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Another month of social distancing and self-isolation is drawing to a close. It’s possible we are nearing the time when we can let down our guard a little bit, breathe deeply and consider some expanded activities, perhaps even consider opening our offices and shops again. What are the things you need to be thinking about in order to protect workers, suppliers, contractors and your customers?  We’ve included a few suggestions to help you prepare because your workplace may require more planning than you expected.

Here are this week’s topics for you:

  1. Re-opening? What can you be doing now?
  2. NEW Student Employment Benefits
  3. HR Foundations Health Check (free of charge)
  4. Link to Federal Government Programs

Re-opening? What can you be doing now?

The province of BC is preparing the public health guidelines and it’s expected they will be releasing more information on Wednesday next week. There are steps you can start thinking about even before we have these details:

  1. Work environment:
    • Ensure you have adequate cleaning supplies and PPE equipment on hand to maintain cleaning and hygiene protocols, including signage to reinforce hand-washing, social distancing, etc. for employees and customers.
    • Establish consistent standards for cleaning and sanitizing all areas, supervisors should have checklists and conduct routine inspections to validate all processes.
    • Install physical barriers to protect workers and re-organize office space to provide for social distancing in all common areas, including reception, shared work spaces and lunchrooms. Establish rules for movement in hallways and consider access to washrooms with safe distancing in mind.
    • Know your limits for the maximum number of people in a work space and consider how you will monitor how many individuals come and go.
    • Allow workers to continue to work from home if possible, limit meetings, implement staggered shifts, manage break times.
    • Implement or update a clear, written sick policy to ensure employees can stay home if they have any illness symptoms.
  1. Occupational Health & Safety requirements
    • Employer responsibility extends beyond your own employees to cleaners, contractors, suppliers and customers.
    • Identify and remedy hazardous conditions in your workplace.
    • Ensure you have an exposure control plan, including the control measures and employee and supervisor training in place specific to your individual work place(s).
    • Empower your health and safety committee or representative to assist in monitoring safe work protocols, hazards, maintain strong communication and meticulous records on all activities.
    • Understand a workers’ right to refuse unsafe work and implement a clear communication protocol, investigation process and maintain written records of all actions taken in response to the employee’s concerns.

NEW Student Employment Benefits

The House of Commons approved a new initiative to provide financial support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for CERB or Unemployment Insurance. The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to eligible students of either $1,250 per month (May to August) or $2,000 if a student is disabled or supporting a family member. Students who are able to find employment over the summer are still eligible to receive this funding if they make less than $1000 per month. Students who accept a volunteer position can earn between $1,000 and $5,000 through the Canada Student Service Grant.

The government had previously announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program. Now, employers who hire summer students can apply for a subsidy of up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial hourly minimum wage. The time frame for the job placements are also being extended until the end of February 2020 to compensate for later start dates. The positions can also be part-time reflective of expected reductions in revenue and business requirements over the next few months.

HR Health Check – free of charge

As HR professionals, we know the health and well-being of any company is a reflection of its employees. This comes from a strong foundation of HR policies and sound business people practices. Let us help you ensure your HR fundamentals are ‘healthy’, up-to-date and well-crafted and ready for when you re-open.  And we’re going to get you going on this, at no charge.

At TallSky, we have been busy helping some of our clients dust off their HR policies and practices and ensure these foundation materials are relevant, up-to-date, and well-crafted to these changing times. 

What does this HR Health Check look like?  Free of charge, we will meet with you virtually and walk you through an HR Assessment of your business.  We will provide you with the advice you need right now, and then we will review your current policies and practices and work with you to update your materials so you are ready to go when we all receive the green amber light to get out there.  We will apply our best practice and plain language writing expertise to guide you through any necessary changes.  We are here to help you. 

We bring over 25 years’ experience working with businesses of all sizes.  So, lean on us to help you with your fundamental HR needs.  Again, our HR Health Check is absolutely free of charge.  This usually takes a couple of hours.  Then, if you want, we will work with you to update these foundation materials.  Or we will give you the tools so you can do this yourselves.

You’ve had a lot on your plate.  Let us help you.

Link to Federal Government Benefits

We recently came across a helpful information summary provided by Harris & Company, LLP that we want to share with you. It shows the Government Programs available, and it includes links to the applications forms.


Our team at TallSky Consulting is working with the mottos  “choose positive” and “keep moving every single day”.  We are focused on our clients and our team and suggest this is a great time for you to focus on your people as well.  It’s human nature to tend to under-communicate in situations where the future is not quite clear and it’s never been more important to stay connect ed.  Consider sharing updates about your team members with their peers to create a human connection about their lives today.  Profile your wonderful employees to your clients in social media; remind your clients about the individuals on your team – what is their special role in your company; add a few words on how important these people are to your organization.  The human element at this time is so important.

We continue to offer our expertise as/when you need it, and from our virtual offices to yours.  Please contact us to discuss how we can help your company prepare for re-opening. 

DISCLAIMER:  The information is provided as general information on these topics, and given the rapidly evolving environment, they may not be relevant with recent updates or changes on the topic. These materials are not meant to be a substitute for specific legal advice. Please do not rely solely upon this information for making decisions regarding employees in your workplace.