Employment Advice Column: Looking for work during COVID-19

Dear Joanna,

I will be graduating high school this year from the special education stream. Because of COVID-19, all of my courses are online right now, and last year,  I completed a co-op placement in a local grocery store last year. This where I would like to work and start making some money. But with this pandemic, how can I look for work and also be safe and healthy during these difficult times?

Signed: Safe&Healthy Job Seeker

Dear S&H

The economic impact of the Corona virus pandemic has been devastating. Many people have lost their jobs and face financial challenges while companies are cutting back; some are closing down (Erica Alini in https://www.timminstoday.com/around-ontario/covid-19-looking-for-a-job-economists-say-companies-still-hiring-during-outbreak-2214887).  The good news is that  supermarkets as well as many other companies considered “essential services” are hiring as they are a key part of the economy.

Below are some suggestions of how you can look for work, and follow the Public Health guidelines in order to keep safe and healthy during this pandemic:

  1. Online applications. Make a list of all the grocery stores you want to work at and try to pick those closest to your home as possible so you can walk there.  And pick the early morning or evening or even overnight shifts that have the least amount of people so you can keep the social distancing (and all the other requirements like hand washing). Use Google to search out all the grocery stores that are hiring by entering a “key word” search. For example, if you want to work at Walmart, type in “jobs at Walmart Canada”. There should be a link to apply for jobs online. For a bigger picture of the job openings from this sector and beyond, check out online job boards such as Indeed Canada, Glassdoor.ca, and LinkedIN as well as from the company’s website.  Even on the radio this morning, there is a call for candidates by Walmart!
  2. Follow up. Prior to the virus, you might have applied online and then dropped in to follow up with the store manager. However during this virus, it’s a bit trickier. I would arrange to drop in to the grocery store where you applied when you or your family member need to go shopping for food and supplies. Pick times when the store is less busy to avoid line-ups and crowds. Then,  I’d ask to speak to the store manager or the assistant manager. Mention that you are following up as you have applied online to see what the next steps are. You can also try to call the customer service department and see when the manager is in the store before you show up. During these time of crisis and shortages of staff, showing initiative while keeping the social distancing of a two-metre distance (physical distancing) from others at all times. Remember, employers are overwhelmed with handling this crisis, and applying new ways of doing business while complying with the Public Health requirements to keep a safe environment for staff and customers and prevent outbreaks. So even though they need staff, we are all in this together to learn how to deal with this pandemic crisis. Be patient.
  3. Potential employers. I’ve listed a select few of employers who are currently hiring in the GTA that appear in the website above. Once a week, I would check out all the websites of the  stores where you want to work to see the job postings.
  1. Healthy Work Environment during Covid-19. Many employers are having online job interviews using apps such as Skype and Zoom; others are using the good old fashioned phone). One of the questions in your interview is to find out how the employer is protecting their staff and practicing the safe and healthy workplace environment that complies with the guidelines mandated by the Ministry of Health. You can also visit the store prior to applying for work as a customer to see what they are actually implementing in practice to keep their employees safe. For example, grocery stores have installed plexiglass protectors around the cashiers as well as 6 feet markers on the floor, and employees wear gloves. You can check this site out to see what is required https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19.html. Needless to say, if the employer is not protecting its staff, you probably do not want to work there.
  2. Keep busy. Many of the employment centres (for example http://accesemployment.ca/online-event-series) offer online job search skills training workshops ncluding Using LinkedIn, career exploration, resume writing, interview skills and related. They are also offering employer information sessions online. Plus there are a lot of online resources to learn new skills and keep engaged in learning. The Toronto Public Library may be closed but they offer plenty of online job search trainings and career cruising to name a few. Online learning, blogs and podcasts https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/. Another helpful resource is https://connectability.ca/what-to-do-while-in-isolation-covid-19-resources/.

In the meantime, please keep safe, healthy and well during this pandemic.

Signed: Joanna

To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email me at  jsamuels@reena.org

Employment Advice Column: A new workforce reality: Working from Home

Dear Joanna

Due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, our team has been working from home. Although we have online meetings, and chat on the phone with colleagues,  it’s isolating and I miss the informal and fun conversations with co-workers, especially during lunch hour.  Sometimes I find it hard to motivate myself to focus on the job at hand. Do you have any tips for home-based employees?

Signed : Home Alone

drawing of a person thinking about their career

Dear Home Alone,

There are pros and cons of working from home. However, you are far from being alone. Modern technology has changed the way we work. Home-based businesses and work are booming in our economy. In fact, Statistics Canada 2011 survey states that more than one million Canadians work from home. And there are sites like this one with a list of the best jobs to work remotely. https://www.thebalance.com/top-jobs-to-work-remotely-2064308

Here are some suggestions of best practices from blogger Smith https://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/12/how-to-succeed-at-working-from-home-2/#5e2b70dc1c89 that could maximize your success when working from home in addition to my past experience as a self-employed sales and marketing professional with a home-based office.

  • Keeping professional. Being stylish, up-to-date in your wardrobe. Caring about your looks, how you dress and presentation can make a huge difference in your motivation and impact your efficiency and productivity. When you dress professional, even if you are at home, you feel professional and in charge. . Avoid work-out clothes. If you work five days a week, have outfits ready for each day, just like you did when you working at an office. Your work from home is not a retirement home for all your faded, ill-fitting and ripped clothes, Plus, you always want to be ready for a last minute meeting or a Skype meeting. It is part of your branding, marketing and selling of yourself. Always be comfortable yet professional.
  • The Remote Home Office Setup. Wilcox stresses that a functioning office will make you more productive and professional. Having the latest technology can do wonders for this. A desk that is large enough for a computer desktop or laptop and equipment is key. A good phone and connection with a headset can help you to avoid echoing during online or landline phone calls or Skype meetings. For example, the wired headset helps to avoid echo during online calls, or skype meeting. Situate your office in a quiet place where you can think and with a door that shuts, especially if you live with other people or if you have a family.  A stable internet connection with a good back-up system goes a long way.
  • Take breaks. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look after yourself.  Schedule breaks  and lunchtime as you did when you were working in a traditional office.  Make sure you have an “out of office” automatic email reply or “I’ll be back in a hour” message on your voicemail.  Don’t disappear especially if you are part of a team of which some employees are also remote. A simple “Good morning, everyone” to let people know that you’re at your desk ready to start work on the project, and no longer at home or in bed.
  • Keep connected. Reena’s Human Resources Director Sonia K. suggests that when you are working from home, set a schedule and ensure constant contact with your team, co-workers and/or partners. Making a phone call first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day and keep connected.  Using Skype or other online meeting tools (gotomeet.com) to conduct work related meetings or simple conversations goes a long way to keeping in touch and feeling motivated. Also, go into the office as much as possible, even if it’s only for one meeting a week, or drop by for a lunch outing with your co-workers, as being re-connected with your team and business world goes a long way in feeling involved.
  • Continue networking. In addition to joining groups in your sector through online websites and social media forums, I would recommend that when you are able, try to get out of your home at least once a week. I’d join as many networking groups in your field that offer in face events and meetings. And if your company offers any types of activities or volunteering opportunities, I’d sign up as these are other ways to meet people, and keep current in your field

To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org

Outreach Spring Session – Reschedule

Dear Outreach Participants and Families,

Due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, our Sunday Spring Session that was scheduled for March 22, 2020 has been postponed till Sunday, April 19, 2020, at the usual time from 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm, at the Battle Centre, 927 Clark Avenue West, Thornhill L4J 8G6. Any questions and concerns, please contact me at 905 889 6484 ext 2101 or nlipsey@reena.org or Devon Mahadeo, dmahadeo@reena.org or 905 889 6484 ex 2224.

 Keep safe, healthy and well.

 Thank you for your support.

Best regards,

 Nicole Lipsey

COVID 19 Coronavirus Update – Day Programs and Visitors

Reena is committed to doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of our individuals, their families, our staff and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to monitor all directives and implemented our emergency health procedures over 3 weeks ago in order to be ready. The information and direction are based on the data we have now and may change as new information is provided.

At this time, Reena does not have any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19. Our staff are continuing to be screened each day and are monitoring individuals for any signs of influenza-like symptoms.

Starting tomorrow, the majority of Reena’s residential individuals will be supported in their homes and will not be attending day programs. We are committed to ensuring life within the homes carries on as close to normal as possible by keeping groceries and supplies in stock and offering creative programming to bring meaningful activities into the home, as well as safe activities outdoors, applying the principles of social distancing. This excludes our typical activities, like movies.

We recognize many of the day programs in the Developmental Services Sector have closed. For a very small minority of our residential individuals, it is important they are provided with their day program, as it is considered an essential need. It would be challenging for these individuals to be managed successfully without these programs, and for the health and wellbeing of themselves and others, we must continue providing their day program routine and structure. Reena also remains open to families with children living at home who are reliant on us for our support during this challenging time. While maintaining this small day program for these few individuals, we are taking the necessary precautions, including enhanced cleaning measures and social distancing within small group activities.

Many families have chosen not to send their son or daughter to day program or March break. We respect that choice and are offering full refunds for any programs that are cancelled.

Further, there has been an update to our visitor policy. In order to ensure a safe and secure environment for our individuals, Reena staff will only allow visitors into any of our locations who are providing an essential service that cannot be left uninterrupted. These essential visitors will be screened accordingly before entering the home.

We encourage families to continue interacting with their loved ones, either in-person or virtually. When families visit the home, they will be required to self-screen before entering. If they answer ‘no’ to all the screening questions, they will be asked to check-in with a staff member before entering. These families may also choose to take their loved ones out for a walk or other safe activities. However, if the family answers ‘yes’ to any of the screening questions, they will not be allowed to enter the location and if they choose to take their loved one out, then they must remain with them for 14 days.

We regret the inconvenience this may cause but, we must do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to our individuals and the people who provide care to them. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

We will continue to monitor the situation and are fully prepared to act on advice and direction from Public Health and the Ministry.

We encourage everyone to visit trusted public health websites to ensure you get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/

Please contact the Supervisor of your family member’s home for further questions or to talk about specifics around programming and technology for virtual engagement.

Sincerely,
Bryan Keshen
President and CEO

Ontario Ministry of Health

Public Health Ontario

Federal Government Corona Virus Update

Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID 19 (Novel Coronavirus) Update- Reena Community Participation Day Programs

Reena is continuing to closely monitor the concerns around the coronavirus (COVID-19) and has taken several precautionary measures for the health and safety of our individuals, staff and community. 

At this time, the community participation day programs at the Battle Centre, Reena Community Residence, Hillel/Wolfond Centre and the Schwartz-Reisman Centre (Older Adult Program) have been modified and will remain open. We are increasing the amount and type of cleaning at these locations – including products with a high degree of disinfection.  Our programs will be modified to ensure we are keeping with social distancing principles.  This includes small groups (no large group programs), outings that include walks in the community and outside activities (not going to crowded areas) and staff prompting around handwashing and hygiene practices.  Even in small groups, we will be emphasizing “every other seat” so participants are not too close to each other.

As we reported in our last update, every individual that we support is being monitored twice a day for symptoms which includes taking their temperature.  The first check occurs in the morning and if anyone has any symptoms, they will not be sent to their day program. Any external participants to the day programs will be screened before they come into the program, including their temperature.  If they have any symptoms, then they cannot participate in the program and are sent home.

We will continue to monitor the situation and are fully prepared to act on advice and direction from Public Health and the Ministry.

We encourage everyone to visit trusted public health websites to ensure you get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

For more information please visit:

For further questions, please contact the Supervisor of your family member’s home.

Sincerely,

Bryan Keshen
President and CEO

Ontario Ministry of Health

Public Health Ontario

Federal Government Corona Virus Update

Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Reena – March Break Participants COVID 19 Precautions March 15th, 2020

At Reena, the health and well-being of our individuals, staff, and community is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive as the situation evolves.

At this time, we do not have any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Reena, and our staff are continuing to monitor for any signs of influenza-like symptoms and to respond according to our protocols.

Moreover, Reena is now screening everyone coming into any Reena locations (this includes the Battle Centre where the March Break programming is taking place), and we ask that those coming to our locations carefully read the self-screening tool posted at the entrance. The tool lists symptoms and asks about travel history. If family or program participants answer ‘yes’ to any of the listed questions, we ask that they leave the location and call Nicole Lipsey at 905-889-6484 ext. 2101. If family and program participants answer ‘no’ to all of these questions, there will be hand sanitizer and a sign-in form (participants will be screened including their temperature will be taken) upon entering the location. Reena staff will be present to ensure that everyone has completed the self-screening tool and are signing in accordingly. 

The March Break program is going ahead and will be open.  We are committed to individuals and their families but also understand the need for enhanced precautions.  We are increasing the amount and type of cleaning at the Battle Centre – including products with a high degree of disinfection.  Our programs will be modified to ensure we are keeping with social distancing principles.  This includes small groups (no large group programs), outings that include walks in the community and outside activities (not going to crowded areas) and staff prompting around hand washing and hygiene practices.  Even in small groups we will be emphasizing “every other seat” so participants are not too close to each other.  

We know this is a challenging time for families and the decision whether to send your son or daughter to a March Break program is a personal one.  Reena will fully refund any fees to families who wish to cancel their registration.  

We will continue to monitor the situation and are fully prepared to act on advice and direction from Public Health and the Ministry.
We encourage everyone to visit trusted public health websites to ensure you get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

For more information please visit:

https://www.publichealthontario.ca/

For further questions, please contact Nicole Lipsey at 905-889-6484 ext. 2101

Sincerely,

Bryan Keshen
President and CEO

Ontario Ministry of Health

Public Health Ontario

Federal Government Corona Virus Update

Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID 19 Corona Virus Update – March 13th, 2020

At Reena, the health and well-being of our individuals, staff, and community is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive as the situation evolves.

At this time, we do not have any presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Reena, and our staff are continuing to monitor any signs of influenza-like symptoms and to respond according to our protocols.

Moreover, Reena is now screening everyone coming into any Reena locations, and we ask that those visiting our locations carefully read the self-screening tool posted at the entrance. The tool lists symptoms and asks about travel history. If visitors answer ‘yes’ to any of the listed questions, we ask that they leave the location and call the Supervisor. If visitors answer ‘no’ to all of these questions, there will be hand sanitizer and a sign-in form to complete upon entering the location. Reena staff will ensure that visitors have completed the self-screening tool and are signing in accordingly.

If in the future we are supporting an ill person at the location, Reena will change the sign on the door to indicate that visitors should not enter and only essential staff are permitted.

We will continue to monitor the situation and are fully prepared to act on advice and direction from Public Health and the Ministry.

We encourage everyone to visit trusted public health websites to ensure you get the most accurate and up-to-date information.

For more information p
lease visit:


For further questions, please contact the Supervisor of your family member’s home.

Sincerely,

Bryan Keshen
President and CEO
 
 
 
 
 
Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your local public health unit if you’re experiencing symptoms of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Events Are Proceeding as Planned – “Making the Picture Clearer” Conference

 

As of this date, the scheduled ‘Making the Picture Clearer’ Events are proceeding as planned on April 28th & 29th, 2020 and we are closely monitoring this issue and making precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our event attendees.
These measures include a full understanding of the crisis management plan in place with our host venue and local Toronto Health Services.

 

Please review poster HERE

BERNARD BETEL CENTRE EXPANDS MEALS ON WHEELS PROGRAM with Reena

The Bernard Betel Centre food services department has expanded their Meals on Wheels program, moving to the Reena, Toby and Henry Battle Developmental Centre located in Vaughan.

“We are a leader in the province and nationally in terms of influencing the developing of housing solutions for people with intellectual developmental disabilities,” said Bryan Keshen, CEO and President of Reena.

For the full article  – https://www.cjnews.com/news/canada/culinary-training-program-will-help-end-poverty

Conference Registration is Open – COMPLEX HEALTH CARE ISSUES – INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES CONFERENCE

Please see attached registration flyers for the “Making the Picture Clearer”  Complex Health Care Issues – Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

There are three events:

April 28th – for Direct Support Professionals, PSWs – also appropriate for Supervisors – CLICK HERE

Evening of April 28th – for Families – CLICK HERE

April 29th – FOR physicians, health care professionals, other disciplines that intersect with IDD and complex health care – CLICK HERE.

This EVENT would be especially helpful for those in the Networks of Specialized Care, Urgent response, Crisis, Case Management, or positions within agencies involved in coordinating complex health care needs.

For More Information – Click HERE

 

Empowering Family Caregivers to Improve Health Care Communication

We are reaching out on behalf of the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (H-CARDD) Program at CAMH.

Families play a key role in supporting adults with developmental disabilities (DD) to manage their health. How can parents and siblings support their family member with a developmental disability to get the best health care possible?

We wanted to bring to your attention an upcoming webinar, Empowering Family Caregivers to Improve Health Care Communication

Tuesday March 3, 2020, 12:00-1:00PM EST.

Register Today

This free webinar will focus on how parents and siblings can support their family member to get the best health care possible.

Included a flyer for your convenience.

Empowering Family Caregivers_Mar3

Complex Health Care Issues – Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Conference

April 28-29, 2020

Registration opens soon!

Toronto is the host for the American Neurological Association Annual Conference at the end of April.

It is our pleasure to partner with Surrey Place and the Azrieli Foundation to host a conference on Complex Health Care Issues – Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Reena is leveraging this opportunity to engage neurologists and other specialists at this conference who have specific expertise in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to present at this concurrent event. 

We are supported by our partners in the US such as the National Task Group on Intellectual Disabilities and Dementia Practices and the AADMD (American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry). 

This is an opportunity to hear from experts from around the world.

More information:
Cliff Walsh Reena Learning & Development Registrar,
Email: cwalsh@reena.org | Phone: (905) 889-2690 x 2048

CLick HERE for Conference Details

 

Coronavirus – Ensuring our Health and Well-being

As you are aware, there has been a lot of media attention over the last few weeks on the Coronavirus.

According to the Government of Canada website: “On December 31, 2019, a cluster of cases of pneumonia was reported in Wuhan, China, and the cause has been confirmed as a new coronavirus that has not been identified in humans. The virus is now known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCov”.

New information is constantly evolving about the spread of the virus and its impact. At this time, Ontario’s Chief Medical Office of Health, Dr. David Williams, says that “the risk to Ontarians remains low”.

The health and well-being of our supported individuals and our employees has always been Reena’s primary focus. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will respond to changing circumstances accordingly.

Reena has always taken a proactive approach to ensure that routine practices and procedures are in place for infection control on a regular basis.

We strongly encourage all supported individuals, staff, family members, visitors and community partners to follow routine practices to help minimize the spread of ALL infections which include:

– Washing your hands with soap and water frequently

– Using hand sanitizers

– Not coming to work if you are sick

– Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze

We will continue to monitor the situation and are fully prepared to act on advice and direction from Public Health and the Ministry.

We encourage everyone to visit trusted public health websites to ensure you get the most accurate and up to date information.

Please visit:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov https://www.publichealthontario.ca/ https://www.canada.ca/en/publichealth/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.htm