Redesigning Streets for a Safer Tomorrow – Our COVID19 Temporary Normal

The month of May and early June has brought forth some innovative change – which some would see as long overdue. Toronto Mayor John Tory unveiled a plan to open more space for pedestrians and cyclists in congested areas as the province begins to reopen its doors in a post-COVID-19 world.

cyclists on Toronto city streets

The ActiveTO initiative set its aim on closing select major roads to car traffic in exchange for more room for walking and cycling. Additionally, the city plans to expand bicycle lane infrastructure and introduce traffic calming measures in local neighbourhoods to enhance the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. The city has now allocated 65 kilometres of quiet streets among 32 neighbourhoods. Some of us have already experienced these changes and felt their positive impact. 

It has become an inevitable realization for municipalities that residents are becoming eager to flock outdoors as the weather warms and the number of active COVID-19 cases gradually declines. The question now becomes not how cities can keep people inside, but how communities can strategically redesign their infrastructure to allow residents to get outside while continuing to safely obey social distancing measures. 

 

Each municipality will have unique challenges when reopening, and the proper planning of municipal infrastructure is critical. Although there is no cookie-cutter answer for the temporary redesign of city roads, there have already been successful initiatives taken by municipalities as they rethink their streets in anticipation of the return to regular life. 

 

Extending Bicycle Infrastructure

Cycling has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation for residents during the pandemic. It offers a chance for people to exercise and make local trips to essential locations, all while maintaining a safe social distance from other users. The World Health Organization has encouraged people to walk or cycle whenever possible. Experts boast that 30-60 minutes of physical activity per day can boost your immune system and help keep viruses at bay. Along with Toronto, many cities are moving towards implementing additional cycling infrastructure during this time. 

In Canada, Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg have each allocated over 15 kilometres of additional bike lanes throughout their neighbourhoods since the beginning of the pandemic. In Philadelphia, cycling trips have increased by more than 150% and public bike-share programs across North America are experiencing a steep increase in users over the past month. People who usually rely on public transportation are finding cycling to be a safer alternative that allows them to avoid crowded buses and subways.

 

Expanding Sidewalks 

With the decrease in vehicle traffic as a result of the closure of many businesses and services, cities have opted to provide temporary walkways extending onto streets to allow residents to maintain an appropriate distance from one another. Montreal’s Plateau Mont-Royal borough has introduced family and active streets – a campaign that closes select local streets to through traffic to make room for pedestrians to roam freely. New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio recently announced the opening of 40 miles worth of open streets throughout May. 

 

garbage can

Smaller cities have also been quick to answer the call to reorganize their communities. Kitchener has installed temporary bollards to extend sidewalks along the city’s main street to allow for more room for physical distancing. Drummondville has closed its Curé-Marchand bridge to all motorized vehicles, and St. Johns has decided to widen the sidewalks of high-volume streets to open up more space for pedestrians and cyclists.

One-Way Sidewalks, Eliminating Beg Buttons, and More

Aside from the large-scale infrastructure adjustments that are occurring, some cities are looking towards more creative solutions to help curb the community spread of the COVID-19 virus. Sections of sidewalk along Highbury Avenue in London, Ontario have been converted into one-way walkways where it has been difficult to maintain a 2-meter buffer from others.

walking on streets in London Ontario

Places such as Calgary, Edmonton, and Hamilton have eliminated beg buttons at crosswalks and intersections. These cities have completely automated their signal cycles at intersections so that pedestrians can avoid pressing frequently touched buttons if they want to cross a street. Places like Boston, Portland, and New York City are offering free bike-share memberships for health care workers and other essential labourers. Additionally, Calgary is choosing to not advertise streets where they have extended sidewalks and bicycle lanes to not attract crowds in these areas. 

 

Take Action

The initial fear that creating more space for alternative forms of transportation would create problems of overcrowding seems to have subsided among a majority of city officials. As cities worldwide begin to roll-out post-COVID-19 mobility plans, it is undeniable that more residents will be outside for essential trips and exercise. Instead of eliminating space for movement, cities must restructure themselves to allocate enough space for its residents to move freely and safely.

As we see staged reopening within Ontario, consider reimagining your urban spaces, shared spaces and hot spots within your neighbourhoods. Offering residents the chance to get involved in the conversation whether it be through social media, online public platforms, or email can encourage those measures in place, are enjoyed and followed.  

 

Trans-Plan is committed to helping aid your community in its gradual reopening. Our COVID-19 Temporary Planning Services integrate professional engineering expertise and proprietary modeling capability to assist in providing innovative services for disaster-ready plans. We offer customized redesign plans for temporary conditions.

 

Written By: Trans-Plan team member – Ryan McClelland

Share

Redesigning The Way Your Company Works

COVID-19 has changed the way we work, play, and interact with our world. Whether your company is a single or multiple branch office operation, with industrial facilities or mobile public and field workers — developing a clear, concise program requires careful consideration and detailed risk and resource assessments.

Unique challenges require unique customized solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for businesses and workforces all across Canada. Public health departments, government leaders, and associations provide continual streams of information where business owners and executives must analyze this information to the best of their ability, providing direction in the creation of customized solutions for their business.

Barantas Inc. (Barantas) has remained focused on the core principles of prevention and safety services offering clarity and direction to company programs and operational procedure development.

Barantas can assist in any of the following key areas:

  • Business re-opening plans and implementation strategies
  • Operational redesign of workspace management
  • Worker inter-personal safety prevention programs and methodologies
  • Workforce programs for office, industrial, municipal and education sectors
  • Construction project-specific pandemic enhanced programs and inspections
  • Health and safety manual and policy development
  • Personal protective equipment supply and sourcing (masks, gloves, face shields)

Barantas provides comprehensive, long-term protection strategies and a personalized partnership anchored by our commitment to service excellence.

Redesigning Workplaces in a Post Pandemic Era

Our national reach and multi-disciplinary approach to safety management allow you to access a complete suite of health and safety services for a fraction of what it would cost you to source these services individually.

Barantas interactively works with you in evaluating and developing your new workplace strategies and worker health and safety management. Our goal is to collaboratively provide our expertise and knowledge to your key persons or teams, building a sustainable, internal infrastructure focused on the health and safety of your workforce.

We utilize a FIVE phase process. This process begins with a data acquisition phase, where we learn and understand your business, through to ensuring your teams can execute, monitor and continually adapt your program to meet today’s and future challenges.

Our process is based on the following principles:

  • Risk Reduction: Focused on reducing risk through prevention methodologies using the hierarchy of controls.
  • Individual Health and Safety Protection: Ensuring your company is taking the precautions reasonable for the protection of workers, employees, clients and affected individuals.
  • Maintenance of Applicable Requirements: Continual monitoring of authority directives, legislative requirements, and corporate due diligence best practices combined into a preparedness program able to adapt to changing environments and new directives.
  • Education and Sustainability: As part of working with your team through the five-phase process, our goal is to ensure understanding and application of the principles and methodologies for key team members ensuring an ability to assess, respond and adapt to continual change in both external factors and internal business decisions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OUR 5 STEP PROCESS https://www.barantas.ca/the-five-phase-process/

For a full version PDF of this document https://www.barantas.ca/pandemicmanagement/

 

 

Share

Do Not Lose Focus

Let us not forget about all the other risks & threats that kept us up at night before the threat of the pandemic landed on our doorsteps.

Yes, the response to the pandemic is important.  Unfortunately, there are other risks & threats that still exist.  

Do not lose focus.

Organizations now more than ever need to be able to strike a balance with multiple focal points whist executing their emergency response, risk & security, business continuity plans.

Stay organized.  Stay Sharp.

We can Help.

Plan the Work.  Work the Plan.

Should your Municipality need assistance, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

Share

Municipalities and the Use of Technology During the Pandemic

If our current situation due to COVID-19 has had any positive impact, it is that municipalities who have been hesitant to adopt technology are now realizing just how vital it is. In the past, many municipal employees were unable to work from home due to technology limitations and concerns about the protection of confidential information. Let’s take a look at how some municipalities are adapting to the “new normal”.

 

WASAGA BEACH, ONTARIO

While other municipalities have set up a system allowing many staff to work from home instead of reporting to town offices, in the case of Wasaga Beach, the risk of an information breach has prevented them from allowing staff to work off-site.

“We had a cyber-attack almost three years ago that has made us wary of the security of confidential information being transmitted over the Internet from off-site locations,” said Communications Officer Michael Gennings.

“We have implemented many of the measures that other municipalities have, including work shifts to increase physical distancing. Should the pandemic situation change, the municipality will consider its options at that time.”

“Staff that must stay home are required to use vacation time or explore a leave. The bulk of our workforce remains onsite. Some have taken leaves.”

Wasaga Beach council is meeting via video conference for regular meetings, and in council chambers for closed session meetings.

 

MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA

The City of Medicine Hat has laid off 170 workers – about 15% of its workforce – and has deferred filling many summer positions as it wrestles with closures and budget stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Hall is attempting to conduct as much business as possible, but with less physical interaction and higher safety standards. “The City of Medicine Hat has taken the approach that it’s business as usual during an unusual time,” said Dennis Egert, the city’s corporate services commissioner,  pointing to online, teleconferencing, or directing resident queries via email rather than in-person meetings. 

 

NOVA SCOTIA

Despite the roadblocks presented by COVID-19, Nova Scotia’s municipal elections will go forward as scheduled. Electors from all 49 provincial municipalities will go to the polls on October 17 in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act stipulation that elections be held every four years on the third Saturday in October.

Chuck Porter, Minister of the province’s municipal affairs department, told reporters “At this point, we see no reason why municipal elections can’t move forward. We’re all adapting to do business differently these days and certainly we will work with (municipalities) to offer support where we can.

“We’ve done things in the past like electronic voting, by-phone voting in some circumstances. So I think there are a number of options that are out there for us to be able to vote this coming fall.”

How is your municipality dealing with social distancing, council meetings, and more? We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know how you are doing … [email protected]

Share

Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT

We are deeply focused on keeping your employees, customers, and suppliers safe while working, visiting, or conducting business at your facilities and supporting your business operations.

The Michael White Group International and Hilt International Security have partnered together in order to create a dynamic resource that is continuously growing, developing, and being  revised to keep you informed of the latest requirements, new best practices, and procedures.

As we all continue to navigate our  ‘new normal’, we have tapped into our global resources to develop a toolKIT that lays out processes to raise awareness of new health and well-being protocols and potentially helpful practices for cross-functional teamwork, operating discipline, and training for employees.

While it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, the Pandemic/Epidemic Business toolKIT includes practical recommendations, based on guidelines from Health Canada and World Health Organization, that could be tailored for different  businesses (when required) to address various scenarios they may face when returning to work. Regular updates will be made to the toolKIT based on real-time feedback. The toolkit covers a wide range of topics, including:

•      Step-by-step guides for setting up a pandemic response team

•      Cleaning and disinfection procedures

•      Staggering shifts and lunch breaks and other physical distancing strategies

•      On-site health screening

•      Protocols for isolating employees who become ill at work

•      & more.

This has been a difficult time for everyone, and re-establishing a workplace where employees feel comfortable performing their jobs safely is a multi-faceted challenge. It is our hope that by developing and providing this resource we can help your organization accomplish and adapt to the new operating protocols in today’s still ever challenging conditions.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, whilst accessing our  toolKIT to assist you during  the re-opening, and re-populating of your facilities, contact Michael White Group International today, and in partnership with Hilt International Security we will be happy to assist.

 

 

Share

The pandemic is here. The luxury of time to plan has passed. We can help you stay operational…and stay safe.

The world is drastically changing and the Pandemic is now here. Municipalities no longer have the time to prepare. We are providing this information to help you Get Ready.

Get Ready is an Ontario-based company. Since 2011 we have been providing cloud-based Emergency Management, Business Continuity and Infectious Disease Outbreak programs to Municipalities, Healthcare and businesses across Canada.

Our Infectious Disease Outbreak Program has 4 main components:

  1. Cloud-based application with IDO best-practice policies, procedures, forms, signage, and communications
  2. Real-time Absence Reporting Tool
  3. Online employee Pandemic training
  4. Individual “Get Ready – Emergency” mobile App for all staff

Get Ready Programs meet CSA Z1600, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, Ministry of Labour, PHAC and Health Canada standards.

Our cloud service maintains Federal government-protected B clearance, as well as, SOC2, ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018 and PCI certifications.

The IDO Program is available for immediate deployment (onboarding takes 12-24 hours). The ROI is estimated to be 4 to 5 times the initial cost within two weeks of implementation.

Please contact us to learn how we can keep your staff healthy and safe and your municipality operating.

 [email protected]

1-888-217-2329

 https://getreadyglobal.com/programs-and-apps/infectious-disease-outbreak-program/

people with masks

Share

Is Your Municipality Ready for a Disruptive Event? Business Continuity Planning 101

Every municipality needs an Emergency Management Program.

There are a number of components that make up a comprehensive emergency management program, (i.e. Emergency Response Plan, Business Continuity Plan, Communications Plan, Employee & Family Support Plan, Pandemic Plan, etc.).

When I was with the Office of the Fire Marshal I was responsible for emergency management and the development of these plans for the OFM. And now in these times of global uncertainty, I am once again reminded of just how important it is for organizations to have them – and particularly a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place.

What is a BCP?

A BCP is a plan that outlines the critical services to be delivered during a disruptive event and how full operations are going to be resumed after the event.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is, your BCP needs to address planning/mitigation, response, recovery and restoration.

Generally, a Business Continuity Plan outlines:

  • Who is responsible for recovery actions

  • What is needed to deliver, resume, continue, or restore the municipality’s services

  • Where to go to resume operations if necessary, and,

  • How the municipality’s critical services and operations will continue to be provided during a disruptive event (detailed procedures for provision, recovery, resumption and restoration of services)

Basic Elements of a BCP

It is important to remember that while the unique characteristics of your municipality must be reflected in the plan, the basic elements detailed below represent the foundation on which every BCP should be built.

  • Gather the necessary Baseline Information – This is used to identify municipal services, where the service is located, who uses the service, dependencies, alternate service delivery, critical infrastructure, etc.

  • Conduct a Business Services Risk Assessment Needed to help identify areas of potential vulnerabilities and to examine current and necessary control measures to mitigate threats.

  • Undertake a Business Impact Analysis – Gathers information concerning the exposure and impact on the service should the service experience significant disruptions and assesses the potential financial and non-financial impacts of a disruptive event.

  • Develop a Business Continuity Recovery Strategy – Assesses the advantages and disadvantages, estimated associated costs and determines the recommended strategy for each critical service and the resources that may be necessary for quick recovery.

  • Identify Emergency Response and Operational Protocols & Procedures – This is a checklist of protocols and procedures that help to simplify the necessary activities even further (i.e. notification protocols, call trees, etc.).

  • Create the Business Continuity Plan

Of course, once it’s completed don’t let your BCP collect dust. Keep it dynamic by updating it to reflect any changes to personnel or processes, and practice it with your team so when a disruptive event occurs, like we’re experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization will be ready and well prepared to resume operations.

If you’d like to receive a free Business Continuity Plan template to help you get started or information on any of the other emergency management plans mentioned, please feel free to contact me. Susan Shannon at s[email protected]

Share

What you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 11, 2020 – Web Group Benefits

washing hands with soap

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus and are a large family of viruses. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.

How to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak

Infectious disease outbreaks like the Coronavirus, can be scary and can affect our mental health. It’s normal to experience both fear and anxiety. Outbreaks like the COVID-19, can trigger a feeling of powerlessness. There are many things we can do to manage our mental wellbeing:

  • Try to avoid speculation. Rumour and assumptions can cause anxiety.
  • Stay informed but monitor how much time you are listening to the media. The ongoing news coverage can be stressful and cause panic.
  • Accessing reliable resources about the virus can help you feel more in control and informed.

You can get up-to-date information and advice on the coronavirus here:

COVID-19 Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

Symptoms of the coronaviruses may be mild to serious and could take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.

Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands

What are the risks of getting COVID-19?

The public health risk associated with COVID-19 is low for Canada and for Canadian travellers.

Is there a vaccine to protect against COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

The best way to prevent the spread of infections is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others

Thank you to our partner HumanaCare for providing this information. HumanaCare, is an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) providing confidential, compassionate support and counselling for individuals experiencing work-life challenges.

~~~

ASSOCIUM Benefits is a very unique employee group benefits provider, focused on supporting benefits advisors and their employer clients. We provide Brokers and Plan Sponsors with a range of solutions from traditional group benefits to more customized, cost and tax effective employee compensation. Let’s connect to find out how we can help.

 

Share

Enterprise Security Risk Management

Perhaps you’re aware of the recent culmination of a managerial approach in the security industry. As an aside the Michael White Group has been promoting the very fundamentals of this approach for years. However, this approach changes how security has been managed for many years.

Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) is a business decision making tool. So, let’s clear up some of the confusion. This is not Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). Although utilizing the exact same risk principles as ERM, ESRM is an additional tool for ERM.

Unfortunately, more than ever, your municipality’s reputation and brand are at risk. Incorporating ESRM into your organization strengthens your municipality’s security program and puts you and the other leaders within your organization as leaders in your vertical.

Organizational Resilience Management

ESRM drives your security program in developing a stronger relationship to your municipality’s Assets and overall risk and security mitigation strategies. It allows you as the security leader to see the bigger picture.

ESRM is not something that happens overnight. It takes careful thought, planning, decision making and involves change. A cultural change. Long gone will be the days that one or two people are essentially responsible for the security needs of the municipality. It will be everyone’s task to be involved. All employees will be associated with the ESRM program and you as the ESRM leader will keep them on track to identify, reduce and mitigate risks.

ESRM creates a stronger brand for your municipality, a stronger brand attracts new business, new residence.

Ready for an enterprising change?

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, the application and benefits of a Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

 

 

 

Share

Security Risk Assessments; high level breakdown

Critical Infrastructure Protection

Security Risk Assessments are a vital insight into your organizations security gaps, vulnerabilities and most importantly strengths. To not dive too deep into the technical structure and methodology of a comprehensive Security Risk Assessment, we provide this brief and mostly non-technical article to break down the basic components.

Recognize – more commonly stated as Identify the hazards or risks. Before you really can do that, you need to know and understand the difference between what a hazard is and what a risk is. A hazard is “something” with the potential to cause you, your organization, your employees, your reputation harm. A risk that “likelihood” of that harm actually happening.

Impact – more commonly known as deciding who is going to be harmed and how. Who’s going to feel it, how is it going to happen? Almost like trying to figure out whether or not it is the butler in the den with the candlestick …for those who appreciate a good game of Clue.

Bump – So you’ve recognized the hazards and risks and you’ve figured out where the impact is going to be. Now what? Now you have to protect it or at least put some form of management or control piece in to either slow it down or stop it completely from happening and affecting you. The virtual or very much physical speed bump.

Note it – Write it down, digitally record it, take pictures, tell a few people. Do what you need to, to record it. Why…because you want to monitor your success. You want to know that the bump you’ve put in place is working or needs to be re-recognized because the impact may have changed. It’s also due diligence. You can show that you know that there is or was something that raised whatever level of concern, you thought about it, did something about it and continue to watch it.

Recognize it again – Plan the Work. Work the Plan. Once you’ve done the assessment you need to do it again. You need to understand what is working, what has changed, what is new and what are you doing about it.

This article is to serve as a high level awareness tool. Unfortunately it doesn’t remove the complexities of your operation or the complexities of the security risk assessment. But boiling it down to it’s barest components allows you to understand the varying phases or steps that are taken during a security risk assessment. It’s important to note and understand that each of these components can be expanded and contracted as necessary to have a myriad of steps or components within each of them.

Nevertheless it all falls back to these high level principal components.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, the application and benefits of a Security Risk Assessment, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

Share