Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): latest updates from Canada and CFIA

Canada is closing its doors to the world by severely restricting international flights. “We will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents,” said prime minister Trudeau. 

In an effort to ensure the continued health and well-being of employees and their families during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency shares the following update on key changes to flexible work arrangements and leave requirements:

The Prime Minister advised Canadians to avoid international travel. In light of this, employees are asked to take into consideration public health travel advisories as per the active travel health notices and declare any intent to travel to their manager, this includes cross-border shopping.

Individual cases may have to be examined on their own merits (for example if you willingly choose to travel to affected areas contrary to public health advice.)

The advice on leave provisions contained in the FAQ document online has now been amended as follows:

Employees returning from international travel, including the United States: Effective immediately, to ensure the health and safety of all employees, any employee returning from international travel, including the United States, is not to return to the workplace for 14 days from their return date into Canada.

Employees that are required by public health officials to self-isolate: If in good health and able to work, you will be asked to discuss with your manager the option of telework. If that is not possible, you can be granted "other leave with pay (699 code)" as per your collective agreement.

If you are at a higher risk than normal during a COVID-19 pandemic due to a predisposed medical condition, an immune deficiency or an identified condition, such as pregnancy, please discuss with your manager and refer to direction in the CFIA manager guide.

Labour shortages feared
The news makes Canadian growers fear labour shortages - as shown in the video below.


All managers/supervisors should:

  • have a copy of their up-to-date branch Business Continuity Plan (BCP) at work and at home, and understand their responsibilities related to it. The BCP outlines measures, procedures, roles and responsibilities that will help ensure minimal or no interruption to critical services and assets
  • update their team contact information lists (including personal information) and ensure they can access it in case of emergency

All employees should:

  • give their manager up-to-date contact information. This information should also be updated in PeopleSoft
  • make note of CFIA's toll-free 24/7 Emergency and Business Continuity Hotline (1-855-227-2342), which can be reached from anywhere in the country. This number is available on the back of your security pass. In the event of a disruption to CFIA operations, this hotline will play back a pre-recorded message explaining the nature of the emergency and what to do.
  • discuss with their manager whether their position was identified as essential in the BCP, and understand their responsibilities related to it.

For more information on daycare and school closures, flexible work arrangements, mental health at other topics, visit the Inspection website.

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