Winter and Work

Settlement ISC Employment

For many of you, this may be the first time you have lived and or worked in a winter climate. It can have its challenges but it’s important to know what is expected of you as an employee or job seeker.

It snows in Canada. This may be an obvious statement but it’s important to keep in mind that in Canada, a little bit of fresh snow on the roads is normal and it is not a reason to not show up for work, or an interview, meeting etc.

For the times when the snow really is too much and safety becomes an issue, there are usually statements from the police, or the mayor’s office encouraging residents to stay home and “avoid unnecessary travel plans.” Alternatively if there is a snowfall warning, winter storm warning, or if the total accumulation is around 10 cm or more, this is also a good indication it may be ok to stay home.
Your boss may also call you to stay home. Please be advised though, some companies may require you to use vacation or sick time. Confirm the policy at your respective employer. Regardless of their policy no job is worth putting your life at risk for. If it truly is a day that travel is not advised, stay home.

Temperatures in Calgary usually average around the -10 to -15 mark, but it can get as cold as -40 (plus wind chill) but extreme cold is not usually a reason to not come in the work. Even if you are driving, it is advised to wear appropriate clothing in case of an accident or breakdown. Frostbite can happen in as little as 15 minutes when it gets to below -30 and colder. Make sure you have gloves/mits and warm boots in particular.

Fresh snow on the roads also requires that you plan for extra travel time to get to work. Traffic will move slower and even the C-Trains may be affected (especially if the drivers have their own difficulties getting into work). Our advice is to leave at least 20-30 minutes earlier on “snow days” to avoid being late, or possibly even earlier if you need to drop children off at school, or your spouse off at their work that is in a different part of the city from where you work. While there is some sympathy for being late on “snow days” it is expected that you take the extra time into consideration and make a reasonable attempt to arrive to work on time.

Clothing: You may want to consider leaving your leather work shoes, or suit coats, jackets, etc at work during the winter months. Leather without some kind of lining is not very warm on your feet, and residual snow left on your shoes may melt and damage it. Wear winter boots and change into your shoes once you get to work. Suit jackets, bulky themselves, may be difficult to fit under winter clothing.

For any detailed questions about working in the winter, please email a member of the employment team.