Corporate Pandemic Influenza HR Plan Part I of the public service Developed by the

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1 Corporate Pandemic Influenza HR Plan Part I of the public service Developed by the HR Directors Sub-Committee on Pandemic Planning Last revised December 20, 2010

2 Table of Contents Corporate Pandemic Influenza HR Plan... 3 Overview... 3 Planning assumptions... 6 Pandemic Planning Phases... 7 Inter-pandemic Period... 8 Required actions... 8 Pandemic Alert Period... 9 Required actions... 9 Roles and responsibilities Pandemic Period Required actions Roles and responsibilities Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic Redeployment of staff Staffing Center Support to employees Post-Pandemic Period Required actions Roles and Responsibilities Description of roles and responsibilities Closing government offices Process Appendix A: Risk assessment guide Appendix B: Internal Communication Strategy Appendix C: Staffing Center Operations Page 2

3 Corporate Pandemic Influenza HR Plan Overview Activation / Deactivation of Plan The Deputy Minister of the Office of Human Resources, in conjunction with the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee and New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, has the authority to activate and deactivate this Plan. Procedures outlined in the Closure of Government Offices/Reduction of Working Hours Policy AD-2252 will be followed. Inquiries Employees and Managers may contact Human Resources staff in their department. Human Resource staff may contact the Office of Human Resources Pandemic Staffing Centre, which will work closely with the Department of Health. PHONE: , FAX: , b.ca Additional Information Employees are encouraged to use the GNB employee intranet site below as their primary resource of information. The information on this website is more relevant to New Brunswick than other more generic sites. Pandemic (HIN1) Flu Information: Employee Related Questions: Continued on next page Page 3

4 Overview, Continued Purpose of Plan It is important to be prepared and ready to respond in the event of an influenza pandemic. In order to be ready to respond, each department is responsible to develop their own business continuity plan based on their line of business. The purpose of the continuity plan is to identify all their critical business functions. The Department of Public Safety developed a Guide for Pandemic Influenza Planning for New Brunswick Government Departments to assist departments in preparing their continuity plan. This guide can be obtained by contacting the Department of Public Safety. This plan has been developed by the HR Directors Sub-Committee on Pandemic Planning and complements each departmental continuity plan by addressing the HR issues in emergency planning. The purpose is to ensure that all employees are treated consistently across the civil service during a pandemic. This plan: Addresses the impact of a pandemic on employees. Determines roles and responsibilities. Outlines applicable policies and guidelines and explains how they will be applied during a pandemic. Provides a risk assessment guide in Appendix A. Outlines the communication strategy as outlined in Appendix B. What is Pandemic Influenza? A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population. It begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily from person-to-person worldwide. Continued on next page Page 4

5 Overview, Continued Impact of a Pandemic Influenza A worldwide influenza pandemic could have a major effect on the global economy, including travel, trade, tourism, food, consumption and eventually, investment and financial markets. Planning for pandemic influenza by business and industry is essential to minimize a pandemic s impact. Having a contingency plan is essential. In a typical flu season, up to 20 per cent of the population could get sick. In a pandemic, this number could be much higher, and cause more serious illness. When planning for a pandemic, we must prepare for situations where many health care workers and other essential workers could become ill at the same time as an increase in demand for their services. It is obvious that the effects of a pandemic would be much wider than just the health sector. As a result all parts of society and government must review their business continuity planning as a priority, paying particular attention to human resource contingency planning. Many, if not all, services will be impacted by staff absenteeism and full service delivery may not be possible. Employees could be absent because they are sick or because they must care for sick family members or their children if schools or day care centers are closed. In their business continuity plans, departments are responsible to identify services which will be reduced or discontinued and others that will operate at a lesser degree than normal while still providing for minimum essential services. Historical evidence suggests that pandemics occur three to four times a century. In the last century, there were three influenza pandemics: The Spanish Flu, in ; The Asian Flu, in ; and The Hong Kong Flu in Medical experts predict that the next influenza pandemic could occur at any time. Page 5

6 Planning assumptions Planning Assumptions Since we do not know the precise characteristics of a future pandemic, planning is based on several assumptions. We know that rapid virus identification and analysis will be important to allow our plan to adapt quickly as events unfold. This Corporate Pandemic Influenza HR Plan is based on the following assumptions (developed by the Department of Health): The pandemic is inevitable, requiring contingency planning for appropriate response at the provincial and local level, therefore, each department must have a contingency plan to deal with reduced staffing. A pandemic influenza will result in increased death and illness within New Brunswick for a prolonged period of time, possibly, in two or more successive waves lasting 6 8 weeks each. The rates of illness and death during each wave is unknown. There may be advanced warning of its impending arrival as many novel influenza viruses originate outside Canada, possibly 1 3 months although the recent SARS experience in Canada demonstrates that this time may be shorter. The disease will not be localized to individual regions or communities but will be widespread throughout the province. Essential services in communities will be impacted due to high rates of illness. Preventive vaccines are unlikely to be available at the beginning of a pandemic and pharmacological treatments will be in short supply. Priority groups will most likely be identified to receive anti viral drugs and vaccines that will be in short supply. We can assume that 20% of workers will require time off due to illness over a period of 3 months. Issues such as ill family members and fear of exposure is expected to impact absenteeism. This means that 1/5 of staff may be out at any given time due to illness. It is unlikely that there will be a Declaration of Emergency. Page 6

7 Pandemic Planning Phases Introduction In order to be prepared to deal with the impacts of a pandemic, effective and timely planning is critical. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed detailed pandemic planning phases. The pandemic planning phases in Canada will align with these WHO phases. In consultation with Department of Health, the different phases of this plan will be activated when the descriptions below are present in New Brunswick. The periods are as follows: Period Inter-pandemic Period WHO Phase Description 1 & 2 Phase 1: No new virus in humans but may be present in animals. Phase 2: No new virus in humans but a circulating animal virus poses substantial risk of human disease. Pandemic Alert Period 3, 4 & 5 Phase 3: Limited human infection, but no human-to-human spread. Phase 4: Small cluster(s) with limited human-to-human transmission. Spread highly localized, virus not well adapted to humans. Phase 5: Large cluster(s) but human-tohuman spread still localized. Virus becoming increasingly better adapted to humans, but may not yet be fully transmissible (substantial pandemic risk). Pandemic Period 6 Increased and sustained transmission in general population. Post Pandemic Period Return to Inter-pandemic Period Page 7

8 Inter-pandemic Period Required actions Actions During the Inter-pandemic Period (phase 1 & 2), the following actions are required: Departments must complete their business continuity plans using the guide developed by the Department of Public Safety. Consultation on this plan with OHR Senior Management Team and HR Directors. A detailed communication strategy for employees needs to be developed. The communication strategy will be included in this plan. The plan needs to be approved to complement departmental continuity plans. Page 8

9 Pandemic Alert Period Required actions Actions In order to limit the panic in the workforce when pandemic influenza is actually here, it is really important to educate and train employees about influenza as much as possible prior to the pandemic. During the Pandemic Alert Period, the following actions are required for phases 3, 4 & 5: Phase 3 Review existing business continuity plans and/or develop pandemicspecific procedures as appropriate. Identify ways to promote prevention and identify ways to minimize staff illness. Page 9

10 Roles and responsibilities Roles and Responsibilities As an employer, we can take the following rather simple measures to ensure that employees are well educated about how they can protect themselves from catching the influenza: Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or with hand sanitizer if there is no soap or water available. Also, encourage employees to avoid touching their noses, mouths, and eyes. Encourage employees to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or to cough and sneeze into their upper sleeves if tissues are not available. All employees should wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer after they cough, sneeze or blow their noses. Keep work surfaces, telephones, computer equipment and other frequently touched surfaces and office equipment clean. Be sure that any cleaner used is safe and will not harm employees or office equipment. Promote healthy lifestyles, including good nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep and wellness. A person s overall health impacts their body s immune system and can affect their ability to fight off, or recover from, an infectious disease. Interdepartmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee & Joint Health and Safety Committees The Interdepartmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee, in partnership with Departmental Joint Health and Safety Committees, has a key role in educating and promoting health and safety in the workplace. They are responsible for posting information in the workplace and keeping human resources directors aware of any issues. The Interdepartmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee reports to the Human Resources Directors Committee. Any recommendations from the Advisory Committee will need to be discussed and approved by the Human Resources Directors Committee. Page 10

11 Pandemic Period Required actions Actions During the Pandemic Period, the following actions are required: Alert staff to change in pandemic status. Activate measures to minimize introduction and/or spread of influenza (social distancing, management/tracking of illness, cancellations, closures, etc.) Activate essential business continuity measures and establish regular review and emergency management process. Review and update risk and impact assessment. Set response objective and identify specific action required. Activate plan in terms of activities/services to be maintained/discontinued (who needs to come to work). Communications with staff to promote confidence in the workplace and response activities. Activate the process for recovered/well staff members to return to work. Page 11

12 Roles and responsibilities Roles and Responsibilities As an employer, we are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for our employees. We have an important role in protecting employee health, and safety, and limiting the impact of an influenza pandemic while continuing to deliver essential services to the public. Although this Corporate Pandemic Influenza HR Plan addresses specific policies and guidelines, HR, Managers, the Interdepartmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee and Joint Health and Safety Committees are responsible to promote and encourage the following operational guidelines to prevent further exposure to others: Continue with the general measures outlined on page 9 of this plan (Pandemic Alert Period). Encourage sick employees to stay at home. Encourage employees to avoid close contact with their coworkers and customers (maintain a separation of a least 6 feet). They should avoid shaking hands and always wash their hands after contact with other. Even if employees wear gloves, they should wash their hands upon removal of the gloves in case their hands became contaminated during the removal process. Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles, and with a place to wash or disinfect their hands. Discourage employees from using other employees phones, desks, offices or other work tools and equipment. Minimize situations where groups of people are crowded together, such as a meeting. Use , phones and text messages to communicate with each other. When meetings are necessary, avoid close contact by keeping a separation of at least 6 feet, where possible. Reducing or eliminating unnecessary social interactions can be very effective in controlling the spread of infectious diseases. Reconsider all situations that permit or require employees, customers/clients, and visitors (including family members) to enter the workplace. Workplaces which permit family visitors on site should consider restricting/eliminating that option during a pandemic influenza. Page 12

13 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic Attendance at Work The principle under the Attendance at Work policy AD-2922 will still apply during a pandemic. The New Brunswick government recognizes the value of its employees and the need to manage and support regular attendance through recognition and appreciation of employee efforts. In light of this, the government will actively manage the work environment and employee attendance to: encourage regular attendance, acknowledge employee commitment, provide fair and equitable access to leave and fair income protection for illness, and facilitate a return to work as early as possible following necessary absence. Frequency of Meetings Employees will be encouraged to reduce the number of people that they come into close contact with during the time that the pandemic virus is known to be causing illness in the area. This will involve changes in the work setting like fewer face-to-face meetings. Alternate Working Arrangements/ Teleworking Departments will be strongly encouraged to use teleworking options when operationally feasible during a pandemic (Policy AD-2255 Teleworking in the public sector). Continued on next page Page 13

14 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued Sick Leave There are no special sick leave provisions pertaining to a pandemic. Departments must apply existing articles and policies as per normal practice, for regular and casual employees. For bargaining employees, collective agreements will be honored in terms of sick leave. Articles in collective agreements differ from one another in terms of sick leave and the advancement of sick leave however the existing provisions should be applied in the same manner they would be for any incident of illness that would prevent an employee from performing their duties. For Management and Non-Union employees, Policy AD-2202 Sick Leave will apply in the same manner they would for any incident of illness that would prevent an employee from performing their duties. The policy also provides specific guidelines around the advancement of sick leave. If an employee is requested to go home by their supervisor because of health and safety concerns, sick leave may be provided. Deputy Heads or designates have the discretion to grant other leaves of absence with or without pay. Should changes to current sick leave policies be required during a pandemic, the decision will be made by the Staffing Centre, Office of Human Resources. Continued on next page Page 14

15 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued Notification procedure when unable to report to work If an employee is unable to report to work during a pandemic they must contact their immediate supervisor to notify the employer. If their immediate supervisor is unavailable, the employee must contact another member of the management team or the acting supervisor. It is unacceptable to leave a message with a co-worker or rely on voic . Employees must maintain regular contact with their supervisor while absent from work and are expected to return to work as soon as they are free of symptoms and feel well and able to fully participate in all normal day to day activities. Proof of illness Departments will be asked to use discretion in requesting medical certificates in the event of a pandemic, in recognition that there will be an increased burden on the health care system during this time. Employees will not be required to provide a doctor s note for readmission to the workplace. However, for Management Non-Union employees, Policy AD 2202 Sick Leave states that an appropriate medical certificate is required, in all cases, for any period of sick leave in excess of 15 working days. Leave to care for dependent family members For bargaining employees, articles in collective agreements differ from one another in the provision of other leave and departments should continue to administer these articles in accordance with established practices. For Management Non-Union employees, reasonable leave with pay may be granted under Policy AD 2205 Paid leave for personal and Other Reasons where family, personal or other emergencies not directly attributable to the employee prevent the employee from reporting for work. For example, where no one other than the employee can provide for the immediate and temporary care of a dependent member of the employee's family, the specific provision for Family Leave under this policy may apply. Deputy Heads or designates have the discretion to grant other leaves of absence with or without pay. Continued on next page Page 15

16 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued Other Leave Collective agreements and administrative policies will be honored in terms of other leaves. Departments will have to consider the applicability of a collective agreement, the needs of the employer, the reason for seeking a leave before determining whether or not a leave or vacation will be awarded. In making a decision with respect to granting or not granting a leave the employer must exercise discretion in a way which is not arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith. Departments must respond to all requests for leaves of absence or vacations. Departments should consider adjusting their approval authorities for these types of leaves to senior managers in their departments. Greater consideration will be required for essential services and operational requirements across government as a whole instead of only considering the needs of specific departments/branches. In time of a pandemic influenza, all previously approved leaves falling during this period will be reviewed and will only be granted if operational requirements permit and qualified replacement workers are available. All other leaves will be granted per the collective agreement/policies. Depending on the type of leave, operational requirements may apply. Premium Pay Collective agreements articles and Policy AD-2406 dealing with premium pay will apply. Continued on next page Page 16

17 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued Health and Safety Policy AD-2701 Occupational Health and Safety will still apply during a pandemic. It is the policy of the provincial government, as employer, to provide and maintain healthful working conditions and procedures which are: conducive to the health and safety of employees, and in keeping with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations for preventing or reducing the risk of employment injury. The Interdepartmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee and the Joint Health and Safety Committees have a key role in coordinating and promoting safety in workplace procedures. Personal protective equipments Departments are responsible for specific risk assessments in regards to protective equipment in their work settings. When conducting risk assessment, departments are to follow the advice on precautionary measures to be taken in public settings as determined by Public Health. Please refer to Appendix A for the risk assessment guide. Personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, is not recommended for any non-health care/non-care giver position, including office workers and client representatives. Instead, these individuals should pay special attention to hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene. Employees with easy access to hand washing facilities do not require hand sanitizer in the course of their duties. Seasonal influenza vaccine As per a Board of Management directive in 2003, each department must cover the cost of seasonal flu immunization for its employees. We strongly encourage employees to get the seasonal flu vaccination however the program is completely voluntary. While the seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against a pandemic flu such as H1N1, it can assist in reducing absenteeism from seasonal flu at a time when departments could face high absenteeism from a pandemic flu situation. Continued on next page Page 17

18 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued H1N1 vaccine The H1N1 vaccine will be available to all residents of New Brunswick however the Department of Health has identified certain groups that should be targeted before the general public. Public announcements will be placed on the radio and in newspapers to inform New Brunswickers of where they can go to receive the vaccine. There will be no fee to receive the vaccine. The decision to receive the vaccine is voluntary however all employees are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated against H1N1. Self-isolation guidelines Employees in non-health care/non-caregiver positions are asked to return to work as soon as they are able to participate fully in normal daily activities. Employees who have come into contact, or believe they may have come into contact, with someone showing symptoms of an Influenza-like Illness (ILI) should not stay home unless they are experiencing a fever and cough and one or more of the following: sore throat body aches fatigue Employees are encouraged to contact Telecare at should they require advice on whether or not they should report to work. Continued on next page Page 18

19 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued Refusal to Work Employees are no more at risk of being exposed to influenza at work than when in contact with their friends and family or shopping at the supermarket. Avoiding the workplace will not decrease an employee s risk of exposure to influenza therefore the Attendance at Work Policy AD-2922 still applies. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers shall take every reasonable precaution to ensure the health and safety of employees. Employees are required to comply with the provisions of the Act. Employees have a right to refuse work where there are reasonable grounds for believing work is likely to endanger the health or safety of the individual or any other employee. Any employee who believes that an act is likely to endanger their own or any other employee s health or safety must immediately report their concern to their supervisor, who shall promptly investigate the situation in the presence of the employee. Where a supervisor finds that the employee has reasonable grounds for believing that an act is likely to endanger their health or safety or the health or safety of any other employee, they shall take appropriate remedial action or recommend appropriate remedial action to the employer. Where a supervisor finds the employee does not have reasonable grounds for believing that act is likely to endanger their health or safety or the health and safety of any other employee, they shall advise the employee to do that act. Where an employee has made a report and the matter has not been resolved to their satisfaction, they shall refer the matter to their Joint Health and Safety Committee. Upon receipt of a referral, the committee shall promptly investigate the situation. Any incident of a refusal to work during a pandemic must be reported to the OHR Staffing Center. The Staffing Center will be available 24/7 during a pandemic to provide guidance to departments on health and safety concerns. Please refer to Appendix C for information on Staffing Center operations. Continued on next page Page 19

20 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued Travel In order to reduce the spread of the virus, the following may apply during a pandemic: All international travel will be suspended. All non-essential travel will be suspended. Exemptions will require approval by the Deputy Head of the department. The current approval authority for travel is the Deputy Head or Designate. In the rare occasions where travel will be required during a pandemic, AD-2801 Travel Directive and AD-2803 Senior Executive Travel Directive Policies will apply, including in cases where employees are requested to travel to alternate work locations. Special Assignments During a pandemic, it is possible that staff will be affected to special assignments to meet essential services requirements. The rates under Policy AD-2805 Eligible expenses for special projects will apply which provides for the reimbursement of expenses incurred by employees temporarily working away from their home base. The current duration outlined in policy AD-2805 is more than three months but less than two years. During a pandemic, the allowances will apply immediately after the employee starts the assignment. Hiring of Casuals Section 17(3) of the Civil Service Act stating that a person whose employment is of a temporary or casual nature shall not be employed in any one portion of the Civil Service for a total or more than two hundred and sixty paid days in a twenty-four month period will be waived during a pandemic. Departments will be able to keep casuals longer than what is specified in the act, if deemed necessary by the Deputy Head of the Department. Criminal Record Checks Departments must continue to conduct criminal records checks on certain positions as per their normal practice. Such positions are: positions of trust, in which the employee exercises a considerable degree of control over clients; positions dealing with court proceedings or with evidence which may be positions in court; and positions where the employee has access to valuable information or goods. Continued on next page Page 20

21 Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic, Continued Personal Liability Protection Departments might be required to hire casuals and volunteers during a pandemic flu. Casuals and volunteers are covered under policy AD-3108 Personal Liability Protection as long as they were: authorized in advance to perform the services; performed the services as directed; and acted in good faith. Where it is alleged that an employee is negligent or acted in a malicious fashion, the employer will defend, negotiate or settle claims and will, when necessary, pay all loss damages, costs or expenses provided the employee has acted in good faith and provided that the employee has acted within the scope of his or her employment. Page 21

22 Redeployment of staff Staffing Center Staffing Center During a pandemic, the Office of Human Resources will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A staffing centre will operate from the Centennial Building during normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 4:30 pm). The Pandemic Staffing Centre can be reached by b.ca, or phone: , or fax: The Office of Human Resources will provide assistance after normal business hours (including weekends) with its virtual centre, operated by a rotating duty roster. Equipped with remote on-line access and a mobile phone, staff will be able to be reached by or phone. The virtual centre will allow staff to field all calls and s as they come in, and respond quickly to urgent matters. Please see Appendix C for further details on Staffing Center operations. Page 22

23 Support to employees InConfidence EFAP The inconfidence Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is a confidential and voluntary support service that assists individuals with problems and challenges that can occur with the stress of everyday life. InConfidence provides bilingual services and resources in different formats, allowing an individual to choose the method that they are most comfortable. Offering optimum flexibility and convenience, services and resources can be accessed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Counseling with an EFAP Professional is offered via telephone, in-person or e-counseling ( sessions). InConfidence is currently available to all active employees of Government Departments and Agencies (Part I) and their immediate family members who qualify for participation in other Public Service Employee Benefit programs. It is designed to be completely confidential and very simple to access. To ensure confidentiality, there is no identification card or number assigned to employees or their family members. Employees can call the toll free number and participate in the intake assessment, or, visit the on-line services at Page 23

24 Post-Pandemic Period Required actions Actions The post-pandemic phase begins when the number of cases of influenza returns to normal, prepandemic levels. This phase focuses on returning health, municipal and other services to business as usual, dealing with any service backlogs, assessing the impact of the pandemic and evaluating the pandemic response. During the Post-Pandemic Period, the following actions are required: Review and update risk and impact assessments. Establish criteria and process for agreeing to return to business normal. Activate process for communicating business normal status to staff. Manage return to business normal. Activate debrief process(es). Update pandemic plans as appropriate. Update emergency response and business continuity plans as appropriate. Page 24

25 Roles and Responsibilities Description of roles and responsibilities New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization is responsible for: Monitoring, assessing and communicating risks that may have an impact on people. Forwarding information and recommendations to the: o Deputy Minister of OHR, o designated representatives from the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee, o designated senior regional managers, and o designated OHR director. Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee The Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee is an ad hoc committee jointly chaired by the Deputy Minister of Health and the Deputy Minister of Public Safety which is activated by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization on an as required basis. The Committee is responsible for: providing leadership amongst provincial departments, providing policy advice to decision-makers, and facilitating executive level decisions when government needs to act during security or emergency events. The Clerk of the Executive Council and the Deputy Ministers of the Office of Human Resources, Public Safety and Supply and Services acting jointly on behalf of the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee may close government offices across the province due to severe, extensive or prolonged events such as a pandemic, and where a state of emergency has not been declared. Continued on next page Page 25

26 Description of roles and responsibilities, Continued Assistant Deputy Ministers/ Executive Advisory Group The Assistant Deputy Ministers/Executive Advisory Group is an ad hoc committee chaired by the Department of Public Safety on an as required basis. The Committee is responsible for: providing support and advice to Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee, providing strategic leadership and executive direction, and aligning departmental actions. These responsibilities should not be delegated. Interdepartmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee The Interdepartmental Health and Safety Advisory Committee provides ongoing support and guidance to Part I Government Department employees and employers to ensure compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, its Regulations and any amendments thereto. The Committee is responsible for: making recommendations and providing guidance to the members of the HR Directors Committee on issues of Health and Safety, providing a forum for the employer / WorkSafe NB / and individual Department Health & Safety Committees to share information, encouraging a consistent approach towards health and safety across government departments, and promoting health and safety in the workplace through education and awareness. Continued on next page Page 26

27 Description of roles and responsibilities, Continued Communications New Brunswick Communications New Brunswick is responsible for informing the public and employees, in both official languages by: Posting information on the GNB website and intranet. Advising local radio stations in the event of office closure. Updating the office closure information line in the event of office closure. Issuing press releases. Developing employee communications products. Office of Human Resources The Office of Human Resources is responsible to: Collaborate with departments to provide information and support. Assist in deployment of human resources amongst departments as needed. Facilitate inter-departmental cooperation. Provide policy and direction on issues beyond the authorities outlined in current policies. Coordinate a Union Consultation Committee to address operational issues Communicate with and seek input of the unions with respect to pan flu planning and response. Negotiate good neighbour agreements once essential services are identified by departments. (Issues to discuss with unions include crosstraining of employees to redirect them to essential services ; work of the bargaining unit may be performed by non-member). Support labour issues. Negotiate contract language if required. The Deputy Minister of OHR is responsible for: Sitting as a member on the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee as activated by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Continued on next page Page 27

28 Description of roles and responsibilities, Continued Departments Departments are responsible for: Coordinating and implementing policies and plans related to human resources. Conducting departmental risk assessments on operations in addition to acquiring and distributing appropriate protective equipment to employees based on the risk assessment guide found as Appendix A. Staffing, redeployment, and recruitment of staff in an emergency situation. Educating, orienting and training of new staff. Maintaining their essential or emergency services as defined in their respective business continuity plans developed in accordance to Regulation 84-7 under the Emergency Measures Act. Informing employees who are designated essential in their department s business continuity plans. Communicating office closure decisions to employees if made during regular working hours. Communicating the policy and departmental business continuity plan. Deputy ministers in departments with regional offices are responsible for: Designating senior regional managers in each region who will have the authority to close regional government offices based on the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization s information and recommendations (each designated senior regional manager must liaise with their regional counterpart in other departments). Maintaining a current directory of designated senior regional managers to be forwarded to the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Designating a director who will liaise with the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization and who will sit on the Provincial Emergency Action Committee as activated by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. The Provincial Emergency Action Committee will be activated when substantial provincial involvement is required in an emergency situation. The designated OHR director will provide OHR s input to the committee and will keep the Deputy Minister of OHR informed of the status of any situation or event. Activating and deactivating this plan, in conjunction with the Deputy Ministers Committee Security and Emergencies Committee and New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Continued on next page Page 28

29 Description of roles and responsibilities, Continued Employees Employees are responsible for: Making themselves aware of their responsibilities under their department s business continuity plan. Directing questions to their respective managers. Listening to local radio stations for office closure announcements. Reading the press release section on the GNB website and intranet. Calling the office closure information line. Note: When offices are closed, employees designated as essential in their department s business continuity plan are responsible for reporting to work in a location designated by their manager. Page 29

30 Closing government offices Process Decision As per policy AD-2252 Closure of Government Offices/Reduction of Working Hours, the decision to close government offices during severe, extensive, or prolonged events (e.g. pandemic event, major ice storm, flood, hurricane, etc ) rests with the: the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee as represented by the Clerk of the Executive Council and the Deputy Ministers of the Office of Human Resources, Public Safety and Supply and Services. A decision to close government offices will only be made in extreme circumstances and based on the advice and recommendations of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. Irrespective of any announcement about office closures, the Deputy Minister of a respective department maintains the discretion to hold or call in any employee deemed to be required. Procedures In case of office closure due to a pandemic event, the following actions will occur: Step Action 1 The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization will communicate risk assessments and relevant information for: the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee, deputy ministers / deputy heads, designated senior regional managers, and the designated OHR director. 2 Deputy ministers and designated senior regional managers will be responsible for determining the initial need to close offices based on the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization s recommendations or the onsite situation. Page 30

31 3 If executive level support and decision making are required, the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization will activate the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee. 4 In consideration of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization s information and recommendations, the Clerk of the Executive Council and the Deputy Ministers of the Office of Human Resources, Public Safety and Supply and Services jointly may close offices across the province or determine that they are to remain closed on behalf of the Deputy Ministers Security and Emergencies Committee. If offices are to be closed or remain closed, the OHR designate will immediately notify: deputy ministers / deputy heads, human resources directors, and designated senior regional managers. 5 Communications New Brunswick will be responsible for: advising local radio stations, posting information on the office closure section of the GNB website, updating the office closure information line, issuing a press release. 6 The designated OHR director will sit on the Provincial Emergency Action Committee as activated by the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. The Provincial Emergency Action Committee will be activated when substantial provincial involvement is required in an emergency situation. The designated OHR director will provide OHR s input to the committee and will keep the Deputy Minister of OHR informed of the status of any situation or event. Page 31

32 Sample Work Settings Appendix A: Risk assessment guide Human Resources Part I & II Risk assessment guide for managers for determining protective equipment in a non-health setting for Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Low Risk Customer service interaction with the general public Office workers, clerks, cashiers, tellers, customer service representatives, school system, all non-health care / non-caregiver positions, etc Moderate Risk Indirect interaction i.e. not within 2 meters, with persons exhibiting influenza-like symptoms and/or direct contact with their environment or belongings) Has contact with a contaminated environment: cleaning contaminated areas or equipment e.g. correctional facility, etc Direct face to face interaction (within 2m) with persons exhibiting influenzalike symptoms, in the context of providing personal care or supervision Care activities like assisting with personal care, cleaning a room with a person with known influenza, interfacility transport e.g. correctional officer in facilities, etc. Hand Hygiene YES YES YES Respiratory YES YES YES Hygiene Disposable NO YES YES Gloves Apron or Gown NO YES YES Eye Protection NO NO, but avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth Surgical Mask NO NO N95 Respirator NO NO NO Notes to Table: 1. A higher level of protection is required for health care workers because of the higher risk associated with their work environments. For example, health care workers have to be part of the prevention of hospital-acquired infections, they have high frequency of exposure to multiple patients, and they have exposure to high viral-loads present in the acutely ill. If an employee is considered to be working in a health care setting please refer to the Infection Prevention and Control Annex of the New Brunswick Pandemic Influenza Plan. 2. Strategies to be implemented for decreasing risk in the workplace: a. Post signs to reinforce adherence to hand-washing and respiratory etiquette (e.g. cough and sneeze in sleeve). Employees should perform hand hygiene frequently using soap and water b. Message to staff is to stay home if sick if they are experiencing symptoms of influenza like illness. Staff should stay home until they are free of symptoms and they are feeling well and able to fully participate in all normal day to day activities. YES YES Definitions: Hand Hygiene: Respiratory Hygiene: Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water Cough and sneeze in your arm or sleeve if no tissue available. 32

33 Appendix B: Internal Communication Strategy Objectives We must provide a sense of calm to our public service during what can be a very confusing and frightening time. The timely distribution of appropriate and useful information will help us achieve this objective. Internal communications around a Pandemic Influenza Alert and / or a Pandemic Period should focus on three specific objectives: Promoting Prevention & Protection While 100% avoidance of the influenza entering the public service would be unrealistic, efforts should be made to minimize the spread by promoting prevention and protection among employees. Ensuring Business Continuity Employees and clients of GNB must have confidence that business continuity and the provision of essential services is a priority. Advising on Government Policies & Guidelines In the event of a pandemic, employees of GNB must understand the expectations of government, their rights as employees and the supports available to them. Timing Information should be disseminated as quickly as is possible and appropriate. Leads The Director of Internal Communications at CNB in cooperation with OHR will work to develop & distribute information to Part I employees. The Director of Internal Communications at CNB will be providing the information to the Part II Pandemic Committee. The Director of Internal Communications at Health will be responsible for distribution of information to Part III employees. 33

34 Strategy - Pandemic alert period Key Messages Promoting Prevention & Protection Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently with soap and water or with hand sanitizer if there is no soap or water available. Also, encourage employees to avoid touching their noses, mouths, and eyes. Encourage employees to cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or to cough and sneeze into their upper sleeves if tissues are not available. All employees should wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer after they cough, sneeze or blow their noses. Keep work surfaces, telephones, computer equipment and other frequently touched surfaces and office equipment clean. Be sure that any cleaner used is safe and will not harm employees or office equipment. Promote healthy lifestyles, including good nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep and wellness. A person s overall health impacts their body s immune system and can affect their ability to fight off, or recover from, an infectious disease. Ensuring Business Continuity Continuity in the provision of essential services during a pandemic period will be a priority for GNB. Senior Management in each department are currently reviewing departmental business continuity plans. Advising on Government Policies & Guidelines In the event of a pandemic period, the expectations of government, the rights of employees and the supports available to employees will be communicated in a timely and appropriate fashion Continued on next page 34

35 Strategy - Pandemic alert period, Continued Tools & Tactics An all-staff memo will be issued from the Clerk outlining the situation as well as key messages for: o Promoting Prevention and Protection o Ensuring Business Continuity o Advising on Government Policies & Guidelines An intranet site will be established. Posters emphasizing preventative measures will be provided. Employee Q&As provided and posted to intranet. Regular updates will be provided to Deputy Ministers, Human Resource Directors, Communications Directors and posted to intranet. Printable materials will be provided to HR Directors for workplaces where intranet is not easily accessible. 35

36 Strategy - Pandemic period Key Messages Promoting Prevention & Protection Continue with key health messages as outlined in previous section. Promote awareness about symptoms and what to do if symptoms are present. If you are presently experiencing the following symptoms: Fever and cough, and one or more of the following: sore throat body aches fatigue Please isolate yourself from others until symptom free and feeling well. If you are sick enough that you would normally contact your health-care provider, please do so. If you are not sick enough that you would normally contact your health-care provider, please isolate yourself from others. Other messages regarding symptoms, immunization or treatment as they become available. Guidance for specific scenarios, i.e. guidance for pregnant women. Vaccination as an important part of prevention as information becomes available. Ensuring Business Continuity As was expected, cases continue to be reported here and elsewhere. We cannot be complacent or we will not be ready if the severity of the disease increases. Government continues to prepare: All government departments are fully engaged in planning and preparing for a potential pandemic. Government is fully committed to the business continuity process to ensure that critical services will continue to be provided in the event of a pandemic. The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization is co-coordinating the review and refinement of these processes with all departments. The departments of Health and Public Safety are contacting stakeholders especially the most vulnerable and critical infrastructure owner/operators to ensure they have the right information and are taking appropriate steps to prepare. Continued on next page 36

37 Strategy - Pandemic period, Continued Key Messages (continued) Advising on Government Policies & Guidelines GNB will continue to provide and maintain healthful working conditions and procedures which are conducive to the health and safety of employees and adhere to the Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations. Policies and guidelines to follow during a pandemic will be promoted where applicable and appropriate: o Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations including provisions around Refusal to Work o AD-2701 Occupational Health and Safety o Protective personal equipment & risk assessment o Immunization guidelines o AD-2922 Attendance at Work o Frequency of meetings o AD-2255 Teleworking in the Public Sector o AD-2202 Sick Leave o Proof of illness o AD-2205 Leave for Personal or Other Reasons o 2252 Closing of Government Offices/Reduction of Working Hours o Self-isolation guidelines o AD-2406 Premium Pay o AD-2801 Travel Directive o AD-2803 Senior Executive Travel Directive o AD-2805 Special Projects o AD-3108 Personal Liability Protection The inconfidence Employee and Family Assistance (EFAP) is a confidential and voluntary employee support service. Continued on next page 37

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