Business Continuity Response Actions of Mercy Ships Canada for Dealing with COVID-19

23 March 2020

Mercy Ships is the world’s leading non-governmental, ship-based medical organization. Therefore, the safety and well-being of our staff, volunteer crew, the people we serve and the communities where we live are paramount. In line with the advice, guidance and directives of international, national and local health officials, we have adapted our approach because we know that charities will continue to be on the front lines of dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We at Mercy Ships Canada have taken several business continuity steps that are summarized below:

  • Practicing Safe Physical or Social Distance: All staff will practice safe social or physical distancing. At home, during any commute to the office and in the Victoria Office (for the performance of only essential on-site tasks).
  • Working Remotely: We have enhanced our capability for remote work, building on the experience that some staff routinely worked from home. At this time, all team members are being equipped and encouraged to do so whenever possible.
  • Ensuring Access to Secure Computer Systems & Information. Substantially all of our major IT systems are secure distributed/cloud-based and available to staff as needed from their remote locations. We work with Mercy Ships and a Canadian IT support supplier to ensure their prudent planning and business continuity readiness. Respect for confidential information, either on-line or physical records, will be maintained at all times.
  • Restricting Travel.  All non-essential staff travel has been cancelled until further notice. We have been working to ensure that the volunteer crew can return home safely to Canada. We will respect all mobility restrictions that may be placed by government officials.
  • Staff and volunteer crew well-being. Some staff may be required to support or assist at-risk family members, or care for children and we are flexible to support whatever arrangements they need to make. We take our staff’s physical and mental health seriously and have a health benefits and employee assistance program to provide whatever support we can. To the extent possible, we are cross-training staff to ensure the continuity of Mission-critical activities. For volunteer crew, we are committed to working with Mercy Ships on member care measures that may be required in the days ahead.
  • Programmatic Steps: In line with the #COVID-19 measures taken by the President of Senegal with the Ministry of Health, Mercy Ships has reviewed the activities associated with the Africa Mercy and has decided to adapt the programmatic operations of our mission in Senegal.
  • Enhanced Communications with Donors: In the days ahead, all Mercy Ships Canada staff will become more involved in different ways in communicating with our donors. We deeply respect the fact that the personal circumstances of many individuals could have changed dramatically on very short notice. During this season of rapid and profound change, we want to acknowledge that small acts can make a big difference to those around us.
  • The phrase #SmallActsBigDifference will serve as our organizational call to action during the COVID-19 response phase to tangibly demonstrate ways to show love and mercy to others. Becoming a monthly donor (via our on-line donation page) is one example of a way some people may be able to make a difference. https://mercyships.ca/donation

The above initial measures are just some of the steps we have taken to show we care for one another and our community. Please be assured that we will continue to take whatever steps are prudent and appropriate as circumstances change.

If you have any specific questions, please be in touch with your usual Mercy Ships Canada team contact.

We pray that you, your families, friends and our business colleagues, will stand together for the good health of all and especially the most vulnerable in our communities, and the world’s forgotten poor.

Darryl Anderson
Executive Director
Mercy Ships Canada