HR and Staffing Re: COVID-19

HR and Staffing Re: COVID-19

March 16, 2020

USMC Senior Leadership is closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and has been meeting regularly to develop policies and adopt best practices to support the well-being of our community.  As part of our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe in response to COVID-19, and consistent with the University of Toronto’s related measures and following guidance from public health authorities, these policies and practices are being implemented in the interests of the health and safety of our staff, faculty, and students.  We ask that all employees review this information with their managers and ensure that the policies are adhered to.  As employees of a university community, we all have a responsibility to maintain a healthy, functioning institution for the sake of our students and entire community, including in uncertain times like these.

At this time, USMC remains open.  Employees should report to work as normal, unless they have notified their managers via standard absence procedures.  The following temporary policies are effective immediately and apply to employees who are unable to work due to illness (cold, flu, COVID-19) or related caregiver responsibilities:


We advise all employees to stay home if they are ill.  At this time, no employee is required to have a doctor’s note or medical certificate for cold or flu-related absences, or for self-isolation.  All absences must be reported to your manager, copying HR at  Please include the following information in the email:
i. Reason for absence
ii. Expected duration of leave (include dates)
iii. A confirmation that you will email your manager & HR prior to returning to work. Updates should be provided before the end of a two week period.

Please note, regarding any illness that is not related to COVID-19, staff are to continue to follow the regular procedure of sending you an email and copying HR.  These illnesses would be treated as sick time using regular sick time allowances.  If you have any questions, please contact HR at


The University has instituted a temporary special telecommuting (work from home) arrangement policy and encourages all managers to be as flexible as possible when considering flex-time and telecommuting requests during this current period of university activities affected by COVID-19.  Employees who meet the criteria for recommended self-isolation based on public health advice should work from home during the 14 day period if their health allows.  Many parents and caregivers may need to work from home while schools are closed to balance their caregiving needs.  While employees have the right to request a telecommuting work arrangement, a manager’s approval of the arrangement is based on operational requirements.


Self-Isolation Guidance

Based on the guidance of public health officials, the University is directing all members of our community and visitors to our three campuses and our off-campus sites to do the following:

  • If you have travelled from anywhere else outside Canada, including the United States, please self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If you experience symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing), please call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or your primary care provider’s office.
  • Call ahead prior to visiting any healthcare provider and let them know about your travel history and symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing) so they can make special arrangements to see you quickly, provide testing, and ensure that they use proper infection control measures.

Employee & Family Assistance Program

The Homewood Health Client Services Centre, 1-800-663-1142, offers advice, counselling, and help for all employees and their dependents. Services are offered remotely and confidentially 24/7/365. Additional tools and resources for managing anxiety, stress and other mental health concerns can be found on Services offered by Homewood Health include support for the full range of issues employees or their families may be experiencing at this time. Services include counselling, coaching, online courses, and tip sheets on a range of topics such as resilience, stress management, and protecting your mental health.