibition of common kitchen/food service. Common kitchen/coffee areas and shared meeting refreshments are now allowed.
  • visitors to our offices will be “encouraged” to wear a mask rather than “required” and will not have to complete a daily screening form.
  • changes as described above to the Accommodating Employee Requests Not to Return to the Workplace
  • in the cleaning section, removed the recording of disinfection times.

As a reminder the measures include:

  • We continue to encourage meetings, gatherings or internal and external contacts in-office or off-site to be done virtually or by phone. However, where in-person meetings or training is more productive or effective, Managers have the authority to approve this as long as pandemic precautions such a physical distancing, mask wearing, etc. are followed.
  • Staff are reminded to follow the measures in our Pandemic Measures in the Workplace Protocol for any in-office work, including completing the Daily Health Screening before entering our offices (do not go to the office if you answer Yes to any of the screening questions), not coming to the office if you or someone in your household is ill, using hand-sanitizer upon entry and exit, wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently.
  • Please note that we currently have enhanced masking measures requiring staff attending Tikinagan offices to wear disposable medical grade masks (not cloth ones) except when at your desk. Furthermore, if you share an office or work in an open space with others, you must wear masks at all times. N95s/KN95s will continue to be available should staff working in office prefer these. Also a reminder that eye protection, goggles or faceshield, is not mandatory for in-office work, but these are also available for additional protection. Please note eye protection does not replace mandatory mask wearing but can be worn in addition to a mask.
  • Also a reminder that eye protection (faceshield or goggles) and enhanced masking (N95, KN95 or double disposable masks) are required for work-related duties as follows:
    o any time you enter someone’s home or
    o need to be closer than 6 feet to someone not wearing a mask, e.g. carrying a baby or toddlers
    o providing care to a client in a hotel or transporting a client in a vehicle or other closed in space.
  • If a Tikinagan employee contracts COVID-19 (tests positive on a Rapid or PCR Test) or is a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 they cannot attend a Tikinagan office/facility, use a Tikinagan vehicle, or have in-person contact with staff or clients for 5 days after testing positive or 5 days after last contact with someone who has tested positive.

Staff person must also follow any additional advice of health officials regarding self-isolation or other restrictions

  • If staff test positive for COVID-19, they are required to promptly notify their supervisor, PPE Chair Arlene McClendon, Christina Zatorsky & Acting HR Manager Selina Vincent.
  • Staff are reminded to consult and follow the Service Contingency Plan to deliver services. Premium Pay as amended May 14 will remain in place. Please see attached Premium Pay memo and policy.
  • Tikinagan staff are also required to follow any local pandemic measures put in place. Please keep your supervisor up to date on outbreaks or any changes to pandemic measures in your community.

Please note above list contains enhanced measures in excess of provincial requirements or previous Tikinagan measures and where they conflict the higher levels prescribed above are to be followed. Ontario pandemic requirements changed yesterday eliminating isolation periods. For the time being, we are choosing to keep our 5 day restrictions (not to come to the office or have contact with clients or other staff) for those testing positive or having close contact with a positive. This will be reviewed in the coming weeks.

Attached are updated copies of the Pandemic Measures in the Workplace Protocol (formerly called the Return to the Workplace Protocol) the Services Contingency Plan, the AOH Staffing Shortage Contingency Plan as well as information regarding Premium Pay.

Thank you for your co-operation with these measures. Stay safe and take care of yourselves and your families.


Pandemic Measures in the Workplace Protocol

Services Contingency Plan

AOH Staffing Shortage Contingency Plan

Memo: Premium Pay

Premium Pay