Swine flu reinforces need for pandemic plans in Ontario

    TORONTO, April 27 /CNW/ - The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is reminding
businesses throughout Ontario to be vigilant in protecting their operations
and employees from possible effects of a global pandemic, by issuing an
updated pandemic planning guide.
    "The quick reaction to the situation occurring in Mexico shows us that we
have learned a great deal from past experiences, and yet, research continues
to show that while many businesses are aware of the possible impacts of a
pandemic, few have made preparations so that they can deal with this
possibility," explains Len Crispino, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of
    The Pandemic Planning Tool Kit was first released in January 2007 to
businesses across the province in an effort to minimize disruption to the
province's economy in the case of a pandemic or other widespread emergency. A
national survey confirmed in 2008 that half of Canadian businesses over 500
employees still have no plan to manage a pandemic.
    The tool kit includes the following:
    -   Estimates of potential staff absences
    -   Legislative requirements governing staff absences during an emergency
        and subsequent return to work
    -   List of possible effects to services and business operations
    -   Prevention techniques to limit the spread of disease
    -   Business continuity checklist
    -   Additional resources

    "We've been caught unawares in the past and the impact on the economy has
been significant," emphasizes Crispino. "We urge all businesses to carefully
plan so that they may cope during widespread emergencies which may involve
such things as staff absences, energy supply disruptions and trade
    The Pandemic Planning Tool Kit is available at www.occ.on.ca.

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is a federation of 160 local
chambers of commerce and boards of trade in the Province of Ontario,
representing 60,000 businesses of all sizes, in all economic sectors and from
every area of the province. In its mandate to advocate strong policies on
issues affecting its members, the OCC is currently focused on economic renewal
and business competitiveness. Its over-arching goal is to make Ontario the
most competitive jurisdiction in North America.

For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, Director Media Relations and
Communications, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, W: (416) 482-5222, ext. 241, C:
(416) 605-8205

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