Special Express Issue: COVID-19 – March 20, 2020

Special Express Issue on COVID-19

In order to meet our commitment to provide updates as quickly as possible on COVID-19, as of today the Express will be devoted for an indefinite period of time to updates on the virus. All articles submitted on other topics will be published at a later date. Employees who have submitted articles will be contacted in due course.

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COVID-19 Clarifications on telework

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, public health authorities are urging Canadians to strengthen social distancing measures and to avoid going out for non-essential reasons.

As a result, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) have activated their business continuity plans. This means that we will only continue to provide critical services to Canadians. Employees providing non-critical services are instructed to stay home until further notice. Employees providing critical services and who are able to telework are encouraged to do so. Please consult your manager if you are unsure whether or not you are delivering a critical service.

Critical services include, but are not limited to:

  • primary health care and health protection services
  • non-insured health benefits
  • emergency management measures
  • Jordan’s principle
  • management of health facilities
  • provision of funding for community services such as income assistance, etc.
  • any operations required to maintain safety at any environmental remediation site

In order to maintain continuous communication with employees, we will use all existing communication lines to provide updates to all, including the employee emergency information line (1-877-320-2243) as well as the ISC and CIRNAC intranet. We will continue to monitor the situation and will advise should anything change. Stay safe.

Closure of Kumik lodge

Due to COVID-19 and public health authorities urging Canadians to strengthen social distancing measures and to avoid going out for non-essential reasons, CIRNAC and ISC have made the decision to close the Kumik Lodge for the foreseeable future. We remind all employees and managers to take advantage of available services and supports such as the Employee Assistance Program and the Hope for Wellness Help Line.

Mental health

We are all seized with the importance of taking care of our own mental health during this rapidly changing environment. The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer is currently preparing information for employees to outline key resources and tips for continuing to take care of your mental health and we promise to share the information with you as soon as we receive it.

We also would like to remind you to please contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-268-7708, the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or via online chat at hopeforwellness.ca should you like additional support. Finally, please continue to stay up to date through by visiting the Information for Government of Canada employees: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) website which is updated on a regular basis.

Employee Notification System

Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus we are now launching the new electronic Employee Notification System (ENS). The system will notify you of emergencies which could affect your ability to come in to work (ex: road closures, limited/closed access to specific buildings, etc.) or otherwise impact your workday (ex: network or power outages). With the new ENS, messaging will be targeted to specific groups either via text, e-mail, phone, and even desk-top pop ups. For more information, please consult the intranet page about the Employee Notification System (ENS) from your work account.

Network access priority measures

For employees not delivering critical services, a 2-hour window, from 8 pm to 10 pm (EDT) will be made available every day to access the network to retrieve documents and review e-mails. We ask employees delivering critical services to work offline, if possible, during this 2-hour window.

Template to use for your out of office

Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus, we suggest that you use the template below for your out of office:

Services Canada and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada have suspended all non-critical services due to risks associated with COVID-19 until further notice.

I have limited access to emails, but will be available by phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

If the matter is urgent, please contact: List of contact names and phone numbers.

Cyber Security

Employees should be aware of the current heightened risk of COVID-19 phishing campaigns to lure targets to click on a malicious link. The Communications Security Establishment’s Cyber Centre recommends employees use the following guidance to protect themselves from these types of attempts: Cyber Hygiene for COVID-19

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