Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
The situation is evolving for us all, we may not have answers instantaneously, but we will need to work on this together as it progresses. Thank you for keeping the lines of communication open. We will do the same and appreciate your support.
Recipients have IRCC support to err on the side of caution, follow direction from local health authorities and inform us as soon as possible.
We are also taking our lead from Public Health Officials, PHAC is the lead for the federal government response.
Specific Questions from Umbrellas:
- If a contractor suspends operations that results in reduced program activities (LINC classes, etc), will this impact our negotiated admin fee and trigger possible ecommissioning of funds?
Service providers will not be penalized for following the guidance of the local health authorities. (As an aside, IRCC will also be taking our lead from the PHAC and will close our offices if directed by PHAC.)
- How do we put in place efficient communication mechanism to contact LINC students after normal office hours/weekends, if key messaging is needed eg closure decision made over a weekend?
We suggest updating or creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to account for office-specific adjustments that may have to be made as a result of the spread of COVID-19.
Perhaps umbrellas could assist smaller organizations who do not have a BCP in place.
- If a particular school district closes, will we suspend LINC classes and/or the entire operation for a specific city?
Service providers will not be penalized if their location has been shut down by the school board. If closures are needed, please inform the SN officer responsible for your CA.
- If we are forced to suspend operations, do we expect staff to try and work from home or just consider it under "an act of god" and they continue to be paid?
If staff are able to work from home, this can be implemented on a case-by-case basis. In terms of leave, this should depend on the HR policies and/or collective agreements of the organization.
- Unless we are advised to suspend all group activities eg classes, field trips, job fairs, workshops, this will likely be handled on a site to site basis for contractors operating multiple sites.
- Will we continue to operate online courses, expecting staff to work from home although their colleagues that deliver in-person services may have an unexpected leave?
As discussed in q.4, if staff are able to work from home, this can be implemented on a case-by-case basis.
In terms of leave, this should depend on the HR policies and/or collective agreements of the organization.
- What, if anything, do we need to be prepared for, for GAR clients that are living in reception centres, where some or all other on-site services may be suspended?
If the virus is detected in a reception centre, instructions from local health authorities and PHAC should be followed regarding suspending services and quarantine of clients and/or staff. There is guidance available from PHAC regarding occupational health and safety, we will circulate the link.(https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices...)
- What are the communication protocols to inform IRCC of site or program suspension?
To inform IRCC of a site or program suspension, please contact your CA officer.
- If a refugee centre is closed or quarantined, will IRCC cover the costs of housing clients elsewhere?
Please include the program officer early in your discussions with local public health authorities. We will follow the advice from public health authorities with respect to quarantines and closures, and potential pauses in destining as required. If additional costs are incurred as a result of public health authority instructions, IRCC is open to covering the additional costs as required.