Monthly Archives April 2020

Everyone’s routine has been impacted dramatically, whether that is primarily from the closure of recreational fitness centres, walking throughout the office, or even your commute to and from work. In addition to these disruptions, it is more important now to keep our immune systems healthy and strong when facing a pandemic. 

To help you adjust, the WSPS has shared seven ways to keep your mental and physical health in check while working from home: 

  1. Get up and move as much as possible, ideally aiming for 5 to 10 minutes per hour. 
  2. Utilize home equipment, such as bikes, treadmills, or light weights you’ve had laying around.
  3. Get creative with your fitness routines. Find objects that can be used as weights or for resistance exercises. When in doubt, use your own bodyweight for workouts. 
  4. Take advantage of technology. Set a timer to remind you to get up and move. Utilize the internet to find fitness classes or workout routines that best fit your comfort zone. 
  5. Get outside and enjoy the outdoors wherever you can! 
  6. Yoga and meditation can go a long way for your mental and physical health. Look up online sequences or see if any local studios are doing live classes.
  7. Challenge friends and coworkers for some extra motivation!

For the full article by the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services click here.

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In this report by the Conference Board of Canada, it is discussed that even after COVID-19 case numbers start to decrease, supply chain disruptions could persist as governments work to avoid a reintroduction of the virus and new outbreaks. In saying this, global supply chains may begin to rethink the way they operate at home and abroad, accelerating trends that existed previous to the pandemic. 

It is expected that consumers and businesses will rely more on digital solutions, as businesses that can take advantage of online platforms and technologies will be better positioned to handle supply chain disruptions in the future. 

Export restrictions in several countries are escalating the global trade protectionism trend that existed pre-COVID -19. However, global cooperation is needed not only to tackle the health crisis, but also to restore trust in the supply chains and maintain the benefits global trade has brought over the last 20 years. 

The Conference Board of Canada ends by suggesting the laying off or reduced hours of workers could be viewed as an opportunity to reskill employees so they can be in a better position to tackle the novel business, technological, and employment realities that will become the norm after the pandemic is over.

Click here for the full report.

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This 24 minute video produced by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is one of many in a series of videos they are calling “The Business of Business”. The series highlights a wide range of materials and tools available to businesses during the pandemic. In particular, this video features a conversation with Tara Benham, the national tax leader at Grant Thornton. 

Benham mentions the main questions being addressed by Grant Thornton clients are “how can I help my employees?” and “how do I help my business survive?”. To address this second question, Benham mentions that funding from the federal and provincial government is changing every day, but the big funding programs include: 

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – $2,000 a month for those unable to work, or part-time/seasonal workers
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – 75% subsidy up to a maximum of $847 a week
  • Temporary Wage Subsidy – 10% wage subsidy allowing the employer to reduce the withholdings on employees 
  • Canada Emergency Bank Account – $40 000 interest free loan with 25% or $10 000 forgiveness if paid by December 2022
  • EDC & BDC loans available through banks
  • Delayed filing dates for nearly all CRA files. Aiming to keep that money in the economy. 

There are still a few holes, Benham states, including university students losing summer jobs, senior citizens portfolios have decreased, and commercial rent relief. However, all these are being discussed in parliament and solutions should become available soon.

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President and  CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Rocco Rossi, released a statement in response to the Ontario government’s new website, saying that reducing regulatory burdens caused by the pandemic is very important and sincerely appreciated by the business community. He adds that most small businesses have been overwhelmed with adapting to business during a pandemic, supporting public health efforts, or balancing a heavier workload. 

“We applaud the Province for pausing or extending non-urgent consultations during this crisis.” Rossi states, “We thank Premier Ford and his government for continuing to listen and respond to Ontario’s business community and for their continued leadership through this crisis”.

For the full statement, click here.

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A new website launched by the Ontario government called COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers is designed to help businesses overcome the unique challenges created by this pandemic. Businesses are encouraged to submit any potential roadblocks they are facing on this website, which can include anything from retooling their operations to produce health related products or wanting to continue operations while implementing physical distancing. 

Premier Ford in a statement said “As [a] government, we must be prepared to work with businesses and show some flexibility in helping them to overcome challenges they may have never faced before”. The provincial government is hoping this website will help them to hear the issues small businesses in Ontario are facing, and help them adapt in these changing times. 

Minister Sarkaria also added, “Clearly it is not business as usual for anyone, and that’s why our government is prepared to temporarily adjust our processes, rules, and regulations to accommodate unforeseen circumstances”. 

Some steps already taken to help small businesses include: providing $10 billion in provincial tax deferrals, providing more than $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords through OCECRA, providing $50 million to help manufacturers and distilleries retool so they can produce health-related products and supplies, permitting 24-hour construction for critical infrastructure, permitting 24-hour deliveries in every municipality across the province to help grocery stores and pharmacies keep shelves stocked, and allowing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery. 

For the full statement, click here.

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Welcome to your premiere neighbourhood pharmacy — The Medicine Shoppe pharmacy. They are dedicated to the idea that quality pharmacy care means more than just prompt prescriptions. To the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy, quality care means that you get the prescriptions and medications you need, along with the personal care and attention you deserve.

In combination with conventional prescriptions, at the Medicine Shoppe, they pride themselves in providing the highest quality compounds and consultations. This Medicine Shoppe specializes in pharmacy compounding and can formulate medications not commercially available, working closely with you and your doctor to solve medication problems by creating medication solutions. In addition to the continuing education required of all pharmacists, I have participated in advanced training to prepare specialized prescription compounds.

For the full statement, click here.

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The Sarnia Community Foundation will join community foundations across Canada on Saturday, May 2 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in a virtual “Stay At Home Gala”. The event unites Canadians across the country with a goal to raise funds to manage the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. The funds raised will be donated to Lambton Mental Wellness and St. Clair Child and Youth to expand their mental health programmes in the county. Additionally, a number of local Food Banks will be supported from this event as well.

The event aims to offer all the familiar elements of your standard gala. The SCF is working with several local restaurants to provide menu choices for take out options, including Sitara Indian Cuisine, The Dante Club, and The Sarnia Golf & Curling Club. Their menu and details on how to order are featured on sarniacommunityfoundation.ca.

On top of this, the gala will feature speakers, entertainers, musicians, and more! Everyone has been looking for a reason to get dressed up, kick back with a drink, and what better way to do so then by raising critical funds to help your community. All proceeds stay local.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Sarnia Community Foundation’s office at 519 332 2588 or 519 333 8867. If you simply want to donate to this event, you can either purchase a ticket and not use it, or call the office for donation options. 

For the full statement, click here.

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The Workplace group is offering FREE work training online for employees, employers, and job seekers. They are offering certificates and training such as:

  • WHMIS, AODA Customer Service Standard
  • AODA IASR and the Human Rights Code
  • Supervisor Health and Safety Awareness
  • Worker Heath and Safety Awareness
  • Bill 168 Respectful Workplace
  • Bill 132 Sexual Violence and Harassment.

To register or for more information, email shannon.richardson@theworkplacegroup.ca, marlene.wood@theworkplacegroup.ca, or call 519 337 7377.

To learn more or access their facebook page, click here.

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On April 27, the Ontario government released a framework that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to guide the government’s eventual loosening of emergency measures. 

The top priority has, and always will be to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario. However the necessity to prepare for a responsible restart of Ontario’s economy is becoming a growing priority as well. 

Before addressing the stages of reopening, the government will consider factors that impact the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will be looking for criteria such as:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including ventilators and personal protective equipment 
  • Approximately 90% of new COVID-19 contacts being reached by local public health officials within one day to contain community spread 
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Christine Elliott, states that “the collective efforts of all Ontarians to stay at home and stop the spread of COVID-19” is what allowed the government to consider plans to move into the next phase. However, to achieve the next steps, it is crucial to continue these efforts so thresholds can be met and Ontario can begin to move forward.

There will be three stages involved in reopening the economy to ensure maximum safety. 

  • Stage 1: Identify select businesses that were ordered to close/restrict operations that can modify operations to meet public health guidelines. Opening outdoor spaces like parks. Hospitals can begin to offer select non-urgent and scheduled surgeries. 
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces that pose a low-risk, such as some service industries, offices, and retail workspaces. Some public gatherings would be allowed and more outdoor spaces open. 
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

It is noted that throughout these stages, there must be significant mitigation strategies to limit the risk of spread, this would include continued protection for vulnerable populations, strict hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and the continued practice of physical distancing.

For the official statement from the Ontario Government, click here

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