As our organization continues to grow, we continue to evolve. Therefore it is our goal to continue to examine the ways we can do better, and support all CMHA Kelowna staff to do their best work. Below, we have included some quick links to some forms as well as the link to our HR Policy Manual. This is document will be updated as necessary and we encourage any staff member to contact HR or their supervisor if they have any questions, comments or changes they would like to see.
The Government of Canada has two options available for a home office expense deduction through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Here are two links that outline the options that are available. We encourage you to have a careful read of both and review the supplemental information each contains in order to choose the option that works best for you.
General Information about the home office expense deduction:
Simplifying the process for the home office expense deduction:
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Kelowna (CMHA Kelowna) Branch supports a variety of work arrangements for employees to achieve the Branch’s strategic goals. For most roles, the Branch has office space for employees to come into work on a daily basis. Regardless of availability of office space, the Branch is also open to flexible work arrangements, allowing an employee to work offsite if their role allows them to achieve work duties and business objectives with such an arrangement. These arrangements should be predictable and pre-arranged with the employee’s supervisor / manager and agreed upon through the Leadership Team, rather than ad-hoc, to ensure business continuity and shared understanding. Working offsite is not an entitlement. The suitability of offsite working arrangement will vary according to specific operational requirements or employee circumstances. Employees must be performing satisfactorily prior to being approved and must maintain their performance. Safety and confidentiality of information must be safeguarded in any and all working from home arrangements.
This policy applies to all CMHA Kelowna employees who would like to work from home based on Ad hoc requests (as and when requested in advance), regularly (one or more times a week) or from a home based office (usually requested by the employer). Employees are allowed to work from home only if their job duties permit it. For example, employees who are obliged to come in direct physical contact with program participants, donors and/or customers are not eligible to telecommute for the portion of their work dedicated to such contact. But, employees who carry out most of their work on a computer can occasionally work offsite.
“Ad hoc request to work from home”
A request from an employee to work from home for a brief period of time to respond to an immediate need. It is not a regular ongoing arrangement and is pre-approved by their respective manager. For example, time required to write proposals, project related material, briefs, etc.
“Home Based Office”
The primary office is located in the employee’s home. This arrangement is typically at the request of the employer.
NOTE: A T2200 form can be issued by CMHA Kelowna along with the annual T4’s to claim home office expenses if the employee adheres to all home office guidelines provided by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for salaried employees. Part of this requirement is that the employee complete the majority of work from their home (greater than 50%). As per the CRA guidelines, the space being claimed must be used for work purposes only. If an employee has a desk/office provided by CMHA Kelowna, and works the majority of their time from the office, but chooses to work from home occasionally, they would not be eligible to claim a home office. Please refer to this link to determine employee eligibility and what expenses they are able to claim:
Work Space in the Home Expenses
The location an employee would work if they were not a virtual worker and have a designated workspace at one of our CMHA Kelowna locations.
An employee who works from home one to three days per week as well as in a space provided by CMHA Kelowna on a regular basis. A formal telecommuting agreement is required between the employee and manager that outlines the expectations, requirements and liabilities for Virtual Workers wishing to regularly work offsite.
How to determine whether an employee can work from home
Offsite work arrangements are determined and approved on a case-by-case basis by the
employee’s manager, further to an employee’s request. The direct manager will consult with
the HR Manager and department Manager/Director if required. We advise both employee and manager to consider these elements before asking / approving offsite working:
- Is the employee eligible by nature of their job?
- Are there any cybersecurity and data privacy concerns?
- Will collaboration with the employee’s team become difficult?
- Does the employee have the necessary equipment or software accessible to them at
- What are the conditions of employees’ home or alternative place of work (noise,
internet connection etc.?)
Compensation and benefits
Offsite work arrangements shall not affect the employees employment terms. If working offsite has any effect on compensation and benefits, then the arrangement cannot be accommodated.
For Virtual Workers and Home Based Offices, the day should be structured as if working in an office environment. The employee is expected to work a regular work day in a set schedule with appropriate business hours for the role with a set start, lunch and end time.
Health and safety in work from home arrangements
Health and safety considerations must be reviewed prior to determining whether or not a telework arrangement is appropriate. If all parties agree to a telework arrangement, the health and safety checklist must be completed and included as part of the written agreement about the arrangement.
CMHA Kelowna is committed to creating a healthy and safe work environment for everyone that works or accesses services with us. This commitment and duty also extends to employees who work off site. Employees are responsible for setting up an appropriate work environment within their home, which provides the same level of safety and security as the regular work office.
We encourage you to review the ergonomics information and the “Setting up the Home Office” section.
When an employee is injured while in an offsite working arrangement, they must comply with the normal reporting requirements for any work-related accident as outlined in branch policies and procedures. Employees should first treat or seek treatment for the injury, and then report the injury to their supervisor, just as they would if they were injured at the office. CMHA Kelowna is not responsible and assumes no liability for any injuries to family members,
visitors, and others in the employee’s home or any other offsite work location.
Telecommuting employees that are injured while working in offsite work location are eligible to apply for WorkSafeBC benefits. While WorkSafeBC assesses each case individually based on its circumstances, generally the injury must have occurred in the course of telework and/or in the offsite workplace, which WorkSafeBC defines as the actual space where work is conducted, during the time when work is being done.
Since the employer-employee relationship remains unchanged, the employee’s access to
certain benefit plans, such as disability insurance remains the same. When an employee is ill or injured and unable to work, they must comply with the normal procedures for absences due to illness and injury.
Workplace violence is managed under the Human Resources Policy Handbook. All employees (including those working in an offsite arrangement) must report incidents of violence that occur in the workplace, as well as behaviors (including uncivil or harassing behaviors) that may indicate a risk of workplace violence.
Telework employees are subject to all of the same policies and procedures and expected standards of conduct as all other Branch employees.
Before a telework arrangement will be authorized, managers must ascertain, through the Home Office Safety Checklist whether the proposed offsite workplace is a safe environment. The telework agreement will not be approved if the manager determines that there is predisposed risk of violence to occur.
If an employee reports an act of violence or threat of violence, manager; or person it was reported to, must notify Human Resources and the Executive Director. A decision will be made, based on the risk, whether or not the telework agreement should be continued. If you ever have an immediate fear for your safety, call the police at 911.
When an employee is working at home, they are often working alone. Working alone under certain circumstances can increase the risk to health and safety. To address these circumstances, CMHA Kelowna has a Working Alone Policy that accurately describe the process and monitoring requirements.
Under these policies, working from home is classified as low risk. However, the employee and manager should establish a contact schedule. This schedule should be laid out in the telework agreement, and include who to contact, when contact will be made, and the preferred method of communication.
For health and safety reasons, employees cannot have work meetings with program participants, other employees or other work related contacts in their homes. This restriction must be included in the telework agreement.
Evaluation and discontinuation of Offsite Work Arrangements
Offsite Work Arrangements will formally be evaluated semi-annually for all employees with such arrangements. CMHA Kelowna reserves the right to discontinue, adjust or change the offsite work arrangement at any time due to changing business needs or changes in the requirements of the role.
Requesting Work from Home Procedure
When employees plan to work from home, this procedure must be followed:
- Employees file a request through email to their supervisor and/or Manager, copying in Human Resources.
- Their manager must review their request considering all elements outlined above and will provide approval or denial for their request.
- If the offsite work arrangement spans for more than a couple of weeks, the supervisor, manager and team members should meet to discuss details and set specific goals, schedules and deadlines.
- If the request is approved, the employee and supervisor / manager will then document and sign the Offsite Work Agreement in sufficient detail to outline how the requirements of this policy will be met including, but not limited to, the safety of the offsite work environment. An Offsite Work Agreement does not alter an employee’s employment relationship with CMHA Kelowna or the employee’s obligation to observe all applicable policies and procedures. All existing terms and conditions of employment remain the same as they would be if the employee worked at their regularly assigned location. This includes, but is not limited to, the job description, salary, benefits, vacation and leaves.
- Employees who need to work from home for unforeseen reasons (e.g. temporary difficult commute) should file their request as soon as possible, so managers can consider and approve it.
Evaluating Offsite Work Arrangement
- At least every three months, the employee and their supervisor / manager will discuss the Offsite Work Arrangement to evaluate if the arrangement continues to work for the employee and the Branch.
- The results of this discussion will be documented in the form of an email or letter sent to the employee from their supervisor and kept on record in the employee’s HR file.
- Failure to complete this evaluation every three months in no way restricts the employer’s ability to terminate offsite work arrangements at any time.
Setting Up a Home Office
Employees must ensure their home office is a comfortable, healthy and safe environment. The main criteria for a home-based office are comfort, function, health, safety, accessibility, and privacy for disturbance-free professionalism.
The employee is expected to use their own equipment and they are responsible for the supply, maintenance and repair of that equipment unless they have been issued a laptop by the Branch as part of the regular equipment issued to do their job. The Branch will not be responsible for any costs that are associated with the employee using their home as an alternative worksite; for example, home maintenance, insurance, internet or telephone connection and additional hardware, or utilities.
In the exceptional circumstances where the Branch provides equipment for the employee working from home, the Branch will assume the responsibility for normal maintenance and repair of that equipment subject to appropriate use.
Below are some common considerations in setting up a home office that the employee and manager should review with one another.
a) Work Surface
The employee will need a desk or table that’s large enough to hold the materials used for their work. Having a work surface that is too high or too low can affect their overall posture and body positioning, and can cause undue strain and aches. The chair and/or work surface height should be adjusted according to each individual’s body specifications and type of work performed.
The employee must make sure that they have a comfortable chair – this is probably the most important piece of work furniture. The seat should be adjustable, have a backrest shaped to support their lower back, and a swivel mechanism to avoid twisting. They should try to find a chair with castors (wheels), for easy movement, and a non-slip, breathable seat fabric.
Make sure the home office has good lighting. Lighting is rated as a top environmental factor affecting productivity. Good lighting can help avoid eye fatigue and shadows that hamper work and can contribute to stiffness and aches in the shoulder and neck area if trying to read something under poor lighting conditions.
The employee should choose a well-ventilated room that can be maintained at a comfortable temperature year-round.
e) Equipment and Electronics
The employee must avoid dangerous electrical practices such as overloading circuits or modifying three-prong plugs to fit two-prong outlets. There is also a risk of data loss without suitable power circuitry and surge protection to guard electronic equipment from power surges and blackouts.
When the employee arranges their home office workspace, they should place their equipment so that they don’t have power cords and telephone lines trailing across the floor and creating hazards.
If equipment must be moved around, it must be done so carefully, to avoid injury, or damage to your equipment. The employee must remember that not all components of their office need to be in the same room, or space, as long as everything is conveniently located.
f) Communications Tools
Maintaining communication is an integral part of a successful telework arrangement. The employee must consider the importance of tools such as voicemail, email, electronic calendar, laptop computers, remote internet access, shared electronic folders and files, flash drives, and cell phones, and to ensure they know how to use them and that they work effectively at the offsite work location. Contact Operations early on in the process for assistance with equipment or networking needs.
g) Secure Storage
If an employee works with confidential information at their home office, they need to ensure that they have secure storage to protect this material and reduce the risk of loss to the Branch.
h) Fitness for Duty
When working from home, it is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that they are fit for duty. This requires abstinence from recreational substances (i.e.: Alcohol, Marijuana) when performing their duties. If they are on prescribed medications that could interfere with their duties, it is a WorkSafe BC requirement that they disclose the impairment to the HR Manager in order to assess if an accommodation is required.
i) Set boundaries with family and friends
When employees work from home, friends and family may not understand the demands that are required of them. The employee will need to advise them that although they’re at home, they are still working.
Download the necessary forms below!
Taking appropriate precautions to ensure the health and safety of all employees is an ongoing priority of CMHA Kelowna. We continue to closely monitor guidance from our Provincial Health Officer (Dr. Bonnie Henry), the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Health Employers Association of BC, to ensure that the guidance for CMHA Kelowna employees specific to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is accurate, updated regularly, and reflective of the changing local and international conditions. Please know that this is a situation that is still evolving every day, so there are several unknowns and some things that are “known” today, but may change tomorrow. While it is not easy to be in a place of uncertainty, it is okay for us to be in it, especially if we take reasonable and measured steps to take care of one another and ourselves. In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry, “Be kind, be calm and be safe”.
Public Health Order Regarding Masks and Mandatory Employee Health Checks Prior to Shift
INFORMATION ON COVID-19
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that is transmitted person-to-person through contact with contaminated respiratory fluids (droplets from coughing, sneezing, nasal secretions, expressive talking, etc.).
The vast majority of people who contract the infection will feel mild symptoms and need to be in isolation until the virus passes (generally 14 days). The remaining minority of people who contract the virus will have moderate to severe symptoms and likely require increased support through healthcare clinics and hospitals.
People most likely to fall into the minority bracket are those living with pre-existing conditions (namely lung/respiratory conditions), elderly, and immunocompromised. By ensuring all of us take appropriate prevention measures, we help to protect both those in the majority and the minority. Wash your hands.
Keeping transmission low
Physical distancing from others continues to be important when outside your home or at work. Carry on with these simple tips to help keep the transmission of COVID-19 as low as possible.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.
- Keep a physical distance of about 2 metres between yourself and others.
- Avoid or limit interaction with large gatherings (50+ people).
- Limit personal contact, avoid shaking hands, hugging, or otherwise embracing other people when greeting, saying goodbye, or being friendly. Elbow bumps and head nods are the best options when greeting people. Ensure program participants and residents know about this as well.
- Frequent hand washing/sanitizing is a foundational line of defense, as well as
encouraging/requiring program participants and residents to do the same.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue … or into your elbow with your sneeze or cough. Wash/sanitize your hands immediately afterwards.
- Do not share food, drink or utensils and take ownership of your dishes in staff kitchens.
- Wash your hands before handling and eating your lunch.
- Stay home if you are feeling unwell and are concerned you might have COVID-19 please use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested. You can also reach out to 8-1-1 or the BC Centre for Disease Control for directions in regards to testing. It is better to be overly cautious, if in doubt.
- If a staff member, program participant or resident exhibits symptoms while at the office/programming/in residence, they will be asked to wear a mask and to immediately return home.
- If a resident in one of our housing facilities exhibits symptoms, please let IH know and have them self-quarantine in their home until IH provides direction.
It is also imperative that we continue to observe our organizational safety protocols. Please continue to follow these protocols when it comes to physical distancing, sanitizing, and the maximum number of individuals allowed in meeting rooms. We would like to suggest that it is good practice for each of us to wear a mask when we are not at our desk and are walking through the hallways. This includes when we are in a meeting room and not able to maintain 6 feet physical distancing. Now is not the time for us to loosen up our adherence to safety steps that we have all been following and that have helped to keep us all safe.
Mandatory masks in workplaces: November 19, 2020 Public Health Order
Non-medical or cloth mask
Wear a mask if you are unable to physically distance. Masks act as a barrier and help stop droplets from spreading when you cough or sneeze. Using a mask in combination with the above preventative measures can help protect those around you.
Different types of masks are available for public use. Non-medical masks, medical masks and respirators can all be used in the community. A respirator worn in the community doesn’t need formal fit testing.
Respirators (such as N-95 and KN-95 masks) are considered the highest level of mask protection. An N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. Note that the edges of the respirator are designed to form a seal around the nose and mouth. Surgical N95 Respirators are commonly used in healthcare settings and are a subset of N95 Filtering Face piece Respirators (FFRs), often referred to as N95s.
The effectiveness of non-medical masks in preventing the spread of COVID-19 can vary based on many factors. It depends on material, construction, fit and proper use. Some non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 similarly to medical masks if they:
- Fit well
- Have multiple layers, including at 3 layers and an effective middle filter layer
Few non-medical masks provide information about their filtration effectiveness. In general, while non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, medical masks and respirators provide better protection. No matter which type of mask you choose, proper fit is a key factor in its effectiveness.
Click image to enlarge.
To learn more about wearing a mask and types of masks, see BC Centre for Disease Control: Masks
Front line and supportive housing workers in contact with residents or participants who are suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19 should use standard infection prevention and control precautions. This includes wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Having the person wear a mask until they are able to self-isolate will help prevent the spread of the virus to other people. Please remember that viruses do not discriminate, and we must not either. We must not make or tolerate statements that explicitly or implicitly infer that a person’s racial and ethnic background changes the level of risk for contracting or spreading the virus. There is a lot of information about COVID-19 and the province’s response to the pandemic. For a list of the trusted sources that they use at HealthLinkBC 8-1-1 to provide British Columbians with health information and advice, see Useful Resources for COVID-19.
AS WELL AS:
UPDATING CONTACT AND EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION
Each staff member must ensure that they have provided us with up to date contact information. If have recently moved or have a change of phone number please update John West in HR immediately.
Please provide the following:
- Full home address, including postal code.
- Home phone number if you have a landline.
- Personal Cell number
- Work Cell number
- If you have an office desk phone, provide phone extension
- A name and accurate phone number of an emergency contact.
CMHA Kelowna - 504 Sutherland - Actions due to COVID-19 and a disruption of services
As a community organization, we continually examine the best way to provide services to our participants through the Wellness Development Centre (WDC) and walk in traffic due to the closure of our office at 504 Sutherland Ave. Tremendous work and creativity by our team has been displayed as they continue to provide community and social connection with both onsite and virtual programs. The WDC team will continue with in-person activities indoors and outdoors, when weather permits, for our participants in a safe, COVID-19 friendly manner, as well as providing support and activities online.
STAFF PAY AND LEAVES POLICY DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Guidance on COVID-19 Testing and Self-Isolation
At this time, increased levels of COVID-19 are circulating and we are seeing many more cases due to the Omicron variant. For those who are fully vaccinated, most cases have been mild and resolve quickly. Thank you to everyone for continuing to keep each other and our clients/participants and residents safe by following COVID-19 prevention practices.
When to get tested
CMHA Kelowna continues to strongly advise that anyone without symptoms of COVID-19 not to visit testing sites, as testing capacity is needed for those who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. This allows IHA sites to prioritize testing to those who are sick, and most in need of care. People without symptoms who require testing for travel purposes can find a private pay testing site.
Please use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Testing is only recommended if you have symptoms, even if you have been in contact with a case. Current recommendations for testing can be found on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website.
If you have tested positive for COVID-19
Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will need to self-isolate for five days from when symptoms began or from your test date (whichever is earlier), and to follow the Public Health Organization guidance.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, the people they have spent time with during their infectious period may be considered “close contacts” and should be notified. Please send an email to your Manager/Supervisor if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or are waiting for test results. If you have any further concerns or questions you can send an email to: [email protected]
If you have tested negative for COVID-19
Employees who test negative for COVID-19 and have mild symptoms may continue to work if they feel well enough. Please inform your manager of your symptoms and wear PPE while at work.
A close contact is generally someone who has been near a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes when health and safety measures were not in place or were insufficient. Generally, If you test positive for COVID-19 you should notify people that you live with, work with, or share space with in a close proximity. If Public Health decides you are a close contact, you have to follow their advice.
- If you are identified as a close contact, through home or work, you need to self-monitor for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 for 14 days after exposure. You do not need to self-isolate. You can come to work as long as you don’t have symptoms. Please continue to wear your PPE while at work.
If you are considered a close contact and are self-monitoring, you and your household can continue with your normal daily activities. If you have children in school, it is recommended you continue to send them to class. You are encouraged to stay in direct contact with your specific school to remain up to date regarding their specific safety protocols.
NOTE: If you work within our supportive housing and homelessness services programs you are considered to be in an essential service role. As such, if you have children in school you are able to send them to class. This applies in the event a school has a staggered re-opening or is otherwise closed. This is based on the latest public health orders and should be monitored closely for any changes.
- If you are identified as a close contact, and you develop COVID-19 symptoms it is recommended you get tested. Current recommendations for testing as well as testing locations can be found on the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website.
- Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated may also need to self-isolate.
If you get sick from COVID-19
If you are a regular full-time, part-time, temporary or casual employee, and display symptoms of the virus, as with all other illnesses, you will go on sick leave for the duration of the symptoms. Please do NOT come to work. Stay home. Please use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Call 8-1-1 to receive information or instructions on how to be further tested. You must stay home while you are waiting for your test results and may return upon confirmation of a negative result.
How to manage sick time
CMHA Kelowna employees (full and part time) are entitled to a maximum of 12 paid sick days (pro-rated to your FTE) per calendar year. There is no carry forward from one year to the next. Sick days are accumulated at one day per month worked. If you need to take more sick time than you have accumulated, it must be noted in the payroll system, Payworks. You may see a negative balance. This is allowed for up to 12 days. Employees are also entitled to up to 3 days of unpaid sick leave.
For Casual employees, there are new rules from BC Employment Standards about sick leave entitlement effective Jan 1, 2022. If you have 90 days of continuous employment at CMHA Kelowna, and have worked a certain number of hours in a month, you are entitled to up to 5 “days” paid sick leave per year. Please check with HR regarding your eligibility for this.
If you are a full-time, part-time temporary or casual employee who doesn’t have enough paid sick time to be cover being off due to COVID-19, or due to self-isolation while waiting for test results, the Government is still providing the ‘Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit’ (CRSB), just for this specific circumstance. Please follow the link below to see if you qualify for CRSB.
If your work location is closed because of COVID-19
If you are a regular full-time or part-time employee and your regular work location is closed due to COVID-19 (at the direction of a public health official), leadership will assess options that may be available, including alternate work opportunities (i.e. work from home), or temporary lay-off, until your worksite re-opens.
If you are a casual staff and your regular work location is closed due to COVID-19 (at the direction of a public health official), you will be paid for any shifts that you had accepted at the time general leave was started. No further work shifts will be scheduled until the work location is re-opened.
CMHA Kelowna has suspended all international travel.
An official travel advisory is in effect from the Federal Government and all non-essential travel outside of Canada is to be avoided. CMHA Kelowna is enforcing this advisory for all staff until further notice.
Both the Provincial Health Authority and Federal Medical Health Officers request that all people returning from International travel must self-quarantine after their return. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please do NOT come to work. Stay home. Please use the B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to see if you need to be tested for COVID-19. Call 8-1-1 to receive information or instructions on how to be further tested. You must stay home (sick leave) while you are waiting for your test results and may return upon confirmation of a negative result.
Please note that if an employee does leave the country, CMHA Kelowna is invoking that staff returning from personal international travel follow the Government of Canada protocol above and self- quarantine. If International travel is something CMHA Kelowna staff are considering, they are required to speak with their Manager well in advance, to discuss the potential risk to their health and how their absence due to the mandatory quarantine would affect their work. If CMHA Kelowna staff are not able to effectively work from home during this mandatory quarantine time, this time will be unpaid.
Should staff risk travelling out of the country and contract COVID-19 or be unable to return from their personal travel on their expected return to work date, CMHA Kelowna will not compensate them for the time of missed work.
For travel between cities and provinces, we ask all staff to follow Provincial Health Authority Travel Guidelines when considering their travel plans. If this is something staff is considering, they are to be in constant contact with their manager and HR to discuss whether there is potential risk to their health and how their possible absence would affect their work.
CMHA Kelowna has a responsibility as a frontline, essential service organization to follow the most current health orders. Currently we do not have a vaccine mandate for staff other than for individuals who work or volunteer at Foundry Kelowna (as directed by IHA), but we do strongly request that all staff get vaccinated.
All CMHA Kelowna staff must have provided their most up to date vaccination status, with proof, to their supervisor and HR, as of November 12, 2021. This includes a copy or photo of your vaccine card.
If we do not have a copy of your vaccination status on record and there is a declared outbreak at your worksite, you will be instructed to leave the site immediately and you will be put on unpaid leave until the outbreak has been cleared by health officials.