Interprovincial travel guidelines for New Brunswick-based employees
May 21, 2020
Out-of-Province Travel within Canada for New Brunswick based employees with specialized technical, professional or senior management skills
To provide some context for the purpose of this guide respecting out-of-province travel for New Brunswick-based employees, the province currently allows workers from other provinces who enter New Brunswick to work without the need to self-isolate for 14 days. This permission is conditional on the employer submitting an Operational Plan for interprovincial workers that must meet specific conditions and infectious disease prevention measures during the out-of-province employee’s first 14 days of work in New Brunswick. There are currently no similar provisions that allow a New Brunswick-based employee to travel to another province to work for a short period of time and return to New Brunswick without self-isolating for 14 days.
We recognize that many New Brunswick employers conduct businesses that supply goods and/or services to and/or within another Canadian province or territory. We also recognize that employee travel outside the province in support of these businesses is occasionally necessary for persons with specific technical, professional or senior managerial skills. Upon return to New Brunswick, these same specific skills are required at the employer’s New Brunswick-based operations. This guide outlines both the employer and the employee requirements that must be followed to protect the employee from infectious hazards while out-of-province for work purposes. It also outlines measures to be taken once the employee returns to New Brunswick to minimize the risk of transmission to others during the following 14-day period.
This guide applies to travel by workers with specific skills, whose primary residence is in New Brunswick and who have a need to travel within Canada for essential work as permitted by the other jurisdiction for a period not to exceed two weeks before returning to New Brunswick.
It is recommended that any employer in New Brunswick who requires their employee(s) to travel out-of-province, include a “Travel Plan” that incorporates the control measures as outlined in this document into their COVID-19 Operating Plan. A Travel Plan is not required, but any employee returning to NB without an approved Travel Plan in place is subject to a 14-day self-isolation period. New Brunswick businesses with multiple business units may elect to submit a Travel Plan on a business unit basis or on an enterprise wide basis for their employees with the specific skills identified above and where it can be demonstrated that frequent travel over a three-month period is essential. When making this election, the employee who is responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring to ensure effectiveness for each business unit and/or for the enterprise must be clearly identified in the Travel Plan.
Travel Plans at the business unit or enterprise level are valid for three months from the date of approval by WorkSafeNB and may be extended for additional periods of three months upon application for extension or resubmission by the employer/business, subject to any approvals that may be required at that time by WorkSafeNB and/or Public Health. If the state of the pandemic change substantially as determined solely by the New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer, and stricter border controls become necessary, any and all Travel Plans may be cancelled at any time.
The following outlines the key requirements of a plan that must be developed by New Brunswick employers whose business requires interprovincial travel for submission to WorkSafeNB for approval.
Business owners and managers must take every reasonable step to ensure minimal interaction of New Brunswick-based employees within two metres of other people when travelling and/or working outside of New Brunswick. When travelling, the most effective infectious disease control measure is remaining isolated in the accommodation provided for as much time as possible. When it becomes necessary to leave the temporary accommodation, other controls must also be used as appropriate to minimize risk as much as possible including, in decreasing order of effectiveness: engineering controls (i.e. physical barriers), administrative controls (screening for symptoms, temperature checks, changes in shifts, etc.) and personal protective equipment (masks, goggles, gloves, etc.).
The Travel Plan must outline how the various control measures will be implemented, who is responsible and accountable for their implementation and how the control measures are monitored for effectiveness and revised as necessary.
Key components of the Travel Plan must include, but are not limited to the following:
- Document how out-of-province travel is managed and who is accountable for ensuring the operational plan is robust and monitored for effectiveness.
- Outline the types of transportation used, and steps taken to ensure physical distancing and sanitization of areas where contact may occur.
- Plane, train, automobile, taxi/limo, marine vessel, etc.
- Hotels or other types of accommodation that support isolation programs with regard to meals and other required services such as laundry or dry cleaning.
- The employer must be reasonably satisfied that the employee has effective plans in place for anytime when they are out-of-province and isolating in their accommodation after work hours, and if it becomes necessary to secure any items that may be required on an urgent basis so that the employee doesn’t have to leave their place of accommodations
- Outline the steps to be taken by the employer during time at the out-of-province work location to minimize risk of infection and/or transmission between other employees or business contacts.
- Physical distancing
- Engineering controls (physical barriers, face shields, etc.)
- Administrative controls (screening, temperature checking, working during off-shift hours, etc.)
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Outline the steps to be taken to isolate and protect others upon return home/work in New Brunswick
- As much as it is practical for a given workplace, the employer will work with the employee to facilitate working from home as much as possible for the 14 days following the employee’s return to New Brunswick.
- The returning employee must monitor himself/herself daily for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and, should any symptom appear, immediately call 811 for instructions and identify themselves as a recent traveler.
- The employer must, during the employee’s 14-day period following return to New Brunswick, ensure that any close interactions with the returning employee are brief and that appropriate protective measures are taken to mitigate risk of transmission, including but not limited to establishing physical barriers, wearing face shields and/or wearing face coverings.
- Close and brief are defined as interactions that occur less than two metres apart from each other for less than 15 minutes.
- The employer must take every reasonable step to restrict close and brief contact in the workplace between individuals aged 65 and over and the out-of-province traveller to the fewest number of individuals aged 65 and over as practical until 14 days have passed following the employee’s return.
- The employer must take every reasonable step to ensure that other employees or individuals in the workplace with known underlying medical conditions and/or compromised immune systems do not come in contact with the out-of-province traveller until 14 days have passed following their return.
- The employer must take every reasonable step to provide a workspace to the employee to ensure minimal interaction of the employee with other people within two metres of each other for 14 days following return. Other actions to reduce risk may include engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment.
- More information on isolation may be found at The Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Prevention and Risks.
- In certain instances, proactive testing of a returning employee for COVID-19 may be appropriate. Public Health in consultation with WorkSafeNB will outline the need and parameters for such testing.
Duties and Obligation of Employees
As part of the Travel Plan, the employer will ensure the employee is fully aware of the following:
- The employee must be aware and acknowledge they may be travelling to an area where the risk of contracting COVID-19 may be higher than staying at home in New Brunswick. The employee(s) is aware of the essential need to minimize risk while travelling on business by minimizing contact with others, by remaining at the place of accommodation when not at work and to take other steps as required by the employer, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and WorkSafeNB. Current information on risks may be found at The Government of Canada: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update.
- The employee should take steps to be aware of any persons in their immediate household or surroundings who may be most at risk should they become infected with COVID-19. During the 14-day period following their return from out-of-province travel, the employee will:
- ensure any close interactions with others are brief and that appropriate protective measures are taken to reduce risk of transmission, including but not limited to establishing physical barriers, wearing face shields and/or wearing face coverings.
- “Close and brief" are defined as interactions that occur less than two metres apart from each other for less than 15 minutes.
- ensure that close and brief contact between the employee and individuals aged 65 are restricted to the fewest number of individuals aged 65 and over as practical.
- ensure the employee doesn’t come into contact with persons with known underlying medical conditions and/or compromised immune systems until 14 days have passed following their return.
- In planning for the time when the employee is out-of-province and isolating in their accommodation after work hours, the employee is advised to consider arrangements that may be necessary to ensure they have the means to secure any items that may be required on an urgent basis so the employee doesn’t have to leave their accommodations.
- Upon returning from out-of-province travel, and to protect others in the household, the employee should make every effort to stay in a separate room, if possible.
- Upon returning from out-of-province travel, the employee should make every effort to use a separate bathroom, if available, or ensure that cleaning and sanitizing frequencies are appropriate for the circumstances. See Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces for more information.
The employer must obtain and retain a written acknowledgment and agreement by the employee who is travelling of:
- the risk associated with travel outside the Province of New Brunswick and not staying at home as much as possible; and
- the requirement by the employee to minimize risk while travelling on business by minimizing contact with others, by remaining at the place of accommodation when not at work and to take other steps as required by the employer, the Chief Medical Officer of Health and WorkSafeNB.
See criteria for New Brunswick workers travelling within Canada.
Please submit your travel plans for approval to WorkSafeNB at email@example.com.