Brothers and Sisters:
Update on ACRC Response to the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency
A month ago, we could never have imagined that our provinces, our country and the world we live in could have changed so dramatically. As COVID-19 continues to rapidly spread we must ensure we take all possible safety precautions as advised by medical officials and government. In response to those recommendations, last week the Atlantic Canada Regional Council closed our doors to our membership and the public. However, members can still reach us by phone, email, or by texting. If a member needs to see a representative in person, this can be arranged by calling ahead to make an appointment. We are working with a skeleton crew in our offices, but we are still here to serve you.
During difficult times such as these stresses can be at a maximum. Social distancing is a difficult practice for Atlantic Canadians who are normally community-oriented people. Many members and their families are confined to their homes with toddlers, adolescents or teens that are bored out of their minds, or with elderly parents who require special care. Some members have to live alone, as they sit home day in and day out. In addition, finances are uncertain for many. I encourage members to utilize the services provided by our health and welfare plan if the stresses become more than they can handle. In addition, most provincial governments are offering extra services at this time. We will post links to these resources on our website, and send out contact information via email as it becomes available.
The economic impact COVID-19 is having on our membership and their families is very severe. Two weeks ago, there were close to 5000 members working or in the process of being dispatched in Atlantic Canada and, with the work that was about to start in the coming weeks, we expected that number to reach close to 6000. Today that number has plummeted to approximately 1600. This is a result of most of the larger industrial sites closing and some of the commercial sites reducing workforce numbers to comply with the mandated social distancing policies. Another factor is that many members did not feel safe for a variety of reasons – their own health issues, or health issues of loved ones at home. Each individual member must do what is best for themselves and their families at this time and, whatever their choice, it should be respected.
No one can truly prepare for what I can only describe as the “unimaginable”. Having said that, I will continue to work with the Executive Board and Delegates of the Atlantic Canada Regional Council to ensure that we have a solid plan in place to assist our members through this challenging time, and to ensure that our offices and our membership are well prepared when work commences in the coming weeks. As services and assistance come available, we will keep you informed.
Taking a moment throughout your day to call someone who may be struggling with the self- isolation rules, overwhelmed financially, or simply scared of what is happening around us, is a positive step that may make them and you feel supported during this negative situation. We are versatile people and we will get through this. We are proud Atlantic Canadians. Stay healthy, stay safe and God Bless.
ACRC Executive Secretary-Treasurer