Business Continuity Resources (Updated March 27, 2020)
In an interconnected global economy, the new coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is affecting Canadian businesses and their operations. It has resulted in restrictions on travel and public gatherings, as well as supply chain disruptions and market uncertainty.
The Sign Association of Canada has assembled a list of resources to guide our members in the sign, graphics and visual communications industry. We will continue to monitor the situation and continually look for ways to bring your business information to help you meet the needs of your customers while best supporting the health and wellness of your employees.
Supporting your employees:
People are the cornerstone of any successful business. It is important for you to protect your employees – open, two-way communication is essential to achieving this goal.
- Additional Supports for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19 (Government of Canada; Added on March 27, 2020)
- Changes to Employment Insurance (Government of Canada)
- Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19(Source: World Health Organziation):
- Corona Virus and Small Business – Keeping you and your employees safe (Canadian Federation of Small Business)
- Work Sharing Program (Government of Canada)
Work-Sharing (WS) is an adjustment program designed to help employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. The Government of Canada introduced temporary special measures that extend the maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks across Canada for those businesses affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19.
- Updated Overview of Government Support – Federal & Provincial (Global Public Affairs) Added March 27
Here is an updated and comprehensive overview of how federal and provincial governments have assembled the various programs and the specific support that is being delivered. You will find material divided by jurisdiction with the associated government links providing more helpful detail.
Financial Implications and business preparedness:
It is also vital for Canadian businesses to have contingency plans in place to manage potential financial risk. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, as well as Business Development Canada, has developed helpful and comprehensive guides to help you with planning and preparedness.
- Support for Entrepreneurs impacted by coronavirus (Bank of Development Canada):
- Pandemic preparedness resource for business (Source: Canadian Chamber of Commerce):
- Canadian Payroll Association: Payroll Continuity Best Practice Guidelines (English:)and (French)
- Managing Cash Flow During Period of Crisis (Source: Deloitte): Cash flow management needs to be an integral element of a company’s overall COVID-19 risk assessment and action planning in the near term.
- How to Create a Crisis Plan (Calgary Chamber of Commerce:)
Disasters big and small happen without warning, and being unable to provide your products and services to your customers can seriously hurt your business reputation. Having a plan in place before a disruption can make for a more effective response and faster recovery
TIP: In the event of a disruption, log the sequence of events. It will help you review the strengths and weaknesses of your plan post-disaster.
- A To-Do List for Your Business During Coronavirus Shutdown (Sign Builder Illustrated)
- COVID-19: Briefing note, March 16, 2020 (McKinsey and Company):
Business travel and events:
Companies should consider the impacts of international travel on their operations. Canada has several active travel health notices for COVID-19 for countries around the world. These are updated regularly based on ongoing risk assessments.
When it comes to conferences and business events, you can consult the Government of Canada’s advice on deciding whether to postpone or cancel a mass gathering of people.
- Travel advisories (Government of Canada):
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FROM THE INTERNATIONAL SIGN ASSOCIATION
Helpful Tips to Prepare Your Employees and Business
- Encourage sick employees to stay home.
- Remind employees of your paid (or unpaid) leave program.
- Ensure your policy is consistent with current public health recommendations and existing federal, state and local laws.
Protect Against Discrimination and Harassment
Federal and provincial prohibit employers from discriminating against or harassing employees based on certain prohibited characteristics. Take all complaints seriously and launch a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the complaint. If an investigation reveals that discrimination or harassment occurred, take immediate and appropriate corrective action.
Treat all information about an employee’s illness as a confidential medical record, and keep it separate from their personnel file. If you inform employees about COVID-19/coronavirus in the workplace, do not reveal who has the illness.
Develop a Communications Plan
- Have a plan in place for how you will reach employees with important updates: email, phone/text, fliers/posters in breakroom, internal web page that provides latest updates.
- Identify the main point of contact to distribute information, manage process, respond to questions and employee concerns.
- Develop messaging – what do you want to share; facts; impact; safety protocols, messaging for clients/outside entities, etc.
- Develop an external communications plan that outlines what, when and how you will be communicating to you customers, vendors and other constitutes outside your organization.