Things continue to change rapidly for businesses, and employers are facing new and never-before thought about issues –like how to navigate the realities of employee expectations around COVID, mandatory vaccinations and an unprecedented 64% of employees not wanting to return to the workplace full time. Add to that the lowest unemployment rate in Canada’s history and the challenge of filling jobs; it’s a tough time to be an employer. Some industries are finding it debilitating to the point of closing their doors. Others continue to struggle with figuring out new ways to do business.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of where we are right now is that things are changing so fast that we can’t keep up. Or, things are changing, and there are no guidelines for how to navigate within current realities. No one –including the government –seems to be willing to give definitive answers on how to deal with some of the specifics. Lawyers are being inundated with calls from employers asking what they are allowed (or not allowed) to do with policies and standards around vaccinations, and the answers at the moment are like nailing jello to a wall. There is no case law to fall back on, there are no standards from the health authority or Worksafe yet, so it feels like we are adrift in a sea of uncertainty, hoping we make the right choices and that they don’t come back to bite us once new rules and guidelines do come in.

The best advice we’ve been given is to stay within the current guidelines regarding human rights and employment standards and keep employing best practices within HR that are reasonable and use sound judgment. Tricky though, right? There’s a wide swath within those suggestions.

We want to share two resources that have come our way that contain valuable information on issues you may be facing in the coming months.

 

A Resource Guide for Small Business Resiliency–recently released by the BC Chamber of Commerce, this 22-page guide covers topics like how you can reopen, maintain, pivot or expand your business, where you can find tons of resources you might need in considering your business path moving forward, how to increase your business’ resilience and a look at the future of business. It’s well laid out, easy to navigate and full of great information.

A human rights approach to proof of vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic has just been released by the BC Human Rights Commission. Navigating human rights issues is difficult at the best times, and with the confusion and lack of direction around how to deal with vaccinations has put employers in a no-man’s land. This guide offers a human rights approach to dealing with this issue with principles for protecting human rights while developing vaccination status policies.

 

We’re here to assist with helping you navigate these interesting times as best we can as we stay up to date with the most recent information available. Please reach out to ingrid@mysmarthr.ca if we can support your business in any way. We’re happy to answer questions, suggest resources or connect you to specialists who can give you specific guidance in areas of specific expertise.

 

While these days, in particular, are confusing and frustrating for many business owners and leaders, we want to remind you that the key to resilience in any area of life is to maintain perspective, to collaborate and lean on each other, and to stay positive and creative as things change around us. Dr. Bonnie Henry’s words, many from the beginning of this pandemic: “Be kind, be calm, be safe”, are still wise words to live by.