/Work from home policy goes beyond pandemic

Work from home policy goes beyond pandemic

By Nick Bernard

The following are brief reports of items discussed during a Jan. 13 meeting of Minden Hills council, held virtually.

Minden chief administrative officer and clerk Trisha McKibbin presented a report on the township’s work from home policy, which had been submitted for review to the township’s Emergency Control Group (ECG). 

The ECG exists as part of the township’s emergency response plan and is, according to the Minden’s emergency response plan, responsible for the essential services needed to minimize the effects of the emergency on the municipality. 

“This policy came out of … the need for staff to be working at home during COVID-19, but this is a policy that goes beyond just when we’re in a pandemic,” McKibbin said. “It’s a policy that can be used at all times when there’s a need or a request for staff to work from home.”

A number of changes had been made to the policy since it was last seen by council, which McKibbin walked through in her report.

Many of the changes were minute refinements on the existing text. One of the notable changes is that work at home arrangements must be approved by the CAO before it starts and is subject to being revoked at any time. 

Changes to the equipment requirements for employees who work from home were changed as well, updated to require reliable telephone service as well as the existing requirement for reliable internet service, as staff are required to answer phone calls through the course of their duties.

A section was also included addressing a policy for employees who are injured during the course of their duties, making them eligible to apply for WSIB benefits even when they’re working from home.

“It’s a good policy for us to have because … I do know that when we are out of this pandemic, there will be long-lasting changes to how we do business,” McKibbin said. “So this is a policy that’s going to help us ensure that we have opportunities and options for staff.”

McKibbin also said that the policy will continue to be reviewed and revised as required.

Council approves purchase for rapid attack fire truck

Minden Fire Chief Nelson Johnston presented the final cost for the fire department’s new mini rapid attack fire truck, designated as R7.

R7 is a 2021 F550 4×4 mini pumper from Ford, with its purpose being to access terrain the larger trucks cannot. 

“It is the largest pump in our fleet now,” Johnston said, adding that while the truck is outfitted with the minimum amount of equipment required for certification, the department was able to make its own modifications to the build. LED lights were added to make the power system more efficient, and intake valves were added to fill the truck with water quickly, among other modifications.

The amount set aside for the truck was $470,000, with R7’s final build coming out at a cost of $389,800.

Sayne joins climate action plan advisory group

Councillor Pam Sayne was the enthusiastic nominee to join the County of Haliburton’s Community Climate Action Plan Advisory Group, representing Minden Hills at that table. 

The advisory group’s role will be to help and advise staff across the county in developing a climate action plan. The advisory group will review best practices, identify strategies for communities to reduce emissions, and help prepare municipalities for the direct impacts of climate change.

The next meeting of Minden council will take place virtually on Jan 27 beginning at 9 a.m. For more information visit mindenhills.ca.