Our pandemic response

How do you prepare for a pandemic? In 2020, we found out.

The year brought a unique set of challenges. We proactively plan and prepare for the future whenever we can, but some challenges are harder to foreshadow—like a global pandemic. In these situations, what we can control is how we respond. To our staff and to our stakeholders, a timely and thorough response means everything.

Through changes and adaptation, our focus was clear: Continue delivering the essential services workers and employers rely on while keeping our staff, clients and partners safe. Here’s how we did it.

We ensured worker benefits continued without interruption

  • We signed up 4,000 workers for direct deposit to ensure they continued to receive their benefits on time.

  • We emailed letters instead of using physical mail to ensure workers had the information they needed without delay.

We supported employers in new and innovative ways

  • When there was a workplace outbreak, our Industry Support team reached out to employers to guide them through the claim process.

  • Our Employer Account Services and Underwriting teams worked closely with the provincial government to implement the 2020 premium rate deferral program. We contacted 4,700 employers and returned 100,000 premium cheques worth over $142 million.

  • We created and implemented Canada’s most comprehensive COVID-19 cost relief program for employers. The program relieves approximately $10 million in claim costs from employers’ experience records. This approach helps reduce the financial impact of COVID-19 claims and treatment delays on other claims resulting from the provincial shutdown in March.

We adjusted our business and went (mostly) virtual

  • We quickly developed a set of COVID-19 adjudication standards and established a team of specialized occupational disease adjudicators and case managers to assist with incoming coronavirus claims. This group was well prepared long before we received our first workplace COVID-19 claim. From that first claim onwards, they continue to provide unwavering care to thousands of workers.

  • After a short pause to transition to working from home, Millard Health’s assessment and treatment services resumed with a digital twist. Our clinicians pivoted, reimagined their work and learned new skills to make this happen. While transitioning staff and clients to a virtual service, our focus was on finding new solutions to deliver our services and ensure the best recovery for our clients.

  • We replaced in-person employer workshops and seminars with virtual presentations. Account planning went virtual too, replacing in-person site visits with virtual conferences so we could continue to help employers provide proactive disability management support for their workers.

  • When it was safe to do so, our Medical Services and Millard Health teams carefully reintroduced in-person services, closely abiding by all public health recommendations and with additional safety precautions.

“The pandemic brought so many unknowns, but we know one thing for certain—whether we’re in person or at a distance, our clients can trust they’re getting the very best in service and support,” says Marcela Matthew, vice president, Millard Health and Special Care Services. “Our pandemic response was a mammoth undertaking, with every business area coming together to make it happen.”