Here is my update as of midday Saturday.
We have 3 known cases of COVID-19 infection within the company and 1 case in a joint-venture company to date. Fortunately none of these people have experienced serious health consequences and are recovering well.
Friday afternoon, the Government of Ontario announced further restrictions on construction and commerce. While much of our utility and critical infrastructure work will continue, our operations throughout the province will be affected by the temporary closing of commercial sector projects. These restrictions and the corresponding shrinkage of B&M business are occurring almost everywhere but are dictated in timing and intensity by local conditions. We continue to take aggressive yet unfortunate short-term measures to reduce our staff and our spending to protect the long-term financial viability of B&M.
People across the Company are behaving and performing so admirably during this crisis. It is difficult to respond and manage the constant change and upheaval to our normal work routines and our workforce but we are performing very well under trying circumstances. I am inspired by your effort and your resilience.
I recognize the challenges we are collectively facing extend deeply into your personal lives. It goes well beyond one’s concern for individual health. There is: financial uncertainty for those who have been temporarily laid off or seen their regular income curtailed by salary reduction or reduced hours; emotional distress about the future and the extent of the pandemic; home pressures magnified by the upending of schooling and daycare and the absence of normal activities; stress of supporting extended family without the personal freedom to do so. There is simply a lot to process and feeling anxious, exhausted and isolated is understandable.
Please remember this is new to everyone. Talk to others you trust and share your feelings and concerns. Another source of guidance are the Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP) available to unionized trade staff through their respective unions and to other B&M’ers through our providers Workplace Solutions (in Canada) and Alternative EAP (in the US).
I too find the uncertainty and turbulence of the pandemic very unnerving. But I know this storm will eventually pass and I assure that Black & McDonald will still be here when it does. The more that we have to shrink to protect ourselves now, the more spectacular our inevitable comeback will be.
Please look after yourself mentally and physically and continue to do everything you can to “break the chain” of COVID-19 infection.
Thank you for your trust, commitment and hard work.