FAQ For City Employees

NEW! COVID-19 Self-Screening Assessment

Effective Monday, April 27, 2020, all employees reporting to a physical work location (not working from home) are expected to review the self-screening tool daily before they report to their workplace. It is recommended that you complete this tool one hour before attending work.


Special Edition Employee Newsletter

Have a question for HR during COVID-19?

Q&As are updated on a daily basis, your question may already be answered below. Duplicate questions and answers will not be posted.
If staff have a specific question for HR email [email protected]

To obtain the latest advice from Public Health authorities, all persons are strongly encouraged to periodically review the following websites:
www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus
www.hamilton.ca/coronavirus

 

City of Hamilton Employee COVID-19 Question & Answer

The FAQ is being updated based on recommendations and direction from Public Health, the Province of Ontario, and the Federal Government. Employees should check back regularly for updates.

Disclaimer: This Question and Answer (FAQ) document will be updated periodically as circumstances require but should not be viewed as constituting public health or legal advice. Employees should check back regularly for updates.

If an employee has booked vacation during this time, and their City facility closes, do they still have to use their vacation days? (updated May 28, 2020)
All pre-booked, pre-schedule vacation beyond May 25th must be taken and cannot be rescheduled, subject to operational requirements. Details have been sent to CLT and are available on eNet and Howi under COVID Employee Resources, staff updates for May 21, 2020.


Employees may require time off during this time for various reasons. This could be to take care of children due to the closure of schools from March 14 to June 30, 2020, or to take care of an immediate family member who is ill. (updated May 21, 2020)
During this time, greater flexibility will be given to employees for time off, subject to operational requirements. This time off could include the use of vacation allowance, lieu time, flex time or telecommuting.


Are staff paid if they are home due to being quarantined/self-isolating? (non-travel related) (updated March 27, 2020)
If an employee has been directed by Public Health Services, Telehealth Ontario, their doctor or any other healthcare professional that they are required to self-isolate, the employer will pay them for lost time related to the time away from work. If they are directed to isolate because they are being investigated for COVID 19, have had close contact with someone diagnosed with or under investigation for COVID 19, they are also required to contact the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726. All other sick absences are to be reported to their department only.

Employees who decide to self-isolate without medical direction to do so will need to discuss with their supervisor options for covering the time. Options could include working at home, using vacation time or taking unpaid leave of absence.

If an employee becomes totally disabled from attending work due to illness, they may qualify for sick benefits.


With the closures, what is the plan for seasonal City employees?  Normal work season is from April to November and this timeline might be impacted. Will they be compensated or redeployed? (updated: March 24, 2020)
No decisions have yet been made with respect to seasonal employees, including summer students.  Some hiring will be delayed as a result of COVID-19.


If a City of Hamilton employee was scheduled for vacation and now has to go into self-isolation due to travelling internationally, do they get that vacation time back and will they still get paid for their time in self-isolation? (updated March 18, 2020)
Any pre-scheduled and approved vacation remains in place. Whether or not the employee gets paid for self-isolation period depends on when they travelled.


Are employees obligated to tell their direct supervisor if they are travelling out of country? (updated March 14, 2020)
All employees are obligated to notify their direct supervisor if they are travelling out of country.


Are staff paid if they are home due self-isolation? (travel related) (updated March 18, 2020)
In accordance with the recommendations from the Government of Canada, non-essential travel to the US is not permitted, and all non-essential international travel should be avoided. 

In order to support employees during this time of uncertainty, the City of Hamilton has established the following travel guidelines for staff:

Return from Travel on or before March 13, 2020
Employees returning from international travel (including the US) before March 14, 2020, do not have to self-isolate unless otherwise directed by a healthcare professional. Employees are asked to self monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop, take the online assessment tool and advise the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726 if you are required to contact public health.

All employees are required to notify their Supervisor if they are travelling out of country.  All international (including US) travel, must be reported to their Supervisor upon their return home. 

Travel from March 14 to March 18, 2020 (inclusive)
All international (including US) travel, must be reported to their Supervisor upon their return home.  

Employees returning from international travel (including US), must self-isolate and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for a total of 14 calendar days from the date they return home. This applies regardless of whether staff feel sick or not. If symptoms develop, take the online assessment tool and contact public health if they screen positive.

Employees returning in this time frame may be paid for their self-isolation period, subject to supervisory review.

Prior to their return to work, such employees must advise the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726.

Return from Travel after March 18, 2020
All international (including US) travel, must be reported to their Supervisor upon their return home.  

Employees returning from international travel (including US), must self-isolate and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for a total of 14 calendar days from the date they return home. This applies regardless of whether staff feel sick or not. If symptoms develop, take the online assessment tool and contact public health if they screen positive.

Employees that are returning after this date will be required to be covered by either flex time, lieu time, vacation time or non-paid leave of absence. Time taken during the mandatory 14 calendar day self-isolation period. Such absences will not be paid. Exceptions may include work from home opportunities.

Prior to their return to work, such employees must advise the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726.

Departures after March 18, 2020
When making a decision about your non-essential travel plans, please consider that mandatory time off from work taken during the mandatory 14 calendar day self-isolation period will be required to be covered by either flex time, lieu time, vacation time or non-paid leave of absence. Such absences will not be paid otherwise. Exceptions may include work from home opportunities.

All employees are required to notify their Supervisor if they choose to travel outside of Canada (including the US) for either non-essential or essential reasons. 

Employees returning from international travel (including US), must self-isolate and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for a total of 14 calendar days from the date they return home.  This applies regardless of whether staff feel sick or not. If symptoms develop, take the online assessment tool and contact public health if they screen positive.

Essential travel plans will require documentation to support the essential reasons for travel and will be considered case by case for payment of the self-isolation period.

Prior to their return to work, such employees must advise the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726.


Can an employee claim sick time if they have already been pre-approved for vacation time? (updated March 14, 2020)
If an employee becomes sick but already has vacation time booked, they are to continue with their pre-approved vacation.


Is the City suspending/relaxing requirements for sick leave notes or sick claim forms? (updated March 16, 2020)
The requirement for sick leave notes or sick claim forms for all absences is suspended until further notice.  The Attendance Management Program (AMP) is suspended, as well as all Income Protection Plan (IPP) requirements, in the Collective Bargaining Agreements, until further notice.

Although we have suspended requirements for sick leave notes and sick claim forms, employees are still required to report their absence:

  • Non COVID-19 related illness – report to direct supervisor only
  • COVID-19 related illness – report to direct supervisor and the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726.

NOTE: Given the circumstances, the City of Hamilton is entitled to ask if an absence is COVID-19 related.


If a staff member becomes sick with COVID-19, are they eligible for sick leave benefits? (updated March 18, 2020)
Yes, provided they are eligible for sick leave benefits (i.e. full-time employees)


Are employees that are immunocompromised, pregnant or considered medically high-risk and told to stay home by their doctor going to be paid for their absence? (updated March 23, 2020)
Yes.  If an employee is concerned their own health condition puts them at risk, they should contact their doctor or healthcare specialist for advice.  If their doctor or any other healthcare professional directs them to self-isolate, the employer will pay them for lost time related to the time away from work. They are also required to contact the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726.


Will there be staff lay-offs? (updated March 17, 2020)
No. There are no planned lay-offs.


What happens to part-time employees during this time? (updated April 17, 2020)
As of May 5, 2020, the City is discontinuing the scheduling of hours for part-time employees whose work is not essential at this time of the pandemic emergency. Although this affects all City departments, staff in the Recreation division will see the greatest impact, particularly around summer programming.


If staff end up having to take unpaid leave at this time, will there be the normal penalty to seniority and/or vacation entitlement pro-rating like there normally would be with leave days? (updated March 17, 2020)
No.  There will be no penalties.


Will a City employee have to go into 14 calendar day self isolation if they have come into contact with someone who has travelled internationally (including the US)? (updated March 16, 2020)
The 14 calendar day self-isolation period is for travellers only.  Consideration for the 14 calendar day self isolation period for the employee will only take place in the event having come into contact with the employee has demonstrated symptoms of COVID-19.


Can staff take a non-paid leave of absence during this time? (updated May 21, 2020)
Staff can take a non-paid leave of absence for more than 15 working days, subject to operational requirements, this opportunity has been extended until further notice.


What options are available for employees that would like to work from home? (updated March 23, 2020)
During this time, the City of Hamilton’s Flexible Work Arrangement policy and Telecommuting Policy and Procedures will be relaxed on a temporary basis. Staff should note that the Information Technology division is currently working to increase capacity for VPN. Supervisors are being directed to exercise flexibility and discretion in approving flexible work arrangements, subject to continuing to meet operational requirements and expected service levels.


What type of leave can an employee use if their child or an immediate family member is sick and they need to stay home to care for them? (updated March 14, 2020)
Employees have several options in this circumstance:

  • Employees may be permitted to request same day vacation, lieu or unpaid time off, or secure other acceptable forms of absence
  • Employees are strongly encouraged to consider a back-up person who can provide care in case the main caregiver becomes sick or is otherwise unavailable.
  • Additional assistance and time off may be granted under the Ontario Employment Standards Act. Leaves may include:
    • Family Medical Leave is unpaid, job-protected leave of up to twenty-eight (28) weeks in a 52 week period.
    • Family medical leave is taken to provide care or support to certain family members and people who consider the employee to be like a family member in respect of whom a qualified health practitioner has issued a certificate stating that he or she has a serious illness with a significant risk of death occurring within a period of 26 weeks.
    • Family Caregiver Leave is unpaid, job protected leave of up to eight (8) weeks within a calendar year. Family Caregiver Leave is taken to provide care or support to a family member with a serious chronic or episodic medical condition.
    • Critical Illness Leave is up to 37 weeks of unpaid leave to care for or support a critically ill minor child, or 17 weeks to care for or support a critically ill adult family member.
    • Sick Leave is up to three days of unpaid leave in each calendar year due to employee illness, injury or medical emergency.
    • Family Responsibility Leave is up to three days in each calendar year due to the illness, injury, medical emergency or other urgent matter of a prescribed family member.

What can staff do if they suspect that one of their co-workers are displaying symptoms that could be related to the virus and they feel at risk? (updated March 14, 2020)
Employees should not speculate on the health of co-workers. Employees are encouraged to adopt the personal infection control recommendations outlined in this document.


Can employees refuse to work if they are concerned that they may be exposed to the COVID-19 virus? (updated March 14, 2020)
The work refusal provisions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and our corporate procedure for refusing unsafe work will remain in force during a pandemic. However, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) may not have the necessary resources available during a pandemic emergency to respond to refusals. As per the legislation, a MOL inspector is not required to attend the workplace in person in order to rule as to whether or not the circumstances surrounding a work refusal is likely or not likely to endanger a worker.

In those cases where the MOL has been notified of an ongoing work refusal, and have indicated that they cannot respond forthwith, the City will take its direction from the MOL on whether to await an investigation, postpone the MOL intervention or abandon the work refusal.

NOTE: In order to exercise their right to refuse unsafe work under the OHSA, a worker must first report to their workplace and notify their supervisor that they are refusing to work. The work refusal procedure will not apply to a worker who phones from home and refuses to report to work because they believe it is unsafe.

On March 17, 2020, the Premier of Ontario declared a state of emergency in Ontario amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This triggered an obligation on employers, under Section 50.1 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000, to provide impacted employees with an unpaid, job-protected leave of absence known as “declared emergency leave”. Here is a summary of the key things employers need to know about this leave.

When is the declared Emergency Leave available?
For employees to qualify, two factors must arise:

1. There must be a declaration of an emergency in part or all of Ontario pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Premier Ford triggered this yesterday; and

2. Employees must be unable to work as a result of one of the following circumstances:

An employee qualifies for emergency leave if they must provide “care or assistance” to:

  • the employee’s spouse.
  • a parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  • a child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse.
  • a grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or of the employee’s spouse.
  • the spouse of a child of the employee.
  • the employee’s brother or sister.
  • a relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance.

An example of a situation under this would include an employee who is unable to work because they need to stay home with their child because the child’s school or daycare has been temporarily closed as a result of an order.


Who is entitled to Emergency Leave?
This leave is available to all employees. Unlike other ESA leaves, there is no minimum service requirement.


Does an employee have to notify their employer in order to access the Leave?
Yes. They have to give their employer notice prior to taking the leave, or where that is not possible, as soon as possible after starting the leave.


Can the employer ask for evidence?
Yes. An employer may require an employee to provide evidence that is “reasonable in the circumstances” that he or she is or was entitled to take the leave. Such evidence may include a note from an employee’s daycare provider that the daycare was closed because of a declared emergency.


How long does declared Emergency Leave last?
Generally, declared emergency leave ends on the day that the declared emergency is terminated or disallowed. Subject to some exceptions, an employee’s right to this leave of absence will also end at that time.


Are employees entitled to benefits while on Emergency Leave?
An employee on Emergency Leave has the right to continue participating in the employer’s benefit plans and to require the employer to pay its share of the contributions during the leave.


Is the declared Emergency Leave retroactive?
If an order is made retroactively pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, an employee will be deemed to have been on leave beginning the first day the employee stopped performing their duties as a result of the declared emergency. The Employment Standards Act, 2000 prohibits reprisal by an employer against an employee for not performing the duties of their position while on leave.

For staff working from home, in order to keep documents moving along and to ease the provision of signatures required for approvals, will IT consider allowing City laptops to connect to personal printers? (updated: March 22, 2020)
Yes, it is possible for City laptops to connect to personal printers, but it is unsupported from an IT perspective. Staff may have to first disconnect from VPN, then connect their printer.


Will network password reset requirements be suspended for the next while? Users have to be connected to the network to update passwords, and with people working remotely, there are likely going to be many calls or emails to IT to help with password resets. (updated: March 22, 2020)
Since password resets are an essential key to security protection, we are unable to suspend them from occurring. However, we will be extending the reset period to120 days to assist with reducing the calls to the service desk.


With staff using CityNet access for remote working, can staff access their established email archive files? (updated March 22, 2020)
This is currently being investigated by the City’s IT division and a solution will be posted once available.

What cleaning and safety protocols are in place for City employees driving fleet vehicles at this time? (updated: March 24, 2020)
The City has implemented specific cleaning protocols and instructions for essential City employees to enhance a safe work environment, including those employees who drive fleet vehicles.


How are city offices that aren't closed being cleaned? In particular, City Centre space occupied by City of Hamilton employees. Can you please confirm that enhanced cleaning has been implemented for all city offices and workplaces? (updated March 18, 2020)
Enhanced cleaning has been implemented at the City Centre.  There is afterhours cleaning (after 5 pm) as well as during the day high frequently touched surfaces are disinfected twice during the day shift.


How do I report if my facility is not being cleaned to the increased disinfection and cleaning guidelines? (updated March 16, 2020)
If the facility where you work is not being cleaned to the increased disinfection and cleaning guidelines, please report this to the Facilities help desk at [email protected]


Is the City of Hamilton providing hand sanitizer to employees? (updated March 14, 2020)
Hand washing with soap and water is the single most important infection prevention and control practice. Hand sanitizers provide an important backup to hand washing as part of an overall hand hygiene program. Where hand washing facilities are not available or easily accessed due to work demands, departments are encouraged to provide employees with alcohol-based hand sanitizers so they can protect themselves.

It is not necessary to require the public to use the hand sanitizer but it could be available for their use as well. It is more important that employees take the necessary steps to protect themselves including frequent hand washing, coughing into their sleeves and staying home if they are sick. Currently, hand sanitizers are in short supply and our supplier, Staples Canada, is limiting requests to healthcare settings only.

NOTE: Hand sanitizers should not be used to clean soiled hands. Noticeably dirty hands must be washed using soap and water.

For full-time benefit eligible employees, and employees who have this coverage in accordance with their respective collective agreements, what effect will COVID-19 have on their travel insurance? (updated March 30, 2020)
For Emergency Out-of-province and Out-of-Canada insurance, when travelling, if you or a covered member of your family have a medical emergency and get sick (with COVID-19 or another illness), your Out-of-province/Out-of-Canada coverage will pay for your emergency medical treatments, subject to the terms of your contract.

If you or a family member experience a medical emergency and get sick while travelling and are quarantined (example: diagnosed with COVID-19), you would be eligible for coverage under your emergency Out-of-province/Out-of-Canada benefit, subject to the terms of your contract.

Please contract Manulife for more details at 1-800-268-6195.

Non-Union & HOWEA Only
If your Group Benefits insurance policy includes Emergency Travel Assistance, your Trip Interruption coverage will cover your costs for food, accommodations, and return transportation home (example: if you miss your originally scheduled flight), subject to the terms of your contract.

If you are placed in medical quarantine while travelling but are not sick or having a medical emergency, in the case where you have Emergency Travel Assistance, your plan would not provide any coverage for trip interruption costs. This is because Emergency Travel Assistance is intended to protect you if you have a medical emergency or get sick.

Call Allianz (1-800-363-1835) to confirm the best toll-free number to use from the country you’re visiting. Keep it with you while travelling.

All Other Unions
Employees will be responsible for issuing payment for any eligible expenses directly to the health care provider. Once payment has been issued the claim can be submitted to Manulife for reimbursement.

Please refer to the Manulife FAQ updated as of March 27, 2020:


What is the plan for all the non-essential staff who are healthy and at home such as recreation staff or office staff whose duties can't be done at home? Are there any plans or updates on re-deployment? (updated: March 24, 2020)
The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is working with all Operating Departments to identify employees available for redeployment and has already begun re-assigning available employees to fill urgent requests to support the City’s COVID-19 response.  Currently all redeployment is being coordinated through the EOC, in relation to COVID-19 activities.  Departments and Divisions are also reassigning employees within their respective to activities that can be performed as a result of service reductions or program cancellations, such as facilities maintenance.


While working from home, what is the process for employees who were, prior to COVID-19, approved to work under the Flexible Work Arrangement Policy. Are they able to continue with flex hours/time? (updated: March 24, 2020)
Provided operational issues have not been altered, and subject to supervisory approval, employees should be able to continue with prior flexible working arrangements, including flex hours, etc.


What happens to my parking spot while I’m working from home?
Employee parking permits for municipal car parks for the month of May and June will continue to be renewed through payroll deductions or pre-authorized payment on the normal schedule. For employees who renew monthly in person at any of our service centres, May and June permits can be paid for over the phone utilizing a Visa or Mastercard by calling 905-540-6000, or by cheque dropped through the mail slot located at the front entrance of 80 Main Street West location. A Customer Service Representative will assist you in the mailing out or pick-up of your parking permit. All current employee car park permits will continue to be honoured in all municipal parking lots until May 31, 2020.

We are unable to suspend payroll deduction or authorized payment while staff are working from home. Staff have the option to cancel their permit and have their name put back on the wait list to obtain any available parking permits once staff have returned to city administrative buildings. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee a permit will be available in your current location or other desired locations when an employee returns to their workplace.


Are those City of Hamilton employees who have been asked to work from home able to go into the office if they choose? (updated: March 24, 2020)
All employees that are able to work from home must do so. Only those employees required to attend at the office for work are permitted to do so.


Staff at the City of Hamilton Environmental Lab are diligent about working around hazards on a daily basis. A question arose from the team as to what would happen if someone at the lab was to have the COVID-19 virus. Would staff be under quarantine at the lab and continue working or would the lab shutdown and our regulatory samples need to be analyzed by a contracted lab(s). (updated March 18, 2020)
Employees coming into contact with a staff member having COVID-19 would have to self-isolate. They would self-isolate at home and would be paid by City.


Do City of Hamilton co-op students that have been told by the College/University not to come to work continued to get paid? Do they still have to come into work for the City on a redeployment? (updated: March 18, 2020)
Yes, co-op students would continue to be paid. They may be subject to redeployment, depending on circumstances.


What City occupations are at a greater risk of exposure for contracting COVID-19? (updated March 14, 2020)
Employees having greater contact with the general public, health workers providing care and / or services in the community will be at greater risk of exposure for the virus. The risk may be higher for certain aerosol generating medical procedures (e.g. intubation, suctioning, etc.).


What precautions is the City taking in protecting City staff? (updated March 14, 2020)
All levels of government are monitoring the global coronavirus situation and have taken measures to ensure public health readiness at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. Here in Hamilton, our Public Health, Hamilton Paramedic Service, Human Resources staff, local hospitals, post-secondary institutions and the Ministry of Health are all working together to monitor the situation and taking all the necessary steps to be fully prepared for any appropriate responses. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures are in place for all open City facilities.


What is the responsibility of management if they notice that one of their employees is sick and returned from a vacation before the self-isolation dates? (updated March 17, 2020)
The expectation is that management send the employee home or to a medical office for check-up.


Is a supervisor obligated to tell staff that one of their co-workers has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19? (updated March 14, 2020)
Supervisors are not permitted to share this information. You can remind employees of the importance of practicing good hygiene to prevent illness.


If an employee contracts COVID-19 and suspects this was contracted in the workplace is it considered a WSIB claim? (updated March 14, 2020)
Employees have a right to claim a work-related illness with the WSIB. Accordingly, incident reporting procedures remain in effect. Such a claim is subject to adjudication by the WSIB which determines eligibility to compensation if the claim is substantiated.


Should staff be wearing a mask or respirator at work? (updated March 16, 2020)
Surgical/procedure masks or N95 respirators are only required by healthcare workers in circumstances where there is potential exposure to patients with confirmed or suspected respiratory illness. Employees in healthcare settings will follow their department specific procedures for determining when wearing a mask or respirator is required.

Employees in non-healthcare setting are not required to wear masks or respirators.

There is no evidence to suggest that wearing masks will prevent the spread of infection in the general population or employees in non-healthcare settings. Improper use of masks may in fact increase the risk of infection. Masks do not act as an effective barrier against disease when they are worn for extended periods of time. In addition, removing your mask incorrectly can spread virus to your hands and face.

Wearing a mask when you are not ill may give a false sense of security. There is a potential risk of infection with improper mask use and disposal. They also need to be changed frequently.

Departments/divisions in conjunction with Health, Safety and Wellness Specialists and JHSCs need to assess the risk of exposure and use the results to make informed decisions about the appropriate infection control measures and procedures, personal protective equipment, education and training.


What if the program that an employee works for has been cancelled or a facility is closed? (updated March 14, 2020)
During this time, if a City program is cancelled, all staff may be redeployed to another work area. Otherwise, subject to direction from a direct Supervisor, affected staff will not be required to report to work. No employees will be laid-off at this time.


Can an employee refuse redeployment? (updated March 14, 2020)
Employees may be redeployed to positions within their skill capability to safely perform the work. Employees cannot refuse redeployment. This may include a different work location or other job duties.

Where a job requires certification, all reasonable efforts must be made to use qualified employees. Where tasks require timely completion for health and safety reasons, and no qualified employees are available, the manager or supervisor shall assign the most qualified person to complete the tasks, or perform such work themselves, until a qualified person is available.


What if an employee who is at work becomes ill with suspected COVID-19? (updated March 14, 2020)
If an employee is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, they should go home immediately to avoid spreading the illness to other staff members and clients receiving service or health care. They are required to contact their local Public Health Authority to report their illness and advise the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726.


Does an employee need to see a doctor and submit a sick absence form or doctor’s note if they have a presumptive or confirmed case of COVID-19? (updated March 14, 2020)
Employees are required to contact their local Public Health Authority to report their illness and advise the City of Hamilton’s Occupational Health Nurse at ext. 4726. With respect to obtaining a doctor’s note, greater flexibility and discretion will be given to staff during this time for sick absences related to COVID-19.


I have scheduled a mandatory training session(s). What will happen with these mandatory training? (updated March 16, 2020)
Mandatory training continues to be subject to operational requirements and supervisory discretion.  If mandatory training is required in order deliver essential services, then it will proceed.


What if employees have pre-scheduled staff training and conferences? (updated March 14, 2020)

  • All in-person, non-essential training attended or hosted by City staff between now and April 30, 2020 is cancelled.
  • All in-person staff attendance at conferences or professional development activities between now and April 30, 2020 are cancelled, and all City-hosted conferences or professional development activities between now and April 30, 2020 are cancelled.
  • Staff are also asked not to book any public meetings or events until further notice.
  • Staff are not required to attend any public meetings hosted by external partners or City of Hamilton Advisory Committee meetings.

Are face-to-face internal staff meetings still supposed to take place? What if staff come from different buildings? (updated March 18, 2020)
Unless absolutely essential, there should be no face to face meetings.  Any staff meetings should take place virtually (i.e. conference call, WebEx, etc.).


If City employees are required to report to work in a City facility that is closed, will they be able to access the building? (updated March 16, 2020)
Yes. All employees that are required to report to work will have access to the buildings.  When necessary, appropriate Security personnel will be stationed at the entrances. For example, IT employees working out of the Hamilton Public Library, Central Branch will have access to their workspace.


Can staff bring their kids to work during the school closure? (updated March 16, 2020)
No. The City of Hamilton is not equipped to have children in the workplace and staff are not permitted to bring their children to work during this time.  Please see below responses for clarity on options for employees during this time.


How can City staff stop the spread of COVID-19? (updated March 14, 2020)
There are some things that we can all do to be diligent in our workplaces to prevent the spread of all types of respiratory illnesses, including the flu.

Public Health advises:

  • washing your hands often with soap and water
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick
  • covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth to prevent illness
  • cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces, and
  • getting the flu shot, if you haven’t already done so

What options are available to staff in order to reduce exposure to large groups? (updated March 14, 2020)
Employees are encouraged to adopt the personal infection control recommendations outlined in this document. As well as focusing on the use of any alternative arrangements, including social distancing, WebEx conferencing,conference calls, email, etc.

All staff with concerns about the risk of COVID-19 in their workplace can contact Public Health Services at [email protected], or 905-974-9848.