Return to Work Plan


  • 26 FTEs ‐ 1 Chair, 8 Members, 1 Registrar, 2 Legal Counsel, 1 Manager of Operations, 13 Registry staff
  • 3 Contract Mediators

BCHRT’s Return to Office Plan, May 19, 2020

Remote Work and On‐line Provision of Services

  • For the foreseeable future existing measures detailed below will continue
    • Employees and contractors will work remotely
    • Tribunal programs will be offered online and by telephone

Exploring resumption of working in the office and providing in‐person proceedings

  • In‐person mediations and hearings – In the small number of cases where it is not appropriate to conduct proceedings remotely, we are contemplating holding in‐person proceedings with the following measures in place.
    • Safe reopening of our 12th floor reception to the public if:
      1. Landlord has posted physical distance signage in common areas ‐ lobby, elevators, washrooms;
      2. Crime in the vicinity of the office is sufficiently reduced such that it is safe to unlock access to the 12th floor
    • Largest meeting room(s) used with a set up to ensure participants are appropriately separated
    • Maximum of 1‐2 proceedings a day held in facility designed for 10 proceedings
    • Separate entrances from lobby area used for each proceeding
    • Provide directional flow of traffic through corridors and hallways will be marked
    • Remove furnishings in reception and waiting areas to allow adequate spacing
    • All public entrance doors will remain open during business hours to eliminate the need for public to touch surfaces
    • Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes will be assessible to public and staff in all areas.
  • Small increase of Employees and Contractors working in the office – On an entirely volunteer basis we are exploring increasing the number of people working in the office with the following protocols in place.
    • Prohibit anyone from attending the office if they are sick or have any symptoms of illness
    • Enforce two‐week self isolation for all staff who have been in contact with anyone who tests positive
    • Stagger days in the office to less than 6 people who have expressed any interest in returning to work a limited number of days per week
    • Stagger schedules for staff returning to the office on any given day for ease of commuting and minimalize the overlap of communal space usage
    • Await landlord’s promised common areas and washrooms physical distancing signage
    • Landlord has increased the frequency and level of cleaning in publicly used areas
    • Provide formerly mobile workers with designated workstations located at a minimum of two meters apart from others
    • Prohibit congregating in communal spaces such as break and copy rooms
    • Prohibit sharing of kitchen items
    • Encourage volunteers to participate in existing program that frequently disinfects common touch surfaces in the office
    • Encourage frequent handwashing and sanitation of staff’s own work stations

Existing COVID‐19 Business Continuity Plan

On March 13, 2020, BCHRT implemented its COVID‐19 pandemic BCP plan.

Employees and contractors

  • Working remotely – existing mobile work program with paperless files and on‐line provision of services extended full‐time to all employees and contractors
  • Working in the office – Registrar and two staff remain in office processing letter mail for HRT and 5 other tribunals co‐located at 605 Robson while practicing physical distancing and other recommended health measures including not attending work if symptomatic and knowledge that entire unit will need to self‐isolate if anyone tests positive
  • Internal Meetings – all conducted by teleconference and videoconference

Proceedings and case management / public inquiries

  • Mediations – existing telephone mediation program extended to all mediations with parties’ consent. Where telephone not appropriate, a small number of mediations are being conducted by video‐conferencing or adjourned.
  • Hearings – existing videoconferencing and telephone program expanded to all hearings with parties’ consent. Where remote hearings not appropriate, some in‐person hearings adjourned.
  • Case management / public inquiries – existing program where most interaction is conduced by telephone and email. Public reception at office closed due to health officer orders and criminal activity in the building and the downtown business area.

Success with ongoing challenges

  • Overall, there has been a minimal interruption to the delivery of services to the public. BCHRT is a paperless office with telephone and online services available to the public. News alerts were posted on our website advising the public that all services were available through telephone and online services and that our office reception area was closed until further notice.
  • Virtual meeting applications have been a challenge as we leverage existing applications (Skype for Business, Telus conferencing lines and Webex) and explore new applications (Zoom and Microsoft Teams). Most of our proceedings have continued and not been adjourned.
  • Registry staff performance and well‐being is being maintained through:
    • weekly virtual staff meetings
    • staff authoring weekly progress reports of accomplishments and goals for coming week
    • one on one check‐ins with registrar to assist with scheduling and prioritizing work
    • flexible hours were implemented for employee experiencing childcare issues or health issues such as sleep deprivation
    • flexible vacation scheduling to maximize optimal use
    • reminders of the Employee and Family Assistance Program and encouraged to use the benefits if needed
    • The province’s self quarantine measures were implemented for employees who had travelled internationally