Many members of the community have reached out to me concerned about quarantine, foreign workers, and our hiring policies. I have asked Bill to put the following together for you so you can understand what we are doing.
Let me take you through what we are doing and what we will be doing as the season approaches and we start to see people arriving.
- Big White is spending a great deal of time and effort attempting to hire as many Canadians, permanent residents and potentially those on working holiday visas who remained in Canada and are not travelling from countries with a high rate of COVID infections.
- All managers have been provided direction to discuss at the point of interviewing that all staff, regardless of nationality, must be aware this season people of all provincially mandated protocols and resort employee protocols, that there will be a social responsibility contract that must be signed, and any non-compliance will result in additional quarantining and likely termination of employment. (We will provide all the information in the hiring documentation sent to potential employees.)
- Managers are also emphasizing during interviews that this is a season where employees should anticipate an experience that includes work and opportunities to ski and snowboard, with virtually no social gatherings occurring or permitted.
- To enter the country for those who are hired and are foreign nationals they are required to have a job offer, quarantine plan that includes where they will be staying and a meal plan (note: Big White will be assisting with food pick up and delivery from Kelowna’s Superstore for those quarantining). They also have to have sufficient health insurance to cover hospitalization and travel back to their country of origin.
- The government is quite clear, and we will communicate to staff the consequences associated with non-compliance of quarantining. As sated directly in the government’s website the following language is provided:
The penalties for not following your quarantine plan once you’re in the country can include
- a fine of up to $750,000
- 6 months of jail time
- being found inadmissible, removed from Canada and banned from entering for 1 year
- It is our understanding that the government is indeed checking up on people entering the country and have enlisted the help of a number of government officials at different levels, beyond federal immigration, to follow up (health authorities, by law officers, etc.)
- In addition to the government checking, our own Security personnel, department hiring managers, the Employee Experience Coordinator and myself as the HR Advisor, will be conducting drop ins on a random basis to ensure people are in the locations they have designated as their quarantine locations, or been assigned to for quarantine purposes.
- Upon arrival, to Big White irrespective of where they arrived or quarantined, or when they arrived, they will have to sign an updated health declaration, and have a mandatory temperature check. Anyone failing the health protocols will be quarantined in isolation using one of our micro suites in the Black Forest staff accoms.
- Those going into staff accom will have designated arrival dates so people go into units on the same day and emerge 14 days later to be placed elsewhere.
- For those not in staff accom who arrive and quarantine off the mountain, if they are Big White employees they will be required to provide proof of arrival date and receipts for where they were staying during the quarantine period.
At this point we are appealing to all our current employees and prospective employees that they must be socially responsible from the time they arrive at Big White until they leave, the carrot for us is the job they will be doing and the opportunity to ski and ride for an entire, uninterrupted season. No one wants to be the person who jeopardizes the health of themselves, others, or the resort as a whole. For anyone, especially during the quarantining, who cannot follow the protocols and expectations an example (or examples) will be made to ensure others do not make any similar mistakes. In such cases, the stick becomes one of employment termination, and if applicable informing immigration of a transgression so they can mete out the consequences as noted above.
Michael J Ballingall, Big White