March 18 update on COVID-19

March 18, 2020

All of us have been feeling the impact of the COVID-19 situation on our families, colleagues, workplaces and communities. We realize that the context is rapidly evolving, and that decisions taken by provinces and public health authorities have an impact on us.

Looking after our people is our priority. We want you to know that Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is actively planning a response to COVID-19. We have established an Event Response Team who is helping to coordinate all ECCC efforts overall. They are working hard, in coordination with whole-of-government efforts to contribute to the wider Government of Canada’s pandemic effort. We have strong protocols in place to react quickly to various scenarios, for example if an employee became infected. Should that happen, be assured that all employees who could have been in close contact would quickly be informed and be provided with clear instructions. Cleaning protocols would also be implemented promptly.

It is important to remember that each employee has a role to play in keeping our workplaces healthy and safe. We must all be following the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada workplace-specific guidance as well as the direction of local public health authorities when specific cases arise. The GCintranet includes the latest workplace-specific information and guidance as well as a handy Frequently Asked Questions (docx; 49,7 kB) that will help you navigate various scenarios.

Continue to take general precautions such as washing your hands often with soap and water, coughing or sneezing into your arm or a tissue, avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and self-monitoring for symptoms.

Social distancing is proven to be a very effective way to reduce the spread of viruses. This means making changes in your everyday routines to minimize close contact with others, including:

We remind you that the authoritative source of information for Canadians on COVID-19 is, which includes public health guidance on travel. Information is also available on the Government of Canada COVID-19 Information Line at 1-833-784-4397. We should be consulting the website on a daily basis.

On social media, we encourage you to follow the following accounts that feature official information from the Government of Canada:

On Twitter

On Facebook

We recognize that this unique situation where most of us telework, along with the social distancing recommendations, can be a factor of stress and anxiety for you and your loved ones.

Remember that if you are feeling nervous or distressed about this situation, we encourage you to speak with your manager or contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-268-7708 (TDD: 1-800-567-5803). This service is available to you but also to members of your immediate family.

We recognize the important contribution you are all making during these challenging times. We admire your commitment and hard work. You are our single biggest asset and we care about your health and safety.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will share updates with you as information becomes available.

Please take good care,

T. Christine Hogan
Deputy Minister

Martine Dubuc
Associate Deputy Minister

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