By Jay Sprio, Yeager & Company Law Corp., Barristers & Solicitors
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit home in BC in March, many firms closed their offices and moved to remote work, while others remained open with new temporary measures to protect staff and clients.
As many firms now begin re-opening their physical offices to safe operation, it is important to know that WorkSafeBC requires every employer in BC to have a COVID safety plan in place. In that plan, firms must assess the risk of exposure at their offices and implement measures to keep their staff safe.
While there has been much talk of reducing legal liability by requiring staff to sign a waiver, it is important to note that firm’s cannot contract out of their legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their workers. Claims arising from COVID exposure at the workplace would likely be covered by workers’ compensation. However, in order to minimize risks and encourage compliance, firms should, at a minimum, ensure each staff member understands their own health and safety duties and agrees to follow the firm’s COVID safety plan and return to work policies.
To that end, Clearline Consulting and Yeager & Company Law Corp. have developed a COVID-19 Return to Work Policy Guide template and Staff Compliance Agreement for firms to adopt and use. These documents must be modified for your firm and are only based on current WorkSafeBC requirements as of July 2020.
If you have specific questions about your employment policies or practices you can contact Yeager Employment Law for a consultation.