A bus driver wears a face shield.

Business continuity and the COVID-19 pandemic

How Metrolinx managed to make plans even before COVID-19 locked most people down.

May 29, 2020

It’s a question asked of almost everyone, every day: “How are you coping?”

The COVID-19 pandemic has most people evaluating and assessing reactions – and actions – to the greatest health threat in generations. That assessment process has led many in the business community to look to how others have managed – and to learn from those who responded early and quickly.

A bus driver wears a face shield.

A GO bus driver wears a protective face covering in this file photo. (Metrolinx photo)

Metrolinx has a strong culture of business continuity planning. Preparing for the worst and having a Plan B is a year-round, and dedicated organizational effort. People throughout Metrolinx have – before the pandemic – worked on sophisticated stress-tested scenario-based exercises, without knowing when they will be needed.

This year, Metrolinx was ahead of the curve in quickly adapting to the challenges of COVID-19.

the story on the BCI website.

Work that Metrolinx has done to continue providing essential transit service during the ongoing pandemic is being shared around the globe through the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) website. (Frame-grab from Thebci.org)

Metrolinx’s work to keep GO trains and buses running safely has received global recognition from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), a UK-based professional organization with more than 9,100 members in 100 countries.

It’s a network of disaster preparedness and business recovery experts – a who’s who of those who plan for the very worst.

Among a few of the ways Metrolinx reacted before health officials asked everyone to shelter in place:

  • Metrolinx’s Business Continuity Office (BCO) was set up to make sure all parts of the organization have contingency plans that are regularly reviewed, maintained and stress-tested.
  • Business continuity responsibility is dispersed through the whole organization.
  • The BCO started sending out COVID-19 alerts and information in January, to ensure that people in all areas of Metrolinx were prepared.
  • Metrolinx’s Incident Command Team was reacting to the mounting crisis as early as January 24.

There were other ways Metrolinx proactively prepared for the COVID-19 lock-down – and is still responding.

Click here to read the Metrolinx article on the BCI website.

The learning continues. But sharing the lessons found in the early days of COVID-19 – and even before – may offer business leaders ways to navigate today and tomorrow.

by Mike Winterburn Metrolinx News senior writer