June 2024: Vacation Time, Warm Weather Safety, Creating an Emergency Response Plan, Changes to Sunlife Benefit Premiums

Posted on Jun 19, 2024

Vacation Time 

Heartland Housing Foundation recognizes the importance of personal time off for the health and well-being of its employees.  That means HHF encourages employees to take time off for the purpose of rest and relaxation.  
All permanent full time employees (working 30+ hours each week) will accrue paid vacation days at a rate reflective of their years of service.  All other employees who do not fall under full-time will be paid out vacation pay on each cheque in accordance with HHF policy. Regardless of what group you may fall in, vacation is required and encouraged for all employees.   
Vacations must be approved by your Manager prior to the employee making any vacation commitments such as flights.  Employees will submit a vacation request form to their manager.  You can ask your manager for this form.  If approved, your manager will confirm the acceptance and note your time away in Dayforce.   
In the summer, vacation requests longer than 1-2 weeks, may cause a strain on our staffing complement as all employees like to enjoy the beautiful weather.  Some vacation requests may not be approved depending on each site's requests and needs.  Please work with your manager when trying to schedule your vacation time. 
Enjoy your summer and happy travels! 


Warm Weather Tips  

It's getting hot out there! Summer is a time for family road trips, outdoor fun in the sun and hopefully lots of sunny weather. Here's some tips to prepare for safe summer days! 

Stay cool in the heat: Keep cool and hydrated and minimize your time in the sun between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Drink plenty of water, find shade, visit cool buildings, slow down, bathe in cool water and wear light-coloured clothing. Never leave children or pets inside a parked vehicle. When the outside air temperature is 23°C/73°F, the temperature inside a vehicle can be extremely dangerous – more than 50°C/122°F.  

When thunder roars, go indoors: Stay inside for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you can get hit by lightning. Take shelter immediately in a sturdy, fully enclosed building with wiring and plumbing. If no solid building is available, you can take shelter in a metal-roofed vehicle.  

Pack an emergency kit: You may have some kit items already, such as a flashlight, a wind-up radio, food, water and a manual can opener. Make sure they are organized and easy to find in case you need to evacuate your home. Make a kit to go in a backpack. Whatever you do, don't wait until a disaster is happening to make a kit. Check out how to put together an emergency kit. 

Connect with care: Don't mention going away on vacation in your social networking status updates. You may also want to delete messages from friends who mention these things to avoid the possibility of someone taking advantage of that knowledge while you are away. Avoid geotagging photos. Most smartphones and many digital cameras automatically attach the exact location where a photo was taken – and when you share it online, the geotag can give away your address or let criminals know that you're on vacation, which could make your home a target for break-in.  

Reference: https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/sfttps/tp201407-en.aspx


Emergency preparedness: Creating a plan to prepare for emergencies 

Creating an emergency plan with family and friends or for yourself if you live alone, will help you be prepared should a disaster, crisis, or other emergency strike. Consider the types of disasters that may happen from a fire to severe weather to earthquakes and other events. If you live with others, talk as a group about why it’s important to prepare for a disaster.  


  • Post emergency telephone numbers (fire, police, ambulance, etc.) by phones 
  • Ensure that mobile phones are set to receive emergency alerts. 
  • Discuss with everyone living in your home what to do in an evacuation 
  • Draw a floor plan of your home to determine the best escape routes and post it. 
  • Find safe spots in your home for each type of disaster. 
  • Be familiar with how to use the fire extinguisher.  
  • Take a basic class in first aid and CPR 
  • Pick two places to meet should you need to evacuate 
  • Leave at least half a tank of fuel in each car at all times 
  • Be familiar with how and when to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home at the main switches.  
  • Install smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers on each level of your home 
  • Replace stored water every three months and stored food every six months. 
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills every six months. 


Sunlife Benefits Premium Changes  

Your premiums for Critical Illness, Extended Health Care (EHC) and Dental coverage are changed on May 31, 2024. 

Effective May 31, 2024, the cost of our benefit premiums will be increased by an overall 15.35%. This increase will be reflected on your pay stub dated June 21, 2024. Premium increases are necessary to appropriately fund our claims activity, and this increase is significantly lower than those being seen by other employee groups in the province. We are pleased with the renewal rates that we could secure with SunLife. The proportion for what you (the employee) pays remains at 25% and Heartland Housing Foundation covers the other 75% of the Benefit program’s cost.    

Our premium rates remain competitive in the marketplace. The breakdown of critical illness, extended health and dental costs for each paycheque for both the employees and employer are shown in the chart below:  

Cost to Employees 



Cost to Employer 



Critical Illness 



Critical Illness 



Health Single 



Health Single 



Health Family 



Health Family 



Dental Single 



Dental Single 



Dental Family 



Dental Family