Protecting employees producing essential food during the pandemic
The Mowi Canada West team is pulling together to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing keeping employees safe at the workplaces where they are producing food essential to Canada’s response to this unprecedented health challenge.
The Province listed aquaculture as an essential service March 26 – along with healthcare provision and other food production sectors.
“We have made more than 50 changes to operations and procedures since introducing our first policy for managing the threat COVID-19 poses February 27. It seems like a long time ago,” said Dean Dobrinsky, Mowi Canada West’s HR Director. Dean is coordinating the Company’s pandemic response, and has been sending out regular updates to all staff by email. “We take the province’s designation of aquaculture as an essential service during this emergency as a serious responsibility. Our commitment to employees is that we will be innovative and decisive in keeping you safe while you do that essential work, and that we will keep you informed every step of the way.”
In an email to all staff, Mowi Canada West Managing Director Dr. Diane Morrison had a similar message. “Most important to me, above all else, is the safety and well-being of each and every one of you,” she wrote. “Your teams are coming together and changing long held practices to reduce exposure potentials. These actions are impressive and speak to your commitment. These efforts give us our best chance to stay safe and healthy, protect our families and community, and continue to provide a vital food product.”
To date, Mowi Canada West has implemented changes including:
- Supporting the Kitasoo / Xai’xais decision to isolate the community in Klemtu at this time. Mowi has halted production at the Klemtu plant and all site staff are flying in directly in respect of the travel ban in place. Mowi is providing employees in the community with support during this time;
- Wage increase for all staff who are leaving home to work at our essential freshwater and seawater production sites and processing facilities;
- Suspending all non-essential visits to farms and processing sites to protect staff working there;
- Temporarily altering camp schedules to two weeks on, two weeks off to minimize contact during transportation;
- Adding additional water taxis, trucks, and pool vehicles to isolate staff who have been working and traveling together, ensuring distance from other shifts;
- Working with contractors providing essential services to ensure they are also adopting strong measures and to coordinate social distancing and cleaning when they make necessary farm visits;
- Enhancing existing bio-security measures at all sites, and providing staff with protective equipment;
- Asking staff at sites to practice social distancing, stagger breaks, and to clean and disinfect their sites daily;
- Asking all staff not required at a site to work from home;
- Providing all employees, their families, and contractors with resources and information about maintaining strong mental health and physical hygiene while at home.
“We know these measures are challenging and disruptive,” Dobrinsky said. “They are, however, necessary. We are grateful for everyone’s efforts, and look forward to shaking all your hands and properly expressing our gratitude when we have come through the other side of this pandemic.”