The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is closely monitoring this emerging and rapidly evolving situation. PHAC has activated the Health Portfolio Operations Centre to support effective coordination of federal, provincial, and territorial preparedness and response to the emergence of COVID-19.
The Canadian government recommends:
- Avoid non-essential travel to China and northern Italy due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
- Avoid all travel to the province of Hubei due to very strict travel and movement restrictions imposed by Chinese authorities to limit the spread of COVID-19.
- Avoid all travel to Iran due to travel restrictions imposed following the spread of COVID-19.
- It may be increasingly difficult to travel within these countries or in and out of them. If you are currently in China, Iran or northern Italy, and your presence there is not essential, you should consider leaving by commercial means while these are still available.
- Travelers may be asked about their travel history and health upon return to Canada.
- For more advice on traveling to these countries, refer to the available travel advice and advisories.
Health and disability insurance
- Most insurers are handling COVID-19 as they would any other medical illness.
- Canada’s response is to cover under the provincial plan, and where there are gaps, the insurance providers are treating coverage for COVID-19 as they would any other medical emergency.
- This means there is no exclusion to treating someone because this is an epidemic vs. another type of medical emergency.
- However, all out-of-country policies are referring to the World Health Organization’s travel advisories for certain regions.
- If an employee receives a COVID-19 diagnosis, employers should to reach out to their benefits consultant to assist with navigating the employer sponsored disability programs.
Advice to employers
- Most employers are advising employees to use sick days or are providing leave as an exception due to the circumstances.
- Employers typically implement a14-day self-quarantine if employees have been travelling and are experiencing any symptoms.
- Employers also implement restrictions on travel, and meeting size, to reduce exposure.
This coronavirus update for employers in Canada is one of a series dedicated to helping global workforce managers navigate the evolving challenges brought on by COVID-19. Expect regular articles such as this from the Asinta Partnership as the global impact of the coronavirus unfolds.