COVID-19 Monitoring and Information

October 5, 2020

CFNU Releases Pandemic Investigation Report

The CFNU has released an independent pandemic investigation by Mario Possamai, titled, A Time of Fear: How Canada failed our health care workers and mismanaged COVID-19.

The report is available on CFNU’s website and at www.atimeoffear.ca. A Facebook Live event will happen at noon on October 5, 2020 at this link, and will remain available on the CFNU Facebook page after it has concluded.

September 21, 2020

In response to two reviews of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union is calling the recommendations in the review meaningful and impactful if implemented in a timely manner.

Read the full NSNU response:

Nurses’ Union pleased with LTC Report; Disappointed government didn’t commit to improvements in health human resources

 

September 21, 2020

On September 21st reviews by the Quality-Improvement Review Committee and the Department of Health and Wellness were released. Download the documents below. 

QIIPA Recommendations

IPAC Review

 

September 14, 2020

Watch Linda Silas and leaders from Canada's nurses' unions as they delve into how we can build a healthy recovery for all.

August 11, 2020

Essential Health Care Worker Program Update – August 10, 2020

Dear NSNU Member,

The Essential Health Care Worker Program recognizes the special effort taken by front-line health-care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The dedication and commitment from every Nova Scotia Health employee has contributed to this province’s ability to control and contain the spread of COVID-19 in our hospitals and our communities.

The Essential Health Care Worker payment is the result of a partnership between the Government of Canada and provincial governments, including the province of Nova Scotia. It has specific program criteria dictated by the provincial government which must be followed.

The program was designed for:

  • full-time, part-time and casual non-management employees;
  • employees who worked on the front-line providing direct care and service to COVID-19 patients and/or public with exposure to potential risk of COVID-19; and 
  • employees who were instrumental in the containment efforts during the pandemic in their work in screening, contact tracing and lab testing.

Eligibility criteria

Any Nova Scotia Health employee is eligible for the bonus if they meet ONE of the following criteria:

  • Any employee in a clinical care role working directly with the public during the pandemic.

To be considered eligible you had an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of provision of in-person service or care directly to patients during the pandemic.

  • Any employee in a non-clinical role working directly with the public during the pandemic.

To be considered eligible you had an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of provision of in-person service directly to patients or the public during the pandemic.

  • Employees directly involved in the dedicated containment efforts of COVID-19.

To be considered eligible employees must have been dedicated specifically to COVID-19 support efforts such as 811 screening, door screening, lab testing and occupational health.

Employees must have worked a minimum of one day during a month to have that month qualify them for the monthly benefit of $500, up to the maximum benefit of $2,000. The months are: March 13 - April 12, April 13 - May 12, May 13 - June 12, June 13 - July 12.

Process

Based on the above criteria, eligible employees are required to complete an online form and declaration waiver. Employees are eligible to receive each payment only once for each qualifying period even if they work for more than one health care organization.

Acute Care:

The form and declaration waiver is also available on Nova Scotia Health’s /IWK’s Pulse intranet. All information (form and waiver) must be submitted no later than midnight on August 19, 2020. If an employee misses this deadline, their application will still be considered however the payment date of September 10th may not be met.

All potential recipients will be validated before payment is made. Validation will include a review of position, work location and hours worked. Validation may require follow up with an employee’s manager. Employees will be notified by email if they are not eligible.

VON:

VON members are asked to please complete and sign the Declaration - Essential Workers Program form and return either by fax or directly to your local office, as soon as possible but NO later than August 19th, 2020. Please note this document is your declaration of entitlement to payment from the Department of Health and Wellness.

If you do not have access to a fax or printer, hard copies are available at your site which you can make arrangements with your administrative assistant to complete. Office entry guidelines vary site by site therefore you must follow specific local directions for safe office entry. VON will continue to work on timelines for payment and will communicate those to you as soon as final decisions are made.

LTC:

Each Long-Term Care employer is responsible for contacting employees with a process for application. If you work in Long Term Care and have not received any information, please contact your Employer directly.

Payment

It is anticipated that payment to eligible staff will be made on the September 10, 2020 pay for NSHA and IWK employees.  

This payment is not considered pensionable income, in accordance with the Nova Scotia Employer’s Pension Plan rules. This benefit is considered income by Canada Revenue Agency and is therefore taxable. As the employer, Nova Scotia Health is required to deduct taxes from this payment.

Depending on where you work, further questions can be submitted to Human Resources at compensation [at] nshealth.ca or HCWWorkerProgram [at] iwk.nshealth.ca.

July 8, 2020

Essential Health Care Workers Program

On May 7, the federal government announced changes to an Essential Health Care Workers Program at which point Nova Scotia signed on to the program and the offer of a cash bonus for those in the health-care sector supporting the COVID-19 response.

The Nova Scotia government announced that day that health care workers in this province would be eligible for the bonus, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic placed extensive demands on front-line health-care workers. The Department of Health and Wellness and its partners determined the terms of eligibility and delivery of the fund - up to a $2000 bonus per worker. 

The Essential Health Care Workers Program provides some health-care workers with a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period, effective March 13 to July 12, 2020. These include employees at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and in long-term care, home care and in-home support and emergency health services, and potentially others. Employees who volunteered to be redeployed to work at a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak will also receive this benefit.

On July 7, 2020 NSNU, along with other health care unions, was provided with details pertaining to the agreement. In short, the vast majority of NSNU members will receive a bonus, with some exceptions. For example, if you did not work during the eligibility period, if you worked from home during that timeframe, or you were on leave for anything other than a COVID-19 related issue, you do not qualify.

Each healthcare worker will be asked to sign a declaration indicating that they worked during this period, and that they are making the claim with only one employer. Members who work for more than one employer can only make one claim.

This bonus does not fall under the influence of your collective agreement therefore the union has no ability to negotiate for members who may be excluded from receiving the bonus. 

Employers will be responsible for distributing the bonus and will communicate those details to their employees. We encourage you to speak directly with your employer(s) if you have questions or concerns.

Respectfully,
Janet Hazelton, NSNU President

 

June 18, 2020

On June 18th NSNU president, Janet Hazelton hosted an hour-long conversation with a frontline nurse to discuss occupational health and safety during a pandemic. She also spoke to an NSNU member who faced COVID-19 firsthand and has since made a full recovery. That video can be found on this page.

June 16, 2020

Researchers at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia are currently studying the impact of COVID-19 on the health and safety of front-line health and care workers.  

The survey itself consists of approximately 100 questions asking you about your personal demographic information, work conditions, work habits, attitudes, and feelings.

Participation in this online study will require approximately 20 minutes of your time, and upon successful completion, your personal score in job burnout will be shown to you.

Your participation in this research is voluntary and your answers will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous.

Your participation in this study is greatly appreciated, especially given the current challenging times. The information you provide will greatly assist the researchers in further understanding how organizations can increase the health and safety of front-line health and care workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To participate in this research study, please go to this link: www.BurnoutPulse.ca

If you have any question regarding this study, feel free to email the research team at burnoutpulse [at] smu.ca

May 27, 2020

On May 27th NSNU President, Janet Hazelton hosted an hour-long panel discussion on Facebook Live. She was joined by four frontline nurses to hear about nursing issues across sectors, troubling times in Nova Scotia, and the supports available to nurses during these crises.

You can view a recording of the event below, or at this link.

May 20, 2020

A wellness workbook has been developed to help health care providers deal with their stress during the pandemic.

Download the workbook here

May 7, 2020

New Program Gives Health-care Workers Up to $2,000 Bonus

The NSNU is pleased the shared the following information provided to us by the Office of the Premier:

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extensive demands on front-line health-care workers but the majority did not initially qualify for the federal top-up program. That is why Premier Stephen McNeil lobbied the federal government for flexibility around its program.

Today, May 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to the program and now Nova Scotia has signed on to provide a cash bonus for those in the health-care sector supporting the COVID-19 response.

Read More:

New Program Gives Health-care Workers Up to $2,000 Bonus

The NSNU is pleased the shared the following information provided to us by the Office of the Premier:

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extensive demands on front-line health-care workers but the majority did not initially qualify for the federal top-up program. That is why Premier Stephen McNeil lobbied the federal government for flexibility around its program.

Today, May 7, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to the program and now Nova Scotia has signed on to provide a cash bonus for those in the health-care sector supporting the COVID-19 response.

"Front-line health-care providers are working flat out to keep Nova Scotians safe and healthy during this unprecedented time, sometimes putting their own lives at risk," said Premier McNeil. "We are pleased to partner with the federal government on a program that recognizes the hard work and unique challenges front-line health-care workers face due to COVID-19."

The Essential Health Care Workers Program will see health-care workers receive a bonus of up to $2,000 after a four-month period, beginning March 13. It includes eligible employees at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, IWK Health Centre and in long-term care, home care and in-home support and emergency health services. Employees who volunteered to be redeployed to work at a facility experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak will also receive this benefit.

The program is expected to benefit up to 43,000 health-care workers in the province. The Department of Health and Wellness will work with its partners to deliver the money.

Quick Facts:

  • the province will contribute $13.4 million, with the federal government contribution being $80.5 million
  • the program will apply to full-time, part-time and casual workers as well as cleaning staff
  • eligible health-care employees who work during the pandemic can receive the benefit, and employees will need to work during all four months to receive the maximum $2,000
  • those who work during the four months but are placed on isolation, quarantine or COVID-19 sick leave are also eligible
  • the first public health measures related to COVID-19 were announced March 13

May 1, 2020

On Thursday, April 30th the NSNU held a telephone townhall to hear members’ concerns and comments, answer questions, and discuss the latest information on COVID-19. Members can Members can listen to a recording of that call here on the COVID-19 videos page.

If you have any questions, please send them to nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca and they will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

April 17, 2020

URGENT: Recruitment to Northwood Halifax amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

Northwood’s long-term care facility in Halifax is experiencing a dangerous outbreak of COVID-19. The situation is dire as many regular staff are currently unable to work. Unions representing Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and others have agreed to help recruit staff to work at Northwood at this critical time.

Read More:

Recruitment to Northwood Halifax amidst COVID-19 Outbreak

Northwood’s long-term care facility in Halifax is experiencing a dangerous outbreak of COVID-19. The situation is dire as many regular staff are currently unable to work. Unions representing Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and others have agreed to help recruit staff to work at Northwood at this critical time.

The government has asked NSNU and other health care unions to communicate this information to our members for consideration.  

All staff working with presumed or confirmed COVID-19 residents will be provided with full personal protective equipment as per appropriate precautions.

Please know that the unions have entered into an agreement with government that would ensure that no staff will lose any pay or benefits, including through a loss of hours due to the change in employment location, or through time spent in isolation. 

All recruited staff will remain employed by their current Employer(s) and maintain at least the same rates of pay and benefits, respecting all compensation provisions of the Good Neighbour Protocol. 

All staff recruited to work at Northwood will not at the same time work at other locations for their Employer or anyone else.

Those willing to assist will receive an orientation appropriate to the work they will be doing. 

Interested NSNU members should contact their current manager as soon as possible to review the full Memorandum of Understanding.

Thank you in advance to those who are considering this request. Thank you to all our members for your dedication, each and every day.

Janet Hazelton,
President, Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union

April 9, 2020

On Thursday, April 9th the NSNU held a telephone townhall to hear members’ concerns and comments, answer questions, and discuss the latest information on COVID-19. Members can Members can listen to a recording of that call here on the COVID-19 videos page.

Much has happened in a short period of time that impacts many aspects of your home and work life. It’s important to stay in touch and informed. If you have any questions, please send them to nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca and they will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

April 9, 2020

An Important Message About Patient Privacy From NSHA

Read more:

An Important Message About Patient Privacy From NSHA

In recent media reports regarding the first COVID-19 related death in Nova Scotia, the level of detail shared by anonymous staff members and physicians is concerning and frankly disappointing. We understand that these are uncertain times and sharing our experiences may feel like the right thing to do, however it is imperative that we maintain the boundaries of patient confidentiality. Staff and physicians must protect the trust that our patients have placed in us, and follow the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) and NSHA privacy policies.

Public attention and the media interest around COVID will continue. You may be approached by media. If approached by media in person or online through social media, refer them to the NSHA media line 1-844-483-3344. Please remember that any information gained from your employment with NSHA is only to be used in the course of performing your duties. You may not share any information with your family, friends or members of the community.  Even sharing within NSHA outside of the course of your daily duties would be considered a privacy breach.

Incidents of information being shared inappropriately will be investigated by the Privacy Officer in your zone. Breach of patient confidentiality is a serious matter and may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment if it is determined that the breach was committed with intent to gossip or other malicious purpose. If you have questions about what may or may not be shared during the COVID-19 Pandemic please reach out to the Privacy Office at privacy [at] nshealth.ca.

If you need to discuss situations at work, if you are struggling or need help, talk to your manager or your co-worker, or take advantage of our Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) services accessible 24/7/365 by calling 1-800-387-4765 or visiting www.workhealthlife.com.

 

April 7, 2020

NSNU and CFNU Make $5000 Donation to Feed Nova Scotia

Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union was happy to host a virtual cheque presentation with Nick Jennery, Executive Director of Feed Nova Scotia today, April 7th. The NSNU and CFNU collectively donated $5000.00 to Feed Nova Scotia to help those who are struggling with food insecurity at this difficult time. We hope others will consider donating to this and the many other organizations and charities that are facing challenges due to COVID-19.

View the virtual cheque presentation here on our YouTube channel.

Feed Nova Scotia - Read More

NICK JENNERY :
“Wow … what an incredibly thoughtful and generous donation! Your gift is so humbling given that you and your members are tackling your own difficult challenges on the front line. We are all so very grateful for what you are doing for so many. Your donation is also motivating for our team as we ramp up our support for communities in need, and help those who are most vulnerable. Thank you so much Janet and a big virtual hug to you and all your members for their kindness and generosity. Together we will get this done.”

April 3, 2020

Five unions representing health care workers providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are calling on government and employers to sign onto a safety protocol that would ensure these frontline workers feel protected and supported during this unprecedented time.

Read More:

MEDIA RELEASE: NS Health Care Workers Need Assurances on Safety Equipment

Five unions representing health care workers providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic are calling on government and employers to sign onto a safety protocol that would ensure these frontline workers feel protected and supported during this unprecedented time.

The NSGEU, NSNU, CUPE, Unifor and IUOE jointly agreed to this protocol, which is similar to protocols that have recently been adopted by the provincial government and employers in Alberta and Ontario. On Monday, the protocol was sent to Premier Stephen McNeil, Health & Wellness Minister Randy Delorey, Chief Medical Officer Robert Strang, as well as Dr. Brendan Carr at the NSHA and Dr. Krista Jangaard at the IWK.

So far, government and employer representatives have not agreed to sign the document.

Our frontline health care workers deserve the same level of respect, peace of mind and protection that is being provided to health care workers in other parts of this country.

We understand that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is in short supply worldwide, but this protocol strikes a balance between protecting both our supply and our frontline workers; by protecting them it would ensure they remain healthy and able to treat the sick.

We are doing our best to work cooperatively with government at this time of crisis, reaffirming our commitment to the Good Neighbour Protocol in 2009 and working with our members to help provide care during this difficult time. We need government to meet us half way.

March 24, 2020

The following document was provided by Pink Larkin to answer common questions from unions:

Information Bulletin - COVID-19: Unions’ Questions Answered (PDF)

March 17, 2020

The following document was provided by the Government of Nova Scotia regarding COVID-19 protocols in the Continuing Care Sector.

Information to Continuing Care Sector (PDF)

March 17, 2020

Call For Retired Nurses

Retired nurses who are willing and able to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to reach out to the Nova Scotia College of Nursing.

Nova Scotia is looking to hire retired workers in various settings amid a likely staffing shortage resulting from the pandemic.

If you are interested, please visit the NSCN website for more information.

Thank you for your service. 

March 13, 2020

New Travel Measures for NS Public Sector Employees

Public sector employees who travel outside of Canada, including the United States, will be required to self-isolate upon their return effective today. Government introduced the travel protocols this morning, March 13, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province. 

Read more:

New Travel Measures for NS Public Sector Employees

Public sector employees who travel outside of Canada, including the United States, will be required to self-isolate upon their return effective today. Government introduced the travel protocols this morning, March 13, to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province. 

To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. 

Health-care workers, teachers, civil servants and other public sector employees who travel anywhere outside Canada will have to stay at home/self-isolate away from the public for 14 days after returning to the country. These measures also apply to students of Nova Scotia public schools and children in regulated child care centres who have travelled with their families, even if their parents or caregivers are not public sector employees. This policy will apply to NSNU staff as well.

Those requiring self-isolation post international travel must notify their employer in order to be placed on paid administrative leave. Anyone who contracts the virus will be required to use sick leave. 

Under the Health Protections Act, workers can be put off work if they do not voluntarily self-isolate. 

The chief medical officer of health is also encouraging individuals, employers and community organizations to limit social gatherings to no more than 150 people to limit spread. This measure will help protect vulnerable Nova Scotians who are at greatest risk and will be reassessed as the situation evolves. 

Nurses who choose to travel internationally during the travel advisory and self-isolation should review their travel insurance policy as they may not now qualify for benefits and coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

NSNU members seeking more information are encouraged to reach out at 902-469-1474/1-800-469-1474 or nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca

Additional Contact Information:

March 12, 2020

On Thursday the NSNU held a telephone townhall to hear members’ concerns, answer questions, and discuss the latest information on COVID-19 and healthcare sector preparedness. Members can listen to a recording of that call here on the COVID-19 videos page.

If you have any questions, please send them to nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca and they will be directed to the appropriate staff member.

March 11, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, in light of the outbreak spreading to 114 countries, with more than 118,000 confirmed infections and 4,291 deaths.

Read more:

World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, in light of the outbreak spreading to 114 countries, with more than 118,000 confirmed infections and 4,291 deaths. The announcement was made by WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a media briefing on March 11th. 

In his statement, Dr. Ghebreyesus said if all countries took the proper precautions, the spread of the pandemic could be better managed.

“If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.”

He called on all countries to scale up emergency response systems to stem the rate of infection to protect citizens and health care workers.

Read the full statement here on the WHO website.

March 9, 2020

New national screening protocols have been established as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to expand globally. Please visit the Nova Scotia Government website at this link for full details.

March 2, 2020

It is inappropriate and unnecessary to test for SARS-Co-V2 in asymptomatic people who have returned from an area affected by SARS-Co-V2 and such tests will not be performed by the Nova Scotia health system. 

Read more:

No Novel Coronavirus Testing or Medical Note Required for Return to Work

It is inappropriate and unnecessary to test for SARS-Co-V2 in asymptomatic people who have returned from an area affected by SARS-Co-V2 and such tests will not be performed by the Nova Scotia health system. 

The practice of requiring medical letters to return to work are not necessary or appropriate except in special circumstances.

Based on current information, there is a low risk of SARS-Co-V2 being spread by an infected individual while asymptomatic. Travellers returning from affected areas are screened by Canada Border Services agents upon their return to Canada. Those with symptoms are sent directly for medical assessment. 

Depending on the exact location(s) where they travelled, those who do not have symptoms are given clear instructions to either self-isolate for 14 days since they left the affected area or to closely monitor their health.

January 28, 2020

View the Good Neighbour Protocol 

In 2009, in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the NSNU and other health care unions signed the Good Neighbour Protocol – an agreement to preserve health services and protect health care workers during emergencies such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

Read more:

Good Neighbour Protocol

Nurses and nursing organizations like the NSNU are paying close attention to the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in China. While there's a low risk of widespread infection in Canada, there are some confirmed cases of the virus in Ontario and British Columbia.

The Nurses’ Union will continue to monitor the situation, working with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the Department of Health and Wellness in order to apprise you of any new developments.

In 2009, in response to the H1N1 influenza pandemic, the NSNU and other health care unions signed the Good Neighbour Protocol – an agreement to preserve health services and protect health care workers during emergencies such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

The agreement protects workers' rights in times of crisis and ensures for seamless support across the province should they be required to temporarily work at a different site or location. It ensures workers and volunteers will be properly compensated and protected.

We encourage you to discuss workplace safety with your employers/managers to make certain that personal protective equipment, protocols and preventative measures are in place. We must take the necessary precautions to safeguard against infection.

If you have concerns that the Nurses’ Union may be able to address, please contact us at nsnu.office [at] nsnu.ca

sad nurse

COVID-19 Nurses Memorial

On International Nurses Day - May 12, 2020 - National Nurses United and Global Nurses United honoured all nurses around the globe who have died as a result of insufficient PPE and infection control policies during the COVID-19 crisis.

You can view a list of names at this link.

Protect NS Frontline

Protect NS Frontline is a joint effort by five health care unions in Nova Scotia, NSNU, CUPE Nova Scotia, IUOE, NSGEU and Unifor, collectively representing more than 40,000 workers.​ The microsite contains information and a letter campaign linking our message aimed to ensure employers have adequate health and safety controls for frontline workers, and allowing health care professionals to use a risk assessment to determine the controls necessary in the line of duty.

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COVID-19 Video Updates

View video updates from NSNU president, Janet Hazelton.

Escape

It is now more important than ever to decompress and feel the support of those around you. This page is dedicated to giving nurses a break from the rigors of the job during this time of heightened stress, workload and anxiety.

Click for larger image

Mask graphic updated

 


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