Please continue to visit this site regularly as it is the official source of information, updates and communications from Techo-Bloc to its employees regarding COVID-19.

Topics:

President's message
Employees support
Guidelines
FAQ's
Sources

President’s message

Stay strong and be safe – March 20th, 2020

Good day everyone,

These are unprecedented times we are living through and my thoughts go out to everyone.

 I want to start by saying that I am also so proud of our Techo-Bloc team. It is in times like these, that we see how strong and resilient we really are. It is amazing how everyone has come together over the last week. I know that many employees are under tremendous stress, some working from home with their young families while others giving 100% in our operations facilities. Thank you for your commitment and for continuing your hard work.

The health and safety of our team is very important. We have put several safety measures in place for their safety including:

  • Social distancing of 6 feet 
  • Extensive continuous cleaning procedures
  • Self-quarantine protocols
  • Prohibiting outside vendors/suppliers/contractors from entering our facilities
  • Limiting outside access to the scale houses
  • Plant shift changeover protocols
  • Removing the finger touch punch cards in the plants
  • Clients picking up materials at the depots remaining in their vehicles
  • Work from home for employees who can

We are listening closely to heath and government authorities and will follow their guidelines to ensure we keep everyone safe. We are doing what we can to ensure that our people can continue receiving a steady paycheck to support their families while working in a safe environment. We also want to make sure that the thousands of small businesses that need access to our products can continue to receive them. We want to support our customers so they can continue to earn revenue and pay their own employees. There will be difficult decisions in the coming weeks and I am communicating with our management team on a daily basis.

These are challenging moments that we are all navigating together. We are trying to do what is best for everyone impacted and knowing that things will get better with time. 

Thank you and please stay safe.

 

Charles Ciccarello
President

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Employees support

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider, Workplace Options, offers 24/7 confidential support including counseling, information, guidance and referrals on any work, personal or family issue can help keep people to be more resilient. If you are experiencing stress or having difficulty, you can contact one of their qualified consultants. They are there to support all our employees and their family members at no charge.

Contact

You can reach Workplace Options by toll free phone (877) 847-4525, SMS Texting at (647) 624-2840.

We also invite you to click on the Workplace Options Link using the Company Code “techbloc” to get more information on how to get support.

References

Mindfulness sessions

Recording available

Webminar

Working Parents: How to juggle your changing demands

Keep calm and carry on-maintaining your composure during the coronavirus outbreak: English or French

Articles

How to train from home

Various articles available

Quarantine resources

Financial Relief Measures

Several institutions have communicated measures to come to the aid of customers looking for financial support.

In Canada

Banking

RBC Royal Bank, National Bank, CIBC, Scotiabank, TD Bank, Bank of Montreal and Desjardins Group have put in place financial relief measures for people whose incomes are affected by the pandemic. (click on the links to visit their financial support sites)

Utilities

Hydro Quebec has announced that it will not cut off power to anyone for nonpayment.

Government Benefits

The government of Canada has announced that it will increase in the Child Tax Benefit (click for more details). You can use the following calculator to see how much you are eligible to receive.

Mortgage

Homeowners facing financial stress may be eligible to work with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for a mortgage payment deferral up to 6 months to help ease the financial burden.

Telecommunications

Many telecommunications companies are providing relief on services (ex. roaming fees). You can find more information by viewing on the following sites.  Rogers, Vidéotron, Bell, Telus.

In the U.S.

Banking & Mortgages

Institutions like AllyBank of America, Capital OneChase, Citizens BankPNC Bank and Wells Fargo have put in place financial relief measures for people whose incomes are affected by the pandemic. (click on the links to visit their financial support sites) Additionally, homeowners facing financial stress may be eligible to work with the individual banks that hold their mortgages for a payment deferrals of up to 6 months to help ease the financial burden.

Utilities

First Energy , PECO, PPL, UGI, and Verizon have announced that it will not cut off services to anyone for nonpayment.

Government Benefits

Effective April 1st 2020, the United States passed the Families First Corona Virus Response Act (FFCRA) that provides payment to employees who are experiencing lost wages due to specific COVID19 related work absences. For more information on the act click here. If you believe this leave may apply to you, please contact your local Human Resources Representative.

Tips to make teleworking easier

Some practical advices

Wellness

Stress, Anxiety and Depression Associated With the Coronavirus COVID-19 Disease

Covid-19: Supporting my child

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Guidelines

Additional safety measures

In order to protect our employees and ensure a safe environment for all, we have put in place the following safety measures:

  • All employees who are able to work remotely are asked to stay at home and telework.

  • All face-to-face meetings were discontinued and replaced by remote conferencing. 

  • We have significantly increased health measures such as regularly disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces (door handles, light switches, tables, desks, toilets, taps, sinks and other sensitive surfaces).

  • We put up dozens of safety signs in every building about the responsibility to take to following actions:

    • Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water;

    • Physical distancing;

    • Not touch their face;

    • Identifying the symptoms of COVID-19, etc.

  • We asked all employees who had recently traveled or were experiencing flu-like symptoms to place themselves in voluntary isolation for two weeks. 

  • We have suspended the use of biometric punches.

  • We have implemented preventative operating procedures to limit the number of employees on site during shift changes.

  • We have prohibited access to all our buildings by visitors, suppliers and outside contractors.

  • We have restricted access to common areas.

  • We have installed partitions to limit direct interaction between people.

  • We have stopped all business travel.

Covid-19 - Safety practices

Instructions on how to make our own face covering (mask)

Travel

Are we banning business travel?

All travel by air and travel between facilities has been banned. All employees have been instructed to avoid large group settings in confined areas and overnight travel is banned effective immediately.  This includes attending industry related events, dealer open houses and customer appreciation days. Any exception requires approval from the President.  

What should I do if I am returning from a vacation abroad or planning travel?

Any employee that has traveled by air may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus and should immediately notify their manager. They should try to work from home for a 14-day period, to avoid potentially spreading the infection to others. 

All personal travel by air must now be reported:

Prior to departure: mandatory disclosure of all travel and destinations to the manager;

- Prior to return to work: travel questionnaire to be completed (see below) and forwarded to the manager for analysis by human resources.

Employees who have visited one of the countries covered by government travel advisories will be evaluated by senior management and human resources (see lists below) and a decision will be made and communicated to each employee concerned. Following the evaluation of each case, the following options will be put in place:

- Employees presenting symptoms related to the virus: preventive isolation for 14 days with a follow-up on their state of health;

Employees without symptoms: preventive isolation for 14 days and teleworking whenever possible;

Employees without symptoms, without the possibility of working remotely: preventive isolation.

All employees placed in mandatory preventative isolation will have the opportunity to use their sick days or vacation days if applicable.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

Quarantine is the separation and monitoring of people who have been exposed to an infected person (or have been to an outbreak area) to see if they become ill.  This separation helps reduce the risk that the quarantined person will spread the disease. Quarantine generally requires a person to remain in a nominated place or at home for a certain period of time after exposure to a disease.  The duration of quarantine will vary depending on the estimated incubation period.  For COVID-19, early estimates indicate a quarantine duration of 14 days.

Isolation is the separation of people who are ill with a potentially contagious disease from those who are healthy.

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FAQ's

Information on the COVID-19

What to do if you think you have the COVID-19 virus

What if you don’t have COVID-19 virus, but have concerns

What sort of cleaning standards and frequency do we have in our offices and facilities?

Business Continuity Planning

About Employment Insurance / Unemployment Insurance and pay

 

Information on the COVID-19

What IS a COVID-19?

COVID-19 is part of the Coronaviruses family of viruses that are primarily transmitted by aerosolized droplets (e.g. the droplets you release when you cough or sneeze.  These droplets can travel over 6 feet if you don’t cover your mouth and nose effectively!), much like the flu or a cold. It may also be transmitted via fecal matter (even very small/invisible amounts). The virus can survive for some amount of time outside the human body, although the specific parameters are not yet known, so transmission can occur by touching a surface contaminated with the virus and then touching your eyes/nose/mouth. 

Incubation Period

The COVID-19 virus has 2 to 14-day incubation period.

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19 infection. People infected with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

What are the symptoms this coronavirus causes?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

What kind of precautions should I be taking?

The best preventative measures to take are the same as with the common cold or the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from other people;
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Arranging with your manager to work from home or take sick time as appropriate, if you have symptoms

Can I continue to use and drink water from the tap as usual?

Yes. The COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking-water supplies. Please click on the following link from the EPA to learn more. Coronavirus and Drinking Water and Wastewater.

What to do if you think you have the COVID-19 virus

What should I do if I feel that I might be infected?

You should call your primary health care provider if you are symptomatic to discuss whether you should be evaluated in person and considered for testing. Should that person not be available you should call your local health hotline to be seek out medical advice and determine if testing is required. Below is a list of known hotlines.

  • Quebec - Info-Sante at 811 or 877-644-4545
  • Ontario - Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 (toll free)
  • Pennsylvania - Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258)
  • Indiana - COVID-19 hotline at 1-260-449-4499
  • Illinois - Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-889-3931
  • Minnesota - Minnesota department of health at 1-800-657-3903
  • New York - New York State Department of Health at 1-888-364-3065
  • Maryland - Maryland Department of Health at 410-876-4848
  • Massachusetts - COVID-19 hotline at 2-1-1
  • North Carolina  - COVID-19 Hotline at 2-1-1
  • Ohio - Ohio Department of Health at (833) 427-5634

When should I return to work and what is the procedure?

All employees who have missed work due to illness with symptoms related to COVID-19 should keep their manager/supervisor advised of the situation and their anticipated return date. We will normally require employees to bring medical notification clearing them to return to work in these cases.  If you have questions about returning to work, please contact your Manager or local HR representative.

What if you don’t have COVID-19 virus, but have concerns

I am feeling a lot of anxiety about the COVID-19 virus. What should I do?

We would invite you to contact Workplace Options our Employees Assistance Program (EAP) provider. They are there to support all our employees and their family members with any concerns they may have at no cost.

You can reach Workplace Options by toll free phone (877) 847-4525, SMS Texting at (647) 624 2840.

We also invite you to click on the Workplace Options Link using the Company Code “techbloc” to get more information on how to get support. You can also view the online seminar “Build Psychological Immunity During the Coronavirus Outbreak” which can be found in the Online Seminar section at the bottom of Workplace Options’ landing page.

Do we stock hand sanitizer at each site?

Yes. Each facility stocks sanitizer, although there may be a temporary supply shortage in certain regions. In this event, regularly washing your hands is an equally effective method of reducing the risk of infection. 

What sort of cleaning standards and frequency do we have in our offices and facilities?

All Techo-Bloc sites have cleaning crews that ensure our offices and workspaces meet our standards of cleanliness. Deep cleaning in all offices and common areas is done either on a nightly or weekly basis depending on the size of the space to clean.  

Our collective focus should be to keep common areas clean and tidy as the areas are used. Common areas are defined as conference rooms, break rooms, restrooms, print stations, high traffic walkways, and reception areas among others.

We are providing cleaning and sanitizing material in common areas to ensure that employees are equipped to help in keeping these areas clean

Business Continuity Planning

How is Techo-Bloc managing the situation?

A Business Continuity Planning Team has been established and is monitoring the situation on a daily basis across all the areas in which we operate.

How do we feel that this will affect our business?

We have established a business contingency plan to limit disruptions to our service levels and have also implemented significant measures to ensure the health and safety of our team members across North America including work from home initiatives for our office employees.  Our goal is to remain a strong and reliable partner to our customers as well as prevent the further spreading of this virus.

About Employment Insurance / Unemployment Insurance and pay

Canada

Employment insurance 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) (04.02)

How can I access my paystub?

You can access your electronic pay stub through Desjardins website or the Desjardins app on mobile. If you have lost your access code, please contact hr@techo-bloc.com.

U.S

Information for Pennsylvania *to come

Information for Indiana *to come

Information for Illinois *to come

How will I be notified when I go back to work?

We look forward to seeing you all back at work as soon as we resume our activities. We will keep you informed of developments through this website and we will notify you directly by phone and/or email.

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Sources

Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Prevention Guidelines

Public Health Agency of Canada

International SOS

World Health Organisation

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