PortandTerminal.com, March 31, 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 growing pressure from both the media and frightened employees, TD Insurance in Halifax has issued a statement saying that they believe it is safe for them to keep their physical offices open for business during the COVID19 crisis in Nova Scotia.
Their decision comes on the same day that the Nova Scotia government announced 20 new cases of COVID19 bringing the total to 127 and worryingly, the first case of community spread of the virus.
Yesterday there was also coverage from Canada’s Global News where an employee at the busy TD call center expressed his worries in an interview. The employee described how he first found out about there being a case of COVID19 at the office, hearing about it from a colleague, not the company. He then described his concerns about his own health and the situation on the ground now.
You can listen to the interview with Global News in the Tweet below. Two important highlights from it follow:
Who else may have been exposed? – “We share a lot of common areas, like the kitchen, bathrooms and everything. I don’t know who the person was”
What is the situation as of yesterday, March 30? – “We still have too many people in that office. We often see people, even supervisors not respecting social distancing”.
TD Insurance claims in a statement that they instructed the landlord of the building located in a busy shopping mall and office complex in central Halifax of their COVID19 infection case. That’s important because TD’s employees and the other office residents all use a common bank of elevators.
PortandTerminal.com visited the office site yesterday and spoke with someone from the landlord’s office (Page Realty Management) who says that simply is not true and claims that they first became aware of the case on March 28th, thanks to the CBC news coverage who broke the story.
We have also been contacted by a number of TD Insurance employees who expressed their fear over possibly being exposed to COVID19 and their frustration with their employer with how they have handled it.
Incredibly, one employee told us that the company has started “desk sharing” despite the obvious risk for spreading disease that this creates. In the past, call center employees would be assigned a desk that would be “theirs” to use alone. This is no longer apparently the case.
“Your desk isn’t yours now. When you get to work after the weekend, someone else has used your desk, or could use your desk when you’re gone”TD Insurance employee
Others are saying enough is enough. “It’s a damn shame searching for a new employer once this is all said and done”.
For now, TD Insurance says that Nova Scotia Public Health has advised them that “the risk to other people on the floor and in the building of contracting the virus remains low and the office can remain open”.
Let’s all hope that they’re right. In an office of this size – hundreds of people, there is no room for them to be wrong on this. And Halifax is only one of many of their high volume call centers across Canada.
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