Our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented endeavour for Canadian governments, businesses and citizens. Meeting the challenge of this global pandemic is testing the resilience of all Canadians and requiring all of us to think and act differently. Yet, despite the significant disruptions to our daily lives, we need to pause and reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a country that has caring governments, robust public services and institutions, and the necessary critical infrastructure in place to help us look after one another and weather this storm.
The fuels industry is a key element of Canada’s critical infrastructure, essential to maintaining vital transportation services. While pandemic control measures are reducing personal travel, the transportation of people and goods remains vital to the functioning of our society – and that requires safe and secure access to fuel.
Canadians can rest assured that the fuels industry – Canadian Fuels members – are doing their utmost to maintain operations and ensure continuity of the fuel supply, all while taking extraordinary measures to keep their workers safe and healthy. They have all activated emergency business continuity plans so that the essential services they provide continue uninterrupted. Importantly, this includes critical health and safety measures whereby on-site staff at refineries and distribution terminals have been restricted to essential personnel only (who are being carefully monitored and supported by health and wellness teams), with non-essential personnel working from home, and enhanced screening in place for delivery personnel who support our fuel supply chain.
These extraordinary times also require an extraordinary level of cooperation and collaboration. For example, sharing best health and safety practices between members, and collaborating with governments at all levels, to ensure we can focus our resources on where they are most needed – maintaining continuity of the fuel supply and keeping essential goods and services moving while we flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While industry members prioritize safe and secure operations, we look to governments to take a flexible approach to regulatory compliance where there is no adverse health or safety impact. This includes eliminating, simplifying or extending reporting requirements, temporarily waiving administrative and other penalties, and deferring moving forward with any new regulations. We simply can’t afford to divert our limited capacity away from our essential services role.
The resiliency of our country and our industry has been tested many times in the past and we have always risen to the challenge. Together, we can make this situation no different.