CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 26, 2020

This should be applicable for casuals and student aides who will have reduced or no hours. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is a response to major pressure from Canadians including CUPE.

“The CERB will cover people who have lost their job, people who are sick or quarantined, and parents who must stay home without pay to care for children. The benefit also covers workers who have no income due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will cover employees, contract workers, and self-employed workers to the tune of $2,000 per month for the next four months, backdated to March 15, 2020.” CUPE

“Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease, if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19. Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.” Government of Canada

db/8:00 am

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 25 2020

Today’s update. The Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee met online/audio to discuss COVID-19. Quite a few questions and issues will be brought forward to the EOC such as cleaning for specialized areas such as Dental and Nursing; security on both campuses; working in isolation. We also discussed injuries that might occur while you are “working remotely”. If you are injured the same provisions of Worksafe BC would apply to your “working remotely” workspace. If an injury or accident did occur it would necessitate a safety investigation at the workspace.

For those still working at the Downtown campus from now until April 30 the College will not charge employees for parking in the parkade. They are currently changing the access control system so to gain access call security at 604-816-7973 and they will open the gate to the parkade. Staff can then contact Caralee Maloney and she will issue an access card to be able to exit the DTN parkade.

For those still working at the Broadway campus the lots are no longer patrolled by Impark. We recognize that over 54% of our members take public transit but for those that have the ability to drive into work this would be a way for them to avoid public transit if that is a concern.

Still getting questions about working remotely. Yes the faculty have to sign the same form and are under the same working arrangements as CUPE–and Administration. You are required to fill out the form and have it approved for FOIPPA and Worksafe BC requirements.

The numbers of COVID-19 cases keep rising in the province of British Columbia. The best course of action is available here.

Keep the questions coming! Keep safe. Elbow bump.

db/4:50 pm

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 24. 2020

The College has moved to online learning. Many of you have transitioned or are transitioning to working from home. Please ensure that you have completed the required form and read the guidelines. If you are having any issues with working from home please contact the Union.

Vacation submission deadline of March 31, 2020 has been extended to April 30, 2020. Please read the Know Your CA: Annual Vacation. Vacation form.

db/1:00 pm

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 19, 2020

Some resources from CUPE National:

COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Occupational Health & Safety Guidelines

CUPE Backgrounder on Federal Income Support

db/8:30 pm

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 18, 2020

Today the College implemented provisions to temporarily work from home. In these extraordinary circumstances we agree and support this initiative. There is already collective agreement language in regards to telework but this language applies to ALL College employees. Some of you are already working from home and many of our members will be able to utilize this opportunity. Fill out the form asap if this is something that could be of benefit to you. If you have any issues contact a Shop Steward and we will work with the Employer to address any concerns.

Unfortunately not all work is suitable for working remotely. At this time please still report for work as usual unless directed otherwise by your Supervisor.

An issue arose today regarding calling in sick. If you are sick by all means notify your Supervisor immediately and do not report to work. You do not have to disclose the nature of your illness. There was some misinformation going around that if you called in sick for one day then you must self-isolate for 14 days. This is not true. You can be sick with another malady that is not COVID-19. Again, your Supervisor is not a medical professional and you do not have to disclose. If you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms then it is best to self-isolate for the 14 days as per Vancouver Coastal Health. There is a new COVID-19 self assessment tool to assist.

Normally VCC requires a medical note after 5 days of illness. At this time the Employer will not require you to obtain a medical note in order to minimize impact on our health care system. The Employer will require a self-declaration document.

Most casual work at the College has ceased. At this time the only option available to casual workers will be to apply for EI. There is no need to contact the Employer for a Record of Employment (ROE) as that will be done through Service Canada. There are a few other issues we’re trying to address and will update the membership here.

Thanks as always to Robyn Wood who is representing CUPE members on the College’s EOC and to the Shop Stewards assisting CUPE members. And thanks to the all the College’s employee’s working on the EOC. The EOC is meeting everyday; everyday, and sometimes every hour, brings new information and challenges.

Keep safe. Be kind. Self-isolation is not alone–reach out if you need anything.

db March 18, 2020 7:26 pm

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 17, 2020 7:00 am

Yesterday the College suspended face-to-face instruction but student services are still available. CUPE staff provide the majority of student services.

The College has moved to:

  • Limit the number of people in spaces to a maximum of 50 people as per the guideline of the BC Health Authority.
  • Adjusting physical space to create the minimum 2 meters between people.
  • Communication to students about online classes and prudent
  • Cleaning has been increased for high traffic areas and touch points.

The Provincial Health Officer instructed anyone who had attended the Pacific Dental Conference to self isolate for 14 days. Dental went home yesterday.

There is another EOC meeting this morning at 8:00 am. We will provide an update today.

We are also still working towards telework arrangements for staff that have work that can be done remotely.

Thank you for reaching out to the Union shop stewards and Occupational Health & Safety representatives. The concerns you express to us are brought forward to the Employer.

db/7:06 am

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 16, 2020 2:00 pm

Will update this page when needed. Many of you may have heard the new from the Government of Canada regarding further travel restrictions.

The EOC has been meeting this morning and liaising with Government on how to proceed. The plans this morning at 8:00 am have changed as of 10:00 am and we hope to have an update later this afternoon.

If you attended the Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver the advice from Vancouver Coastal Health was to watch for symptoms but no need to self-isolate. You should decide what is best for your health.

Should you feel unsafe in the workplace you have the right to refuse unsafe work. Worksafe BC  outlines the steps to take. 1. Report the unsafe work to your supervisor. 2. If you are still feeling unsafe after the supervisor has advised you that it is safe contact any Occupational Health & Safety Representative 3. Contact Worksafe BC

We have been assured that the cleaning protocols are at the next level. There are measures being taken to address areas such as the cafeterias and libraries to ensure proper social distancing and limiting to less than 50 people.

Check back for more updates later today.

db/2:15 pm

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 March 13, 2020 8:06 am

Coronavirus or COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. This health and safety issue is changing rapidly. Resources you can consult include:

BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) | Health Canada | Vancouver Coastal Health | Government of Canada Travel Advisories | CUPE BC Quarantine Guide | Health Link BC call 811

The Union is part of the Employer’s Emergency Operations Committee (EOC). We are represented on EOC by Robyn Wood, Co-Chair of VCC’s Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee. EOC is meeting weekly with the next scheduled meeting being Monday March 16, 2020.

Yesterday the Union met with the Employer to discuss cleaning protocols, self-isolation, medical notes, telework and business continuity. We hope to have more information to communicate to the membership as soon as it is finalized.

If you are sick or must self-isolate:

  • CUPE members on benefits can access sick leave or Short-Term Disability (STD)
  • CUPE members without benefits can access EI Sick Leave. On March 11, 2020 it was announced that the 1 week waiting period for EI Sick Leave has been waived.

From the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC):

  • Follow the same advice that public health officials recommend for the cold and flu season: wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid others who are unwell, and stay home when you are sick.
  • The most important thing a person can do to prevent getting coronavirus is to wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their face.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough so you’re not exposing other people. If you are sick yourself, stay away from others. Contact your health care provider ahead of time so you can be safely assessed.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact a Shop Steward or an OH&S Committee member. Expect further updates early next week.

March 13, 2020 8:06 am