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Resources for City staff

Updates from the Mayor

Updates from Ottawa's Mayor, Jim Watson.

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Updates to staff from the City Manager

Updates from the City Manager, Steve Kanellakos.

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COVID-19 FAQ

Where do I go for the latest information about the current situation in Ottawa?

Ottawa Public Health features the most current updates about the evolving situation in Ottawa. Please check the website regularly for changing information and tips for staying healthy.

Where do I go for the latest information about the current situation in Quebec?

The Government of Quebec regularly publishes information about COVID-19. Please check the website on a consistent basis for changing information and tips for staying healthy.

If residents in my community are interested in opportunities with Ottawa Public Health, what should they do?

Residents can send their resume and cover letter to Ottawa Public Health Staffing.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to OPH:

  • COVID-19 has common symptoms such as feeling feverish, cough, or difficulty breathing.
  • COVID-19 also has less common symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, delirium (a serious medical condition that involves confusion, changes to memory, and odd behaviours), falls, acute functional decline, worsening of chronic conditions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chills, headaches, croup, or loss of taste/smell.
  • COVID-19 may also present as new or worsening respiratory symptoms such as: sore throat, cough, congested/runny nose, sneezing, hoarse voice, or difficulty swallowing

Some infected with COVID-19 may show little to no symptoms, and symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.

How is COVID-19 spread?

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets generated when you cough or sneeze
  • close, prolonged personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Current evidence suggests person-to-person spread is efficient when there is close contact.

Do I have to come to work?

We need employees to continue to work to deliver the important services that residents rely on. Managers will work with employees to explore whether alternate work arrangements are available.

Can I work from my regular work location instead of at home?

Employees currently working from home will continue to do so until at least after Labour Day (September 8, 2020), unless you are needed to support your department’s recovery plan by working from a City facility.

This will ensure employees are not congregating in large numbers and will allow the City to prioritize the measures required to keep front-line staff safe.

If working from home is not feasible for you, please work with your manager/supervisor to develop a case-specific arrangement. These requests will be addressed on an exception-basis only.

Can I adjust my start and end time of my shift while working from home?

Start and end times may be adjusted with approval of the employee’s direct supervisor.

What are the expectations while working from home?

Your direct supervisor will set expectations, assign work and track measurable outcomes. Please note that your supervisor may, at times, require you to physically report to work to meet operational needs.

Do I still have to follow City policies and directives while working from home?

Yes, City of Ottawa policies, directives, procedures and guidelines must be adhered to regardless of the employee’s working location. As employees continue to work from home and interact with colleagues virtually, it is important to remember the importance of sustaining and maintaining a respectful workplace and continuing to follow the City’s Employee Code of Conduct.

Can I refuse to serve a customer who I suspect is ill?

You can continue to serve clients without putting yourself at risk. Practice physical (social) distancing and other precautions recommended by Ottawa Public Health. You can also ask the client to step back one to two meters while you serve them.

I am concerned that I am at risk of getting sick while at work or on the way to work. What are my options?

Speak with your manager or supervisor to learn what measures are in place to ensure safety in the workplace. You should also check the Ottawa Public Health website and follow their recommended precautions. You can also speak to your manager or supervisor about alternate work arrangements, including work from home and flexible work hours where possible.

How is the City keeping me safe if I continue to work from home, or return to work at a City facility?

The City is following all the appropriate guidelines issued by the federal and provincial governments, as well as direction from Ottawa Public Health.

This includes retrofitting certain facilities to ensure both staff and residents are kept safe as operation levels increase and modifications are made to the delivery of existing City services.

Retrofitted features could include:

  • physical distancing markers
  • physical barriers
  • sneeze guards/protective screens
  • floor decals
  • Instructional signage
  • hand sanitizer stations

As well, a comprehensive review of all relevant City policies and procedures is underway using a COVID-19 lens. Priority has been given to those policies and guidelines required to re-open facilities.

What type of planning is underway to support us and keep us safe as we continue to provide services?

City of Ottawa employees provide important services that our residents depend on each day. Your management team remains focused on continuity of service and staff sustainability plans as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve.

These plans will:

  • Ensure your health and safety as we continue to provide residents with important services.
  • Provide you with flexibility as you balance many personal and work-related priorities.
  • Give you the opportunity to recharge so you can continue to provide the best services possible.
  • Include ways to reduce the number of staff in the same place at the same time (ex: staggered start/end times, rotating schedules).
  • Provide supports to enable staff to work from home

What is the City’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool?

The City’s COVID-19 self-assessment tool was created to help employees and contractors self-assess for coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms prior to attending or entering their workplace in order to keep our workplaces safe.

Employees and contractors are required to follow all department specific self-screening processes at the commencement of their shift. In the absence of a department specific process, all employees and contractors must complete the City of Ottawa COVID-19 self-assessment prior to starting their shift. 

If the results of either the departmental or City self-assessment indicate that the employee or contractor has symptoms of COVID-19, they must stay home, inform their manager, supervisor or City of Ottawa contact. City employees should be sent for testing at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre and should be placed on isolation leave while they await their results.

If an employee or contractor develops mild respiratory symptoms during their shift, they must go home immediately and notify their manager, supervisor or City contact. City employees should be sent for testing at a COVID-19 Assessment Centre and should be placed on isolation leave while they await their results.

If symptoms worsen, or if the employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, they should submit sick leave and follow the sick leave certification requirements of their collective agreement and/or Terms and Conditions of employment.

Why are cloth masks important?

  • Cloth masks may help to prevent the transmission of the virus, particularly in circumstances where physical distancing is not possible
  • A cloth mask may slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus by individuals who have the virus but are not showing symptoms
  • Cloth masks are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE), are not intended to protect employees from COVID-19 and cannot be worn as a substitute for PPE
  • It is recommended that employees follow Ottawa Public Health’s guidance on masks.

Some tips include:

    • Before putting on a mask, you should wash or sanitize your hands
    • Make sure the mask fits snuggly over your mouth and nose with no gaps around your nose, cheeks or chin
    • When wearing or removing your mask, avoid touching the front of your mask
    • Place the used mask in a bag for laundering at home
    • Wash or sanitize your hands after removing your mask
  • Employees should speak with their supervisor for more information on availability and distribution

Mandatory Mask Public Health Directive

Ottawa Public Health’s directive for the mandatory use of masks in indoor public spaces is now a municipal law. The Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law is now in effect, and applies to any person entering or staying in an enclosed public space, including City Staff.

Do I have to wear a mask in all City facilities?

You must wear a mask in all areas of City buildings that are accessible to the public.

This includes spaces such as elevators, lobbies, cafeterias, washrooms.

You are not required to wear a mask in areas of City facilities that are accessible only to City staff, provided you are able to maintain appropriate physical distancing (at least two metres apart) from your colleagues.

When I am in an enclosed public space in a City facility and able to maintain physical distancing, do I have to wear a mask?

Yes, the new public health directive requires you to wear a mask whenever you are in an enclosed public space, even if you can maintain physical distancing.

A plexiglass barrier separates me from the client in my work area. Do I still have to wear a mask?

You do not have to wear a mask if a physical barrier separates you from a client and you are able to maintain appropriate physical distancing from other city employees. If you are unable to maintain a two metre distance between you and your colleagues, you must wear a cloth mask.

What if I cannot wear a mask for medical reasons?

If you are unable to wear a mask and cannot maintain appropriate physical distancing in your workspace you should speak to your manager/supervisor to set up an accommodation.

Can I wear a face shield instead of a mask?

No, you cannot substitute a face shield for a mask. Face shields do not offer the same protection as a mask and are used in specific circumstances in addition to a mask.

Under the new rules, I am now required to wear a mask at work. Where will I get one?

Cloth masks have been ordered for employees who are affected by the new public health directive. You will be provided with two cloth masks. Employees should wear their own personal cloth masks until the masks ordered by the City are distributed.

What kind of cloth mask is acceptable?

For employees, a cloth mask must meet the guidelines established by Ottawa Public Health. “Mask” means: a cloth (non-medical) mask, medical mask or other face coverings, such as a bandana or scarf, for filtering respiratory droplets that securely cover the nose, mouth and chin and is in contact with the surrounding face without gapping.

How will the public be advised that they are now required to wear a mask in City facilities?

Signage will be posted at the entrance to all City facilities advising of this new health directive. The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Public Health will continue to promote the use of masks through a variety of communications channels.

Posters from Ottawa Public Health advising of this new public health directive are available on the COVID-19 Employee Information SharePoint site.

Can I refuse to serve someone who is not wearing a face mask?

No, the City is focusing on educating the public. You may politely remind residents of this new requirement to wear a mask in all enclosed public spaces, but you may not refuse service.

Will the City provide me with masks that I can give to clients who do not have one?

No, the City will not provide masks for residents, businesses or visitors to our public spaces.

Does everybody have to wear a mask in enclosed public spaces?

No, there are exemptions to this requirement for:

  • Children under two years of age, or children under the age of five years either chronologically or developmentally who refuse to wear a mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver
  • Individuals with medical conditions rendering them unable to safely wear a mask, including breathing difficulties or cognitive difficulties
  • Individuals who are unable to apply or remove a mask without assistance, including those who are accommodated under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) or who have protections under the Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c.H.19, as amended

Can I ask a resident for proof that they are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask?

No. This information is private.

Are there any City facilities accessible to the public that do not require mask wearing?

Yes, child care centres governed by the Child Care and Early Years Act and day camps are exempt from this policy.

General Information

How am I being protected from contractors who continue to come to our worksites?

Many of our contracted projects and services will continue at this time in support of our ongoing service delivery. In order to protect the health of our people, all employees and all contractors must do a self-assessment before attending or entering a City worksite. Contractors must also comply with Ottawa Public Health recommendations and guidelines. If you observe non-compliance, we ask you to escalate this concern to a manager/supervisor.

What is being done to protect my health and safety while I perform my work?

Your health and safety have always been and continue to be a priority for your leadership team. Some of the proactive measures that have been implemented include:

  • A departmental or City self-assessment process which includes the requirement for employees and contractors attending City workplaces to complete a self-screening process before attending work each day
  • Posting signage to promote frequent hand-washing and social distancing.
  • Social distancing – this is a critical part of keeping our workforce safe and healthy.
  • By asking those who can, to work from home, to create needed space.
  • Limiting the number of individuals per vehicle.
  • Staggering start and end times.
  • Developing staff rotations or shifting work times.
  • Closing facilities to the public.
  • Cancelling non-emergency home visits.
  • Collecting and distributing cleaning supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Installing COVID-19 information boards in yards and worksites and providing regular communications to keep employees informed.

What can I do to help keep myself and my colleagues safe in the workplace? 

We need to work together to keep our workplaces safe. Steps that you can take to keep yourself and your colleagues safe include:

  • Follow the self-screening process prior to attending or entering your workplace each day.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Respect physical distancing (two metres).
  • Keep your distance in shared spaces (such as kitchens and lunchrooms).
  • Hold any necessary team meetings virtually or in large, open spaces (ex: garage).
  • Check-in with your colleagues (this can be a call, text or video-chat).
  • Take and use only the sanitation and cleaning supplies you need.
  • Clean vehicles and shared spaces after each use.

What do I do if I believe a coworker is ill?

Speak to your manager, who will assess the situation.

What should I do when an employee expresses a concern about their safety because a colleague has indicated they are not self-isolating or adhering to social distancing guidelines?  

Speak to your manager, who will address the situation.

How is Canada Life supporting me and my family’s benefits during COVID 19?

The best way to stay informed as a plan member is to sign up for Canada Life’s GroupNet for Plan Members

I rely on public transportation to get to work and I know that ridership is low. What changes can I expect as it pertains to O-Train, bus, and Para Transpo service?

Service level adjustments began to take place in March. Please note the details for different modes:

Conventional Bus

    • Service will continue to be provided in all neighbourhoods;
    • Weekday service will move to Saturday service levels on many routes;
    • Many routes which normally operate only on weekdays will continue to run, but at modified service levels;
    • Rural weekly Shopper services will continue as usual
    • The first trip in the morning will be later than usual on many routes;
    • Saturday and Sunday service will operate as usual; and,
    • Complete schedules and details of impacts to specific routes will be available on OCTranspo.com.

O-Train Line 1 the Confederation Line

    • On Fridays, service will run until 1 am on Saturday morning (overnight bus service will be available);
    • Otherwise, service start, and end times will remain the same;
    • Trains will arrive every 6 to 8 minutes at peak periods and every 10 to 16 minutes at other times of the day and on weekends
    • The number of dedicated R1 buses is being reduced to align with changed service levels on Line 1; and,
    • Staffing levels of the red vested O-Train Ambassadors have been scaled back.

O-Train Line 2 - The Trillium Line

    • Trains will arrive every 15 minutes at all times during the service period;
    • Service start and end times will remain the same; and,
    • As we have done on our buses and Line 1 trains to protect the health of our operators and customers, we will be installing tape on Line 2 trains to block the area closest to the operator cab from the rest of the train.

Para Transpo

    • Para Transpo volumes are currently low and are being managed; and,

All trip requests are being accommodated

How is the City supporting local businesses during these challenging times? 

On March 23, the City and community partners launched the first phase of the Buy Local Campaign, a promotional campaign to help local businesses during these challenging times.

Please take a moment to check out the Buy Local Campaign, where you’ll find links to sites listing businesses serving customers virtually or providing takeout and meal delivery.

I am feeling very anxious about the current situation. Is there anyone I can talk to?

Dealing with family members, clients and colleagues during a pandemic can be very stressful. You may be worried about your health and the health of those you care about, while also wanting to provide excellent service to your clients. If you have concerns about how you are coping, speak with your family physician or a mental health professional.

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available to provide support to you and your eligible family members by phone, online and video counselling. Contact the provider at 1-844-880-9142 (TTY: 1-877-338-0275), through the My EAP app (available for Apple, Android and BlackBerry) or through Work Health Life.

Here are additional services that are available to you:

· Government of Canada: Mental health tips for working from home;

· Ottawa Public Health resources:

  • To learn more about how to talk about mental health, check out have THAT talk
  • If you are concerned about your mental health or someone else, check out the Mental Health and Substance Use Resource List
  • If you are in crisis, contact the Mental Health Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-722-6914 or if outside Ottawa toll-free at 1-866-996-0991

How can I reduce stress during these unprecedented times?

The Employee and Family Assistance Program has identified nine helpful ways to reduce stress in stressful times:

  1. Find ways to unwind your body and mind. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, yoga, or any relaxing activity that you enjoy can help.
  2. Get moving regularly, whether it's a stroll at lunch or a yoga class after work. Exercise is good for your mind, body and spirit!
  3. Think positively. Situations may be out of our control, but we can control how we react to them.
  4. Eat regular, balanced meals. A good diet will keep your energy levels consistent and improve your ability to handle stress.
  5. Set reasonable boundaries for yourself. Think like a marathon runner, not a sprinter. If you are feeling exhausted or overwhelmed, speak to your manager or supervisor.
  6. Accept change and acknowledge the possibility that your day may not unfold as you imagined.
  7. Reach out to the people you feel close to. Even in times of social distancing we need to feel supported. Call or use video chat to stay in touch with those who matter to you.
  8. Accept the help of others and share your responsibilities and priorities at work and at home.
  9. Find the funny side if you can. Laughing is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to reduce stress.

Required COVID-19 self-assessment

If you are attending the workplace, you are required to complete the City of Ottawa COVID-19 self-assessment form before attending the workplace each day.

City of Ottawa COVID-19 Self-Assessment

What to do if I'm not feeling well

I did not travel abroad and have not had direct exposure to someone with COVID-19, but I’m starting to feel sick. What do I do?

Stay at home and do not come into work if you are unwell. Advise your manager and work with them to determine if you can work from home or submit sick leave. Continue to self-monitor your condition and reach out to your health care provider if needed.

I’m a health care provider. What should I do if I’m feeling unwell?

All employees should be self-monitoring for any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If you are feeling unwell – fatigue, sore throat, cough or fever – please heed the advice we have been giving residents. Stay home, rest and self-isolate. If your symptoms persist or worsen, you should consider going to your health care provider or the COVID-19 Assessment Centre for further assessment. If you do go to the COVID-19 Assessment Centre, please be sure to convey to them that you are a health care worker. It is also important to check in with your supervisor, or occupational health team prior to your return.

What do I do if I think I have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

If you think you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use the City of Ottawa COVID-19 self-assessment tool to help determine how to seek further care.

The self-assessment is not intended to provide medical advice. If you have medical questions, consult a health practitioner.

If you are having difficulty breathing or experiencing other severe symptoms, call 911 immediately. Advise them of your symptoms and travel history.

If an employee receives a positive test result, will OPH be notified and do they have a protocol to notify potentially impacted coworkers?

Ottawa Public Health works closely with each confirmed case of COVID-19 to create a list of close contacts (spent excessive time within a two metre radius) that require follow-up. If you have been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, follow the advice provided to you by the nurse. If you have not been contacted by Ottawa Public Health, please do not assume that you are a close contact. Continue to take social distancing and other precautions and, if needed based on the guidance of Ottawa Public Health, follow self-isolation or testing directions.

Who is considered a close contact?

According to OPH, a close contact is:

  • a person who lives with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or
  • a person who provided care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19, including family members or other caregivers, from up to 2 days (48 hours) before the person with COVID-19 was sick until they started to self-isolate, or
  • a person who had other similar close physical contact for more than 5 minutes, from up to 2 days (48 hours) before the person with COVID-19 was sick until they started to self-isolate.

OPH will contact you directly if you have been identified as a close contact.

How will I be informed if a co-worker has tested positive for COVID-19? Do I need to self isolate?

Ottawa Public Health will work with the employee to identify other people who may have come into contact with them through meetings, venues, or workplace location. If you have had close contact (spent time within 2 metre radius) with the person you will be contacted directly. If you are at risk, you will be given instructions on self-isolation. OPH will communicate environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendation with your General Manager or Director.

If I am tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test result, can I return to work?

If you are tested for COVID-19 and have negative test results, you may return to work (or work from home) provided you are feeling well. If you received a negative test result and still feel unwell, you should stay home and claim IPP/sick leave.

Self-Isolation

What is the difference between self-isolation and physical (social) distancing?

The purpose of self-isolation is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others in your home and your community.

You will be instructed by a health care provider or Public Health to separate yourself from others (self-isolate) when you are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, including from the people you live with, to the greatest extent possible.

The Federal Quarantine Act also requires any person entering Canada by air, sea or land to self-isolate for 14 days whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19.

When self-isolating, leaving your property for a walk is not permitted. You also cannot go to community settings including the grocery store and pharmacy. If you need groceries or other essential items, have a family member, friend or neighbour do this for you and leave items at the door. For more details on how to self-isolate, please visit the OPH website.

Physical (social) distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. Part of physical distancing means staying 2 meters (6 feet) away from others, avoiding non-essential trips in the community, sitting at a different cubicle or workstation to maintain a safe distance from colleagues, and working from home whenever possible.

Please remember that physical distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Employees are encouraged to connect with friends and loved ones via phone or video. Maintaining strong social networks is particularly important as we practice physical distancing.

OPH is urging everyone to practice physical distancing, or self-isolate if applicable. This will help limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community, and may save the life of a family member, neighbour, friend or coworker. For more details on physical distancing, please visit the OPH website.

What does self-isolate or self-monitor mean?

Public Health Ontario has published helpful guides for people who are in self-isolation who are advised to self-monitor.

When should I self-isolate?

You must self-isolate for at least 14 days if you have:

  • returned from travel outside Canada
  • been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are waiting to hear the results of a lab test for COVID-19
  • symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild
  • been in contact with a suspected, probable or confirmed case of COVID-19

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health is strongly urging self-isolation for

  • all persons over 70 years of age
  • individuals who are immunocompromised

If you are asked to self-isolate but are not ill or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, ask your manager if you can work from home.

I am not feeling sick but I have been asked to self-isolate. What should I do? 

Please inform your manager or supervisor immediately if a medical professional directed you to self-isolate. If you are not feeling sick or are only experiencing mild symptoms, you can work from home. If you can work from home, you do not need to submit sick leave or other types of leave.

What if I am required to self-isolate but I cannot work from home? 

If you must self-isolate but cannot work from home, please contact your manager or supervisor. You may be eligible for paid leave, depending on your circumstances.

Do I need to submit a self-certification form if I need to go on isolation leave?

No, a self-certification form is not required. Employees should use their regular time and leave process to report their absence and submit for paid Isolation Leave using payroll code 6090.

Leave Requests

My children’s school or daycare has been shut down due to the pandemic. What are my leave options?

We need employees to continue to work to deliver important services. Work with your manager to explore alternate work arrangements and flexible hours to accommodate child-care needs. If other arrangements cannot be made, you may use special leave (if applicable), vacation, time off in lieu or leave without pay. In certain situations, employees may be entitled to legislative leave under the Employment Standards Act of Ontario or the Canada Labour Code.

The Federal Government has established the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to assist those who have been affected by the COVID-19 situation. Employees should visit the Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and Service Canada for information on the programs and on any qualification requirements.

For more information, please contact the HR Service Centre at ext. 47411.

What type of leave can I use if my child or a family member is sick and I need to stay home to care for them?

If you need to take care of a sick child or family member, you may use special leave (if applicable), vacation, time off in lieu or leave without pay. You may be entitled to legislative leave under the Employment Standards Act or the Canada Labour Code. For more information, please refer to Leave of Absence Procedures for Provincially Regulated Employees and Leave of Absence Procedures for Federally Regulated Employees, or contact the HR Service Centre at ext. 47411.

If I have a compromised immune system and don’t feel comfortable going into work, what should I do?

Wherever possible, employees will be supported to work from home or offered accommodations which include but are not limited to alternate work arrangements or flexible working hours. A combination of work from home and alternate work location/hours could also be explored. If these options are not feasible, managers will work with employees to explore leave options such as, vacation, special leave, leave of absence etc. according to their applicable Collective Agreement.

Can I use sick leave if I am not feeling well?

Yes, you should stay home and submit IPP or sick leave. Employees must follow the sick leave certification requirements as outlined in their collective agreements and/or Terms and Conditions of employment and provide satisfactory sick leave documentation to their manager within the stipulated timelines.

Will I be required to provide a doctor’s note when I am on sick leave due to COVID-19 or suspicion of COVID-19?

Employees must follow the sick leave certification requirements as outlined in their collective agreements and/or Terms and Conditions of employment and are required to provide satisfactory sick leave documentation to their manager within the stipulated timelines.

Employees who are confirmed positive for COVID-19 are required to stay home and self-isolate and should discuss the medical certificate requirements with their manager.

Can I cancel my vacation time because of the restrictions on travel?

We are encouraging employees to take their vacation this year in order to rest and recuperate.

Please discuss your vacation plan with your manager/supervisor.

What happens to my remaining vacation days if I have to return early from vacation and self-isolate?

You will be offered alternate work arrangements (work from home, flexible work hours) and you can reverse any unused vacation days. If you cannot work from home, your unused vacation days will be reversed, and you will be paid Isolation Leave.

If I’m stranded outside of Canada and unable to secure a flight home, what are my leave options?

Employees who are directly affected by travel restrictions related to COVID-19 and cannot reasonably be expected to travel back to Ontario are entitled to a leave of absence without pay under the new amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 relating to infectious disease emergencies. This leave would last as long as the employee cannot work because they cannot come back to Ontario and the infectious disease is still designated by the regulations. The usual protections granted to employees on Employment Standards Act, 2000 leaves apply including, for example, continuation of certain benefits during the leave if the employee continues to pay their portion of the premiums. Should you wish to be paid while you are away, you may use any paid leave options that you have available (i.e., vacation or TOIL).  If you travelled prior to July 9th, 2020 and have been unable to return to Canada since that time you may be eligible for Isolation Leave when you return if you are unable to work remotely.

Accommodation

What do I do if I require an accommodation?

Contact your manager to develop an accommodation plan.

Travel

Will I be covered under the current benefits plan if I become sick while travelling?

Prior to travelling, contact Canada Life at 1-855-222-4051 or visit Canada Life.

What do I do when I return from international travel?

Upon returning from international travel, including the United Sates, you must self isolate for 14 days. Review the latest travel guidance for those who have travelled outside Canada and check in with your manager or supervisor immediately upon your return and before returning to work.

What do I do if I’ve returned from international travel in the past 14 days but have since returned to work?

Notify your manager or supervisor immediately. You must self-isolate for the remainder of the 14 days since returning from your international travel. For example: If you returned from international travel five days ago and went to work for the past three days, you must self-isolate for nine days.

What happens if my spouse has returned from international travel and is required to self-isolate? Do I also have to self-isolate?

If your spouse is in self-isolation due to travel and has no symptoms, has not tested positive for COVID-19 and is not suspected to have COVID-19, then you do not need to self-isolate. If your spouse starts to have symptoms within 14 days of travel, then you need to self-isolate.

Preparing to Work Remotely

Will I need to use VPN while working from home? What if I cannot connect to VPN?

VPN is required to access certain resources and tools, such as SAP, Ozone and time and leave submissions. The VPN cannot accommodate all employees at the same time, so only connect to VPN when you need access to one of the tools listed above. ITS recommends employees log onto VPN at least twice a week for 3 hours each time to receive security updates. Updates will be automatically downloaded. If you do not need VPN for your work, please refrain from using it so other City employees can. Access to SharePoint and all Office 365 products, including Outlook, Word, Excel, OneDrive and OneNote, is available on office.com using any device without VPN. If you are new to working from home, familiarize yourself with accessing office.com while off the network.

If you do not have access to VPN or are unable to connect, please contact your manager or supervisor.

What tips do you have to help me work from home?

  • First-time users of office.com will be prompted to register for multi-factor authentication (MFA) to access their email and documents stored on OneDrive or SharePoint. .
  • Information Technology Services has developed Remote Working Resources located on the City O365 SharePoint site.
  • Use Office 365 to limit your need for VPN.
  • Move any critical files to SharePoint or OneDrive to minimize your need for VPN to access the shared drive.
  • Look at your calendar and consider if any meetings can be done via Microsoft Teams or over the phone. To learn how to get started with Teams visit our Microsoft Stream training site.
  • Check your emails frequently for updates

Who can I contact for technical support?

If you have an urgent issue that cannot be resolved through the self-serve tools on the City O365 SharePoint site or with support from a colleague, the Solutions Desk (613-580-2400 ext. 26000) is available 24/7. It is recommended that employees call the Solutions Desk first. If a solution cannot be resolved over the phone, employees are asked to discuss visiting a City Tech Center with their supervisor.

Pay

As a frontline worker, do I qualify for the temporary pandemic pay of $4/hr on top of my regular wages announced by the Province of Ontario?

Human Resources Services is currently awaiting further details on the Ontario government’s April 25, 2020 announcement of pandemic pay support for frontline workers. When more details concerning eligibility are available, we will post more information.

Can I adjust my "normal place of work" to be my home when calculating mileage during the pandemic?

The local transportation policy will remain in effect during the pandemic and as such, employees continue to be assigned to their regular dedicated work location for mileage purposes.

My collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment do not provide paid sick leave or special leave. If I have to be away from work due to a personal emergency or sickness, what leave provisions do I have?

If you are covered under the Employment Standards Act or the Canada Labour Code, you may be eligible for legislated leave. Please refer to Leave of Absence Procedures for Provincially Regulated Employees and Leave of Absence Procedures for Federally Regulated Employees or contact the HR Service Centre at ext. 47411.

If I have contracted COVID-19 and do not have any available sick leave, how should my time away from work be coded?

Employees should work with their Managers to review legislated leave options under the Employment Standards Act or the Canada Labour Code.

New provisions are now available under the Employment Standards Act underEmergency Leave: Declared Emergencies and Infectious Disease and the Canada Labour Code - COVID-19 Leave, for employees who are unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19.

What happens if I am sent home or my normal workplace is closed?

Where it is necessary to close facilities, employees may be redeployed or advised to report to an alternate work location.

How do I submit timesheets if I’m working from home?

Email a photo or scan of your timesheet to your manager or supervisor. They will submit your time to payroll.

What is a Record of Employment (ROE) and why would I need one?  

Service Canada requires a Record of Employment (ROE) to finalize claims for Employment Insurance. Employment Insurance (EI) is an unemployment insurance program in Canada that allows individuals who have recently lost income to receive temporary financial assistance.

What if I need to receive a ROE outside this process? 

Should you require a ROE outside of this process, please contact manager to discuss your individual situation.  Your manager can contact Payroll at ext. 28484 or email Payroll.

Can I get a copy of my ROE? 

You can view your ROE on-line at My Service Canada Account.  If you don’t already have an account with My Service Canada, this link will also show you how to register.  My Service Canada Account is a secure online tool that gives you access to all your Employment Insurance information in one place.

What relief is available to employees impacted by COVID-19?

Employees should maintain contact with their manager and explore alternate work arrangements and leave options as their situation changes. In certain situations, employees may be entitled to legislative leave under the Employment Standards Act of Ontario or the Canada Labour Code.

The Federal Government has also established the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to assist those who have been affected by the COVID-19 situation. Please ensure you visit the Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and Service Canada for information on the programs and on any qualification requirements.

Reopening Plan: Employee FAQ

On Wednesday, June 10, City Manager Steve Kanellakos shared the City’s official reopening plan with Council. At a high level, this plan is comprised of three pillars (Our Safety, Our Services and Our People), and is separated into three phases: Pre-recovery (June), Recovery phase 1 (July) and Recovery phase 2 (August).

During this time, a number of City services will become available. Regular updates will be shared with staff on the work-from-home program, redeployment, health and wellness policy updates, safety controls, training and wellness supports. In the meantime, this FAQ will address the Our People and Our Safety pillars of the Reopening Plan.

OUR PEOPLE

Redeployment

I’ve been redeployed—how long will my redeployment last?

In April, the City initiated a redeployment plan to maximize our ability to continue delivering services while preserving our workforce. To support the City’s emergency response, many employees have been redeployed to other departments like Community and Social Services and Ottawa Public Health.

The duration of employee redeployments varies based on the status of the emergency response.

Staff redeployed to support COVID-19 emergency response efforts will continue in these roles until further notice. Repatriation of employees will be discussed between the home department General Manager (GM) and the redeployed department GM.

If you have questions, please contact your manager / supervisor both in your home and redeployment positions.

Repatriation of employees shall not disrupt the COVID-19 Emergency Response.

I’ve been redeployed to support the emergency response. Can I still take my vacation?

It is important to take vacation in order to rest and recuperate.

Redeployed staff are asked to check with their redeployment manager to schedule their vacation. Once that has been confirmed, please submit your leave request via Ozone for approval by your home department manager.

Please confirm with your home department manager that you have coordinated your vacation with your redeployment manager.

Declared Emergency Leave

With the resumption of some City programs and services, are employees returning from Declared Emergency Leave (DEL)?

Employees on Declared Emergency Leave will be contacted by their manager/supervisor to discuss specific details related to their recall to work.

How will the City decide who is being recalled from Declared Emergency Leave?

Each department has developed a recovery staffing plan that will inform when employees will be recalled.

If you have questions about your situation, please reach out to your manager/supervisor.

Summer Student Program

Will the City be hiring summer students as part of the reopening?

Hiring of summer students remains at the discretion of the General Manager, based on the operational needs of each department.

OUR SAFETY

Physical safety

How is the City keeping me safe if I continue to work from, or return to work at, a City facility?

The City is following all the appropriate guidelines issued by the federal and provincial governments, as well as direction from Ottawa Public Health.

This includes retrofitting certain facilities to ensure both staff and residents are kept safe as operation levels increase and modifications are made to the delivery of existing City services.

Retrofitted features could include:

  • physical distancing markers
  • physical barriers
  • sneeze guards/protective screens
  • floor decals
  • Instructional signage
  • hand sanitizer stations

As well, a comprehensive review of all relevant City policies and procedures is underway using a COVID-19 lens. Priority has been given to those policies and guidelines required to re-open facilities.

Will the City provide me with PPE and preventative measures?

A COVID-19-specific Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (HIRA) has been developed, which departments are using to assess what personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or personal preventative measures (such as cloth masks) are required to ensure the safety of both employees and residents.

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) is prioritized for health care, essential worker roles and anyone who traditionally uses PPE to perform their job duties
  • Cloth masks (preventative) will be provided to all staff where PPE is not required but physical distancing is not always possible
  • Personal hygiene (preventative): Staff are required to wash or sanitize their hands after handling paper, cards, shared tools etc. Hand sanitizer will be provided.

What is the City doing to ensure and monitor my physical health?

All City of Ottawa employees are expected to follow the provincial guidelines and Ottawa Public Health recommendations on physical distancing, group gatherings and the use of PPE and other preventative measures such as cloth masks, hand sanitizers, physical distancing, enhanced workplace cleaning and personal hygiene protocols.

Employees are also required to use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool and follow the guidelines for hygiene, physical distancing and self-isolation:

  • Employees must self-isolate for 14 days if they are returning from travel outside of Canada, are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test, have been sent home due to the screening process or have been in contact with known or suspected cases of COVID-19
  • Guidelines have been developed to support the return to work process for employees who have tested positive or have been required to self-isolate

MENTAL HEALTH & WELLNESS

I’m feeling very anxious about the current situation. Is there anyone I can talk to?

Dealing with rapid changes during a pandemic can be very stressful. You may be worried about your financial situation, your health and the health of those you care about. If you have concerns about how you are coping, speak with your family physician or a mental health professional.

The Employee and Family Assistance Program is available to provide support to you and your eligible family members by phone, online and video counselling.

Contact the provider at 1-844-880-9142 (TTY: 1-877-338-0275), through the My EAP app (available for Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices) or on workhealthlife.com.

What else is the City doing to support staff mental health and wellness?

Employee mental and emotional health is a key priority for the City and ongoing supports are required for both employees and managers/supervisors.

Mental health and wellness resources currently available to all City staff include:

  • The Employee and Family Assistance program
  • Wellness Webinars offered by Morneau Shepell which address topics like burnout, care for caregivers, stress relaxation techniques, tips on resilience and how to set up an ergonomic station when working from home
  • In the Loop articles on a variety of topics including increasing resilience, coping with stress, supporting children during COVID and more
  • Videos, podcasts, articles and live wellness sessions with experts are free to staff through the LifeSpeak digital wellness platform. Ask your manager or supervisor for the login credentials
  • Ergonomics resources like tool and tips from Injury Plus (the City's ergonomic vendor)

TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT

How can I continue my professional development during COVID-19?

While most in-class training cannot be offered during COVID-19, the Talent Development unit continues to offer new learning opportunities to ensure your learning journey is not put on hold.

The City will adhere to all updated legislative and regulatory training, as required by department-specific lines of business. The City will also:

  • Review/update mandatory training and convert to online classes, where possible
  • Create new, or update existing, virtual training modules to support key skill/knowledge areas such as safety
  • Develop online versions of New Employee, Supervisor and Manager Orientations
  • Sustaining coaching in a virtual environment

VACATION

Can I book vacation this year?

Yes, we are encouraging employees to take their vacation this year in order to rest and recuperate.

Please discuss your vacation plan with your manager/supervisor.