COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness
As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in our region and additional containment measures are enacted by government authorities, we’ve created this space to share resources that might be helpful for members as we navigate this public health crisis. Together we are stronger.
The following international organizations and local authorities have created dedicated websites to share information on the COVID-19 pandemic. They are great go-to websites for reliable information, as well as the latest developments, affected services and containment measures that apply to our region.
Pandemic Preparedness for your Studio
The COVID-19 pandemic is already having a profound effect on the economy and our practices. The following resources are meant to help our members who are making decisions as business owners and employers as they look for ways to protect the health (both physical and mental) of staff, clients and consultants while maintaining business operations.
- Planning for a Coronavirus Pandemic: A guide for businesses and organizations
- COVID-19 and the workplace: employer obligations
- World Health Organization | Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention | Interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- McKinsey & Company | COVID-19: Implications for business
- Harvard Business Review | Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis
- *New* CAMH | 6 tips to respond to employee anxiety about COVID-19
- *New* Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Toolkit
- *New* COVID-19 Webinar Series: HR and Workplace Practices
Practicing during the Health Crisis
The current health crisis is requiring architects to quickly adapt the way we practice in response to changing conditions. This section brings together some resources relevant to practicing during the health crisis.
- OAA COVID-19 Updates for Practices | The latest updates from the Ontario Association of Architects on matters of practice during the health crisis.
- Pro-Demnity: Risk Management during COVID-19 | Information from the mandatory professional liability insurance provider for Ontario architects about risk management during the pandemic.
- City of Toronto: Affected City Services | Official City information on affected city services, including Zoning and Building Permits and Inspections. Please make sure to check the following tabs on the page for information relevant to design professionals: Building Permits and Inspections, Licensing and Permits (includes a note about how to carry on construction without inspections), City Planning, and Public Consultations.
- *New* Government of Ontario: Construction site health and safety during COVID-19 | Resources, best practices and information to help construction employers understand their rights and responsibilities while operating during COVID-19.
- *New* Canadian Architect: Legal, financial guidance for Canadian architecture firms during COVID-19 | A detailed article for practices with information on workforce planning, voluntary and involuntary temporary layoffs, work sharing, cash flow, taxes, temporary wage subsidies and more.
Money Matters: For Individuals and Practices
Cash-flow, employment and taxes are all issues that are being affected by this pandemic and will have a direct impact on practices and our members. The resources below provide a guide to some programs and information on economic relief packages, temporary income support for those without paid sick leave, emergency support for those who lose their jobs, and changes to the tax filing for 2019 to provide greater flexibility.
- Department of Finance Canada | COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Business
- *New* Ontario Association of Architects | Financial Hardship Policy
- *New* One-stop shop for government resources and how to access them
Physical Distancing and Collaboration Tools
Public health professionals and government officials have asked Canadians to practice physical distancing, deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. At the TSA, this has meant cancelling events and moving all meetings to online platforms. For practices, this might mean moving meetings to digital platforms and telecommuting (work from home). The following resources look to help firms maintain the collaborative spirit of the studio while transitioning to digital platforms. Many of the tools below are free of charge for basic plans.
- Collaborating During COVID-19: A How-To
- An Architect’s Guide to Virtual Practice
- Zoom | Zoom is a video conferencing program which allows for meetings to be conducted on a computer or phone. Zoom also has chat capabilities within meetings as well as screen sharing, and a link and phone number can be sent to anyone to join the meeting. The basic plan is free of charge.
- Slack | Slack is a digital messaging platform with both group and person-to-person messaging. You can create multiple channels per team/workplace and members of that team can have direct messaging and group chats. You can also share files and images. The basic plan allowing 10,000 messages is free.
- Microsoft Teams | Similar to Slack, Microsoft Teams allows for both group and person-to-person messaging, as well as number of other features including video conferencing. A free plan is available with limited features.
- Splashtop | Splashtop is a remote desktop solution allowing users to log into and use the processing power of their work computer from any device from home. This allows flexibility on what is required at home (even an iPAD with a keyboard and mouse will do). Plans start at $5 a month per user.
- Google Drive | Google Drive is a cloud storage service that allows you to easily store and share files over the internet. You can even have a folder on your computer (or sync specific folders) making the experience very user friendly. In addition, Google offers an online, free web-based office suite with Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Forms.
- *New* Morpholio | Created by a group of architects, Morpholio make software tools that aims to address different moments in the design process, from schematic to construction. Their app Morpholio Trace combines sketching tools, Augmented Reality, digital annotations and precise drawings.
New: the Ontario Association of Architects, along with other Licensing Authorities across Canada, have extended the end of the Continuing Education cycle to December 31, 2020. Additionally, the cap on the number of hours carried forward from this cycle to the next has been lifted.
We know many members were counting on some of the upcoming TSA events and the OAA conference to complete their mandatory hours. We are currently working on developing online alternatives of our TSA programming for all our members, but in the meantime we have compiled a list of free or highly affordable continuing education opportunities which can be used to complete your Structured Learning hours.
- GreenCE: Sustainable Design Education | Numerous free and low-cost sustainable design education webinars on a variety of topics. Certificates for Structured Hours are issued upon completion of a quiz.
- woodWORKS! eLearning Centre | Professional development courses exploring topics in wood materials, designs and applications in construction. Certificates for Structured Hours are issued upon completion of a quiz.
- Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development: Worker Health and Safety Awareness | This training introduces workers to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It focuses on the health and safety rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors and employers. It also serves as a general introduction to workplace health and safety. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the course.
- Inscape | Inscape is currently offering two webinars on Biophilic Design and Mess in Stress. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the webinars. The webinars are offered at specific times and dates, so check the website to register.
- AECDaily | A collection of webinars on a variety of topics related to the construction industry, many of them free of charge.
- *New* TSA Online Learning Listing | The TSA events calendar now has a tag dedicated to online learning opportunities making it easy to find upcoming or on-demand webinars relevant to architects and design professionals.
*New* How the architecture and design community can help
Have access to a 3D printer? Know how to sew? Then you can help in the fight against COVID-19! The PPE Drive is an outreach campaign started by medical leaders in Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital to support anticipated PPE shortages in the healthcare system. There are 3 key ways you can help listed below, along with links to the respective pages with additional information and instructions.
- Donate Unopened PPE | Have an unopened box of nitrile gloves, vented goggles, or even ear-looped masks? Know a contractor, supplier or fabricator that does? You can donate these supplies either by dropping them off at the hospital or arraigning a pick up.
- 3D Print Visor Frames | Have a 3D printer? Michael Garron Hospital is calling on the 3D printing community to create 10,000 visors frames in order for hospitals to make new face shields. An .stl file and detailed instructions and sizes can be found on the campaign’s 3D Printed Visor website.
- Sew a Mask | Know how to sew? The Michael Garron Hospital is calling for Torontonians to collectively make 1,000 masks a week which will go to approved visitors, discharged patients and the broader community to help prevent disease transmission. Instructions on how to make the masks and where to donate them can be found on the hospital website.
Is there a resource missing that you think would be of use for other architects and design professionals? Let us know at email@example.com and we’ll make sure to share it with our community. Together we are stronger!
This page was last updated March 31, 2020. This page is updated periodically with the latest resources.
NOTE: If you are sick, have traveled in the past 14 days, or are currently experiencing some of the symptoms of the disease, practice self-isolation and avoid going to work. Instead, please refer to the Government of Ontario website for the latest information and procedures to see if further assessment might be required.