Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) COVID-19 Update

OPSEU Local 415

OPSEU Local 415 is the democratically-run body that represents Algonquin College full-time and partial-load faculty (professors and instructors), cousellors, and librarians.

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Dear Colleagues,

As Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee (JOHSC) representatives, we have continued to participate on the COVID-19 Coordinating and Workplace Return Planning committees throughout the spring and summer. By way of clarification, the COVID-19 Coordinating Committee has members representing all areas of the college. On the other hand, the Workplace Return Planning Committee has fewer members, whose contributions are more specifically related to logistics, including a sub-committee for on-campus inspections and planning. 

The college has prioritized its initial focus and July pilot program for “stranded” students (Woodroffe Campus – Welding, Automotive, and some Health Services; Pembroke Campus – Forestry). We have participated in on-campus inspections and the rollout of the pilot with positive feedback from faculty. Now that two weeks have passed since the pilot start, there is a review of pilot program strategies in order to plan for the next phase of class offerings. These might include “winter teach outs” to start in August, but those have yet to be confirmed or approved.  

The inspections and planning for college-approved, on-campus, fall classes (with a September start) have also started, with plans for a safe return still based on physical distancing. There is no assumption that the use of masks replaces other health and safety protocols (like hand washing) and class sizes will be limited to a number that can accommodate the two-metre distance. Upon entering campus, the requirement is for everyone to wear a mask and the college will have masks to hand out, if needed. There are some exceptions to mask use and we have asked Human Resources to provide details on the best way for faculty to have these documented. A college policy is being drafted and should be available for the end of July.

The college COVID-19 Training, which must be completed by any employee returning to work on campus, can be accessed through this link. Documentation is essential for anything related to health and safety, so it is important that you keep a copy of the certificate of completion for your own records and submit a copy to your Chair before returning to work. While all of the information in the COVID-19 training is essential, some particularly noteworthy slides include: 

  • Are employees covered by WSIB for Covid-19 infections?
  • Work Refusals
  • Mental Health and Stress
  • Stay away if you are sick
  • Exposure outside of the Workplace
  • Exposure to Covid-19 in the Workplace
  • Accident/Injury/Illness Reporting
  • Accident/Injury/Illness Exposure Reporting

Please note that when notifying your Chair about any concerns or illness/injury we recommend that you do so in writing and keep copies of all communications. We also encourage you to fill out this OPSEU questionnaire if you believe or know that you have been exposed to COVID-19, in addition to reporting to the college.

It is important to note that program plans are only approved after inspections have been completed and Risk Management reviews the strategies that will be set in place. If you have any questions or concerns about health and safety or regarding information you are receiving within the department, please contact us at or Also, messages sent through will be forwarded to us. We will take action to ensure the planning meets all health and safety concerns.

Stay safe,

Leslie Wyman & JP Lamarche
JOHSC Representatives (Woodroffe Campus)

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