March 2020
ASSOCIATION NEWS
MCA Alberta Office Update:

Its been just over a week since COVID-19 become very real in Alberta. Through the week we have all been adapting to the new and very fluid reality of what a global pandemic will mean to us as individuals and to your businesses. I want to assure you that the MCA office remains open (not physically but virtually) and the MCA staff are available to assist your businesses.
 
The MCA Staff are aware that information is coming at you a pace never before experienced. We don’t want to be part of the noise so we are sorting through information and resources to only forward what we think will be relevant to your businesses. Information that you are not likely to receive from multiple sources.
 
With that said, if you have questions or need specific information to assist you through a situation or foresee information you will need as this current situation evolves, please don’t hesitate to ask your association for help. It is very likely others, your peers, have the same concerns.
 
This morning, I sat in on an industry conference call with CCA:

Crew safety concerns: Employees are expressing concerns regarding their safety on the worksite. It is very important that employers and safety officers have conversations with crews regarding the safety programs you are implementing to reduce their risks. Subsequently, employers must ensure that all new safety protocols have been implemented, are being adhered to and evaluated for effectiveness.
 
Construction site shutdowns: While there is no imminent decision, that we know of, that construction sites will be shut down, it would be prudent that you have plans in place on how you will proceed with an orderly shutdown of the sites you are working on. 
 
While mechanical contractors across North America are reporting labour shortage anywhere from 10% to 50%, and worksite slowdowns are inevitable, ensuring crew safety and reducing crew anxiety (addressing the mental health issues around possible exposure to Covid-19) will help to ensure that jobsites remain open and those who can and want to continue working, have that opportunity.
 
Western Region MCA Managers: We are collaborating to develop resources that will be available beyond the current day to day crisis management.
 
ATCC: has provided input to ACA’s lobby position bringing forward contractor concerns. The following has been included in an ACA letter to the Premier:
 
  • In regard to priorities for government bailout dollars, in a prolonged industry shutdown where projects are delayed or worse, cancelled due to COVID-19, there will be significant financial burden for materials purchased and enroute to project installation that cannot yet be billed. The solution for materials destined to projects that are ultimately delayed may be access to low/no interest government loans or guarantees. Solutions for materials on hand (ie: inventory or possibly unique to the project manufactured products) for a cancelled project, will be more difficult to determine.
 
Again, your association is here to support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us to assist.
 
Russ Evans
Executive Director
C 403-863-5158  P 403-250-7237


Association Resources
PANDEMIC PLANNING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.

Alberta Construction Association has put out this document.

As we as an industry approach the current situation these are some best practices and thoughts collected from many in the industry related to how we maintain business continuity despite the situation.
On all construction sites, either as a sub or prime contractor, you must do everything possible to follow the advice of Health Officials.

Read full document here
Government Update
COVID-19 support for employers and employees

Measures to protect employers and employees from the economic disruption of COVID-19 and position Alberta for recovery. The Alberta government will provide immediate funding and supportive measures to support local businesses, employers and employees.
See all information here

COVID-19 Federal Economic Relief Measures

Earlier this week, the Federal Government announced they would be providing an $82 billion emergency response package for Canadians and Canadian businesses. The package includes $27 billion in direct support and another $55 billion in tax deferrals, intended to help with business liquidity in the short term.
Read full summary here
City Updates
Planning & Development Services Update
As of March 18, 2020, newsletter covers:
  • Applications and Business Continuity
  • Meetings with City Staff
  • Growth, Funding and Policy Work
  • Building Safety
See full update here

Temporary closure of the Third Floor, Municipal Building
We are temporarily closing the front counter and accepting applications only by drop-off, or through our online systems. We are still operating normal business hours and confident we can continue service through drop-off and online.
See full update here
City of Edmonton - Field Inspections

Inspection Update Effective March 20




Inspection services in relation to occupied residences will only be conducted as required for interruptions to Utility services(Power, Water, Natural Gas) or pending Occupancy (eg; new Secondary Suite).

Please continue to practice  social distancing  and hazard assessment protocols through all your dail y activities.
 
All inspections where contractors/customers/citizens are present shall begin with asking: "In recognizing the safety of staff and citizens please confirm if anyone at the referenced location is quarantined, sick or returned from out of the country in the last 14 days"

Where the answer is NO , inspection activities may continue as per established procedures.
Where the answer is YES, please advise the customer the inspection will not occur and to
reschedule. Identify this in your notes.
 
As with any inspection, if you are unable to confirm your initial site hazard review in
accordance with hazard assessments and established protocol, you will be
supported in not conducting the inspection. Please ensure appropriate notes are entered on the permit records.
Legal advice
The potential impacts of the Coronavirus to the construction industry are wide reaching. Consequences on a project site can include quarantines or other governmental actions resulting in impacts to the project work force. Offsite impacts can cover a much broader scope of issues including labor shortages at factories of manufacturers or fabrication facilities, resulting in production delays, transportation embargoes causing project supply issues, or governmental actions which inhibit manufacturing and production causing supply chain shortages and inabilities to service existing demands. So, what can contractors facing such impacts do to avoid losses, mitigate the impacts, and prepare for what's to come?

PeckLaw gave us this client alert on key areas contractors should be aware of from contracts, special clauses, schedule impacts, compliance, insurance, and more. Read full document here.

Stay informed of the latest workplace law developments locally, nationally, and globally with these firms.

Mathews Dinsdale
Has an " Insights " page that shows all their articles. Like this one about human rights and workers’ compensation. See full article here
Stay informed by subscribing to their electronic notifications here .

McLennan Ross LLP has a blog about what they are hearing, seeing and saying to clients. read more here They also produce newsletters and publications you can view here

EDUCATION & TRAINING
All Face to face events have been cancelled .
If you are looking at E-learning MCA Canada has courses that are self-guided instruction, allowing members to take the training at a place and time that suits them best.
For list please click here

Get Instant Access To 8 Coronavirus Focused Conversations For Business Leaders Navigating These Turbulent Times

Dirk Beveridge hosted a series of 20 minute video conversations with leaders and subject matter experts to give you the insight you need to proceed forward with confidence as the days to come are unknown.
T he videos from Leading Through The Coronavirus Pandemic sessions   are live for you NOW!   
 

HEALTH & BENEFITS
Site Safety

On all construction sites, either under a GC or where you are prime contractor, you must do everything possible to follow the advice of Health Officials.
  • Social Distancing: This will require some guidance and practice and there may be elements where you just can’t achieve that, but remember you may be monitored by others and may be impacted by their decisions if they feel you pose a threat.
  • Hand Sanitizers: On new construction sites GCs are working to ensure sinks are being installed as hand sanitizer is not available. Where you are prime contractor, you will need a strategy to ensue workers have an option to ensure you are supporting the governments mandate to keep your workers safe. click here for a chart on making your own) 

COVID-19 SELF-ASSESSMENT

U se this self-assessment tool to help determine whether you should be tested for COVID-19. You can complete this assessment for yourself or on behalf of someone else, if they are not able.
 Self assessment found here
HR CORNER
Anxiety
As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise globally and across Canada, an increasing number of employees and their family members are experiencing increased levels of anxiety. It is normal during this time of uncertainty for employees to speculate on the potential spread of the virus and to experience understandable reactions from worry to anxiety. When faced with uncertainty, we experience physical, emotional and behavioural reactions. We all react somewhat differently.
As a reminder, your employees with equitable insurance have access to i-Volve, Homewood’s Online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
For all details click here
Temporary Lay off Information

Here is some information of Temporary Layoffs that you may need. First is just information click here and the other is a sample letter found here

You can find answers to HR questions regarding Employment Standards including temporary Lay offs, termination and pay, job protected leave and more on the Government of Alberta site here
 https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-employment-standards-rules.aspx