March 17, 2020 

The Salvation Army
Canada and Bermuda Territory
Office of the Secretary for Communications

To: THQ Cabinet
Divisional Leaders
THQ Department Heads

Dear friends;

Re: COVID-19 Communication #4 – Sent on behalf of the Territorial Commander, Commissioner Floyd J. Tidd

This is the first of a series of communiques that you will receive over the 24 hours pertaining to:

  • All officers are emergency disaster responders
  • Officers/employees working off-site
  • Employee holiday/sick time benefits
  • Thrift store operations

During these days, all Salvation Army officers are emergency disaster services responders. While our worship gatherings have moved to the digital realm for the immediate future, it is important that we stay connected with our faith community and the community-at-large, offering hope, encouragement and practical support as required. Below are a few guiding principles for your review and use:

Find new ways to engage with your community

  • Reach out to your local health unit and offer assistance such as use of buildings for test sites, support of future vaccination clinics, etc.
  • Consider food delivery to vulnerable populations (i.e. seniors).

Make emotional and spiritual care a priority
  • These are stressful times for many. Be a listening ear for those who need someone to talk to.
  • Check in with health practitioners and offer support.
  • Make regular contact with members of your congregation/ministry unit, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders.

Be available
  • Ensure local health and emergency management authorities know how to contact The Salvation Army at all times.
  • Develop a list of Salvationists and volunteers who are available to assist.

Please do not be limited to these guidelines. However, we believe these will allow the Army to remain true to our mission of preaching the love of Jesus Christ, meeting human needs and being a transforming influence in the communities of our world.

Officers/employees working off-site (two-week time limit to be reassessed)

You will know that government and public health officials across Canada and throughout every provincial jurisdiction have asked that, where possible, Canadians practise “social isolation” in the workplace and community setting and The Salvation Army quickly responded by closing our worship gatherings. Further, the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health has formally asked “all employers in Ontario to facilitate virtual work arrangements to enable employees to work from home where possible to enable workers to limit their activities and care for children and to self-isolate.”

At a meeting of the COVID-19 Taskforce this morning, it was decided that, where possible, territorial headquarters (THQ) and divisional headquarters (DHQ) employees will be allowed to work from home, thus supporting the request of the federal and provincial governments across the territory to "socially isolate." It is important to understand that we are NOT closing our doors; we are simply altering the way we do business for the foreseeable future. THQ and DHQs will remain open with essential staff on-site to support the work of our organization. THQ department heads are requested to review their essential services staffing plan with their respective cabinet secretary, and divisional leaders and area commanders are to work with local ministry units regarding employees working from home and also essential service staffing requirements and plans for social service ministry units.

We understand that not every employee is able to work from home and, indeed, many dedicated Salvation Army employees are engaged in front-line essential service ministry, supporting the vulnerable in communities across Canada and Bermuda. We value and appreciate the dedication of our front-line workers and we need to support, encourage and thank them for their outstanding extra-mile efforts during these days.

Finally, we would remind all officers and employees that if they have been travelling outside the country, they are required to self-isolate for 14 days. There is no exception to this public health requirement. Further, we would remind all Salvation Army workers that if they are ill, they are not to come to work, and if they have been advised by medical professionals to self-isolate, they are to adhere to the protocols in place. THQ human resources will be sending additional information out tomorrow.

Corps thrift store operations (two-week time limit to be reassessed)

It has been decided that, effective today, ALL thrift stores across the territory, including National Recycling Operations (NRO) stores, will close to the public for shopping, but we will continue to accept donations of goods until further notice. The only caveat is that thrift stores need to be available to support crisis needs of community and family services operations. We would ask divisional leaders and area commanders to work with your local ministry units in support of this directive. We trust this decision brings a measure of comfort to those working at the local level while continuing to meet emergency needs in communities.

In closing, please disseminate this information as appropriate and thank you for your continued partnership in ministry.

God bless.


John P. Murray MA, APR, CFRE
Territorial Secretary for Communications

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