The Public Health Agency of Canada has awarded a contract worth $926,600 under the Pandemic Preparedness Response Fund to the International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID) to develop tools and strategies that small and medium sized businesses can use to plan for the future.
“Supporting smaller businesses now is especially important as we prepare for the next wave of the pandemic, which might cause more serious illness and consequently have a stronger impact on the economy,” says Minister of Health Leona Aglukkaq. “Our government is taking action to ensure small and medium businesses can recognize these challenges, and develop plans to deal with increased employee absenteeism and disruptions in essential services.”
Research shows that small and medium sized firms do not have pandemic business continuity plans in place and do not have the dedicated resources required to respond adequately to a health crisis. This project will first assess the needs of small and medium businesses and the capacity of existing resources, which are most geared towards large businesses, to meet those needs. ICID will then develop a pandemic planning toolkit geared specifically for small and medium businesses to help them plan for the future.
The International Centre for Infectious Diseases in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce will develop an extensive communication program designed to reach over 300,000 small and medium businesses in Canada.
“This partnership combines business expertise and networks with infectious disease and public health expertise to reduce current and future pandemic impacts on the economic community,” said Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. David Butler-Jones.
ICID, located in Winnipeg, is a not-for-profit charitable organization that brings people and resources together to find new ways of applying research and technology to the fight against infectious diseases worldwide.
ICID will begin by assessing tools and resources that are currently available for small and medium sized business, then develop new products to address gaps. Some of the resources that are being considered for this project are tools like a website, a phone or web-based help line, and access to business continuity experts to assist small and medium businesses in preparing pandemic business continuity plans.
For more information on the Canadian response to the H1N1 flu virus, please visit www.fightflu.ca.