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All employers in Canada must take reasonable precautions to make the workplace safe. Employers can help keep workers from getting hurt or sick by having a plan to deal with emergencies, and also by having a business continuity plan to keep the workplace functioning during and after an emergency.
This guidance document can help workplaces build or update both their emergency response and business continuity plans to prepare for respiratory infectious disease outbreaks.
Emergency response plan
An emergency response plan includes procedures for handling sudden or unexpected situations that can result in harm to people. Refer to Emergency Planning for guidance on how to create an emergency response plan. The key elements of an emergency response plan are shown below and provide specific tips on creating a plan for respiratory infectious diseases.
Business continuity plan
A business continuity plan describes how the organization will continue to function during and after an emergency, disaster, or similar event (such as a respiratory infectious disease outbreak). It involves planning how services, products, and operations can continue, and the recovery of key business and systems.
While each organization is unique, the following should be considered during a respiratory infectious disease outbreak:
- Knowing which key factors are essential for the workplace to continue functioning
- How to implement and follow the control measures needed to help prevent the spread of the disease, while supporting existing business activities
- How your core business activities can be maintained for several weeks or months with limited staff or other key resources
- How to maintain staffing levels and productivity. Plan on people being unable to report to work for various reasons (e.g., sickness, accommodation, child or elder care, etc.)
- Where to find reliable sources of public health and occupational health information
- Coordination and communication with stakeholders
Refer to Flu and Infectious Disease Outbreaks Business Continuity Plan for guidance on how to create a business continuity plan for respiratory infectious diseases. The sections below provide additional tips in creating a plan.
Emergency response and business continuity plans attempt to prepare for and respond to events that could affect workers and business operations. Emergency events can sometimes present unique, unforeseen challenges. All changes to established plans must undergo a change management process to ensure that they produce the best results and do not create new hazards. Have a change management process that assesses the risk of all changes and monitors the results for future improvements.