Some vital companies have been disrupted at Global Affairs Canada (GAC) following “a number of” confirmed circumstances of COVID-19 in its Ottawa-based workplaces, emails obtained by International Information present.
The emails describe what first started as one COVID-19 case within the authorities workplace, however finally was a number of circumstances inside two weeks — resulting in disruptions to what one e-mail referred to as “some vital companies.”
The affected companies seem to primarily be ones that assist employees of their every day work, equivalent to courier and IT companies, however the emails acknowledge the affect will probably be felt broadly throughout the division in addition to on missions overseas.
Coronavirus: Trudeau says COVID-19 vaccines are what he thinks about ‘after I get up within the morning, after I go to mattress, and each hour in between’
An e-mail dated Jan. 27, seen by International Information, knowledgeable GAC employees that an worker of a “contracted service supplier” had examined optimistic for COVID-19 after displaying signs the previous Friday.
“This isn’t the primary COVID-19 case within the division, however it’s one that can have an effect on our operations,” learn the e-mail despatched to International Affairs Canada staff.
“Please be aware that the Distribution Centre will probably be working with lowered employees and at minimal service ranges. This may have an effect on the distribution of correspondence and courier companies, which in flip impacts all GAC operations at Headquarters and missions overseas.”
The e-mail mentioned that staff who had been current in the course of the “interval of doable publicity” needed to earn a living from home for 14 days. It added that “wherever doable” staff ought to earn a living from home – together with these on “the vital listing permitted to enter GAC amenities, who’re in a position to work remotely.”
“It’s price noting that the chance of publicity within the office stays low to nil once we all respect the infection-prevention measures,” the e-mail mentioned.
Nevertheless, regardless of these precautions, one other e-mail dated Feb. eight knowledgeable staff of a number of extra optimistic circumstances – and important service disruptions.
That e-mail featured the header “Disruption to some vital companies at International Affairs Canada within the Nationwide Capital Area.”
“There have been a number of confirmed COVID-19 circumstances over the previous ten days at International Affairs Canada amenities within the Nationwide Capital Area,” it mentioned.
Coronavirus: Ontario authorities providing free on-line office well being and security coaching amid reopening
GAC is the federal government division that works below the overseas affairs minister to “outline, form and advance Canada’s pursuits and values in a fancy international atmosphere,” based on its web site.
The division manages diplomatic relations, handles commerce points and supplies consular assist. That features supporting Canadians detained overseas, equivalent to the 2 Canadians detained in China often known as the Two Michaels, in addition to supporting the Canadians who discovered themselves caught overseas at first of the pandemic. Along with these roles, GAC is tasked with main worldwide growth, humanitarian, and peace and safety help efforts.
The Feb. eight e-mail shared that a number of companies, together with “IM/IT assist, distribution companies, lodging companies, and mortgage program deliveries” could be impacted.
“These companies will probably be working at a minimal degree, on vital and priority-based features solely,” the e-mail defined.
In an announcement despatched to International Information, a GAC spokesperson acknowledged the COVID-19 circumstances impacting the federal government office.
“The security, safety and effectively being of our staff stays our high precedence each domestically and all through our community of missions overseas,” mentioned John Babcock in an emailed assertion, including that International Affairs officers are aiding public well being in touch tracing efforts.
The federal government has been urging Canadians to work residence wherever doable as COVID-19 circumstances proceed to unfold throughout the nation. Amid a surge in circumstances in November, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renewed the message himself, talking from the entrance steps of his own residence.
“We have to step up now, all of us. The numbers present that proper now, extra of essentially the most susceptible Canadians are getting COVID-19, together with seniors. And outbreaks in long-term care properties and Indigenous communities are quickly rising,” Trudeau mentioned.
“The one manner we are able to reverse the tide is that if we instantly scale back the variety of individuals every of us come into contact with. When you stay in a area that’s experiencing a surge in circumstances, keep residence in the event you can and keep away from all non-essential journey. To employers who can achieve this, please make preparations on your staff to as soon as once more earn a living from home. And in the event you don’t have to, don’t depart your property.”
A supply from the Prime Minister’s Workplace informed International Information that Trudeau is continuous to earn a living from home for the forseeable future to drive residence this message.
PM Trudeau displays on 2020 and yr forward
In an announcement despatched to International Information, Babcock confirmed that roughly 10 per cent of the staff on the authorities’s international affairs division had been nonetheless working of their workplaces – whether or not it’s on a full-time or occasional foundation.
Babcock additionally emphasised that the division is abiding by correct public well being protocols.
“The division continues to observe essentially the most present public well being recommendation, to implement the suitable protocols and to assessment infection-prevention measures to mitigate the opportunity of work-related publicity and keep protected workplaces,” he mentioned.
“Our protocols are sturdy and absolutely aligned with the Ottawa Public Well being pointers.”
© 2021 International Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.