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Tips for Writing an Essential Services Worker Letter During COVID-19

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This document is for employers to help support essential workplace travel under the “stay-at-home” orders applicable to your jurisdiction. It provides a sample essential worker letter which can be customized to meet your needs.

In all cases, guidance from local public health authorities must be followed and general COVID-19 prevention practices should be implemented, as outlined in “Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19”.

Consider the Need for an Essential Service Worker Letter

Canada has issued Emergency Orders under the Quarantine Act that only allows organizations that provide essential services or functions to remain open. Travel outside and within Canada may also be subject to isolation or quarantine conditions. As the COVID-19 pandemic changes, each province and territory may issue its own lock-down, curfew, or stay-at-home-order to comply with. Check here often to keep informed.

Employers may choose to provide essential service letters to their employees who travel to and from work for essential services or functions. Such letters can help employers and workers show how they are complying with stay-at-home exemptions.

Tips for Writing an Essential Service Worker Letter

  • Prepare the letter on company letter head and use your company logo if applicable.
  • Prepare one letter for each employee.
  • Ensure the letter is dated.
  • Consider adding a date when the letter is no longer valid or requires an update.
  • Provide supporting information describing how the employer and the employee’s position meet the essential services or functions under the Quarantine Act. Example: Your business is a restaurant providing take out and food delivery, and your employee works as a cook preparing the food.
  • Limit the personal information you provide. Your employee’s name and position may be all that is required. Social insurance numbers (SIN), birthdates and driver license numbers should not be included in the letter. Employees may need to carry a government issued proof of their identity (such as a driver’s license) in case such information is necessary.
  • Determine who in the organization will have the authority to sign this letter. Ensure that their name, position, and contact information (e.g., cell phone number) is provided on the letter.
  • Provide one copy to your employee and keep one for your records.
  • Remind employees to keep their letters with them while traveling for work purposes.
  • Follow your applicable privacy legislation to ensure that the information is collected, used and stored appropriately.

Also refer to any guidance from your local jurisdiction regarding the required content and format of the essential service letter.

Example of an Essential Service Worker Letter

____________________Employer Letter Head / Logo___________________________

Effective Date: YYYY MM DD                                                         Review Date: YYYY MM DD

To Whom It May Concern:  ________________________________________________________

Re: Essential Worker Status

Employee Name: ________________________________________________________________

Job Title:  ______________________________________________________________________

Workplace:  ____________________________________________________________________

Workplace Address: _____________________________________________________________

Normal Work Hours: __________________ Shift work: Y/N

Essential Service Industry: (e.g., food)

Essential Function: (e.g., restaurant worker supporting take-out and food delivery)

This letter confirms that EMPLOYEE NAME is an essential worker performing an essential service in accordance with the Government of Canada’s Guidance on Essential Services and Functions in Canada during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Employer Signature

Employer Name

Employer Job Title

Employer Contact Number (e.g., cell phone)


It is important that mental health resources and support are provided to all workers, including access to an employee assistance program, if available.

For further information on COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Note that this guidance is just some of the adjustments organizations can make during a pandemic. Adapt this list by adding your own good practices and policies to meet your organization’s specific needs.
For further information on respiratory infectious diseases, including COVID-19, refer to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Disclaimer: As public and occupational health and safety information may continue to change, local public health authorities should be consulted for specific, regional guidance. This information is not intended to replace medical advice or legislated health and safety obligations. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency, and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.

Document last updated February 15, 2021