Maintaining a viable business during this worldwide pandemic is proving to be a challenge for everyone. Please remember to support your CAM Supplier Members when making your purchasing decisions.
CAM COVID Surveys
CAM surveyed members in May 2020 to see how everyone was doing, business-wise, during the first two months of the pandemic. We then followed up with a second survey six months later in November 2020 to find out how members were getting by after eight months of COVID, and then again with another survey at one-year into the pandemic. After 18 months through the pandemic, we decided to ask members again how they were faring. Here's what you told us.
May 2020 (3 months) results
November 2020 (6 months) results
April 2021 (1 year) results
VACCINE-RELATED HR CONSIDERATIONS
As we settle into our next ‘new normal’ of this pandemic journey, there are some HR considerations that should be addressed by your company.
On July 13th, employment lawyer Daniel Lublin, Partner at Whitten & Lublin, was on national TV discussing vaccine policies at work. According to Lublin, employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace (in Ontario, that’s required by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act), which includes protecting workers from hazards related to infectious diseases.
So the question is, can you be fired for refusing a COVID-19 vaccine?
We thought we’d pass along this article, plus many other COVID-related topics, that Whitten & Lublin have on their blog page https://toronto-employmentlawyer.com/blog/
Vaccination Policies at Work : Can You be Fired for Refusing a COVID-19 Vaccine? Click here.
Vaccination Status of Co-workers – Can I Ask My Colleague About Their Vaccination status? Click here.
Are CERB Payments Deductible From Wrongful Dismissal Damages? Click here.
Can Your Employer Force You to Use a Camera During Virtual Meetings? “Zoom Fatigue” Click here.
If an Employee Refuses to Appear on Camera, What Steps Can an Employer Take in Response? Click here.
Can an Employer Require Remote Employees to Have a Certain Level of Internet Service and Security? Click here.
5 Provisions to Consider in Negotiating your Employment Agreement during COVID-19 Click here.
It’s unclear whether or not proof of employment in an essential business will be required when your employees go for their priority vaccination. CAM has put together a sample letter that you might want to adapt for your employees on your letterhead. It is very important that you have detailed contact information – name, address, contact details - on this letter, along with your logo and business name. Make sure it looks official!
Ontario Human Rights Commission policy statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates
September 22, 2021
On September 1, 2021, the Ontario government announced that starting September 22, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide proof of vaccination along with photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. By October 22, Ontario plans to develop and implement an enhanced digital vaccine certificate with unique QR (Quick Response) code that will verify vaccination status when scanned. A paper version of the certificate will be available for download or can be printed from the COVID-19 vaccination provincial portal.
The proof of vaccine regime currently applies to certain higher-risk indoor public settings where face coverings cannot always be worn. In addition to these settings, over the last few months many other organizations have begun to mandate vaccines for employees and service users.
On September 22, 2021, the Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a policy statement on COVID-19 vaccine mandates and proof of vaccine certificates. This policy statement covers:
- vaccine requirements
- duty to accommodate for medical reasons
- COVID testing as an alternative to vaccine requirements
- Time limited requirements, privacy protection
- Barriers in accessing COVID vaccines and testing
- Personal preferences and singular beliefs (not protected)
To read this important policy statement in full, click here.
Employee Vaccination Requirements
September 24, 2021 update
“There is currently no legislation requiring workers to notify their employers when they have received the vaccine,” said Puneet Tiwari, legal counsel at HR consulting firm Peninsula Canada. “However, providing your employer with this information can be helpful to them in making health and safety decisions for the workplace.”
Can employers ask workers if they got the vaccine?
Employers may require workers to disclose whether they’ve received the vaccine, similarly to how they can ask for other medical evidence such as sick notes, according to Tiwari.
However, employers need to be careful, he said.
“It matters how much information the employer requires, as too much personal health information could result in a breach of privacy. Employers are advised to limit questions to whether the employee has received a vaccine, and which brand they received. The latter may be important in the future if certain vaccines turn out to be effective only for a limited time,” said Tiwari.
“This requirement should be clearly stated in a policy that explains what type of supporting documentation is required (for example: a document proving vaccination status).”
Employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace and the vaccination status of workers can be important information to have in order to do this.
Can employers share workers’ vaccination information?
Co-workers and customers to the business might be concerned about their safety and ask whether all or specific workers on shift have been vaccinated.
“Employers do not have the right to disclose their workers’ personal health information as it is private, and they have a duty to protect the confidentiality of workers’ medical records. This sensitive information may only be shared with others where it pertains to the employer’s duty to accommodate their employee,” said Tiwari.
To assure co-workers and visitors of their safety, employers can confirm that the employee in question has been screened according to health and safety guidelines and is able to work.
What if an employee does not get vaccinated?
If the employer asks a worker if they’ve received the vaccine and they haven’t, the employer must be careful not to discriminate against them. There is currently no legislation requiring anyone to get vaccinated, therefore vaccination is not mandatory.
Employers may be able to justify vaccination as a requirement for employees depending on the type of work they do. However, employers are advised to have a company policy on vaccinations explaining health and safety concerns and why vaccination might be a necessary condition of employment.
In some cases, workers may not be able to get vaccinated because of a health condition, disability, or due to their religious beliefs. Disability and creed are grounds protected under human rights legislation.
Employers cannot discriminate against, discipline or terminate workers for refusing to get a vaccine for these reasons. Doing so may open their business to risks of discrimination, human rights or wrongful dismissal claims. The employer should explore accommodating the employee in these circumstances.
Kristina Vassilieva is an HR writer for Peninsula Canada in Toronto.
April 2, 2021 - Transport Canada Releases Covid-19 Guidelines for Fleets and Drivers
Transport Canada unveiled a series of recommendations to help commercial vehicle operators prevent the spread of Covid-19 – including a focus on proper handwashing techniques, social distancing, and detailed steps to clean vehicles before and after a trip. Read more
CBSA Collecting Personal Information from Truckers
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has begun collecting personal information from truck drivers at several border crossings on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Read more here. (June 30, 2020)
Update July 9, 2020 - CBSA has expanded the program at 12 additional ports of entry, bringing the total to 18 locations overall. Read more here.
Ports that have been collecting the data since June 30 include: St. Stephen 3rd Bridge; St-Armand/Philipsburg; Lansdowne; Queenston-Lewiston Bridge; Coutts; and Pacific Highway. Added to this list in July are crossings at Woodstock Road; St. Stephen; Stanstead; St-Bernard-de-Lacolle; Sault Ste. Marie; Prescott; Windsor-Detroit tunnel; Peace Bridge; North Portal; Emerson; Abbotsford-Huntingdon; and Aldergrove.
CERC: Administration clarifies that Canadians are exempt from Executive Order suspending U.S. Entry for certain nonimmigrants
CERC explains that Canadian citizens are exempt from this order. Read more. (June 26, 2020)
Transport Canada Employment Confirmation
On April 9th, Transport Canada posted a template letter it developed in concert with industry to identify those employed in the commercial motor vehicle and automotive industry in a critical service capacity. The letter can be downloaded and personalized by a moving company. A printed copy would be kept in the truck cab with the other move documentation and presented as needed during the transport of the household goods. A similar letter officially signed by CAM and for the sole use of CAM members only is available in the member's only area of CAM's website.
Minister Garneau announces new measure for the use of face coverings in the Canadian transportation sector.
Minister Marc Garneau announced on June 3 that a set of practices will soon be established for the use of personal protective equipment, including face coverings, in order to protect truck drivers and their passengers. These practices have not been established yet. CAM is reaching out to Transport Canada to try and gain clarification on moving crews requirements. Read more here
Côte-St-Luc First Canadian City to make mandatory mask usage
Montréal suburb, Côte-St-Luc is the first Canadian city to make mask usage mandatory in stores and public buildings. The bylaw was approved on June 1st and "lapses" will be allowed until July 1st. Best stock up on masks as other municipalities across the country are keeping their eye on the results of this bylaw and you don't want to be caught short this summer. You can read more on this bylaw here.
FINANCIAL - aid, administration, planning
See also Financial Aid.
How and When to Spend Your $40,000 CEBA Loan?
*new* January 14, 2021 - As you start to think about how and when you are going to use your CEBA funds, we thought you might find this September 2020 guideline to be helpful. Read this.
Government extends COVID-19 benefits and business supports
July 30, 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, announced the extension of crucial COVID-19 support measures for Canadians and Canadian businesses in recognition that uneven economic reopening across regions and sectors means workers and businesses continue to need support. These extensions include:
Extending the eligibility period for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support until October 23, 2021, and increasing the rate of support employers and organizations can receive during the period between August 29 and September 25, 2021.
Extending the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) until October 23, 2021.
Increasing the maximum number of weeks available for the CRB, by an additional 4 weeks, to a total of 54 weeks, at a rate of $300 per week, and ensuring it is available to those who have exhausted their employment insurance (EI) benefits.
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit
April 6, 2021 - Prime Minister Trudeau reminded Canadians today that "no one should be going to work sick right now." The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19.
If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.
If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 4 weeks between September 27, 2020, and September 25, 2021.
To find out more about the CRSB, click here
*update* Expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account - increase to $60,000
Prime Minister Trudeau announced the expansion of the eligibility of the CEBA. If you are the sole owner/operator of a business, if your business relies on contractors, or if you have a family-owned business and pay your employees through dividends, you will now qualify for the CEBA.
- As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000.
- Applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply for the $20,000 expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 in financing.
- All applicants have until March 31, 2021, to apply for $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion.
If you have already applied for CEBA and have questions, please contact the CEBA Call Centre at 1-888-324-4201. An agent will return your call within 3 business days between Monday and Friday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm EST. For more information on CEBA, click here.
*update* Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) - extended to June 21, 2021
As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease you back into normal operations. If you haven't already applied for CEWS, you can fill out an application through this link.
Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy
Will provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020.
Will provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this will mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
How to Apply for EI During COVID-19
Here is some useful information on how to apply for employment insurance benefits during COVID-19 that was provided to CAM by an HR specialist.
Tax Payments and Filing Deferred
Individuals now have until June 1, 2020 to get their taxes filing done. If you owe money, you will have until August 31, 2020 to pay. Need to know more? Click here. Businesses can defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as installments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. For more information, click here.
Small Business Accounting Assistance
Prime Minister Trudeau announced on May 25th that the Federal Government has teamed up with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to provide accounting and financial advising services to small businesses. If you'd like to talk to someone to get assistance to understand and manage this year's tax filing changes, or financial restructuring, amongst other things, contact 1-866-989-1080.
After COVID-19, Office Space Will Never Be the Same
Government-mandated closures have left many companies paying for space they can’t occupy and uncertain about what the future holds. As closure orders begin to lift, companies are deciding how to go back—and whether to go back at all. Here's a U.S. article on a return to the work setting that was written for associations, but the content may very well apply to a moving company's own situation. (Centre for Association Leadership, May 20, 2020)
Relief for Small Business Owners
New relief packages for businesses are being finalized and will be available in early April. For more information, click here
CFIB Answers COVID-19 Questions
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is posting up-to-date information on the government relief measures and providing answers to common questions related to COVID-19 as it affects businesses. Here's the CFIB's latest COVID-19 newsletter.
Managing Temporary Lay-offs
Our industry is known historically for temporary lay-offs of staff. We’ve attached an article that may be of interest to you in regard to the extraordinary circumstances with COVID-19. We feel it is important to have open dialogue with your employees about the situation and make sure that they understand that you have every intention of hiring them back when the work ramps up again. Remind your employees that the COVAID package the government is rolling out (soon) is there to help them. We stress that you check your provincial employment standards act to confirm your actions. READ MORE.
Managing Cash Flow in a Crisis
Our friends at Deloitte have forwarded us this article with tips on how to manage cash flow during a crisis. While it may not all affect you, there certainly is some great information to consider as we plan for the next six months of viability.
Sharing insights and lessons learned from Deloitte’s Governance Practice in China and beyond
With apocalyptic news about the COVID-19 coming around seemingly every corner this week, the implications for business and the economy are profound. This short article, while aimed at Board of Directors, can easily be considered by your management team within your moving operation. Thanks for our friends at Deloitte for providing this succinct information.
Take action to ensure your moving company survives
We are no stranger to the concept of COVID-19 by now. However, it remains impossible to comprehend that we, the international moving industry, must brace ourselves for many months without revenue. I suppose, the only comfort is knowing that we're not alone. READ MORE.
Don't Be a Deer in the Headlights
Mark Oakeshott, a friend to our Association, has some measured and calm words with regards to the current crisis. Thanks to Mark for the wise words!
Don’t be a “deer in the headlights” during this crisis:
- Reduce your overhead and fixed costs in incremental phases;
- Take the blinkers off – you are a “transport company” – not just a moving company;
- If you owe money, communicate and establish a payment plan;
- Report outstanding invoices to FIDI, LACMA and IAM within the required time period to seek some protection;
- Use the time to look at cloud-based technologies that will drive future efficiency;
- Prepare for the rebound.
Come back stronger and leaner! #movers (Click here for Mark's LinkedIn post.)
Planning for Disruption During COVID-19
During an infectious disease outbreak, issues may come up about how to keep you company operational, and at the same time, how to protect your workers from the effects of illness. Your workplace likely will be affected by staff absenteeism, shortages of supplies, and decreased numbers of customers. Get prepared and READ MORE.
Common Commercial Coverages During COVID-19
Businesses may be wondering about potential coverage for losses related to COVID-19. Here is a general guide of how common commercial coverages may respond in the event of a claim related to COVID-19. Thanks to CAM member NFP Canada for providing this general information. If you have questions about your coverage or a potential claim, contact to your own insurance service-provider.
PRACTICAL OPERATIONS ADVICE - SOPs, health & safety
COVID Letter for Client
Thanks to Déménagement La Capitale Moving (DLC) for this sample letter that they present to clients to explain the preventative measures being taken during COVID. (It's in French and English.)
SOP for COVID
Thanks to Orbit International Moving Logistics Ltd. for sharing their company's SOP for COVID-19.
Here are one CAM member's standard operating procedures currently in use during the pandemic. You may find them helpful.
Guidelines for Export Moves
Advice for Import Clients
Guidelines for Crews
Transport Canada offers truck drivers tips on masks, cleaning practices, and more
Here's some new information from Transport Canada to guide truck drivers on how to identify and use personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fight against COVID-19.
Government of Canada: Organizations buying and selling personal protective equipment during COVID-19
The Government of Canada has created a supply hub for resources and information to help organizations sell and buy personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. They're mobilizing industry to provide medical supplies, and providing information on personal protective equipment in relation to COVID-19, including expedited access and how to get authorization to sell PPE. Their information will be updated regularly. (June 9, 2020)
How to keep truck cabs clean in the fight against COVID-19
Here is some helpful advice on how to keep your truck cabs clean in the pandemic.
Although this is workplace safety information for British Columbia, you may find this of interest. Check with your local health authorities to see if there is similar documentation for your province.
Health Canada Labour Program Hazard Alert: Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) – Temporary changes related to COVID-19
During the COVID-19 outbreak, a shortage is possible for some chemical products that are effective in removing the virus on work surfaces. In order to address the possible shortage, Health Canada has put in place an interim policy that will allow quicker imports of products from the U.S. This could result in differences in normal labelling or pictograms etc. Employers are encouraged to address any supplementary training which may be needed. Although the labels might not meet Health Canada standards, the information employers need must be available on suppliers'/importers' websites. Here's Health Canada's hazard alert.
CAM Member Firemen Movers Inc. shared their new protocols for standard operating procedures in light of the COVID-19 outbreak on all of their moves and customer contact as of Monday, March 16th. FMI are sharing their protocols with their clients to inform them on what they can expect to see in advance of the moves. We’d like to thank Board Member Lorne Babiuk for sharing this with us. While circumstances will be different for each moving company, we consider this a very proactive approach to protecting both staff and the public.
Suggested Hand Washing Kit for Truck Crews
Firemen Movers have also informed us that hand washing kits have been set up today for each of their trucks in case items can't be supplied at the moving sites. The kit includes:
- one roll of paper towel
- 10 micro fiber towels
- one pump container of hand soap
- one bar of hand soap.