Serco Memo Regarding COVID-19 Shutdown

Written by USW 9511 Admin on Sunday March 22, 2020

It is official, the government of Ontario has announced DriveTests will not be open starting tomorrow March 23, 2020. 

Members should be already be getting contacted by your supervisor to be informed about the shutdown of all DriveTest services effective immediately.  They will be asking for your email to stay in touch with you during this time, as well as provide you with the document below.  We cannot attach PDFs directly to our posts, so this is a cut/paste job:

To: All Serco DES Bargaining Unit Employees

From: Angela Goodhand and Gary Cook

Date: March 22, 2020

Subject: Cessation of Services and Facility Closures due to COVID-19

Full closure effective March 23, 2020

The coronavirus or COVID 19 is creating growing concern for all businesses around the globe. The situation is rapidly evolving. Numerous agencies in both the public and private sector have begun temporary shutdowns in order to limit exposure and possible spread of the disease. After discussions with the Ministry of Transportation we have made the decision that all DriveTest sites will close effective March 23 until the pandemic crisis stabilizes and we are able to re-open. All SGT/PI proctoring sessions, off-site testing, travel point visits and community requested testing are also cancelled.

Re-evaluation and Communication

During this closure period the situation will be frequently re-evaluated using World Health Organization (WHO) and Public Health Agency of Canada recommendations, and in conjunction with MTO and Provincial government directives. Updates will be provided as they occur. In order to receive the most recent communications, you are required to contact your supervisor/manager immediately in order to provide an up to date phone number and email address. Messaging will be provided through USW9511 blast messaging and email distribution to personal email addresses.

Impacts

As a result of the full closure, all Driver Examiners and Customer Service Agents will be subject to layoff under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Article 15 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Layoffs will commence immediately and employees are not to report to work until recalled by management. MTO will provide us with 10 days’ written notice prior to any re-opening of Centres.

We understand that this layoff notice may come as a surprise to some and a source of frustration, concern and stress. These decisions are never made lightly and we regret the hardship it will place on our employees and their families. Given the rapidly evolving guidance of the WHO and Public Health Agency of Canada, and as per article 15.8 of the CBA, this layoff is effective immediately and without any notice or pay provisions due to causes beyond our control. We will provide to you as quickly as possible via mail or email, a Record of Employment which will allow you to apply for Employment Insurance.

We are committed to the health and safety of our employees and will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available. Should you have any questions regarding the materials in this memo, please contact your supervisor or manager for further details.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I am willing to work during the closure, are there any locations open that I can go to instead of my home DTC?

  • No, as a precaution all DTCs and Travel Points are closed until further notice. No services will be provided to the general public.

How will I be informed of any changes regarding the return to work date?

  • Contact your supervisor as soon as possible with an up to date phone number and email address in order to be provided updates. Attached to this memo are the contact numbers for reference.

When can I expect to hear updates on any changes?

  • At a minimum, formal communications will be provided to the field once a week. If situations change and additional communications are necessary, the frequency of communications will increase.

Will I continue to be paid during the layoff?

  • Employees will be classed as affected by layoff and a Record of Employment (ROE) will be issued. Employees will be eligible to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Will my benefits be affected during the layoff?

  • Benefits will currently remain intact and unchanged at this point. Employee paid premiums for Long term disability and life insurance etc. will be recouped through regular payroll deductions after recall from layoff. Some benefit providers may be unavailable due to office closures, be sure to visit the company website or call ahead to confirm. Reschedule your appointment(s) if you are unwell.

Has the Union been contacted regarding the impact of the Coronavirus?

  • Yes, DriveTest Management has engaged with the Union on an ongoing basis.

Has MTO been informed of this action plan?

  • Yes, DriveTest has worked closely with the client over the past week and have worked together to arrive at this decision. We will continue to meet with them regularly in the coming days/weeks.

Where can I find more information?

  • · Be aware of fake coronavirus (COVID19) websites that are circulating as cyber criminals are actively attempting to exploit us with what sounds to be important information about coronavirus. The only websites we recommend you visit for coronavirus (COVID-19) information are the following:
  • Public Health Agency of Canada - https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
  • World Health Organization - https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019