The Burnie Group’s COVID-19 Policy

Washing hands with soap under the faucet with water.The Burnie Group developed a formal COVID-19 policy to help protect our team members, families, clients and community. When we developed the policy that we released on March 13, we spent a lot of time trying to find examples from other organizations. At the time, there was very little out there on the public domain. We developed our own Burnie Group COVID-19 policy based information shared by the WHO and CDC, along with local health organizations. We shared our policy in case others want to use it as a starting point for their organizations.

We have since updated our policy to reflect the change in Toronto and Chicago from COVID-19 status level 2 – yellow to status level 4 – red, and to reflect our transition to an entirely remote workforce as Ontario and Illinois ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses.


As the risk COVID-19 poses to Ontarians continues to rise, it is prudent to take measures to reduce the risk of spreading and/or acquiring COVID-19 aka novel coronavirus.  The Burnie Group has developed these corporate policies for Burnie Group team members to follow to protect our team members, families, clients and community.

There are currently a growing number of COVID-19 cases in Toronto being closely monitored by Toronto Public Health. Please keep yourself informed by visiting the World Health Organization website where you can find information on COVID-19, including new cases, travel advice and helpful FAQ’s.

Toronto Public Health is continuing to work with provincial and federal health outlets along with airports in response to this situation. Toronto Public Health is actively working with the City and health partners to lessen and stop community spread of the virus.

Team member expectations

Team members are expected to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands – a lot. Every time you leave the office, wash your hands when you get back. Wash often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Please see the printout in the kitchen for proper hand-washing procedure
  • Use hand sanitizer. There is hand sanitizer in the kitchen, in the lobby, at the desk as you enter the office and in larger meeting rooms.  Please use it regularly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. As soon as you touch something that is contaminated, even after hand washing or using sanitizer, you can become infected by touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  While difficult, please make a concerted effort to reduce or eliminate touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cough/sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue. Do not cough/ sneeze into the air or onto your hands as the germs will spread through contact.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Use wipes that we have in the office (and will be getting more of) to clean and disinfect all object surfaces as often as you deem necessary.
  • Don’t share equipment. Bring a pen with you everywhere you go and avoid using communal writing instruments.  When presenting at a client bring your laptop and use your laptop instead of a shared company laptop.
  • Avoid personal contact. Please observe social distancing recommendations and keep 2 metres of space between you and the nearest person.
  • Leverage video conferencing. If there are opportunities to meet via video conference instead of in person please use video conferencing.  Please have your video turned on so people in the meeting can see you – it’s important to maintain a personal connection.
  • Cancel and avoid any non-essential travel. Do not travel unless it is essential.
  • Stay home if you are sick with COVID-19 or suspect you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Stay home and immediately contact your local healthcare provider.  For a comprehensive list of what to do if you are infected or suspect you are infected visit this CDC guide to what to do if you are sick.

Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches and tiredness
  • Difficulty breathing

Less commonly: sore throat, headache and diarrhea have been reported.

If you have any of these symptoms, please stay home and contact your healthcare provider right away. Your healthcare provider will diagnose you and advise you on what to do next.

If you become infected by COVID-19: “Safe from Reprisal” assurance is granted to ensure leave days will not be deducted for anyone that is infected/ diagnosed with COVID-19. Please stay home and follow the advice of your healthcare provider.  Once given medical clearance by Toronto Public Heath and your healthcare provider you may return to work.

Organizational COVID-19 Status:  We will be monitoring local health advisories to establish a COVID-19 Status for local Burnie Group offices.  Please adhere to the practices applicable to you based on the COVID-19 status in your location.

Level 1 – Blue

  • Burnie Group office is open, team members should go to work / attend client meetings as usual.
  • Team members should follow COVID-19 team member expectations as detailed above.
  • Avoid all non-essential air travel.
  • Team members should take their laptop home on a nightly basis to be prepared for an escalation of the COVID-19 Status or if the team member feels sick and needs to work from home.

Level 2 – Yellow

  • Burnie Group office is open, team members are free to work at the office, at the client site or from home.
  • All meetings should include a Microsoft Teams video conferencing number to allow remote attendees to join by video. (If attending remotely, attendees should turn their video on).
  • Team members should follow COVID-19 team member expectations as detailed above.
  • Team members are encouraged to avoid air travel.
  • Team members should take their laptop home on a nightly basis to be prepared for an escalation of the COVID-19 Status or if the team member feels sick and needs to work from home.

Level 3 – Orange

  • Burnie Group office is open, but team members are encouraged to work from home. Only essential meetings should take place at the office or at the client site.
  • All meetings should include a Microsoft Teams video conferencing number to allow remote attendees to join by video. (If attending remotely, attendees should turn their video on).
  • Team members should follow COVID-19 team member expectations as detailed above.
  • Team members are encouraged to avoid air travel. Air travel must be pre-approved by a leadership team member.
  • Team members should take their laptop home on a nightly basis to be prepared for an escalation of the COVID-19 Status or if the team member feels sick and needs to work from home.

Level 4 – Red

  • Burnie Group office is closed. Team members may only attend meetings in person if previously approved by a Burnie Group leadership team member.
  • All meetings should be conducted by video conference; attendees should turn their video on.
  • Team members should follow COVID-19 team member expectations as detailed above.
  • Team members may not travel for work (air, train, car, public transit) unless previously approved by a Burnie Group leadership team member.

COVID-19 Reference Materials

Regional Health Authorities

Toronto Public Health

Ontario Ministry of Health

City of Chicago Public Health

 

National/ Global Health Authorities

WHO Q&A

WHO Advice to the Public

Public Health Agency of Canada- Outbreak update

Public Health Agency of Canada- Symptoms and Treatment

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention