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COVID19 Call Center in Halifax: TD Insurance tried to keep it quiet?

PHOTO: TD Insurance's call center located at 6940 Mumford Road in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

PortandTerminal.com, March 30, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is not a maritime-related story. Several of our PortandTerminal.com team though are based in Halifax so this story strikes very close to home for us. We are hoping by publishing it we can force TD Insurance to lock itself down and prevent further transmission of the virus to our friends, neighbors and fellow Scotians.

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – Despite the news breaking over the weekend that an employee of TD Insurance’s call center in Halifax has tested positive for COVID19, the busy call center is still open for business this Monday morning.

New details have emerged about the confirmed case of COVID19 at the call center that appear to show that the company actively tried to suppress information about the case of COVID19 in their midst.

READ: BREAKING – Confirmed COVID19 case at TD Insurance Call Center in Halifax

Since the Canadian news outlet CBC first published the story on March 28th we have learned the following:

The infected employee was last at TD Insurance’s offices on March 21.

CBC reports that “Those who were working with the employee have been instructed to follow public health advice and to self-isolate “

LATEST UPDATE: COVID19 TD Insurance Call Center – “We’re staying open”

The rest of TD Insurance employees were NOT informed of the risk that an employee amongst them was ill and self-isolating at home for one week.

After CBC broke the news of the confirmed case on Saturday, some employees – but not all, were telephoned by their managers who informed them that that had potentially been exposed to COVID19 in the past week.

Photo: TD Insurance call center, 3rd floor, where the employee with the confirmed case of COVID19 is confirmed to have worked

PortandTerminal.com contacted TD Insurance’s neighbor, Admiral Insurance who have offices for its 450 employees on the floor directly below TD Insurance. Employees from both companies share the same elevators.

Admiral Insurance representatives informed us that they were NOT alerted by TD Insurance of the risk of the potential COVID19 infection in their midst and only became aware of it over the weekend thanks to the CBC article. As a side note, all 450 Admiral Insurance staff are working from home with the exception of two people, who are on-site to answer the phones and deal with emergency technical issues.

Bank of 3 elevators at in a lobby
PHOTO: TD Insurance, Admiral Insurance and seven or eight other companies all use this one bank of elevators.

There are now numerous posts on Reddit (r/Halifax), some of which are coming from people who claim to work at TD Insurance. We can not confirm whether this information is 100% accurate but it seems to be:

“So this office did not notify any other employees besides about a dozen who sit near the person. I’ve heard a few getting phone calls from their manager yesterday, but the majority of people heard about it from the CBC article.”

“There are still 300+ people in and out of the Saint John office and maybe 100+ out of Halifax. I mean there are fucking new hire classes going on in NB (New Brunswick), and unless they’ve changed it, the practicum requires a person to sit with the new hire to make sure they’re doing everything right.”

“Admiral Insurance the call center below them managed to close their call center and transition their staff to work from home a week ago and they never had a WFH (Work From Home) program in place before either”

“I also work in this office and the WFH option has been available for select people for about a week tops as far as Frontline advisors are concerned and it was a slow rollout due to infrastructure and licensing issues.”

“I’ve heard managers are still handing out food, then the next day there are still remnants of the food remaining even though there are “thorough” deep cleans happening everyday”

Today

TD Insurance is open for business as usual today. Reportedly though, many but not all employees have decided to stay home since the story broke.

Employees are angry and scared. ” Again they didn’t give any details which is irresponsible. How do they know I didn’t come close to this person at some point? Share same bathroom, etc??” one said during an interview this morning.

Those who refuse to come into the office, as usual, have been told that they can stay home but “will need to take time off using their vacation days, personal time or unpaid leave”

TD Insurance employee

Another who spoke with a manager today had this to say. “They are not taking it seriously at all. They are just worried about the impact it will have on the business”.

PortandTerminal.com has reached out multiple times to Joshua Hakkenberg, VP TD Insurance, who is responsible for the Halifax and New Brunswick offices asking for his comment. Mr. Hakkenberg has declined to reply to our requests for comment. So for now, its business as usual.

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