Ecojustice Canada – COVID-19 Mitigation Discussions
March 30, 2020
To: All MoveUP Members at Ecojustice Canada
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new coronavirus. Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.
We have been monitoring the situation closely. Things are changing fast. Reports and governmental recommendations are changing daily. We are working diligently to keep track of any mandates from government, discussing changes with your employer, making recommendations and seeking clarity on issues that have any potential impact on the health and safety of our members.
Here is what we can report today:
We have been in discussion with Ecojustice Canada to try and assess next moves for staff, and who are most at risk. Everyone is important and everyone has a unique circumstance, but we are trying to prioritize our efforts to be most effective and efficient. As well, we are working to support those with compromised immunity and health concerns. It is our understanding, as of right now, that there are no cases of COVID-19 within the staff at Ecojustice Canada.
Remote operations at Ecojustice Canada were implemented very early into the Covid-19 pandemic, with staff who are considered “essential services” to daily office administration and payroll rotating into the office for a maximum of 2 days per week. Essential staff are being advised to take their own transportation when going to the office whenever possible, and any expenses such as parking and mileage are eligible for reimbursement.
Layoffs or reduction of work hours are not anticipated at this time. We’ve confirmed with the senior leadership at Ecojustice Canada that they are fairly financially stable currently. Redistribution of work and projects may be considered and discussed between the parties if the Province of British Columbia mandates a closure of non-essential businesses similar to Ontario and Québec.
Flexible work schedules are available upon request to members who have child care or elder care obligations.
All ergonomic equipment currently in the office is available to be taken home for remote operations at this time. This includes keyboards, mouses, and wrist guards at your desk. Members may also take home their office chair or standing desks, however members are expected to arrange the transportation of this heavier equipment to and from their home themselves. If you plan on doing so, please do so safely and with assistance.
If additional ergonomic equipment is required, please reach out to myself, your job steward, or HR representatives to discuss accommodations, options and alternatives.
The $65.00 Cell Phone Allowance is currently available to members who are working from home and using their personal device to work. Ecojustice Canada is taking steps to implement a telephone system that will route calls from your desk phone to your mobile phone, and vice versa. The expectation is that staff use currently available remote operations technologies whenever possible. Additional expenditures incurred as a result of working from home may be eligible for reimbursement, and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
We have confirmed with the employer that all MoveUP members will be provided with an additional 10 days of sick leave to accommodate self isolation, quarantine and illness.
If you are concerned that you have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you have come into contact with anyone returning from one of the following countries in the last 14 days (China, Iran, Italy, Spain, South Korea), you must self isolate for 14 days from the point of contact or exposure prior to returning to work.
If you are feeling unwell : To protect those most vulnerable, please self monitor your health and apply a low threshold when feeling unwell. Call in sick and stay home until you are feeling better.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are like other respiratory illnesses. Commonly, these are fever/chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose. Shortness of breath and chest pain can be signs of severe illness.
If you are at a higher risk of infection due to diagnosed medical issues, and are currently working in the office as essential staff, you must self identify as such to HR. No medical documentation or disclosure of diagnosis will be required, and we will work together with the employer to implement accommodations that reduce your risk of exposure.
We will continue to monitor the situation daily, and we are expecting updated mandates and directives from B.C Government and B.C Health Authority. Please feel free to contact a job steward or executive councilor if you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19’s impact on your health and safety in the workplace.
Nathan Beausoleil, Union Representative