Communication Centre

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Categories : Notes from our CEO

August 03, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is now in its 17th month. It has had a tremendous impact around the world, especially on seniors, and those who support and care for them. The government mandated pandemic related restrictions have been particularly difficult for our residents and their families and challenging for every one of our staff members who have been working tirelessly to keep everyone safe.

Thankfully, with the strong vaccination uptake in Canada, COVID-19 case counts have been declining and most restrictions are being lifted. The virus variants continue to be a real threat and those of us serving and caring for the population most vulnerable to this virus, have a duty to ensure that we will not have to repeat these lockdowns and restrictions. Vaccines remain our best protection. Fully vaccinated people are less likely to get infected, if they do get infected, they are less likely to get seriously ill and less likely to pass the virus to others. The more of us that get vaccinated, the better chance we have to avoid new restrictions and lockdowns.

Chartwell has been consistent in our support and strong encouragement for our residents, families and employees getting vaccines as soon as possible. We have - and continue to - work hard with those who are hesitant to get vaccinated, offering education and support. Chartwell, along with many other large businesses and organizations across Canada are taking part in the “This is our SHOT” #Together Again campaign.

We are proud of the high vaccination rates we achieved in our homes with 95% of our residents being fully vaccinated and 90% of our LTC staff and 83% of our retirement residences staff receiving at least their first dose. Still, we believe we must do more to protect our residents and their quality of life.

Our new COVID-19 vaccination policy will be implemented in all our residences and corporate offices across the country by September. The policy requires all employees to provide proof of vaccination, or a letter from a medical professional confirming that they cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. In the absence of this proof, they must complete an approved Chartwell course on the benefits and risks of vaccinations. Unvaccinated staff will also be required to submit to a daily rapid antigen testing prior to the start of their shifts and may be required to wear personal protective equipment even after such requirement have been removed by public health authorities. Subject to any accommodation required by applicable human rights legislation, all new Chartwell employees are required to provide proof of vaccination as a condition of employment. Where we employ agency staff in our homes, we only accept those who are fully vaccinated.

On a personal note, now that 14 days passed after my second shot, I am looking forward to being able to visit our residences again. It has been too long since I have been able to have an in-person conversations with our residents, their families and employees.

A worthy read:

“Team Human” by Douglass Rushkoff.
Rushkoff, named one of the "world's ten most influential intellectuals" by MIT is a media theorist, author of 20 books and documentarian. His latest book “Team Human”, broken down in 100 statements argues that technology and institutions in our societies caused humans to lose their ability to think, connect and act constructively and it also invites us to remake these parts of our society in ways that foster humanity.

Below is one of my favourite parts of the book contained in statement 73:

…We cannot dominate nature much longer, but neither can we retreat from civilization. This cannot be a war between those who want to preserve nature and those pursuing progress. Team Human includes everybody.
Technology may have created a lot of problems, but it is not an enemy. Neither are the markets, the scientists, the robots, the algorithms or the human appetite for progress. But we can't pursue them at the expense of more basic, organic, connected, emotional, social and spiritual sensibilities, either.
Instead, we must balance our human need to remain connected to nature with our corresponding desire to influence our own reality. IT IS NOT AN EITHER/OR, BUT A BOTH/AND. It is not even a paradox.
WE CAN BE UTTERLY IN CHARGE OF THE CHOICE TO NOT BEING UTTERLY IN CHARGE. We can be fully human without being in complete control of our world. We may be nature's great observers and problem solvers, but nature is not a problem to be solved. We must instead learn to work with nature, just as we must learn to work with many institutions and technologies we have developed over the last millennium or so. We can't go back; we must go through….

Vlad Volodarski
Chief Executive Officer