OHS Canada Magazine

Keep calm and carry on

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September 28, 2020
By Marcel Vander Wier

Human Resources burnout COVID-19 Editorial Mental Health

Remember: the current emergency situation is not forever

The Sept. 23 throne speech indicates the federal government will continue to support Canadians through the duration of the current COVID-19 pandemic. (Sharkshock/Adobe Stock)

There’s no other way to put it — the last six months have been a wild and exhausting journey.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown measures blew in largely without warning in March — and the storm continues to rage across the world to this day.

We have worked hard as a society to realize some new sense of normal through it all. Schools have reopened and many businesses have managed to find a way to cope with new guidelines on distancing and personal protective equipment.

Still, our top doctors and medical experts are currently warning of a second wave of COVID-19 cases this fall and the end date to this crisis continues to remain unknown.

All of this points to a sombre winter of more physical distancing and isolation, until — yes — a vaccine is generated or some other solution is realized. Until then, workplace safety is front and centre — as is the need to protect the mental health of your workers.


I’m fully aware that not all Canadians are on board with the health and safety policies put in place by this government. A quick pass through social media timelines unveils the dissent and nationwide polls confirm it.

But remember, we are only a few months removed from the army’s takeover of various long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec. By all accounts, this is a serious health issue and we need to treat it as such.

It’s important also to remember the current emergency situation is not forever. This too shall pass, though the ramifications of this global pandemic will likely be felt for a while.

I’m not sure where you’re at, but from my vantage point, I remain impressed with the efforts of the majority of Canadians to initially flatten the curve and now further prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

I have faith in the resiliency of humankind and in our country’s leaders to serve us to the best of their ability. We will get through this — and we’ll do it together. Please, let’s all do our best to keep calm and carry on.

As our columnists point out in the September/October issue of our magazine, much has been learned about the workplace hazard that is COVID-19, and reasonable precautions can be taken to get people back to work. Leadership is paramount through these days, and OH&S professionals hold an important position in the recovery.

For their part, our nation’s leaders will continue to have our backs.  Billions have already been spent to assist displaced employees and organizations. The Sept. 23 speech from the throne indicates further support — no matter the cost.

And the assistance is not likely to end there. Provincial and territorial governments will also be unveiling new plans in the coming weeks as the fall legislative season begins.

For our part, the team at OHS Canada will continue to keep you up to date on government policy changes and best practice in occupational health and safety. Be sure to visit OHSCanada.com on a daily basis to discover the latest information and news affecting Canadian workplaces.

This editorial was published in the September/October issue of OHS Canada magazine.


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