Update #5 from Bruce McDonald

Everyone,

Clearly the flaw in this weekend is that the week has not yet ended for many.  I understand and truly appreciate how hard everyone is working, day and night, to put the pieces of this dizzyingly complex puzzle together.

Since my last update, we confirmed a third case of COVID-19 infection within our Toronto-based Field Services Division.  This individual was part of a two-day, three person project with our other two previously-infected people that occurred over two weeks ago.  He is recovering well thus far.  As I described before, we took quick action organizationally and we remain hopeful that we have contained the outbreak. 

Many of our Regional operations are contracting and we continue the sad and painful process of scaling back.  In the last three weeks, nearly 25% of our company’s hourly workforce has been laid off.  I remain hopeful that this downturn is as short as it is sharp and that we can soon begin to reverse these drastic temporary measures.  Until then, we will continue to adapt to whatever this crisis throws at us.

In the past week, there has been a lot of talk and conjecture about the definition of “essential services” as it relates to workplace safety, pandemic response, and community health resulting in a wide-ranging public debate on what businesses and industries must work, can work, and choose to work. 

I believe Black & McDonald falls into all three categories and here is why:

We must work where we provide services to customers who are literally essential to the functioning of our society during this emergency such as health-care, municipalities, transit, power generation and distribution, and telecommunications to name a few.  We have contractual obligations and, most importantly, a civic duty to go to work.

We can work because we have readied our operations and prepared our people to conduct our business and perform our duties safely.  We have an exemplary health and safety methodology and culture that we have rapidly adapted to the new hygiene and social distancing protocols.  We have continuity plans and financial fortifications to anticipate and defend against disruption.  We have called every B&Mer to action to stop the transmission of the virus.

We choose to work because we want to serve our customers and preserve our employees’ ability to earn a living.  We want to fight COVID-19 for ourselves, our clients, our company and our communities by doing what we do best.

Naturally we are affected by government restrictions but Ian and I would not make the choice for B&M to continue working were it not for our confidence in the readiness of our organization and the willingness of our people to protect the wellbeing of all stakeholders, to deliver our services safely, meet the needs of our customers, and fulfill our public obligation to stop the spread of the virus.  

I know there is a lot to worry about but please take the time today to put down the phone and give yourself a short break from it all.  Hug a family member in your home quarantine crew.  They will likely need it as much as you.

Bruce