As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in the Toronto region and additional containment measures are enacted by government authorities, the Toronto Society of Architects has created a virtual space to share resources that might be helpful for the architecture community as we navigate this public health crisis. You can see the latest version of this page, which is updated regularly, on the Toronto Society of Architects’ webpage.
The following international organizations and local authorities have created dedicated websites to share information on the COVID-19 pandemic. They are great go-to websites for reliable information, as well as the latest developments, affected services and containment measures that apply to our region.
Pandemic Preparedness for your Studio
The COVID-19 pandemic is already having a profound effect on the economy and our practices. The following resources are meant to help our members who are making decisions as business owners and employers as they look for ways to protect the health of staff, clients and consultants while maintaining business operations.
- Planning for a Coronavirus Pandemic: A guide for businesses and organizations
- COVID-19 and the workplace: employer obligations
- World Health Organization | Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention | Interim guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- McKinsey & Company | COVID-19: Implications for business
- Harvard Business Review | Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis
Social Distancing and Collaboration Tools
Public health professionals and government officials have asked Canadians to practice social distancing, deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. At the TSA, this has meant cancelling events and moving all meetings to online platforms. For practices, this might mean moving meetings to digital platforms and telecommuting (work from home). The following resources look to help firms maintain the collaborative spirit of the studio while transitioning to digital platforms. Many of the tools below are free of charge for basic plans.
- Collaborating During COVID-19: A How-To
- An Architect’s Guide to Virtual Practice
- Zoom | Zoom is a video conferencing program which allows for meetings to be conducted on a computer or phone. Zoom also has chat capabilities within meetings as well as screen sharing, and a link and phone number can be sent to anyone to join the meeting. The basic plan is free of charge.
- Slack | Slack is a digital messaging platform with both group and person-to-person messaging. You can create multiple channels per team/workplace and members of that team can have direct messaging and group chats. You can also share files and images. The basic plan allowing 10,000 messages is free.
- Microsoft Teams | Similar to Slack, Microsoft Teams allows for both group and person-to-person messaging, as well as number of other features including video conferencing. A free plan is available with limited features.
- Splashtop | Splashtop is a remote desktop solution allowing users to log into and use the processing power of their work computer from any device from home. This allows flexibility on what is required at home (even an iPAD with a keyboard and mouse will do). Plans start at $5 a month per user.
With the end of the Continuing Education cycle set for June 30, 2020, we know many members were counting on some of the upcoming continuing education opportunities including TSA events and the OAA conference to complete their mandatory hours. We are currently working on developing online alternatives of our TSA programming for all our members, but in the meantime we have compiled a list of free or highly affordable continuing education opportunities which can be used to complete your Structured Learning hours.
- GreenCE: Sustainable Design Education | Numerous free and low-cost sustainable design education webinars on a variety of topics. Certificates for Structured Hours are issued upon completion of a quiz.
- woodWORKS! eLearning Centre | Professional development courses exploring topics in wood materials, designs and applications in construction. Certificates for Structured Hours are issued upon completion of a quiz.
- Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development: Worker Health and Safety Awareness | This training introduces workers to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It focuses on the health and safety rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors and employers. It also serves as a general introduction to workplace health and safety. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the course.
- AECDaily | A collection of webinars on a variety of topics related to the construction industry, many of them free of charge.
Is there a resource missing that you think would be of use for other architects and design professionals? Let us know at [email protected] and we’ll make sure to share it with our community. Together we are stronger!
NOTE: If you are sick, have traveled in the past 14 days, or are currently experiencing some of the symptoms of the disease, practice self-isolation and avoid going to work. Instead, please refer to the Government of Ontario website for the latest information and procedures to see if further assessment might be required.