Leadership Town Hall

On June 25, 2020 a Town Hall for PHC leaders was hosted to give you important updates on where we are now and where we'll be going. During the town hall a number of questions were asked.

Click here to watch the town hall on demand.

Questions & Answers

What resources are available so that leaders can take some time off this Summer?

We know how busy everyone has been the whole of the senior leadership team knows how busy our leaders have been We just shut down the emergency operations center for CST, and no sooner we rolled into the pandemic. On top of that we've been carrying on with our future with redevelopment we've been addressing all of the important things on our strategic plan. Everyone has been flat out. And what we really need to do is take our vacation, we need to take our time off, and it's us that needs to support each other. We need to encourage and support each other.

Please reach out - if you're a CNL talk to your manager; if you're a manager talk to your director - we'll cover each other, and we'll get through this together. It's not going to be easy, but we'll get through it together.

Will home-based office workers receive the T2200 tax form for Income Tax purposes to be able to deduct home-office expenses?
PSEC is currently reviewing the T2200 eligibility criteria as per Canada Revenue Agency’s interpretation guidance for staff that were recommended by the Health Authorities to work from home due to COVID.  Once they have concluded their review, upon request by the employee and if they meet the eligibility criteria, we will issue the employee Form T2200 for the 2020 taxable year.  We advise the employee to seek their own personal tax advice on this matter.
Is PHC looking at having more flexibility on how you define an employee? For example, staff based in another city/prov?
COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to look at how we work. We were able to very quickly send staff home. And if they had the technology or their duties allowed them to work from home and this is was we think about now as we begin looking at how our employees work. We have the possibility to retain great talent, and it's a chance to actually look at them and see whether or not the factors allow us to be more flexible than we had in the past.
As more staff work from home, it may make it challenging for managers to assess performance. Do you think PHC’s perf assessment program needs to be updated?

We have not been able to roll out the Accountable Compensation plan that we keep talking about. We will need to assess whether this is something we can get to in the fall or whether or not the plan needs to be updated and the tools managers need to be able to assess performance are available. We’re continuing to look at remote working to see what tools we can provide to leaders that have staff that are working off site.

There is a fundamental philosophical change in that, traditionally, we have assessed performance in terms of "do I think this person is doing a good job?" generally by “are they here? Do they look busy?” And of course those are the things we can't assess when they're working at home and so we do need to be thinking more in terms of outputs and outcomes. Have staff achieved what was needed of them and not "did they work for eight hours?"

Do you think more use of virtual health will, or should, result in requiring less space and less staff, in clinical or support or corporate areas?

The future of our workspace is that we will likely continue to move away from that old model of everyone having their own office and their own space. However, in some areas need more space, because there is a requirement to socially distance.

In terms of staff, no one should be concerned about whether or not we need less health care staff, in fact we need probably more health care staff. Again, roles may change and as we go into a more virtual world. What the last three months has shown us is how important health care is, and without health care, the whole economy falls apart.

What we're seeing with virtual health is that certain places lend itself better for virtual health and others. So for instance, places like the HIV clinic are doing vast numbers of their clinic visits online, whereas, for instance addictions, because of the patient population they serve, they don't have the access to the tech.

PHC will likely be going through every single area and asking what is the right amount of virtual to best meet the needs of your clients of your work?

Why are we not disciplining staff who are refusing to wear masks or abide by elevator rules?

As a learning organization or as an aspiring learning organization we know that discipline doesn't necessarily change behavior. Sadly, we now have experienced the fact that our colleagues don't necessarily have the same concern about whether they are putting other people at risk.

There's been a lot of talk about an "us" and "them". "Us" as in health care workers and "them" as in our patients. And there is no "us" and "them" split right now. We can equally expose our health care colleagues to this virus, and our patients to this virus. We want to do everything we can so that people can do things the right way. But there has to be some personal accountability in that as well. If you have a mask that you wear to Costco, you should wear that mask when you come to hospital we will give you a proper procedure mask when you get here, but you need something that will get you safely, your own safety and the safety of others, to your workspace.
Is SLT or HAs or MoH planning for our resource and staffing needs for the long term if COVID lasts two or three years more?

And there are different scenarios, in terms of low-medium-high risk. No one knows what the second wave will be like, but we have learnt quite a lot from the first wave. We can go into this winter confident that worst case scenario, if we have to stop everything, we can act very quickly.

What we will provincially has been looked at is absolutely what we need to do to have a bit more resilience to have that capacity.

In regards to the surgery side, we are looking at what staffing capacity is required to catch up on the backlog of patients who we weren't able to treat during the COVID outbreak.

There are debates currently going on in the government in terms of funding availability and clearly money is tight for everyone now, but the government is really clear that the worst case scenario is closing down the economy again. So to avoid doing that health care needs to be resilient.

Plans are being thought through in terms of how every sector, not just health, but also education, housing, etc, now lives and thrives in a COVID world.

When will staff receive the $4 pandemic pay?

It's quite a lot of work to figure out the dollar amount as much as it doesn't seem like it is. But we're working with finance and with the payroll teams in order to ensure that this gets paid as quickly as it possibly can.

There are a lot of issues around this extra $4, in terms of who gets it who doesn't get it, how does it get calculated, does it actually work out as $4 an hour. Our commitment as an organization is to try to be completely transparent and honest with you that this is not within our control. We'll try to implement this in a way that follows all the rules and is transparent and equitable as possible.

If you have questions regarding the $4 pandemic pay, please contact Tammy Young at

What technological upgrades are being considered to prepare for more remote work, and video conferencing? 
A lot of technological upgrades are happening, have happened and will continue to happen. There is a provincial review to assess which virtual workspace platforms will work best across the province. Microsoft Teams is being considered.
How can staff volunteer to be part of some of the COVID research? I hear there are studies that do tests for presence of anti-bodies.

We know the research landscape, through the province and we can easily connect you with the right people, depending on the type of research you want to get involved with. Please email

PHC currently has 45 exemptions related to COVID research going on at the hospital predominately at St. Paul's, and that's a mixture of discovery based research and clinical trial activity. They are still ongoing. There are approximately half a dozen clinical trials, which involve Providence researchers, clinical researchers, looking at therapeutic tests for COVID-19. We also have a provincial COVID blood biobank, which we set up and we'll be using those samples to try and understand a little bit more about the disease mechanisms.

PHC also has applications in under review and through the first phase of approvals to enhance the biobank capacity related to COVID at Providence. You should hear more about that in the coming weeks and months. Our aim is to massively expand the biobank capacity to not only include blood samples, but in to include the nasal swab remnants, as well as other bio specimens.

Any technology allowances or reimbursements for employees to setup/optimize WFH? (e.g., having to purchase a headset, monitor, webcam)
PHC has not required staff to work from home; rather, this was offered as an option to those who choose to do so.  Our place of work has not been declared unsafe, so if an employee feels they cannot work effectively from home due to technical limitations, they can come into the office to work. Senior leadership may examine this further, including consideration of the savings that result from working from home on commuting costs like transit and parking.
Saskatchewan Health included Patient Family advisors in its EOC to ensure a patient or family perspective in decision making. Will PHC consider this?
We will be looking for ideas from them as to how they can be and want to be more actively involved. Where we get to making the best decisions is when we have a breadth of experience and perspective in the room. For example, we recently added the ethics team to Holy Family which has brought another perspective to the table.
Due to covid business I have managed to miss many award deadlines. I want to recognize my team's excellence, can we do something special award ceremony for them

Recognizing our people is just a part of who we are and what we always want to do. COVID-19 has been a reason for us to delay but not for us to put off or not do this kind of recognition. We are working on a plan right now for being able to carry through our Long Service recognition, Mission awards and Providence days and all of those ways in which we come together to celebrate. We are looking at how we can do that with respect to physical distancing guidelines and a little bit of virtual health, but there will be some appropriately distance opportunities for people to actually see people in person at each one of the sites and so that is actually coming to you very soon.

If you have any particular questions or concerns about your department or ideas please contact Jody Sydor-Jones at

Educators really want to be able to record on Zoom. Is there any chance of an "education" type of licence that would allow this?

Any virtual visits between a health care professional and patient (group or 1:1) will qualify for ongoing Zoom Licencing.  Zoom recording will be available and is included in the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA). The PIA draft will be submitted to privacy for review and approval.

Skype for Business can be used for staff educational purposes.  To access information about recording a Skype for Business meeting, log in to a PHC workstation or remote desktop and click here:

Skype for Business is the recommended web conferencing tool for uses other than direct patient care. Info on Skype for Business is available at the links below:

To the CEO: It’s 10 years from now; you’re still the CEO (yay!). Describe what PHC is as an organization. What do you imagine its workforce is like?

From Fiona: Well, I think the last three months has kind of shown me certainly the importance of never making a prediction. Because we will be wrong wouldn't we?

First of all the obvious in terms of for those patients who we saw, and residents who we need to serve in physical environments, but the physical environments across the board are ones which we feel proud of, meet the needs of our patients and residents.

Human touch is really important when it's important, and not when it's not important - I think we'll be better at distinguishing between those two. I think the things that drove the Sisters to establish this organization will be the same. I think that we will still be focused on compassion, innovation, and social justice, and those might continue to look different, and technology will continue to expand, but it will be, but those values will still be the thing that drives us.

What I would really hope is that the workforce, our workforces more diverse and particularly more diverse at the senior level. The board has really focused in the last couple of years in terms of gender equity and made some good progress on that we've really thought about some of our responsibility in terms of Indigenous leadership. But still I think that we could be, and we will be more diverse in 10 years-time.

I think we will be more geographically dispersed. What I would really hope though and believe is that we will be the organization where the best people want to work, and where they are enabled to be their best. And because of that, what I would say in 10 years-time, is that our recruitment function is about managing the queues, on the waiting list of people who want to work for Providence. That we have a reputation where people want to work, where you get looked after, where your voice is heard. And where people know that they have a chance to do something meaningful and make a difference, not just for our own patients and residents, but for those around the world, because we develop our research and our models of care, such that everyone else wants to copy us.

I think sometimes that I feel that I am like a kind of cover singer, frankly. I just cover your songs, so I front things, and I say "this is what Providence is about." So I will go out and cover your songs. But you are the people that make it happen every day. This is a good time for me to say thank you for what you've done in the last three months which has been outstanding. I hope that when you retire, you will look back and go. “I was very proud of that. I made a difference in that pandemic.”

This page last updated Jul 6, 2020 9:16am PDT