COVID-19 – Information and Updates

We are working closely with Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) and the Chief Medical Officer to ensure our plans meet the most stringent health and safety guidelines. Our plans have been reviewed and accepted by OH&S, providing the required protection for workers from COVID-19.

How we’re doing our part to keep our people and communities safe

The COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing and so too are the decisions that we as an organization must make. We understand that this is an extremely stressful and uncertain time for everyone, including every single one of our employees and their families. The safety of our employees, their families and communities is of utmost importance to us and will continue to be our main focus as we continue to navigate this situation.

We are regularly assessing and re-evaluating our processes and activities to ensure safety is paramount; and we are following the advice from the proper health authorities and government officials. Ocean Choice continues to work collaboratively with our industry, community counterparts and the union to share best practices and plans to ensure, as a collective group, we are doing all that we can for the safety of our people.

We will continue to take all the necessary precautions to minimize the potential risk to our employees while considering the essential nature of our sector to sustainable food production. This means taking additional steps, having the right plans and people in place to ensure continuity of the seafood industry as a critical part of our food supply both in Canada and abroad.

Click here to read Ocean Choice’s COVID-19 safety plan.

Pre-screening health survey and daily temperature checks

Restricted entry points and access to our plants, vessels and offices

Controlled flow of foot traffic inside plants, making some of our walkways one-way only

Additional daily cleaning and sanitization measures, including fogging sanitization

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (i.e., facemasks, glasses, etc.) for all employees and in certain areas PPE is mandatory

Staggered start times and breaks to lower the number of workers in lunch rooms and break areas

Social distancing measures (i.e., removal of chairs) in lunch rooms and other areas to facilitate physical distance of 6 feet

Where possible, we have made modifications to processing lines on our plant floors and vessels to ensure employees can work safely (i.e., plexiglass dividers to serve as walls between employees)

If you have any symptoms, stay home and contact 811. DO NOT risk spreading this virus, or any illness

Wear the proper PPE, including gloves, face masks and safety glasses

Frequently wash your hands with warm, soapy water

Avoid touching your face (especially your eyes, nose, mouth)

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing and thoroughly wash your hands after

Practice proper social distancing during breaks, including when outside the plant (i.e., in designated smoking areas) of at least 6 feet apart

Avoid carpooling to work

Avoid Carpooling

  • If you have ANY symptoms, stay home and contact 811. DO NOT risk spreading the virus or any illness
  • When possible, AVOID CARPOOLING TO WORK. When you must carpool, ask all riders to wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before getting in the car
  • Limit the number of people in one vehicle at a time as much as possible
  • Space out seating as much as possible to keep distance and avoid contact
  • Wipe any contact surfaces like door handles and seat belt buckles before every instance of carpooling
  • Don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose
  • Follow cough and sneeze etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or a tissue, disposing of the tissue and washing your hands afterwards
  • Upon arriving at work or home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer if available
  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently throughout the day whether at home or at work
  • If you are over the age of 65 or have underlying health conditions, please stay home
  • If you are feeling anxious or nervous about coming to work, please speak with your supervisor
  • If you have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact 811 and self-quarantine

Frequently Asked Questions

What preventative measures and actions has Ocean Choice put in place to protect my health, safety and well-being at my place of work during the COVID-19 situation?

We are taking the necessary preventative measures across our entire company to help ensure our employees and community isprotected. We have implemented our Emergency Response plans for all of our vessels, our plants and offices and we have a team of employees dedicated to the COVID-19 situation. We have put in place additional preventative measures, including restricted access to employees and essential services anda pre-screening health survey that is completed prior to boarding a vessel or entering one of our facilities.We are also monitoring the health of our employees with daily temperature checks. In addition to our stringent cleaning and sanitization processes, we have put in place additional daily cleaning measures and we have implemented the prescribed social distancing protocols. Further to this, we have implemented protocols should personnel show symptoms or become ill in any area of our operations.

Government has announced that there is to be no social gatherings over 10 people, how does this apply to the workplace and what is Ocean Choice doing to limit the number of workers gathering in common spaces?

We are working very closely with industry and government officials and the union to ensure we are following best practices and implementing all necessary preventative measures for the safety of our people. This includes the implementation of safe social distancing protocols, including staggering start times for employees, staggering breaks, and removing chairs from our lunchrooms/common areas.

There is a lot of information about how COVID-19 is spread, including that it lives on surfaces for long periods of time. Is the company putting in place extra cleaning measures?

Since the start of COVID-19, we have implemented additional cleaning and sanitization protocols across our entire operations. We have purchased additional cleaning and sanitization supplies and we have increased our cleaning processes to multiple times per day. This includes more frequent cleaning of common areas and frequently touched areas (i.e., handrails, doorknobs, etc.) as well as fogging sanitization.

I am not feeling well, should I report for work?

If you are not feeling well, please do not report for work. If you are showing signs of a fever, cough or having difficulty breathing, we cannot stress enough that you should stay home and take care of yourself. You should also follow the 14-day self-isolation guidelines that have been released by our local health care officials and call 811 for further guidance.

What should I do if I am showing symptoms of COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms?

If you or any members of your family are showing any COVID-19 symptoms we ask that you stay home and take care of yourself. You should also follow the 14-day self-isolation guidelines that have been released by our local health care officials and call 811 for further direction by health officials.

I have an underlying health conditions, should I stay home?

It is recommended that individuals over the age of 65and those with underlying medical conditions, who are at increased risk for severe illness, avoid going out in public as much as possible. If you have to go out in public, you should wash your hands frequently, avoid crowds and limit your time outside the home. If you are concerned about coming to work as a result of a compromised immune system and don’t want to risk your health please contact your supervisor.

I have travelled from outside the province, is it okay for me to come to work?

As per the mandatory guidelines put in place by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, if you have travelled from outside the province you are required to self-isolate for 14 days after your arrival back to the province, therefore you should not report for work. For guidance on how to self-isolate, please visit:
https://www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/publichealth/cdc/coronavirus/healthcareprofessionals/factsheet-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate.pdf

Will Ocean Choice respect my decision if I refuse to come to work due to concerns relating to COVID-19?

We understand that this is an extremely stressful and uncertain time for everyone, including every single one of our employees and their families. We are just as concerned as you about COVID-19 and the potential impacts right here in Newfoundland and Labrador. The safety of our employees, their families and communities is of utmost importance to us and will continue to be our main focus as we continue to navigate this situation. We respect the decisions of any of our employees to not report for work should they deem it not safe to do so.

On March 25th, the Government of Canada announced the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit to support Canadians should their employment be impacted due to COVID-19. For information about these measures, please visit:
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#new_canada_emergency_response_benefit

If I do not report for work, will I be eligible for EI benefits?

On March 25th, the Government of Canada announced the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit to support Canadians should their employment be impacted due to COVID-19. For information about these measures, please visit:
https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#new_canada_emergency_response_benefit

The Government of Canada will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:

  • workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
  • workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
  • working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
  • workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
  • wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.

As stated above the Canada Emergency Response Benefit is for $2,000 a month for up to 4 months, and at this point in time, there are no additional EI benefits in place beyond this period.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be accessible through a secure web portal starting in early April. Applicants will also be able to apply via an automated telephone line or via a toll-free number.

The Government of Canada has announced that vulnerable populations (people over the age of 65 and people with compromised immune systems) are more at risk for COVID-19. I meet this criteria, what should I do and am I eligible for EI?

Health Canada has identified that there is an increased risk associated with COVID-19 for people: aged 65 and over, with compromised immune systems and with underlying medical conditions. If you fall within one of these three categories, we strongly encourage you to stay home and take care of yourself. We have been informed by the government officials that if we have employees who fall within these guidelines that they are eligible for EI under the new Canada Emergency Response Benefits announced on March 25, 2020.

I know of a co-worker that was told during a medical visit to self-isolate. Should my family and I self-isolate as well?

If and when there is a COVID-19 case, part of Public Health’s investigation is to complete contact tracing. Contact tracing is a process used by public health officials to stop the spread of infection in the community. It involves finding and informing the people that an infected person has been in contact with so they can get counselling, testing and, if necessary, treatment. If you have been identified as a close contact of the individual, someone from Public Health will be in touch and advise if self-isolation is needed.

I am feeling anxious and worried about COVID-19. What should I do?

We understand that this is an extremely stressful and uncertain time for everyone, including every single one of our employees and their families. There is several mental health support services put in place to help the people of the province while we continue to navigate this situation. If you are feeling stressed and anxious, we encourage you to speak with a trained mental health provider. Some available options are listed below:

  • Provincial Warm Line: 1-855-753-2560 from 9:00 a.m. –12:00 a.m.
  • www.BridgetheGapp.ca: a free, local resource that offers many mental health programs and services for people of all ages in the province.
  • Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line: Tel (709) 737-4668 or Toll-free 1-888-737-4668

What should I do if a person I work with tests positive for COVID-19?

Public Health investigates all COVID-19 patients. This includes identifying all contacts. If you have been identified as a contact of the individual, someone from Public Health will be in touch and advise if self-isolation or self-monitoring is needed. Public Health’s role is to protect the health of the population, through their investigation.

If Public Health identifies Ocean Choice as a business that may be at risk, they will reach out to the employer and provide advice on appropriate follow-up. However, the Personal Health Information Act would prevent Public Health from releasing the patient’s name to the employer.

If you are self-monitoring for symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or aches and pains) you should self-isolate at the first onset of symptoms and contact 811 by completing the online self-assessment or calling 811.

For more information on COVID-19, including information on self-isolation and self-monitoring, visit https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/.

Preventative Measures and Protocols

We have implemented our Emergency Response plans for all of our vessels, our plants and offices and we have a team of employees dedicated to the COVID-19 situation. We have put in place additional preventative measures across our entire operations, including pre-screening health surveys, daily health screenings, additional cleaning and sanitization processes, and social distancing protocols.

Visitor Restrictions

As of March 16, 2020, for the safety of everyone, we restricted access on board our vessels, in our plants and our offices to only essential employees and contractors.

Helpful Resources