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Latest Message from the President and CEO – Apr 08

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WGI website and through your national and local public health authority.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Keep work area clean
Stay Safe and Healthy
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 2 metre (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone where possible.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Stay Safe and Healthy
Keep work area clean
Regularly and thoroughly clean your work place with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your work place with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your table, keyboard, mouse, etc.

COVID-19 Protocol Communication #4 March 19, 2021

COVID – 19: Update # 16
last updated April 8th, 2021

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

My last memo was my year end update and at that point we had all settled into a new normal of social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing and increased work space. Since that memo as a result of falling case numbers across the country, we were able to invite many of you who were working from home to return to our places of business.

At the time of my last memo, I was hopeful that we would be heading into a brighter spring than we lived through last year. Unfortunately, the increased number of more transmittable variants leads me to implore all of you to shake off any complacency or level of comfort that may have crept into your personal protective behaviors and to ramp up your attentiveness to your actions and your environment immediately.

At this time l am once again asking that all individuals who can work from home effectively to return to working from home as soon as practical.

Having as many of our employees working from home as possible makes every employee safer. There will be less risk of contraction of the virus for those who can only perform their job at our facilities if there are less people on site at any given time.

We are off to a very strong start in 2021 in all of our Divisions. Major steel price increases have motivated customers to buy before the next round of increases and steel shortages have resulted in many of our competitors running out of inventory. This is a year in which the strong will thrive and the poorly run will encounter major difficulties.

Our team has proven its strength many times over the years, but never as much as it did last year! With your continued efforts and with the Edwards’s commitment and compassion for our employee group, and their continual reinvestment in the company, I know that this incredibly challenging year of possibilities is our opportunity to shine; our opportunity to gain new customers, and our opportunity to WIN!

There is not another group of people that I would want to lead during this difficult time! I am immensely proud of each of you and I am confident in our ability to thrive in a time when others will shrink from the challenges!

We have travelled a great distance, but we are not out of the woods yet. We must remain vigilant in our actions in order to keep the virus out our homes and out of our workplaces!

We keep each other safe by keeping ourselves safe first!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website www.homewoodhealth.com.

With much appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19: YEAR END UPDATE
last updated December 23th, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

At the time of my last memo we had all settled into a new normal of social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing and increased work space. Over this period we were able to have most of you who were working from home return to our places of business, only to return to a work from home mandate in early September.

We have had a number of team members in a number of our facilities infected with Covid – 19 this year. Our managers followed provincial and company protocols including contact tracing, broader testing, individual isolations and deep cleaning of impacted work areas. Where applicable our teams worked hard in order to contain the spread in our facilities and I am happy to report that our number of reported infections to date is low and that we have not lost a team member to the virus.

Through creativity, hard work, a diversified product offering and a resilient determined team, the Group successfully navigated the obstacles of 2020. More than ever, our success was a direct result of everyone’s efforts and I thank each and every one of you for the tremendous part you played.

The Edwards family’s continued commitment to and compassion for our employee group, and their long-term view of success allowed management to continue to do the right thing which allowed our Group to always be ahead of the curve in terms of implementing policies and procedures in order to keep all of our employees, customers and suppliers safe this past year. A huge thank you to Russ & Edna, Gary & Judy, and Kevin & Linda for their support and trust in our management team and the entire employee group throughout this trying time.

The holiday season is upon us, and while we traditionally use the time to get together with loved ones, this year we must each do our part and keep our gatherings to only those in our household bubble. It will be hard, but far less difficult than letting the virus into your life.

Vaccines have started to roll out across the globe. But with 7.6 billion people, the vaccination process will likely take the better part of next year. Now is not the time to let up on efforts to stay safe. Don’t ease off your vigilance when we are so close to winning this battle.

Historically, I have made a point of visiting with all locations of The Group at least once each year, with the unfortunate exception of Genelle, a location we have been unable to land at in the last 5 attempts, sorry Doreen and team. Last year I attended in excess of a dozen holiday parties.

Not wanting to risk being “The Company Super Spreader” of anything other than good will, I have not travelled since March.

I look forward to a gradually improving 2021 and I look forward to getting out and seeing everyone. If Doreen arranges for low cloud cover to keep us out of Genelle again, I just might make it a road trip. I miss you all.

We have travelled a great distance, but we are not out of the woods yet. We must remain vigilant in our actions in order to keep the virus out our homes and out of our workplaces! We keep each other safe by keeping ourselves safe first!

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

With much appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #14
last updated March 15th, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

It has been a couple of weeks since my last correspondence and that is a result of there being no substantial change to our situation as it relates to the virus.

Our main goal during the broader shutdown was to keep everyone safely employed. With no reported cases of the virus at any of our locations and with the gradual re-opening of the broader economy underway, we have met our goal.

I am grateful to each of you for your contribution towards our achievement of our goal. Well done and thank you!

The May long weekend, the traditional kick off to summer, is upon us. The days are longer, the grass is green in all locations, except maybe Winnipeg, and the temperatures are pleasant. I encourage you to get outside and play this weekend. Feel the warmth of the sun, listen to the birds, and do what you can to relax.

Unfortunately, now and for the foreseeable future I need to ask you to continue to be mindful of physical distancing and hand washing protocols.

We have travelled a great distance, but we are not out of the woods yet. We must remain vigilant in our actions in order to keep the virus out our homes and out of our workplaces!

We keep each other safe by keeping ourselves safe first!

Have a safe and fun long weekend!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/

Sincerely,

With much appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #13
last updated May 1st, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

Hurray! Hurray! It’s the first of May!

But what a different May we are in for. With the odd exception, most of the regions we operate in are successfully flattening the infection curve and are preparing to gradually re-open the economy to nonessential businesses and activities.

I am grateful that all of our facilities were considered essential services during the broader shutdown and I am pleased that we have managed to operate throughout this shutdown without one reported case of the Virus in any of our facilities. Keeping everyone safely working and fully paid has been our main goal during the broader shutdown and I am proud that as a team we have met that goal.

Although we all crave a quick return to normal, that is not what any of us should expect. Although business and services are getting ready to re-open we must continue to restrict our behaviors and interactions with others. Physical distancing, hand washing, washing items that you purchase before you bring them into your homes, and staying home if you are sick will continue to be required for months to come.

We must go back to a new normal where we keep our safety bubble of distance between those we live with and others while we go about our lives. We must all strive to stay safe and stay virus free.

It will be easy to let our guard down in the days and weeks ahead, but we must remain vigilant in our actions in order to keep the virus out our homes and out of our workplaces!

We keep each other safe by keeping ourselves safe first!

Enjoy your weekend while maintaining physical distancing, getting plenty of rest, washing your hands frequently and most importantly taking care of your family!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/

With appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #12
last updated March 24th, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

We have settled into a routine of on-line shopping, home delivery, curbside pick-up and many other innovative ways of maintaining the necessities of life. While the measures are both innovative and necessary, I know we all look forward to the eventual return to normal.

To date we continue to meet our goal of keeping all of our facilities safely operating and maintaining employment for everyone who can and wants to work; and, we have not had one instance of known or suspected exposure to COVID – 19 in any of our facilities. Thank you all!

We are keeping each other safe by keeping ourselves safe first!

We continue to see a softening of orders both month over month and year over year. We are also seeing delivery dates pushed out for many large projects.

As a result of the above, and in order to be ready for the anticipated surge in orders when the economy reopens, our Armtec Division will be closed next week. Armtec will use this time to perform both equipment maintenance and general housekeeping. I am proud to state that, in keeping with our goal of maintaining full employment, no Armtec employees will be laid off during this closure!

I cannot say it enough, but we need to get every order possible in all of our Division’s in order to keep everyone working. I am grateful for your efforts in making us the best supplier of solutions to our customers now and always.

Enjoy your weekend while maintaining physical distancing, getting plenty of rest, washing your hands frequently and most importantly taking care of your family!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/

Respectfully,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #11
last updated April 17th, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

It is hard to believe how quickly we have adapted to this new “normal” way of operating our Divisions. As a team we have all put in a lot of hard work, we have come a long way and we have done a remarkable job!

To date we continue to meet our goal of keeping all of our facilities safely operating and maintaining employment for everyone who can and wants to work; and, we have not had one instance of known or suspected exposure to COVID – 19 in any of our facilities. Thank you all!

We are keeping each other safe by keeping ourselves safe first!

We have days with flurries of orders and days with few orders, but on average we continue to see a softening of orders both month over month and year over year. We need to get every order possible in order to keep everyone working. I am grateful for your efforts in making us the best supplier of solutions to our customers now and always.

Congratulations are in order for both our Meridian Regina and Lethbridge facilities as they celebrated 1,900 days (5.2 years) and 2 years respectively with no lost time incidents! We are setting industry and Group safety records through our combined dedication to safety at all of our facilities. Thank you all!

Enjoy your weekend while maintaining physical distancing, getting plenty of rest, washing your hands frequently and most importantly taking care of your family!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663- 1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/

With deep appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #10
last updated April 8th, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

To date we have achieved our goal of keeping all of our facilities safely operating and maintaining employment for everyone who is not subject to quarantine and who wants to work. We continue to see a softening of orders at many of our locations, but I am confident that all of you will continue your efforts to be the best supplier of solutions to our customers now and always. Now more than ever we need to get every order out there.

I appreciate each of your continued efforts in physical distancing, working from home if possible, repeated hand washing and cleaning of workspaces and common areas both while at work and in your personal lives.

As a direct result each of your efforts while at work and in your personal lives I am proud to say that to date we have not had one instance of known or suspected exposure to COVID – 19 in any of our facilities. Thank you!

We are keeping each other safe by keeping ourselves safe first!

The coming long weekend is one typically marked by travel to family gatherings across our country. For many of us it is also quite possibly the first time since October we are be able to enjoy the warm spring weather. Unfortunately, this will not be a typical April long weekend.

This weekend we must strive to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in. Get outside for a walk with the people you live with, face time or phone those who are important to you but live elsewhere, open the door and clean garage, (something I really need to do), play with your kids, or settle in with a good movie or a great book.

Enjoy your weekend while maintaining physical distancing, getting plenty of rest, washing your hands frequently and most importantly taking care of your family!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

With deep appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #9
last updated April 3, 2020

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

These are unprecedented times and I have borne witness to unprecedented efforts by our employee group. Pulling together as one group we have achieved what I would not have thought possible mere weeks ago. Thank you all!

As we enter another weekend of rest, I implore each of you to not let your guard down. Maintain physical distancing. Get plenty of rest. Wash your hands frequently. Take care of your family.

We have come too far, and worked too hard to let up now!

Persevere in your safe personal practices!

In-spite of recent amendments all of our facilities continue to be considered essential businesses, in those Provinces that have enacted closures of all but essential businesses.

All of our facilities will continue to operate in order that we are able to support and supply the critical needs of the essential industries in these provinces.

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

Take care,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #8
last updated March 31th, 2020

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

In connection with the ordered closure of nonessential businesses in both the Provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, each of these governments published a list of businesses considered essential to the province.

All of our facilities operating in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan are considered essential businesses as suppliers of product to essential industries such as road and rail infrastructure, drainage, construction and agriculture.

All of our facilities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan will continue to operate in order that we are able to support and supply the critical needs of the essential industries in these provinces.

Our goal continues to be for there to be as few people as possible at each of our facilities while still being in a position to take orders for products, to engineer those products and to ultimately manufacture and ship those products.

Fewer people at each facility makes it easier for all of us to maintain the imaginary 2-meter bubble around ourselves. Remember, not to let anyone inside your bubble, and don’t burst anyone else’s bubble. At the same time, remain vigilant in handwashing and hygiene and, if you are subject to selfisolation, resist the urge to let your barriers down.

Our goal is to keep all of you, who want to work during this time, safe and fully employed. Now, more than ever we need to be the best supplier of solutions to our customers. We must exceed our customer’s expectations. We must win every order possible and then seamlessly manufacture and deliver that order.

This is an unprecedented time, with unprecedented personal and business challenges for all of us. Each of you have my immense respect and appreciation for how you have managed yourselves throughout this upheaval. We are a team rooted in a culture of family and compassion, and there is not another family of employees that I would want face these challenges with. We will persevere!

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

With respect and appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #7
last updated March 27, 2020

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

As you once again leave for a well-deserved weekend of rest, I implore each of you to play a part in working to “flatten the rate of infection curve”. Place yourself and your loved ones you live with inside an imaginary 2-meter bubble; don’t let anyone burst your bubble, and don’t burst anyone else’s bubble. At the same time, remain vigilant in handwashing and hygiene and, if you are subject to self-isolation, resist the urge to let your barriers down.

This week we made significant progress in our effort to transition as many of our employees as possible to working from home, and I would like to thank our fantastic I.T. department for making this move to remote access as seamless as possible.

For the coming months our goal is for there to be as few people as possible at each of our facilities while still being in a position to take orders for products, to engineer those products and to ultimately manufacture and ship those products.

I implore everyone to continue to strive for excellence in customer service during this time. Subject to an early surge in orders from customers worried about supply, there is undoubtedly an element of market shrink occurring as the impact of the pandemic combined with the severe drop in the price of oil works its way through our economy. We need to be front of mind with our customers, turn quotes around quickly, be easier to deal with than the competition and deliver quality product on time.

Whether working from home or at one of our facilities we must all strive to be a best-in-class supplier of solutions for our customers’ needs. We need to work hard to secure as many orders as possible in order to keep everyone working at this time.

As of today, some of the quarantined Senior Leaders who returned from our conference have been able to return to their facilities and most will be in a position to do so by Monday. I am pleased to report that none of these individuals reported having had any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

We will face many more challenges over the coming months. Working together while looking out for each other, we will prevail.

Take care,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #6
last updated March 24, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

Yesterday, in connection with the ordered closure of nonessential business, both the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario published a list of businesses considered essential to the province.

All of our facilities operating in both Quebec and Ontario are considered essential businesses as suppliers of product to essential industries such as road and rail infrastructure, drainage, construction and agriculture.

All of our facilities in Quebec and Ontario will continue to operate in order that we are able to support and supply the critical needs of the essential industries in these provinces.

Spring inevitably brings drainage issues to many municipalities and rail infrastructures that require immediate resolution, agriculture projects such as barns and feed systems must be completed in time for the scheduled arrival of animals, and while many businesses can restart after a shut down, the window for successful planting in agriculture is narrow. At this uncertain time, farmers are looking to secure their required inputs of seed, fertilizer and the required fuel for their equipment so that they can act when their window of opportunity opens.

We will continue with our plan as outlined in my COVID-19-UPDATE #4 to transition as many of our employees as possible to working from home.

Our goal continues to be for there to be as few people as possible at each of our facilities while still being in a position to take orders for products, to engineer those products and to ultimately manufacture and ship those products.

I regret the rollercoaster of emotions that our employees in both Quebec and Ontario have undoubtedly gone through both yesterday and today. My goal, however, is to keep all of our affected employees as up to date as possible at all times. These are unprecedented times of unprecedented change.

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

Sincerely,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #5
last updated March 23, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

Earlier today, the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario ordered the closure of nonessential businesses by 11:59 PM on Tuesday March 24, 2020. These closures will be in effect at least up until and including April 13 and April 6 respectively.

Many of our divisions are suppliers of product to essential industries such as road infrastructure, drainage, and agriculture. We are working to understand whether, by virtue of both our products and our customers, the Governments of Quebec and, or Ontario consider any of our divisions to be essential.

Unless and until we learn otherwise, we are assuming that our businesses are to be deemed nonessential and as a result we are assuming that our businesses are subject to the order to close at midnight tomorrow in both Quebec and Ontario.

Those employees in Ontario and Quebec who are able to work from home during the closure and who have a work load that needs to be done during the closure will be accommodated and will remain on regular payroll.

Unfortunately, those employees in Quebec and Ontario who are unable or not required to work from home during the closure will, effective March 25, be transitioned to the Government of Canada’s Employment Insurance Program recently announced for employees impacted by COVID-19.

Please visit http://coronavirus.westmangroup.com/CORONAVIRUS-2/index.html for updates and for further information concerning next steps required for our Quebec and Ontario employees who will be required to transition to the Government of Canada’s Employment Insurance Program recently announced for employees impacted by COVID-19.

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

With deep appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #4
last updated March 23, 2020

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) with the view towards our ongoing commitment to employee safety.

We cannot stress enough, that you need to stay home from work if you feel sick or if your personal situation falls under the requests for voluntary quarantine or isolation recommendations as laid out by your Provincial, State or Federal Governments Health Authorities.

If you need to stay home for the above reasons please contact your supervisor by phone or e-mail so that we can assist you with the next steps you will need to take.

We believe that the good practiced behaviors of social distancing, hand washing, the avoidance of touching one’s face and our newly put in place procedures, which include managing interactions with visitors, are serving us well in helping to keep all of our employees safe.

In an effort to yet further reduce the number of employees in each of our facilities each day, we are taking steps to be in a position to offer some of our employees the option of working from home where it is possible for them to do so.

Over the coming week, subject to both task and technical constraints, we plan to accommodate as many of our employees as we are able to.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to being able to do one’s job from home. Some employees will be required to split their week between days at home and days at their facility, some will have to regularly pick up and drop off documents required to perform their jobs, while other employees will not be able to work from home at all.

Whether you have to come in a few days a week, a few moments a day, or all day every day, fewer people in a facility, at this time, should serve to make a safer working environment for all.

Our goal is for there to be as few people as possible at each of our facilities while still being in a position to take orders for products, to engineer those products and to ultimately manufacture and ship those products.

Throughout the coming months we are looking to our salespersons to maintain a book of orders that will keep our engineering, manufacturing and our administrative personnel utilized. We have also aggressively priced projects and offered additional discounts in order to achieve these sales levels. We believe that it is in all of our best interests to keep production and employment at normal levels. At WGI we are a private company and we have the luxury of being able to make the best decisions in the interests of both our employees and the Company. We are confident that focusing on the safety and continued employment of all of you is the best decision for the long term success of everyone.

As of today, none of the quarantined Senior Leaders who returned from our conference report having any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Remember that our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

Please visit http://coronavirus.westmangroup.com/CORONAVIRUS-2/index.html for updates.

With deep appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #3
last updated March 20th, 2020

Paul H. Cunningham
President & C.E.O.

To: ALL EMPLOYEES

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19). We continue to monitor the announcements and technical updates issued by all relevant Provincial, State and Federal Governments and Health Authorities and we are enacting specific measures when and where appropriate in order to maintain our commitment to employee safety.

All indications are that the good practices of self-isolation when necessary, continuous social distancing and the rigid adherence to hand washing protocols will help to “flatten of the rate of infection curve”.

Whether it is our families, our peer groups, our departments, our branches or our divisions, we are all leaders in life. We are all responsible to and for our community, our family, and our neighbors. As you leave for a well-deserved weekend of rest, I implore each of you to play a part in leading your community in working to “flatten the rate of infection curve”. Be relentless in your pursuit of social distancing, good handwashing and hygiene practices. If you are subject to self-isolation, please resist the urge to let your barriers down, even for a minute.

Remember, that you need to stay home from work if you feel sick or if your personal situation falls under the requests for voluntary quarantine or isolation recommendations as laid out by your Provincial, State or Federal Governments Health Authorities.

If you need to stay home please contact your supervisor by phone or e-mail so that we can assist you with the next steps you will need to take.

Please familiarize yourself with the Governments’ recommendations related to hand washing and social distancing as they relate to your activities at both work and in your personal lives.

As an update to my COVID – 19 – UPDATE Numbers 1 & 2, a number of our Senior Leaders, including me, are self-quarantined, most for at least another week. While the quarantined Senior Leaders are anxious to get back to their facilities, they are working diligently from home to maintain our commitment to employee safety. As of today, none of the quarantined Senior Leaders report having any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

This is a stressful time for everyone. Our WGI benefit program provides for you or any of your dependent family members free access to Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services should it be required. You can reach them at (800) 663-1142 or through their website https://homewoodhealth.com/.

Please visit our new website and the links it contains, http://coronavirus.westmangroup.com/ for updates, and be certain to take care of yourself, your family and your co-workers.

With deep appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #2
last updated March 18th, 2020

Paul H. Cunningham
President & C.E.O.

To: ALL EMPLOYEES,

We at WGI continue to monitor the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19). We continue to monitor the announcements and technical updates issued by all relevant Provincial, State and Federal Governments and Health Authorities and we are enacting specific measures when and where appropriate in order to maintain our commitment to employee safety.

We want to be sure that the most up to date and accurate information is available to all of our employees all of the time. In this regard our Information Technology Department has moved quickly to launch a new WGI website, http://coronavirus.westmangroup.com/, dedicated to keeping everyone informed. This website is available in both of Canada’s Official Languages and it includes links to all WGI COVID-19 UPDATES; to all PROTOCOLS issued by our Human Resources and Health and Safety Department Personnel and links to relevant Provincial, State and Federal information websites.

We anticipate the content on, and the links from this website to change frequently so please familiarize yourself with it and check back regularly.

Our Human Resources and Health & Safety Professionals met with our Senior Leadership throughout the weekend to ensure that we had COVID-19 Protocols for our employees in place for the start of business Monday March 16.

I cannot stress enough that you need to stay home if you feel sick or if your personal situation falls under the requests for voluntary quarantine or isolation recommendations as laid out by your Provincial, State or Federal Governments or Health Authorities.

If you need to stay home please contact your supervisor by phone or e-mail so that we can assist you with the next steps you will need to take.

Please familiarize yourself with the Governments’ recommendations related to hand washing and social distancing as they relate to your activities at both work and in your personal lives. As stated in COVID – 19 – UPDATE #1, a number of our Senior Leaders, including me, are selfquarantined, as a result of their attendance at an out-of-country conference. These quarantined Senior Leaders are working diligently from home to maintain our commitment to employee safety. As of today, none of the quarantined Senior Leaders report having any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

This is a stressful time, and everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Fear and anxiety about a disease and its health risks can be overwhelming and may cause strong emotions some of which might be uncontrollable.

As an employee of WGI Westman Group Inc, you and your immediate family have access to employee and family assistance provider Homewood Health. Homewood Health is the Canadian leader in mental health services. They offer free confidential services such as mental wellness, stress management, assessments, outpatient and inpatient treatment, recovery management, return to work and family support services customized to meet the needs of you and your immediate family.

To access Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services, call (800) 663-1142 or visit their website https://homewoodhealth.com/

Please visit the new website often for updates, and be certain to take care of yourself, your family and your co-workers.

With deep appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

COVID – 19 – UPDATE #1
last updated March 14th, 2020

Paul H. Cunningham
President & C.E.O.

To: ALL EMPLOYEES,

Like all of you we at WGI have been monitoring the evolving impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) in both North America and abroad. We are actively monitoring the updates issued by all relevant Provincial, State and Federal Governments and Health Authorities and we are enacting specific measures when and where appropriate in order to maintain our commitment to employee safety. Stay home if you feel sick or if your personal situation falls under the requests for voluntary quarantine or isolation recommendations as laid out by your Provincial, State or Federal Governments or Health Authorities.

If you meet the above conditions to stay home, if your job can be performed remotely and if you feel healthy enough to work from home please contact your supervisor and we will assess the situation as it relates to the volume and flow of work and the IT requirements to make this happen for you.

Individuals who are required to stay home, and are working from home will remain on regular payroll. If you meet the above conditions to stay home but your job cannot be performed remotely, unless an employee requests that they be considered absent without pay, we will pay individuals first out of their banked overtime accounts, then out of their accrued vacation accounts. We are aware that both the US and Canadian Federal Government’s stated their intent to issue financial assistance programs for workers who are impacted by COVID – 19. We will take the steps required of employers to ensure that all of our impacted employees who are eligible for aid will be eligible for aid.

You may be eligible for under our Employee Benefit Plan for both short-term disability insurance payments should you be required to stay home and be unable to work from home as a result of COVID – 19. Please call or e-mail your Division’s Human Resources Department should you find yourself in this situation.

Please familiarize yourselves with the Governments’ recommendations related to hand washing and social distancing as they relate to your activities at both work and in your personal lives. Hand sanitizer dispensers are in place and hand washing instructions are posted at all of our locations.

I have instructed all of our Division Leaders to cancel both all non-essential travel and all international travel for the foreseeable future.

I am also asking all employees to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water immediately up arrival at any of our facilities.

Many Provinces have enacted school closures which will undoubtedly impact the child care needs of many of our employees. To the extent required and to the extent possible we are looking at ways to accommodate those whose ability to work their regular hours will be impacted by their child care needs. We are looking at flex-time solutions, shifting plant work days for some, etc. A final plan cannot be implemented until the number and the locations of impacted individuals are known. The closure of schools is a very recent development and I want all of those whose ability to work their regular hours has been impacted by the closures to reach out to their supervisor as soon as possible in order that we can attempt to mitigate the financial impact of this decision for all.

Our Senior Managers attended a Group planning conference with the Edwards Family last week in Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona has a very low reported incidence of COVID – 19, and we have no reason to believe that any of the Senior Managers either have, or have come into contact with any individuals whom have COVID – 19.

In order to ensure the safest workplace possible, we are respecting the recommendation made by the Canadian Federal Government on March 13, that all international travelers self-quarantine for the 14 days subsequent to their return to Canada. As such, all attendees at our event, including me, will be working from home for the 14 days subsequent to their return to Canada.

This is a very dynamic situation, and I have tasked our senior leadership to come up with additional specific policies and procedure to keep our employees safe. There will undoubtedly be more “how to” memos, more updates and more requests made of all of us in the days and weeks to come.

Let us remember that we are all dealing with the same situation, the same unknowns and the same stress. We are fortunate to work for a company with a strong culture of safety, care and compassion. Let’s be gentle with each other, lets keep our family of businesses our safe haven where we look out for and after one another. Let’s work together to keep all of us safe.

With deep appreciation,

Paul H. Cunningham

President & C.E.O.

HR and H&S Communications

COVID-19 Face Covering Protocol
last updated January 21, 2021
Introduction

While keeping a physical distance of at least six (6) feet from other people, practicing good hygiene measures (e.g., frequent hand washing, avoiding touching the face, covering a cough by coughing into an elbow or sleeve, etc), and staying home when experiencing COVID-19 (“virus”) symptoms are the best known protections against the virus, wearing a face covering that covers your nose and mouth can help protect yourself and others.

To help ensure the health and safety of everyone in the workplace, face coverings are now required to be worn on site at all WGI Westman Group Inc. (“WGI”) locations:

• Indoors when other people are present; this includes cubicles, the production floor, and common areas such as hallways, stairways, and restrooms.

• Outdoors when keeping a physical distance of at least six (6) feet from other people may not be possible.

For the purposes of this protocol, a face covering (“mask”) means a reusable cloth face mask or a disposable non-medical face mask, that covers the nose and mouth, and ties around the ears or the back of the head. It must be secured under the chin and fit snugly against the face.

Applicability

This protocol applies to all WGI personnel, contractors, vendors, and visitors, on site at a WGI location.

This protocol is in effect until otherwise communicated by WGI and may be modified by WGI as necessary based on public health emergency guidelines, regulatory or internal requirements.

Enforcement

Employees are required to comply with this face covering protocol as a condition of employment, as well as for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues, and the community. Employee non-compliance will be addressed by local management in conjunction with Human Resources and may include disciplinary action.

Contractor, vendor, or visitor non-compliance will be addressed by local management and may include the removal of the individual from WGI property.

WGI is committed to maintaining a respectful, productive, inclusive, and equitable workplace, and discrimination and other conduct that is inconsistent with our values will not be tolerated. If you see someone without a mask in accordance with this protocol, you should not confront them beyond a polite verbal reminder. If the individual still does not comply or if you do not feel comfortable reminding the individual to put a mask on, notify a Manager or Supervisor immediately.

Exemptions

Job-specific PPE requirements: Masks do not replace required job-specific personal protective equipment, such as face shields, welding masks or respirators.

Masks are not required when:

• The employee is alone in a private office.

• A medical professional has advised that wearing a mask may pose a health risk to the person wearing the covering or impair their breathing.

• Wearing a mask would create a safety risk to the person as determined by Federal, State or Provincial regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

• The individual is physically unable to put on or remove the mask without assistance.

• The individual has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the mask without help.

• The individual is deaf or hard of hearing and uses facial and mouth movements as part of communication.

Employees may be required to provide documentation to substantiate their need for an exception or accommodation.

An accommodation may include the use of alternative personal protective equipment (i.e. face shield) where regulations allow.

WGI will make reasonable accommodations to the point of undue hardship on a case-by-case basis as required by Provincial and State human rights legislation.

Responsibilities

Department Managers & Supervisors are responsible for:

• The overall implementation of this protocol which includes training and instructing employees on how to use and launder/dispose of masks and answering any questions related to this protocol.

• Serving as role models by following this protocol.

• Enforcing and holding everyone accountable for following this protocol, including the use of discipline when applicable.

• Providing all employees in their department with up to five (5) reusable cloth face masks and replacing them when deemed necessary by Management.

• Ensuring they have an adequate supply of disposable non-medical face masks available for their department. Disposable non-medical face masks should be used sparingly.

• Constantly assessing the ongoing mask needs of their department and communicating their needs to their Sr. Manager who will then advise the Divisional VP.

• Ensuring that mask notification signage is posted in their department and at each entrance to the building.

• Ensuring the safe and sanitary discarding of disposable non-medical face masks in assigned “mask only” receptacles.

All employees are responsible for:

• Understanding and abiding by this protocol.

• Requesting clarification from their Manager or Supervisor if they don’t understand this protocol.

• Wearing the masks supplied by WGI or alternative personally purchased masks that have been approved by WGI.

• Ensuring that their WGI supplied masks are only worn while on company property and/or during work hours and/or while performing work related responsibilities. WGI supplied masks are not intended for personal use outside of work.

• Taking due care of their WGI supplied masks.

• Laundering their WGI supplied or personal (worn at work) reusable cloth face masks as per this protocol.

• Properly discarding disposable non-medical face masks as per this protocol.

Appropriate use of masks

When worn properly, a person wearing a mask can reduce the spread of his or her own infectious respiratory droplets.

Masks must:

• Allow for easy breathing

• Fit securely to the head with ties or ear loops

• Maintain their shape after washing and drying

• Be changed as soon as possible if damp or dirty

• Be comfortable and not require frequent adjustment

• Be made of at least 2 layers of tightly woven material fabric (such as cotton or linen)

• Be large enough to completely and comfortably cover the nose and mouth without gaping

• Contain a metal nose piece/bridge

Masks must not:

• Be shared with others even if the mask has been washed

• Impair vision or interfere with tasks

• Be made of plastic or other non-breathable materials

• Be secured with tape or other inappropriate materials

• Be made exclusively of materials that easily fall apart, such as tissues

• Be placed on anyone unable to remove them without assistance or anyone who has trouble breathing

• Have an exhalation valve or vent

• Display pictures, words etc that violate company policy when it come to respect in the workplace

How to put on a mask

1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the face covering.

2. Remove the mask from the box or packaging and make sure there are no obvious tears or holes in either side of the mask.

3. Determine which side of the mask is the top by locating the metal nose piece/bridge.

4. Determine which side of the mask is the front. The colored side of the mask is usually the front and should face away from you, while the white side touches your face.

5. Hold the mask by the ear loops. Place a loop around each ear.

6. Mold or pinch the metal nose piece/bridge to the shape of your nose.

7. Pull the bottom of the mask over your mouth and chin.

How to remove a mask

1. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before touching the mask.

2. Do not touch the front of the mask as this area may become contaminated during use. Only touch the ear loops. Hold both ear loops and gently lift and remove the mask. Keep used masks separate from unused masks.

3. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.

When to clean or dispose of a mask

Reusable cloth masks must be cleaned (i.e. laundered) after every wearing (i.e. after each work shift).

Generally, disposable non-medical face masks are not reusable. They should be replaced after eight (8) hours or sooner if they become moist, soiled, etc. Used disposable non-medical face masks must be discarded in a “mask only” receptacle. Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer after discarding the mask.

Maintaining a reusable cloth face mask

• Masks made of fabric, such as cotton, can be washed in your regular laundry with regular detergent using hot water.

     o Consider using a non-scented laundry detergent if you are sensitive to perfumes so it is easier to wear the masks.

     o Do not wash in bleach or add fabric softener.

• After laundering your fabric mask(s), hang to dry or dry your mask in a warm or hot dryer.

• You can also hand wash your mask(s) by using hot, soapy water. Scrub the mask(s) for at least 20 seconds and hang to dry or dry your mask in a warm or hot dryer.

• Store clean masks individually in re-sealable plastic bags (i.e. clear sandwich bag) when you are not using them.

Glasses

Individuals who wear eye glasses, safety glasses, etc (“glasses”) may notice that their lenses are susceptible to to fogging up when wearing a mask.

To reduce or eliminate fogging:

• Fit the mask to your face by making molding or pinching the metal nose piece/bridge to the shape of your nose. This will reduce the amount of air escaping through the top of the mask.

• Apply an anti-fogging solution to your lenses or gently wash your lenses with soap and water before wearing them. This will keep water droplets from building up and fogging your lenses.

• Adjust your glasses by pushing your glasses forward on your nose which will allow more air to circulate.

• If the mask is large enough pull your mask up over your nose and rest your glasses on top of it. This will reduce the amount of air escaping through the top of the mask. If you try this, make sure your mask still fits properly over your face. Your nose and mouth should be completely covered.

COVID-19 Protocol
last updated March 4, 2021
Characteristics of the Virus
Symptoms of the virus

According to the World Health Organization (“WHO”) the most common symptoms include fever, dry cough, and tiredness. The less common symptoms muscle or joint pain, nasal congestion, nausea or vomiting, chills or dizziness, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, a rash on skin. The most serious symptoms include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure, and loss of speech or movement. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

How Is It Spread?

The virus spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks. The droplets vary in size, from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances.

What can employees do to reduce the spread of the virus in the workplace?

• Monitor and abide by the Federal, State and Provincial Health recommendations and mandatory requirements.

• All employees must wash their hands with soap and water immediately upon entering a WGI Westman Group Inc. (“WGI”) facility and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Thereafter, employees must frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available), especially before and/or after eating, using the washroom, coming into physical contact with another person, coughing or sneezing. This includes before and after handling internal and external documentation (mail, cheques, payables, etc). Where applicable, employees will be granted an additional amount of time during work hours to complete these required hygiene techniques.

• Employees must use letter openers when opening mail, envelopes, courier packages, etc and immediately dispose of the envelope, box, packing material, etc. All employees must wash their hands with soap and water immediately after handling these items. All employees must also wash their hands before and after handling internal and external documentation (mail, cheques, payables, etc). Workstations and desks must be cleaned and sanitized as appropriate however, workstations and desks must be cleaned and sanitized after handling external items (packages, mail, documentation, etc).

• Cover your cough or sneeze by coughing into your elbow or sleeve or use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Immediately throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and wash your hands.

• Maintain your health by taking care of yourself and those in your care including eating a healthy balanced diet, avoiding cigarette smoke and other harmful substances, being active and getting enough rest and sleep.

• Employees must refrain from all forms of physical greetings (hand shake, fist bump, elbow tap, etc).

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth and ears as this is a method for germs to enter your respiratory system.

• Avoid public gatherings as stipulated by Federal, State and Provincial Health recommendations and mandatory requirements.

• Don’t share eating utensils, food, drinks or face coverings.

• Where possible, maintain a 2-metre social distance from others while in common areas (lunch rooms, boardrooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, locker rooms, coffee areas, high traffic access doors, etc.). Employees who have serious chronic medical conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, etc) should observe a 4-metre social distance from others. Face masks or face shields (where regulations allow) will be provided by the Company and must be worn as per “WGI COVID-19_Face Covering Protocol_FINAL_January21.2021_V1”.

• All common areas (lunch rooms, boardrooms, meeting rooms, training rooms, locker rooms, coffee areas, high traffic access doors, etc.) must be cleaned and sanitized after each use and/or for each shift. Where possible, high traffic doors must be propped open to avoid unnecessary physical contact with the door.

• Commonly used items such as: telephones, keyboards, lunch room and washroom door handles, washroom taps, etc. must be cleaned as appropriate.

• Employees who are well but who live with someone who is waiting for their test results or if there is a positive case of the virus in their household or who have been identified as a close contact of a positive case outside of their household, must abide by Federal, State and Provincial Health requirements which may include self-monitoring, self-isolating, taking a COVID-19 test, etc. The Employee must notify their supervisor of their situation. Local Human Resources or Health & Safety department approval will be required prior to the employee’s return to work.

• According to the WHO, individuals who have a pre-existing medical condition (asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, or cancer) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. As a result, these employees are required to contact their physician for direction and to advise the employer if they require a medical accommodation.

• Pregnant employees are required to contact their physician for direction and to advise the employer if they require a medical accommodation.

Managing Sick Workers

1) COVID-19 vaccinated and unvaccinated employees who are suffering from virus like symptoms must remain away from work, and follow Federal, Provincial, or State medical recommendations and/or guidelines. Keep away from others as much as possible by self isolating. This is to keep from spreading the virus and making others sick. Employees must provide daily status updates to their Supervisor, Manager or designate by phone, text or email.

a. Medical clearance from public health is critical and must be provided before the employee’s return to work can be approved.

b. Payment of wages (not diagnosed with the virus): As per Divisional Leadership discretion, individuals may have the option of working from home and remaining on regular payroll during this time. For instances where working from home is not an option, these individuals will have the option of using banked overtime, vacation time, sick days, or applying for government benefits.

2) Upon diagnosis of the virus from a medical practitioner you must remain away from work, and follow Federal, Provincial, or State medical requirements; you will be required to submit medical documentation confirming your diagnosis to WGI and it will also be required to apply for benefits. Medical documentation must not be brought in personally, and will need to be faxed, emailed, texted, etc to your HR Representative.

a. Employees may require clearance from a medical practitioner prior to returning to work.

b. Payment of wages - benefits:

i. Option 1: Short Term Disability (“STD”). STD forms will be mailed to the employee

ii. Option 2: Protective Leave benefits offered through Federal, State or Provincial legislation (Sick Leave).

3) Monitoring and tracking employee absenteeism will continue as per existing procedure. Absenteeism rates will be shared with Senior Management on a weekly basis.

Workplace Control Techniques
Non-Essential Visitors

Signage will be posted at each public entrance advising that non-essential visitors (family members, food delivery, taxis, ride sharing, etc) are not permitted to enter the building.

Essential Visitors

Signage will be posted at each public entrance advising that essential visitors (scheduled meeting with a WGI employee, outside contractors, vendors, etc) are to call the posted phone number for assistance upon arrival. Essential visitors may be required to complete a health questionnaire (in writing or verbally) upon arrival and will be required to abide by WGI COVID-19 protocols (hand washing/sanitizing, refrain from physical greetings, cough into their elbow or sleeve, etc) while onsite.

Business Travel

As per the Canadian Federal Government’s direction, all international travelers upon their return to Canada, must self-isolate for the fourteen (14) days subsequent to their return and abide by the “Minimizing the Risk of Exposure to COVID-19 in Canada Order (Quarantine, Isolation and Other Obligations)”.

Unless otherwise exempt (trucking, essential workers, etc), all domestic travelers must abide by Provincial or State recommendations and/or guidelines upon their return, whether they have virus like symptoms or not.

Payment of wages: As per Divisional Leadership discretion, individuals may have the option of working from home and remaining on regular payroll during a self-isolation period. For instances where working from home is not an option, these individuals will have the option of using banked overtime, vacation time, or to apply for government benefits.

Enforcement

Employees are required to comply with this protocol as a condition of employment, as well as for the health and safety of themselves, their colleagues, and the community. Employee non-compliance will be addressed by local management in conjunction with Human Resources and may include disciplinary action.

Contractor, vendor, or visitor non-compliance will be addressed by local management and may include the removal of the individual from WGI property.

School & Child Care Centre Closures

Payment of wages: As per Divisional Leadership discretion, individuals may have the option of working from home and remaining on regular payroll for a period of time as determined by the company. For instances where working from home is not an option, these individuals will have the option of using banked overtime, vacation time or paid provincial legislated leaves.

WGI will make reasonable accommodations (flex-time solutions, shifting plant work days for some, etc) to the point of undue hardship on a case-by-case basis as required by Provincial and State human rights legislation.

External Communicators (social media, network news, etc)

Employees are encouraged to source the latest information regarding the virus through knowledgeable and credible outlets such as the WHO, The Center of Disease Control as well as Federal, State and Provincial Health Agencies. HR and H&S will ensure WGI COVID-19 communications are distributed to all employees in mass emails, posted in one or more consistent area(s), to be established at each location, and posted on the intranet and on our newly created website.

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

It is natural to feel stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a disaster. Everyone reacts differently, and your own feelings will change over time. Notice and accept how you feel. Taking care of your emotional health during an emergency will help you think clearly and react to the urgent needs to protect yourself and your family. Self-care during an emergency will help your long-term healing.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others call

  • Crisis Services Canada Helpline: 1-833-456-4566 or text Start to 45645
  • In the US call Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s)
  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • If you or someone you know if in immediate danger, call 911

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take care of your body – Try to eat healthy well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Connect with others – Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships, and build a strong support system.
  • Take breaks – Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try taking in deep breaths. Try to do activities you usually enjoy.
  • Stay informed – When you feel that you are missing information, you may become more stressed or nervous. Watch, listen to, or read the news for updates from officials. Be aware that there may be rumors during a crisis, especially on social media. Always check your sources and turn to reliable sources of information like your local government authorities.
  • Avoid too much exposure to news – Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly. Try to do enjoyable activities and return to normal life as much as possible and check for updates between breaks.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

For parents

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

There are many things you can do to support your child

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

As an employee of WGI Westman Group Inc, you and your immediate family have access to employee and family assistance provider Homewood Health. Homewood Health offers free and confidential services such as stress management, mental wellness, assessments, outpatient and inpatient treatment, recovery management, return to work and family support services customized to meet the needs of you and your immediate family.

To access Homewood Health Employee and Family Assistance services, call (800) 663-1142 or by visiting https://homewoodhealth.com

Coronavirus disease Links

For more information on the
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak,
please refer to these links.